How to Use A Paper Notebook to Increase Your Professionalism

By Chelsea Babin

In our fast-paced, high-tech world, paper notebooks are often forgotten about or relegated to elementary aged children. What if I told you that (temporarily) ditching some of your technology in favor of a paper notebook could actually increase your professionalism? It’s true! Run out and purchase a paper notebook because it may just be the thing that takes your productivity and professionalism to the next level. Not convinced? Here are a few ways to use that paper notebook to your career advantage.

1. Meetings: Whether your workdays are packed with meetings or you only have a meeting every now and then, taking your phone, tablet, or laptop into a meeting to type up a few notes puts you at a greater risk for looking distracted or inattentive. Sticking your face behind a screen will make whoever’s speaking feel less heard because the chances for eye contact are limited when using technology. Instead, opt for a paper notebook to jot down notes in your next meeting. It has no distracting browsers or apps and, if you can set it on a surface in front of you, you’ll be able to maintain better eye contact throughout the meeting. This will make whoever’s speaking feel like you’re giving them your full attention and, in turn, will make you appear more professional.

2. Lists and Calendar Retention: Typing up lists and putting tons of calendar reminders on your devices is great, but maybe not as great as writing it down in a paper notebook. Multiple studies have proven that the act of physically writing something down versus typing it up increases retention. And, while you don’t need to ditch the calendar reminders all together, you’re more likely to remember a meeting or deadline if you’ve written it down along with the rest of your daily to-do list.

3. Collaboration: If you’re collaborating with a large team or with someone who isn’t always around when you need them, some things can fall through the cracks. Whether your collaborators are busy or just have a different schedule than you, some questions you have need to be answered right away while others can wait until they’re less busy. Writing those questions down in a paper notebook will help you remember them and, when you finally get the opportunity to ask, you know you’ll be covering all the bases and not forgetting something important. Additionally, making notes in your paper notebook of changes or small issues you come across as you’re working may help answer a question of theirs down the road.

While it’s not exactly like carving into a stone tablet, the idea of writing in a paper notebook seems incredibly antiquated to many IT professionals. But, if you want to improve your productivity and professionalism, it really is a handy tool.