I’m a big fan of tech and an avid productivity chaser, so it probably comes as no surprise that I’m always on the lookout for, and testing, new apps to help me organise my life and get more done.
Unfortunately, when it comes to getting things done, one of my favourite things becomes one of my worst enemies. Sure, I have loads of great productivity apps on my laptop and iPhone. Without these gadgets, it would be impossible for me to get organised and get things done, but my phone and laptop are two of my greatest distractions.
What do you do when you just need to clear your head, get your thoughts in order and make a plan to get things done? I find that sitting down with nothing but a pen, a notebook and my thoughts is the ultimate productivity tool.
Tech and productivity blogger Chris Smith write about paper productivity in this post for lifehack.org. According to Smith, pen and paper offers much more flexibility than any productivity app...
“With paper and pen, I locate the task and write something near it. Or, hell, even on top of it if I want.
Paper planners work because they are flexible and with that flexibility eventually comes an awareness of how you work your productivity system, not how it works you.”
Using paper to organise your thoughts doesn’t mean giving up technical solutions for good.
“I tend to use paper for outlining and to keep me connected to my tasks while disconnecting me from the technology that can take my focus away from those tasks.
As for digital products, I use those for long term thinking. I use them to capture things that I want to do later. I use them to have a great place to go when I want to connect with what I really want to do next. That’s something that paper can’t provide as effectively.”
To follow this workplace hack, take half an hour away from your desk with a pen and paper and get everything out of your head. Empty your mind of personal issues, concerns about previous work and things you need to get done in the future. You’ll be amazed at how much comes out.
Once you have your thoughts down on paper, you’ll be better placed to consider exactly what tools and processes you need to stay organised and plan for the future.
Try emptying your mind on paper once a week or month to stay clear-headed, organised and productive.