13 Reasons to Switch Back to Paper Today

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Put Things Off (PTO)  is a blog written by Nick Cernis, a 26-year-old web developer from West Yorkshire in the UK. PTO talks about productivity, freelancing, travel and much more.


In one of his posts, Nick  talks about his switch back to paper from PDAs. It caught my eye, because one of our customers recently emailed us saying we had to do more to publicize the benefits of paper vs. electronic.  

One of the pages of this year’s  Quo Vadis catalog will do just that – focusing on the creativity and individuality paper and pen or pencil can spark.   This page will also be added to our website, with perhaps an interactive component where people can add their comments on why they like to organize, record, create on paper, and why it’s better, cheaper, faster  than electronic for making lists and jotting things down.

Here are Nick’s “13 Reasons”:

1. It’s faster. I challenge anyone to fire up their PDA or phone and enter their upcoming tasks and appointments for the week in less time than it takes them to do it on paper.

2. It’s cheaper.

3. It’s always accessible.

4. It’s always charged up.

5. There’s no learning curve.

6. It encourages creative thinking. There’s no faster way to brain storm ideas than with a piece of paper and a pencil. Using it every day encourages creative thinking and builds your idea bank.

7. You don’t have upgrade it.

8. It’s a break from the screen.

9. It’s less anti-social.

10. Your handwriting will improve. Handwriting is a dying art form. Mine is still atrocious, but it has improved no end since I’ve gone back to paper productivity systems. There is nothing quite as wonderful as a brilliant message written in a beautiful hand. Learn to take pleasure in your handwriting–it’s a simple joy but one that’s  worth chasing.

11. Your friendly police officer uses it.

12. It’s been proven by time.

13. David Allen says so. In David Allen’s own words: “The simpler and the faster you can make simple lists and access them, the better. Whatever any applications do  support that, I go, “that’s great,” but quite frankly it’s hard to beat just paper and pencil.”

4 thoughts on “13 Reasons to Switch Back to Paper Today

  1. I have never even been tempted to use an electronic organizer, although I can see how they are useful. I have a deep mistrust of technology and don’t like the idea of my important information just floating around as electrons. I like to have things permanently on paper. Also, I am a visual learner, so I remember things by visualizing them written on the page, which doesn’t work so well with a screen. And, I travel a lot between the US, UK and continental Europe, and I just can’t be bothered with trying to figure out the voltage/ plug adaptors/ battery availability and whatever else I would need to keep the thing running. Not to mention crashes!! But ultimately, I love writing things down on paper. Some of my most cherished possessions are my diaries/ planners from previous years. I love flipping through them and reading what I did on a particular day. It’s like seeing a snapshot of my life, what was going on in my head and the world around me on that particular day. No electronic gadget can replicate that for me.

  2. More importantly, it doesn’t have to be “backed up” against batteries dying and a paper planner NEVER crashes! I went back to paper somewhere around the “upgrade” from DOS 3.x to Windoze.

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