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Integrating mindfulness into all that you do is so important for the endurance and constancy of your mental health. One way to incorporate mindfulness is in the way you plan your life. When you physically open up a planner and write by hand, you are able to mentally slow down and take a moment to consider what it is that you are actually committing your time to. If you are wanting to limit your time looking at a screen, then look no further than this “old-fashioned” method. 

Three Reasons to Use a Paper Planner:

  1. The data doesn’t disappear or get lost in your cloud.
    Paper planners are finite. There are only so many pages to look through. Cloud drives are (essentially) infinite. They can hold thousands of files. But if you don’t remember your file name, you’re hosed. Consider how many clouds you will have to access to keep up with all of your important information, plans, events, meetings, etc. Bouncing back-and-forth through multiple apps can be a real time waster instead of flipping back-and-forth a page or two.
  2. Writing activates additional pathways in your brain.
    Digital devices are taking away our reliance on writing by hand, and research suggests this may be a deterrent to memory and quickly recalling information. While already being quicker and more accurate to write by hand, it also promotes acquisition of richer encoding information and retrieval cues in the brain. There’s no shortage of research pointing to the benefits of writing things down. At this point, why wouldn’t you adopt the use of a paper planner?
  3. You can’t improve what you can’t measure.
    Paper planners fill up. As you document your days, what you’re up to, and mark through those to-do items, you can visually see your progress. In an age where productivity is through the roof (ah, the joys of remote work and the blurring of the lines), having a physical list of all you’ve accomplished can be extremely gratifying. Motivation and creativity align here as your brain is given more capacity to think instead of trying to remember all that you have to do.

Two of the most common “planner” methods used by Simply Psych crew are:

Yellow Legal Pad: Yup. Seriously. You can create check boxes, free-hand flow, jot down charts and processes, and flip pages furiously, all knowing that no matter what, everything you wrote down is right there, ready to be referenced, stricken through, or checked off.

Passion Planner: For our founder, this particular planner is where organization meets mental health. Each month, the planner prompts a major self reflection, while the back contains places to store lots of useful static information (e.g. random answers to security questions that you don’t need clogging up your brain).

Virtual calendars, virtual meetings, and virtual word processing are here to stay. We don’t recommend trying to completely return to analog. But a nice blend of digital and analog that includes a trusty physical planner can go a really long way to peace and organization.

Share with us your favorite planner or approach to keeping your life feeling organized and productive!

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