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Maximize Productivity With A Hybrid Paper & Digital System

Mom holding her phone looking on at a life size smartphone while sitting on a large paper calendar

There was a time when everything was paper. Everything from school work to doctor’s files. Everything was paper. Over time, the use of paper has almost become obsolete, especially in the last 15 years. 

It seems as the days pass the world is shifting more and more toward a digital approach. There are places you can go and you only need your phone and your face to purchase something.

When it comes to organization and productivity it would almost seem natural to ditch the analog and jump fully on board with a digital approach for productivity. However, before you decide what approach works best, let’s take a look at some pros and cons for each and discuss how we can maximize productivity! 

Advantages of a Paper Approach for Productivity 

There are always pros and cons when you’re looking to make a decision. No matter what you’re trying to make a decision about, it is always a good idea to make a list of pros and cons to see what will benefit you the most. 

Less Screen Time

Using a paper approach for productivity can help give your eyes a much-needed break from screens. It seems our eyes are always on a screen. While we spend much of our time on TVs, phones, and computers, this is a nice way to keep your eyes sharp. Literally! 

Cuts Down on Social Distractions

It is so easy to get distracted by the world when we are on our phones. When we are supposed to be doing emails, working on a project, or trying to get our schedules set, it can be easy to jump apps and become preoccupied with anything but what we should be doing. 

Working on paper can help provide a mental break from the social distractions of the world. 


There is something so intentional about writing something down. When you take a paper approach to productivity–it can be so gratifying to mark off your tasks on your intentionally written to-do list. 

Disadvantages of a Paper Approach for Productivity

While there are a handful of pros, it is only fair to also look at the cons. 

It Can Be Time Consuming

When you take the time to write everything out, it can become very time-consuming. You do have to be careful not to rush so that you can go back and read what you wrote, but in a world that gets faster-paced by the second, writing everything down can slow you down. 

No Way to Back It Up

Another disadvantage to only using paper is that if it’s lost, it’s gone. Papers can easily go missing with no way to back up the lost information, and in turn, has the potential to cause massive frustration and lost work.

The Best Paper To-Do List System

There are several different paper to-do list systems you could implement. Some of the most popular ones are bullet journals and productivity planners. 

You can also use a store-bought system or create one yourself. There are lots of free resources out there that can help you get started on the right foot! 

Advantages of a Digital Approach for Productivity

On the other end of the paper approach, we have a digital approach to productivity. As we established, the world seems to be moving towards a more digital approach in just about every way. With that in mind, it is super easy to find a digital method for helping you stay organized. 

Easy to Navigate

One pro to using a digital planner would be that an app is searchable. With paper, you must shuffle sometimes to find what you need. However typically when you have everything digitalized you have the ability to find what you need more easily. 

It Can Be Backed Up in the Cloud 

Another advantage to using a digital approach for productivity is the fact that you will have your lists and organizational items backed up to the cloud. This can help ease your mind because you know that what you’ve created can never truly be lost. 

It Can Be Accessed Anywhere

Digital planners for productivity can be accessed anywhere you can easily have your smartphone out. It is nice to be able to refer to your list without having to take a notebook out and shuffle around while you are in public. 

Cons for a Digital Approach to Productivity

Again, with pros come cons. It is only fair to address both sides of the argument to help you decide what will work best for you. 

Your Battery Could Die

With technology always comes the woes of tech dependency. If you live by your productivity lists and systems, having your battery die could hinder you from getting everything on your to-do list done for the day. That’s no way to start or end your day. 

Lacks Space for Creativity

When you purchase a digital product it is a lot harder to go through and see what you are getting prior to purchasing. Plus it lacks room for creativity. If you like to doodle, color code with pens, and add stickers, you may find digital productivity tools a bit lackluster. 

The Best Digital Productivity System

There are so many digital productivity systems on the market. Finding what works best for you or you and your family is a must. Do you want calendars to share? Are you looking for a messaging app where you can all communicate? Looking for a jam board where you can see projects in different stages? There’s a system for all of these needs. 

Finding what works best for you and your goals is key! And mixing in a little paper can do the soul good! 

Consider a Hybrid Productivity Approach 

Instead of trying to decide on one method or the other, consider a hybrid productivity approach. Get the best of both worlds! You can choose a hybrid productivity approach and use a pen and paper to-do list system as well as a digital one.

There are ultimately many different ways you can keep track of your to-dos and meetings. You can choose to go digital or paper, but one of the most effective and proven ways to work is to use a little bit of both.