Putting paper into perspective

Sometimes the pen is mightier than the keyboard. 

The world is going green.

This means good old paper is often finding itself on the backburner. Now, while going paperless will no doubt have a positive impact on the environment and your workflow, let’s not be so hasty as to shun paper altogether.

For companies and professionals alike, digital solutions such as Google Docs, OneDrive or Dropbox are infinitely more efficient than sifting through tons of paperwork. This is especially true in industries that generate and process vast quantities of information.  

Besides offering greater efficiency, digital solutions are also generally more cost-effective and productive than their paper counterparts. It is possible for multiple people to share and edit work in the digital space, instead of printing out, revising and distributing hundreds of hardcopies of the same document.

Now, all that being said, let’s not burn the paper just yet. As with all things, its use has a time and a place. 


Ebooks may be all the rage, but I still find myself wanting to hold a solid book in my hands. Nothing beats the smell of a new book. The physical component amplifies the overall experience of reading, even though ebooks take up much less space. Furthermore, studies have found that physical books build a better understanding of what you’re reading. This is because they allow for slower processing of information as opposed to their electronic counterparts which are generally faster to read.


I think most of us will agree that putting pen to paper in a journal or diary outshines any digital alternative. There is just something relaxing and therapeutic about writing in a physical journal or diary that digital options don’t provide. It’s also considerably easier to reach for when inspiration strikes, rather than having to power up your laptop.  


Whether you’re in school, meetings or at work, note-taking is something we all need to do at some point and generally never completely stop doing. There are few professions where you don’t have to make use of notes at all. Even a Chef will make notes on new recipes. Here too physical trumps digital. It’s been proven that making handwritten notes allows for deeper comprehension and improved information retention compared to digital note-taking. 


At one stage or another, we’ve all doodled. Most of the time we hardly think anything of it, but according to science doodling has a positive impact on the brain. Not only does it help with concentration, creativity and problem-solving, but it also helps you relax and regulates your mood. Sure, you could doodle on your tablet, but nothing beats those ‘in the margin’ doodles!

Love Notes

Let’s be honest, we all love receiving small handwritten notes from our loved ones. Perhaps you’ve even written an inspirational sticky note to yourself and plastered it on the mirror or door. I don’t know about you, but receiving a digital note saying ‘enjoy your day’ doesn’t quite feel the same as a handwritten note with a heart. 

Science backs this up. True Impact, a neuromarketing firm, found that physical paper objects like books, flyers, and mail made the strongest impression on target audiences. People receiving paper were far more attentive, engaged, and willing to purchase whatever was being marketed to them than those who received information digitally.

So, what does all of this really mean? 

While digital documents are without a doubt more cost-effective and efficient than physical documents in the workplace, traditional paper has its advantages. So, embrace the paperless movement in the workplace but don’t shun paper in your personal life. Go out and buy that new journal or book you had your eye on. Your brain will love you for it!