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5 Reasons to Stick with a Paper Planner

Writing things down not only helps you reach your goals and remember more, but can also keep you inspired all year long.

A woman organizing her day using an annual paper planner; Getty Images

Okay, I’ll admit it: I’m addicted to my iPhone. I can barely recall a time when we all used to live—work, socialize— without being plugged in and turned on 24 hours a day. My phone, just one of my digital devices, wakes me up in the morning, shouts out directions (in my case in a British accent), and serves as my flashlight, in addition to keeping me connected to work and loved ones all day long. So yes, I truly appreciate technology.

But when it comes to keeping a calendar, I’m an old-fashioned gal. I love my print planner and I know I am not alone. Whether you’re a busy professional, a stay-at-home mom, a small business owner, an involved grandparent or a student, we all need a system to organize our lives. And there is no shortage of ways to do that on all of our digital devices.

So why keep a paper planner? Read on for the benefits.

1. Boost Your Memory. Study after study confirms it: writing information down by hand means that your brain is more likely to store that knowledge for later. So whether it is your to-do list or important meetings, you’re primed to keep your day running smoothly.

2. Reach Your Goals. Writing down your goals helps you get clear on what they are and makes it easier to focus on them. A 2015 study at Dominican University in California found that you are 42 percent more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down.

3. Get inspired. Maybe you want to indulge your inner artist and create beautiful pages with colored pencils and bright sticky notes. Or perhaps you simply want to pause for a moment to refuel by reading quotes or Bible verses, like the ones in the Guideposts Daily Planner.  You can pick your pleasure. I once had a planner with a daily joke and another one that fueled my travel lust with gorgeous photographs of national parks. And you can’t go wrong with adorable animals; check out the beautiful All God’s Creatures Daily Planner.

4. Take a screen break. We all know this, but it’s worth repeating. Getting off of digital screens as much as possible produces a host of benefits, from reducing eyestrain and headaches to improving sleep.

5. Record your year. Stashed in several boxes under my bed are some of my most treasured possessions: thousands of photographs—old family ones, college, trips galore—as well as hundreds of letters and postcards (remember those!) from my youth. In the case of fire, after people and pets, this is what I’m grabbing; they are simply irreplaceable. I also have a box of all my planners; it’s amazing to flip through old ones and be reminded of long-forgotten activities and special moments. Many people say they don’t ever want to be reminded of 2020. But me? I can’t wait to dig out that planner and show my future grandchildren how we coped and what we were up to during that historic year.

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