These days productivity and technology seem to be overlapping. If you want to be productive or hip, you have to use the latest technology. While using technology can be very effective, there’s also a lot to be said for going back to the basics. To enlighten us on this topic, we have a guest post from blogger Torbjørn Rive.

Taking a break from technology can not only add to your productivity, but I believe it can make you feel human again. There is Microsoft Outlook, Google calendar, and other applications for alerts, timing, and lists – but for me, lists on paper win out in terms of the “to dos”. Furthermore, making use of old printed emails and other one sided docs extends the life of paper – something I tend to do merely for ethical reasons. I love the rationality of paperless, but it gets to a point when things are just better on paper

Paper Offers:

1. Better Visualization: My handwriting and squiggles are a comforting sight. When I highlight, cross, circle, and arrow – it’s all me, and it’s more visual. Taping up actual calendar-page months besides my desks works really well for me in the visualization category, which leads me to my next point…

2. Versatility: When I make lists in digital format there is still a certain missing trust, I get the double-check syndrome and can even lose precious time. Digital is sendable, readable, editable, and will travel… but paper can go in your back pocket, and paper never fails (as long as you have someone’s back to write up against), and it never runs out of batteries or has ‘no signal’.

3. The break from tech: There is something about using longhand that actually makes me feel original, bucking the trend of how tech tools are marketed to make me feel. When I’m remaking my three-day ‘to do’ list I literally turn off my computer screen. If I don’t, I may end up checking my email again and never actually get my future tasks on paper. How many times have you opened your browser to get somewhere for work related information and found yourself on Facebook, YouTube, or checking your weekly blog stats? Sitting away from your computer for as much work as possible can solve productivity problems. I use our office boardroom for editing, project management and organizing, and for making phone calls that matter…and all I need is paper and pen.

In this digital age, I take comfort in one of the last handwritten things I experience on a daily basis: my to-do list. All else is lost to the keyboard and mouse. If making the move to paper is too radical for you, try going with a mixed-media solution, one medium pointing to the other. We cannot deny that the tech rules in many cases, but you may find an actual freedom in choosing paper over plastic.

Check out Torbjørn’s blog Variable Interest where he blogs about land, forests and environmental issues.