Why I’m Using Pencil and Paper More Often

I love technology. I use various forms of technology multiple times a day. I’m writing this blog post on a MacBook Pro while wearing an Apple Watch while seeing a notification on my iPhone laying next to me. It is safe to say I use technology to its fullest.

With all that being said, at the beginning of the year, I made a little bit of a switch and moved away from using some sort of electronic device for everything. Honestly, it has greatly helped me. So what have I done? I am using pencil and paper more often. I know, earth-shattering stuff right there. More specifically, there are two things I’m using pencil and paper more often for. First, I use a Moleskine Weekly Planner for my weekly to-do list and appointments.  This is a great tool with the week’s dates on the left side (appointments) and a blank lined page on the right side (to-do list). Second, I’m carving out my messages for Wednesday nights in a journal. Full disclosure, for both of these things, weekly planning and messages, I still save them digitally. I use iCal for events and appointments, and all my messages end up in a Word document, saved in my Dropbox. I still teach from my iPad more times than not. It is simply easier all around for me.

So why use pencil and paper more often? What differences have I seen?

Remember. It is amazing how many tasks and appointments I accomplish and don’t forget about quite as easily when I simply write them down. I will put it down on my weekly calendar, which I look at multiple times a day. I remember to pray for people more often as I look at their names. I can also see what is most important to me. Simply put, I forget less and pray more. What I have also found is that if I don’t write it in my weekly planner, I more than likely will end up not doing it.

Real. I’m sure there is some sort of formal scientific explanation here, but there is something about writing things down and looking at your own messed-up handwriting that makes your content feel more intimate. I feel like it is more personal and, in some ways, more from the heart. I’m not saying this can’t be the case when you are looking at a digital screen, it just, to me, feels more intimate when I read what I have written down. This is also a reason that I am using a hard copy of God’s Word more often. It encourages the students and leaders I lead to bring a copy of God’s Word, highlight and underline it, and make notes. It is great to go back and look at what God taught you in different seasons of life.

Realize. When writing things down, I can see what I have to do and how I’m going to manage it and ultimately do it. This goes beyond simply not forgetting tasks and appointments to mapping things out ahead of time, being proactive with my schedule instead of reactive, and making sure the most important things get done before anything else. It can also serve as a great evaluation tool, as it will tell you what you spend most of your time doing during the week.

The takeaway… I have found using pencil and paper helps me more than I realize. It works for me. It won’t work for everyone. The bottom line here is to find a system that works for you. One that comes naturally and that is not forced. You will be amazed at what you learn about yourself and how much your leadership skills will improve as a result.