The Pen is Mightier than the Software: Balancing Physical and Digital Organization

Written by Henry

August 20, 2023

Keeping up a reasonable amount of organization has been crucial in order to stay on task here at the office. In this day and age, we use digital tools to achieve organization for the most part, but there are still plenty of pen-and-paper style devices we use in our everyday work. I like to think of it not as a war between old and new school, but a happy medium that sources the best aspects from both options.

The to-do list is a powerful tool, and I often use both physical and digital ones to get /counter projects done. As seen below, social media planning and tracking is a job that requires both forms of tool.

Although it is a bit redundant, I have found that my most efficient and sustainable approach consists of both a whiteboard to-do list and a Kanban board from Notion. Once posts are complete and prepared accordingly, I schedule them on Buffer to be posted. I assure you that this is not a stylistic choice, made out of desperation to keep technology from taking over. I just like using a whiteboard from time to time, and no digital tool can replace that. (for now.)

Another happy medium I have found works for drawing: I often use a notebook for sketching/doodling, and Photoshop for final illustration/graphic design. The speed and ease of access that comes with a physical notebook will always be preferable to me, compared to using my PC and creating a file to create the very first draft of a design. However, from there, I usually either take a photo of the drawn first draft to trace digitally, or I just use it as reference to create a temporary sketch layer to build off of. I understand why many would prefer to keep this process entire digital with the use of a tablet for the initial sketch portion of the job. At the moment, that would just be another device to spend money on time on that I do not have many other uses for. Losing a notebook would be a shame, but losing an iPad would hurt a fair bit more. Less time spent worrying about gear! Although many prefer a majority of their tools to remain either physical or digital, I have found that I work best with a handful of both types of resource. I think that there shouldn't be any rules to finding your personal approach, and the only parameter to watch out for is how well you operate with either option.

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