The best app for productivity? Try pen and paper.


There’s no denying that digital devices have made our jobs easier, in ways we now take for granted. For sharing, editing, organizing and searching information, digital apps rule the day. This blog itself is a great example of the wealth of information now available at out fingertips.

But if productivity is your priority, there are still times when a pen and paper can’t be beat.

For starters, let’s talk reliability. A pen and paper don’t crash, freeze or lose information. And they still work when you lose power.

While digital devices are getting faster all the time, we still wait for them to boot up. They need to be charged. And how much time do we waste typing in, trying to remember, and changing passwords? A pen and paper bypass it all.

Granted, in the scheme of things those are small, special-case advantages. However, the biggest advantage of a pen and paper, their lack of distractions, is a real game changer.

A pen and paper don’t tempt you to browse, surf or shop. They don’t ring, vibrate or play music. They don’t interrupt you with emails, chats or alerts.

In short, a pen and paper are perfect for single-tasking. Making a to-do list. Jotting down notes in a meeting. Thinking through a difficult problem. Doodling visual ideas. Writing a rough draft for an email, a memo or a letter.

If all this seems like old-school thinking, there are plenty of studies that show writing on paper stimulates the part of your brain that filters information, aids memory and even helps you concentrate.

So the next time you need to focus on one task, consider using a pen and paper. You might be surprised how much they can help you accomplish.