6 Ways a Planner & Notebook Combo Can Help Hack Your Productivity

Have you ever found yourself longing to put aside that online calendar or note-taking app, popping the cap off of your favorite pen, and simply scribbling your plans and thoughts into a paper notebook and/or planner?

If you abandoned the analog approach long ago in an effort to get more productive through the use of digital alternatives, you might find yourself astonished by just how more productive you can be with a simple paper planner or notebook that serves as your all-in-one productivity planner.

Here are just six of the amazing ways you can use this versatile option to boost your personal and professional efficiency and creativity.

1. You Can Keep Your Planning Life Separate From Your Digital Life

Planner and Notebook

Source: Pexels

Technologists like to use the term “convergence” to describe how multiple media and technology platforms come together into one unified whole. While this convergence offers the convenience of being able to access every corner of your digital life quickly and easily, it also can also raise the noise level inside your brain to a cacophony.

How can you focus on your daily tasks, calendar events, and journal entries when they must compete with countless social media channels, websites, email boxes, and other digital distractions? You may find that these critical items get lost in the electronic shuffle instead of assuming the importance they deserve.

Taking your planning and journaling offline, and off of your device altogether, can help you place a separate, special focus on specific categories of notes and thoughts.

That’s where a productivity planner like the Office Hero Planner comes in, by enabling you to reclaim control over your daily choices, and clearly separating your actual life from your digital one, or mixing both together thanks to a clear layout proven to increase overall efficiency and productivity.

2. Paper-Based Scheduling Offers Flexibility

Scheduling tasks in a paper planner or notebook gives you a degree of flexibility that you can’t necessarily get from a digital calendar app. Whenever you add tasks to a digital calendar, you tend to assign start and stop times to those tasks, carving little squares out of your day.

But what happens if you miss that 9 o’clock task for some reason? You either take the time and trouble to find a new position for it on the calendar, or you forget about it because you’ve moved onto the next square. Neither response does much for your productivity. That task may not even be time-sensitive, yet you’re forced to enter it as if it was if you want it on the calendar.

Paper-based productivity planners give you the great benefit of recording & planning daily tasks within your day’s schedule, or as to-do lists with no attached start or stop times. Write these lists at the top of a dated entry page, and you know that you have crossed these items off your list anytime before the end of the day. As daily tasks jostle for your attention, you can stay flexible and still get everything done, thanks to the power of paper.

3. Paper Notes Can Reveal Your Thought Processes to You

Planner Notebook

Source: Unsplash

Do you ever look at a draft of a digital document and see nothing but the words on the page — with no traces of the mental and emotional work that went into those words? This clean copy works well for the readers, not but necessarily for the writers. Sure, you can backtrack through previous versions, but those pre-drafts are just another, an earlier snapshot of cold, unrevealing text.

By contrast, putting your ideas down on paper gives you the ability to record the entire process that went into those thoughts, and the mental effects can be profound. Cross-outs, emotionally-charged changes in handwriting style, humorous doodles, margin notes, and other embellishments help you trace your own creative journey. This extra level of insight can help you derive more from your notes or even see an entire solution in a fresh new light.

4. Paper Planners & Notebooks Offer Easy Expansion on Planner Entries

Some people dislike trying to shoehorn entire days’ worth of information into the little boxes provided by paper calendar books. The tiny little entries they can add don’t tell them enough about their tasks, goals, and methodologies to actually serve many purposes except as basic (and incomplete) reminders.

How many times have you glanced at such an entry and wondered, “Why did I put this here? Who was this person again?”

When you let a notebook double as your planner, however, you don’t have this stumbling block. A paper planner or notebook can take on any format you choose to give it. for instance, you can start each page with the date, followed by a bulleted list of important tasks, and paragraphs of information about those tasks. You can even record random thoughts and additional ideas in the remaining space.

5. A Planner/Notebook Combo Lets You Create Your Own Notation System

Different people think, perceive, and plan in different ways — a consideration that doesn’t often find its way into bare-bones calendar apps or other rigidly-formatted digital platforms. If you really want to unleash your productivity, you need to take notes that speak your own internal language, whatever forms that language may choose to take.

A paper planner/notebook serves up a blank slate for your own personal notation system. You can experiment with a variety of bulleting techniques, checkbox formats, columns, lined-off sections, color-coding, and other organizational preferences until you’ve got something that lets you work, think, and dream as effortlessly as possible. Don’t worry about whether it makes sense to anybody else — this is your planner and your productivity.

6. Paper Will Keep Working Even When Your Electronics Don't

Source: Unsplash

Electronic devices can constrain your productivity through their very operational limits, which often lead to counter-productive multi-tasking. The mere knowledge that your device holds only so much battery life can loom over you like a dark, distracting cloud, pushing you to choose workspaces and times based on the availability of the nearest plug, not on where and when your productivity can truly thrive.

You never have to worry about that with good old-fashioned paper. Your productivity planner or notebook will keep working as long as you have ink in your pen (or a spare pen). You can do your planning, record your ideas, and review your entries anywhere, at any time — no batteries needed!

Paper boosts your peace of mind (and therefore your overall productivity) in another important respect: environmental friendliness. Note only does a paper planner or notebook lend itself to recycling, but unlike a laptop, tablet, or smartphone, your simple paper productivity tool doesn’t have to clog a landfill with toxic parts and chemicals once it reaches the end of its useful life.

Give in to that urge to unplug your schedule and plug into your natural productivity. Get your hands on a paper planner/notebook combo, and start crafting your own pathways toward a more effective daily routine!

Do you want to build and maintain new habits? Get your free PDF version of the Don't Break The Chain calendar and start today!

Do you want to build and maintain new habits? Get your free PDF version of the Don't Break The Chain calendar and start today!

Author’s BIO: Lori Wade is a journalist & content writer from Louisville, who has experience in small editions. She enjoys creating news and conceptual articles about efficiency and productivity in life. You can find her on LinkedIn. Hope you appreciate Lori’s useful insights!