Just in this one this week, I heard the following three similar statements:
“I like to write everything out by hand before I put it on the computer.”
“He tried to use a Palm for calendar stuff, but a little datebook just works better for making appointments.”
“I should probably be using QuickBooks, but the little paper system I use does the job.”
If it picking up a piece of paper to write on it feels like a radical act, that’s because it is. The technology industry is so in love with its shiny-newness, there’s nothing it can’t save you from: paperwork, accounting, scheduling, staying in touch, and generating ideas, to name just a few.
If there isn’t an app for that, just wait a few months and there will be. If the phone you have doesn’t do what you want it to, just wait for the next version.
I get annoyed at the advertising for many of these shiny-new solutions because they tell you an untruth. They imply that what you create isn’t good enough. As if there’s something wrong or backward about writing on paper. Lots of people think that they are the problem when a gadget or program doesn’t work intuitively for them. “I’m too old,” they say. Or “I’m just not good at computer stuff.”
It’s not you. You’re perfect. You have the most powerful tool already inside you: your brain.
This is why it’s okay to buck the upgrade trend.
Here are some great downgrading tools that brains like:
- Paper – lined and blank, loose and bound, large and small, sticky and colorful.
- Writing implements – pens and pencils, crayons and markers, chalk and brushes
Paper and writing implements are both portable and need no docking station for recharging. There’s no learning curve with downgraded solutions. “Ummm… Can you show me how to work this notepad?” : ) They’re comparatively inexpensive.
These items are also sensuous. Perhaps you’ve had the experience of being captivated by a fine stationery store, its fresh smell and luscious jewel-toned reams. Or lingered over beautifully crafted pens in a fine art gallery. There’s a whole-body sensory experience in selecting and using pen and paper.
A wonderful aspect of using these tools is that they slow you down. In our sped-up culture, slowing down just a little creates relaxation and flow. Typing is fast, but the act of writing something with your hand allows your brain to work differently. I’ve experienced huge epiphanies drawing diagrams on paper that I couldn’t have achieved using a drawing program. Slowing down focuses your energies.
Other downgrade solutions include:
- paper calendars
- telephones with a cord
- face to face conversations
At the end of our lives, no points will be awarded for getting more done or faster than everyone else. Some day you, me, we all will die. So what do you want from this life? What brings you the greatest satisfaction? If you enjoy using a paper calendar or meeting with people in person, what harm is there?
When it comes down to it, I believe that connection matters more than anything — deep connection that cultivates trust and love.
So I invite you to ask yourself:
Which tools allow me to deeply connect with myself, with others, and with the Divine? Which are most satisfying to my spirit?
Trust and listen what you know about yourself. Be curious. You may yet discover a way to put technology in its rightful place if you use the tools you love more often.