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As I type, I’m flanked by two things that inspire me: a rowdy toddler and a notepad. My youngest son (along with my oldest) has more in common with a pad of paper than you’d think. Both are responsible for keeping me on task, for everyday necessities like cooking, cleaning, and grocery shopping to extracurricular things like attending community events, splashing in sprinklers, and enjoying messy popsicles.
Nowadays we all have a smartphone, which use reminders to prompt us to keep our appointments, take the dog to get groomed, and pick up a dozen cage-free, organic, pasture-raised eggs. I use the calendar and list features on my phone frequently. It’s helpful to have that backup, but it’s no substitute for the real thing. I feel like I’m part of an endangered demographic that values the art of the handwritten list.
If you’re a digital devotee, you’re probably resistant to the idea of reverting back to paper. What’s the point?, you’re thinking. Newer is better. Not always. Case in point: The fashion world just came out with rompers for men. Now that I have your attention, I want you to think about how the act of writing with pen and paper can benefit you, mind and body:
- Eyes. Taking a break from your phone, tablet, or laptop is good for your eyes. Most of us spend far too much time looking at screens on a daily basis.
- Hands. “Smartphone thumb” is a real thing. If you aren’t hip to the terminology, this is an injury that occurs from the prolonged posture that goes along with the excessive time many of us spend on our devices. Writing with a pen (or pencil) gives your wrists and fingers a new way to move.
- Mind. There’s something unique about the relationship between our thoughts and paper. What I can share is my experience as a writer, which has shown me that typing is efficient and best for long-form writing, but for brainstorming and lists, pen and paper just feels right.
- Muscles. Our devices often keep us hunched over in chairs or in awkward positions on beds or floors. I know I’ve had neck aches after lying in an uncomfortable position with my phone for too long and have wondered why I did it to myself. Writing on paper requires a hard surface, which means a table or a desk where we can’t get ourselves into those precarious poses we find ourselves in when lost in our digital lives.
Here’s to celebrating the age-old pastime of making lists! Give it a try – your mind and body will thank you!
How do you write out your daily to-dos? Share with us in the comments below!