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Opinion Editorials

Many still rely upon pen and paper for to-do lists

Productivity apps are all the rage, but pen and paper still dominate many offices. Don’t feel badly if you’re still reliant upon old tech.

to do list productivity

to do list productivity

My phone and I are actually pretty close

I love my smartphone. Having a calendar that I can easily access and integrate with other apps is one of my favorite features. I use Google docs to keep important information, and it’s awesome to have the ability to find that information when I’m not at my computer.

For example, the other day while I was traveling, one of my clients needed two articles that I thought I had sent. I was able to get them emailed within just a few minutes, without having to stop or inconvenience my client.

So why aren’t apps cutting it?

So why is it that I can’t find an app that works as a list manager? I prefer keeping my to-do list and my shopping list on paper. I’ve reported on to-do apps, Jot, for one. It’s difficult to keep a running to-do list in Jot. About the same time that I tried out Jot, I downloaded about 10 different apps that promised to be a to-do list for my phone.

One of the most promising was 24Me. I wanted a running to-do list, where I could set up tasks that I needed to do on a regular basis, but not daily. It didn’t take long to set it up, but it was difficult to remember to check things off.

I enjoyed the reminders to Tweet or make a LinkedIn Post, but when I went to cross something off, the app would always ask me if I wanted to change just this instance or the entire task. It’s a small thing, but it was an extra step that just seemed clunky.

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The satisfaction of using a pen and paper

According to LifeHacker, pen and paper only get an honorable mention when people talk about their favorite list manager. But there’s something really satisfying about using ink to cross something off the list.

Many people feel pressure to use technology to cure all ills, but productivity works best when you use tools that make you the most productive, even if it’s a piece of paper instead of a shiny app.

I’ve embraced technology, but when it comes to list management, it’s going to be tough to get me to change.


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Dawn Brotherton is a Sr. Staff Writer at The American Genius with an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Central Oklahoma. She is an experienced business writer with over 10 years of experience in SEO and content creation. Since 2017, she has earned $60K+ in grant writing for a local community center, which assists disadvantaged adults in the area.

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