A couple of weeks ago, I decided to eschew my electronic tasks list, calendar, and notepad in favor of a pen-and-paper system, i.e., a notebook. I was inspired by Austin Kleon’s suggestion to go analog to improve creativity. So far, it’s been working well, other than the small inconvenience that the notebook I chose is just a little too small. However, it has perforated pages, which I really like–I can tear out pages once they’re used up.
I enjoy the satisfaction of physically crossing items off in my notebook as I accomplish the goals I’ve set. I am definitely more productive. Perhaps the reward of crossing off is enough to motivate me to actually do what I set out to do.
The most surprising result, though, is that using the paper notebook really has improved my memory. I was seriously starting to get worried, because it seemed like I would forget everything. Just minutes after someone asked me to do something, it would fly out of my brain. I would walk into rooms with no idea why I was there. The act of physically writing things into my notebook and then reviewing them once or twice daily has helped cement them in my mind, though. I can now remember what I need to do without actually looking at me to-do list first, which is amazing. I think my improved memory is helping me get more done too.
Regardless, I am a convert back to paper notebooks. Is it possible that such a small change could significantly boost my happiness? Seems so.