I love legal pads. Yes, the bulky, yellow pads of paper which, in the age of smartphones and tablets, seem pretty unsexy and old fashioned. Don’t get me wrong, I love technology too. But technology is only a tool, and it is not the best tool for everything.
There are still things for which plain old pen and paper are best. Here are three of them which will help you crush it in business and in life.
1. Making decisions – Draw a line down the center of the paper and make a pros and cons list. The point of this isn’t to see which list is longer and then go with that option, it’s a way to process your thoughts and objectively look at the situation.
I don’t know about you, but for me it’s like Isaac Asimov said, “Writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingers.” (Agree? Tweet that.) I’ve used this method on many occasions, especially with the bigger decisions like whether or not to quit my job and start a business.
2. Daily goals – At the beginning of the day, think through and make a list of the things you’d like to accomplish. Order them by putting the most important ones at the top and start with those. And rather than making it a bulleted or numbered list, draw little boxes in front of each goal and check them off as you finish them.
Sure, there are plenty of apps that will help you do this, but we access a different part of our brains when we’re using pen and paper. For me, I think clearer and less narrow-mindedly without electronic devices. This really helps me plan my day.
3. Taking notes – Whether you’re in a business meeting, at a conference, or just meeting a colleague, use pen and paper to take notes rather than something electronic. The absence of a digital device will help you be more present and engaged, plus it shows more respect to the person talking.
I’ve used both my laptop and a legal pad at conferences and I can tell you I felt more present, engaged, and less distracted when I was using my legal pad compared to my laptop. Some experts even explain how there’s a correlation between the success of a company and whether or not they allow personal computers in meetings.
So there you have it. Three ways the legal pad can help you crush it in business and in life.
Watch the video below hear a discussion I led titled Leadership and the Legal Pad hosted by Alex Barker of The Leadership Dojo.
What are your thoughts? Do you ever use the old fashioned legal pad?
Photo Credit: joshduffyphoto via Compfight cc