Notebook vs Digital Apps – Why I use both

As you probably already know I’m a massive technology fan and think that it can massively help with productivity but in recent weeks I have been finding myself reverting back to my old school notebook. Firstly I started using my notebook for work situations such as capturing meeting notes and keeping my daily to do list and the below are the reason why:

1. Less distracted on calls 

I have found that because I am concentrating on taking notes that I am less distracted by other things such as emails notification popping up. This means that I am far more focused on what is been said on the call and less likely to miss any key points. 

2. Retain more information

I am certainly finding that I am retaining a lot more information than I would if I was taking notes on OneNote for instance. This is something that is well documented as you can’t write as quickly as you can type so your brain needs to condense the information, so you will find that you are capturing key points rather than taking notes word for word. 

3. Always able to see my to do list

So I tend to keep my notebook open during the day so I always have visibility of my To Do List for the day. I find that I am completing all of the things on my list on a daily basis since going back to writing them down on paper. I find that I will sometimes to forget to look at my to do list app or just snooze it if I have set an alarm and I will forget about it. I also try not to check my phone too often throughout the day or don’t due to mainly been on conference calls. 

I have also found recently that I have started reverting back to my notebook for my content creating work as well. I had been using Notion to organise, capture idea and plan my posts but have found it so much more beneficial using good old pen and paper. I still use Apple notes for drafting these posts but for capture what I want to include and what I want to achieve for the week its all jotted down in my trusty notebook. 

I use a page of my notepad as a weekly planner, put down the headings of the what I need to plan e.g. Instagram Posts and then list what picture/ideas I want to post for that week in advance. I find that this works really well for me and I just generally enjoy the art and process of writing things down. Another big reason for my shift back a notebook is digital minimalism (check out my blog post on this). I was finding that I was spending more and more time in front of a screen which was not good for my Mental Health or been present for my family. Using a notebook means that I am less glued to my screens and also I actually find that the process is quicker and far more productive for me. This is just one of the tactics that I am trying to implement to reduce my screen time. 

There is also just something about jotting ideas down on paper that really gets the creative juicy’s flowing and I have been able to capture far more ideas this way than by typing them into an app.

Now I haven’t completely moved away from using apps and there are still some that I find really helpful and productive. For instance I still have a to do list app (currently using sorted) for capture things I need to do when I am out and about and don’t have my notebook to hand. I can then transfer that into my notebook when I get home or creating my to do list for the day. 

The other main app that I use if for journalling now you might think that this is odd as if like me you generally associate journalling with writing in a notebook/journal. I like using the DayOne app as I have it on my iPad which combined with the Apple Magic Keyboard, which is great for typing away on and it also means that its all stored in one place in the cloud rather than in multiple notebooks. It also has a calendar so you can see which days you have journaled on and what your streak is, which I think helps me maintain my journalling practice. 

last but not least the other app that I use is Apple notes. As mentioned above I use this for writing my blog posts and YouTube scripts (new channel just up and running) but I also use this in the same way that I use sorted to quickly capture ideas on the move. The reason I like this is that it’s simple and syncs across all my devices, there is nothing complex about it, it just works. For the other apps that I find useful check out my productivity page. 

I am also a bit of a stationary geek so I do love buying and using quality notebooks and pens. So below are a couple of bits that I would recommend for you fellow stationary geeks out there. 


I love these notebooks the quality is great whether you are going for a hard or soft back and they come in a variety of different sizes. You can also choose whether you want squared, ruled or blanks pages

Uni-Ball Vision Elite 

I recently picked up this pen and love it already. Its not too fine and doesn’t leak through the page which I have found with some of the thicker nibs. It nice a smooth to write with and fit comfortably in the hand. 

I think that this is something that is really down to your own personal preference and you should ultimately choose which ever method works for you, whether that be completely Analogue, Digital or a hybrid approach. 


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