Should Your To-do List Be on Paper or in Your Phone?

- Productivity

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by Mary Jones

Time management is one of the oldest most difficult tasks that humankind faces. As simple, as it may sound, it’s extremely difficult to manage time the exact way it is planned in our minds. With time, the number of tasks an average human performs in a day has increased. This makes it even more important to strategically plan one’s day with a to-do list.

The most prominent memory that I have of my to-do list from my college days. I would list all the assignments and submissions on the back of the notebooks and by the end of the week I would push myself to complete all pending tasks. I thoroughly enjoyed striking things off my list on Saturday evenings. It always gave me a sense of satisfaction and efficiency.

I think having an organized life is a step to a happy life. Things have changed since then and I have changed my ways. What hasn’t changed is the consistent importance of a precise to-do list. There are extremely functional to-do list solutions in web stores now. They come with excellent features like that of tagging, reminders and all-around syncing. On the other side there are people who stick to writing their to-do lists on paper. There’s a certain unexplainable joy to physically crossing out a to-do list.

So, the question remains, should your to-do list be on paper or on a digital platform?

It depends, solely on the individual’s personal preferences. Here are some benefits of both platforms, for you to decide for yourself.

Digital to-do list

  1. They can be accessed anytime & anywhere
    In today’s busy world it has become extremely important that all our systems and platforms are properly synced. Digital to-do lists come with the advantage of cross-platform syncing. You have the liberty of accessing your to-do list from your tablet, your work system and also on your cellphone. The only possibility of ruining your digital to-do list is when you do not have access to any digital device.
  2. Organizing your tasks is extremely convenient
    Our needs and priorities have increased significantly in past years. Life is not as predictable as it used to be, you never know when a new task adds up in your to-do list. Digital to-do lists give you the liberty to change and update your lists conveniently. You can add tags to activities that need attention in priority. You can have a daily set of tasks that repeat themselves. You can move up tasks, up and down, depending on their sequence. It’s extremely easy and time effective to do your organizing on these to-do lists.
  3. As technology improves, digital to-do lists become more updated
    Digital to-do lists are basically dependent on the latest technology in the market. That’s the reason they keep updating themselves as per the latest trends. This makes them more convenient to use and easier to navigate. The possibilities with technology are endless! Someday we could have an app deciding tasks for us on priority.

Paper to-do list

  1. Striking out tasks manually from a list is satisfying
    A to-do list on paper can be extremely satisfying because it’s all within your control. You can make use of graphics or doodle on your to-do lists to make it interesting. Some people also make use of color-coding to list tasks on priority. A paper to-do list can be your blank canvas, it’s for you to make it happen. To top it off, the joy of striking things that you have accomplished during the day is precious. It’s a scientific technique of feeling satisfied and happy about your own performance in a day.
  2. Less risk of distraction
    It’s just you and your to-do list, there is absolutely no distraction. You can focus on the tasks at hand or think about ways to accomplish a task. There are no notifications or pop-ups asking you to check out a page while you plan your to-do list on paper.
  3. A good break from constant screen time
    Our lives revolve around the numerous digital platforms. We are always glued to either our laptops, cell phones or our tablets. We start our days checking our cell phones, work through the day on computers and then go back to sleep setting an alarm on our phones. Having a paper to-do list could be that essential break from screen time that we all deserve. It’s a great break for our eyes and mind.

Still confused, what’s the best option for you?

If a digital to-do list works for your tech-savvy cousin, doesn’t necessarily mean it is the best option for you. Ask yourself some relevant questions such as:

  • Do you want to carry a piece of paper everywhere you go?
  • Do you want to plan the whole day or just your office tasks?

Check if you are missing out on anything significant technically, with a paper to-do list. Ask yourself, if striking things off a paper is satisfying to you? Questions like these usually help most people decide on a to-do list platform.

At the end what matters most is, you have decided to organize your life with the help of a to-do list. A smart to-do list will help reduce the pressure of a high-stress job. There are people who make use of separate to-do lists for their professional and personal lives. It works for them; it might work for you with a little customization. Irrespective of what platform you select, a to-do list is meant to make your life organized and eventually more productive.

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