From an early age, I had a love affair with stories that continues to this day and manifests itself often in the form of books. My carefully curated collection stands at over 300 and, if my ever-growing to be read list is any indication, the number won’t stay there for very long.
As a reader, I’m a bit of an anomaly in that I’ve never read an ebook or listened to an audiobook. I am a physical book person through and through, and since the introduction of Kindles and ebooks, I’m constantly asked one question — why? Why stick with analog?
This debate between analog and digital is one that happens within the world of business as well. Some claim going all digital is the answer to many a business owner woe, while others cling protectively to their paper planners and physical to do lists.
Y’all know I’m all about systems and productivity here, and I’ve got an arsenal of tools at my disposal to keep this business running in tip top shape. But if the linchpin to my systems is any indication, I’m an analog girl at heart.
I certainly recognize the value of digital systems, particularly when it comes to running an online business, which is why I use a combination of both analog and digital systems to organize my life and business.
But when it comes to discussions about organization and productivity, I get asked a rather familiar question — why?
Why, with all the pros of digital systems and an array of them at my disposal, do I cling to my paper planner with such vigor? Why do I insist upon incorporating analog systems into an online business when I could store it all in the cloud, automate it, and access it whenever and wherever I want?
Clearly, to a lot of people, analog systems are obsolete.
Since I’m all about efficiency and productivity, I completely get the argument for all digital systems, but in my experience, there are some major advantages to analog systems that significantly outweigh the disadvantages in regard to efficiency.
YOU REMEMBER THINGS BETTER
I can type at a crazy fast rate. Most days, I’m able to type at speeds upwards of 125+ WPM (words per minute), even when I’m actively thinking as I’m typing.
This means, when it comes to speed, I’m type way faster than I’m able to physically write, but the time I save typing things instead of writing them out costs me something else — memory.
Now, I have an insanely good memory and I do remember things the vast majority of people don’t. But when it comes to managing things for my life and business, I abide by the rule “If I don’t write it down, it doesn’t exist.”
With so many things happening in your business on any given day, it’s so easy for things to fly through your inbox or social media feeds, and you to forget them immediately — no matter how good your memory is.
Research has shown time and time again that our brains process information differently when we’re dealing with analog formats over digital ones. There’s something about physically writing out an appointment or a to do list that imprints it on our brain better than when we’re simply typing things out on a computer or adding a recurring event to Google Calendar.
I rely heavily on my Simplified Planner to make sure I don’t forget things, but even without looking at my planner multiple times each day, I remember things so much better after I’ve physically written them down.
This is why, in addition to my daily schedule, my top three priorities for each day get physically written into my planner. Even if they’re already recorded in my daily workflows for Trello.
By taking the time to write them down, I know I’m more likely to be thinking about those tasks when I first wake up in the morning and, even if I do forget, all it takes is one glance at my Simplified Planner to remind me of the priorities and schedule for the day.
When it comes to running an online business, technology is kind of a non-negotiable, but bad things can happen when you’re completely dependent on it.
Ever experience an internet outage, the spinning rainbow wheel of death, or a server going down? When you completely rely on technology to not only do your work but also tell you what work you need to do, experiencing something like that is nothing short of a catastrophe.
Introducing analog systems into your business in strategic ways allows you to mitigate that catastrophic feeling.
Maybe your computer is freaking out on you or your internet is down so you can’t do some things, but if you have an analog way to track your schedule and top priorities for the day, you can probably find ways to stay mostly on track and still get some things done, even if it’s not everything.
In addition to allowing you to stay somewhat productive in the event of an outage, introducing analog systems into your business mitigates another major issue — technology addiction.
I’m sure it isn’t news that technology is incredibly addictive and negatively impacts our health in a ton of different ways.
While there’s still the impulse control necessary to keep you away from social media or other time wasters, having analog systems in place for your business can help with this a lot.
I have a pretty strict policy about technology in the morning and evening hours. No technology whatsoever comes into my bedroom after a certain time and I try not to touch technology at all (except using my computer to do my workout in the morning) between the hours of 10pm and 10am.
The reason I’m able to do this and not be freaking out about whether or not I’m going to be late for a meeting or needing to double check if something is due or on my to do list for the next day? Analog systems, y’all.
Even though I use digital systems like Trello and Google Calendar to help keep track of my consistently mountainous to do list and my ever changing calendar, my Simplified Planner allows me to keep track of things and feel like I’m always “in the know” with my business without feeding that need to be connected all the time.
Because of how I use it in my workflows and life systems, I know at any given time my Simplified Planner will tell me what my schedule is like for the full week and what my top three priorities are for the following day without touching technology at all.