Why Paper Journals are Important

It can be good to take a break from screens

Chris Jennings


Photo by Cathryn Lavery on Unsplash

I love technology. I love gadgets, I love screens, I love new software. But I still like to use a super low-tech way to journal and plan out my days. Paper journals, notebooks, planners, diaries (whatever you want to call them) are still really important to my daily workflow.

The Journal

Everyone has a different image in their heads when you hear the word journal. You may think back to your personal diary in your teenage years. You may see a traditional marbled composition notebook. What the journal looks like isn’t that important. But I’m sure you’re thinking of something made of sheets of paper bound together in some fashion.

It’s made of paper, and it’s also likely with you throughout the day. Mornings and before bed may be the most frequent times to write in the journal, but it probably doesn’t leave your side very often (for privacy’s sake and for convenience). As students and adolescents, these items were a vital part of our everyday lives. They were always with us.

Why did this stop as we grew up? Sure, there are notes you may take for work. But the idea of a paper journal doesn’t seem to resonate with everyone these days. It may be thought of more as a tool than a companion for your thoughts and ideas. We need to change that. We need to bring back the paper journal for everyone.

Why Paper?

As I said, I love my technology. Why do I need to write things down on paper? Can’t I just type out my to-do lists and ideas every morning and evening? You certainly can. Any form of mental organization is better than nothing. But there are several benefits to having it on paper.

  1. You’re more likely to do it
  2. Less chance for distractions
  3. Better Sleep

You’re more likely to do it

Studies show that you’re more likely to complete the task on your to-do list or remember the idea in your journal when it’s written by hand rather than typed. There is a certain magic in the handwritten note. Your brain works together with your body to make this idea come out of your mind and onto the written page.



Chris Jennings

I write about the intersection of technology, productivity, and mindfulness. See more of my work at iterate.substack.com