Since grade school, I have always had a paper planner. My first one was literally made from construction paper and planner pages printed from an office printer that was stapled together by my third grade teacher. Simple but so effective that I have literally never been without a paper planner since. For someone who has lived with a planner in her bag at all times, you can imagine that creating our Happy Balance Planners and Back Pocket Planners was a dream come to life in more ways than one.

But, times have certainly changed since I was in third grade and you can now carry around your life, including your calendar and to-do’s, in the palm of your hand. It can sync with your work calendar on your computer and you can share a calendar with a significant other thanks to the new digital age. So here comes the golden question…Why have and use a paper planner in the digital age? Why write things down by hand and carry around something that adds extra weight to your bag when it can all be stored on your phone?

The first thing to note, is that we absolutely recognize that a paper planner is not for everyone. But we full heartedly believe that a paper planner in some form or fashion IS for many people. Paper planners can be a game changer in organizing your everyday, organizing the giant list of todos scrambled in your head and organizing the steps that are going to help you turn a goal and dream into a reality! 

We are certainly all about being efficient and using all things tech-related when possible, with Jordan’s full time gig and passion centered completely around the tech world. But even within the world of all things digital, we believe in slowing down and going back to the basics. We believe that using a paper planner is more than just putting pen to paper and calling it a day. We believe in making your paper planner a valuable tool in your journey of chasing dreams and creating balance.

We want to dive a little deeper into why we think it’s valuable and useful to use a paper planner in place of solely relying on your cell phone or computer to track your schedule and to-do’s. Perhaps you’ll read through these and realize that you relate and you’ll see that there is benefit and value in using the basic pen and paper method to create a not so basic everyday life!

  • Flexibility: One of the biggest differences between paper and digital planners is the flexibility you can find in a paper planner. We created Happy Balance Planners with the idea of individuality in mind. You have different needs than your friend, you think differently and you work differently. A paper planner can fit the mold of your needs and your thought process rather than the other way around, forcing you to fit the structure and capabilities of a digital planner.
  • Intentional and Focused: Sitting down and putting pen to paper can help you to find the true intention behind your actions and your daily to-dos. You remove the distractions of social media, email, work documents and you are left with your thoughts and paper to capture those thoughts. You can eliminate the noise and find focus in what you fill your days with and why.
  • Boost Your Memory: The simple act of writing your todos, your ideas or your schedule down can actually help you remember that important task or appointment AND it can help you process what you are writing using a different cognitive process than what you use when simply typing. You can read about the research here and here. But, this ultimately links back to being more intentional and focused about your daily tasks. Just like many consequences of taking things digital, using a digital planner might result in you going on autopilot, letting your fingers do the directing rather than your mind.
  • Brain Dump: There is no doubt that you have a million ideas and thoughts running through your head on the daily. But the only way you are going to unscramble them is to write them down!! All of those thoughts in your head, big or small, need to get out of your head and down on paper. You can’t begin to organize everything until you actually see it all. You are bound to forget something or someone and writing everything down makes the planning and organizing process easier, and completing it all doesn’t seem nearly as daunting.
  • Permanent Record: Paper planners provide a permanent record. They are not concerned with a server going down, a computer crashing or a battery dying. But you also have a permanent record of your workflow, your thoughts and your progress. You can see when you planned one thing, scratched it out, moved it to another day, etc. Think of it like a tracked document, finding benefit in the process and the paper trail.

At the end of the day, you have to figure out what is right for you. How do you work best? Where do you feel more focused and more intentional? What helps you truly find forward progress every day, working to be at your very best? Maybe your winning solution is actually a combination of the two and you keep a digital planner system for work but you keep a paper planner in action for all of your personal goals and daily activities. Find what allows you to be mindful in your work each day and create a system that is completely defined by you and your strengths!