4 Ways Pen and Paper Can Boost Your Work-Life Balance

Woman writing in a notebook

In a technology-dominated day and age, we are always reachable, always on call. Disconnecting from our smartphones is getting increasingly difficult and with the expectation that we can work anywhere at any time, maintaining a healthy work-life balance gets hard.

We need to draw the line – on a piece of paper – with a pen.

Writing things down holds the key to unplugging, boosting productivity, and making you happier at (and outside) work. Here’s a closer look at the benefits of the simple, back-to-basics lifehack.

1. Writing entails slowness

In a fast-paced society where we are bombarded with news and notifications, it is easy to get overwhelmed. By taking a moment for yourself, where you look away from the screen and just pay attention to your thoughts and feelings, you get in contact with your creativity. By writing down spontaneous input, you can regain our focus and make room for new information. It requires slowing down, but prioritizing such moments for yourself can actually make your days feel longer and more productive.

2. It’s physics.

The answer to all problems and non-problems is also the answer to smartphone task-switching overload. When writing, the path from your brain to the printed word is smoother than when typing, as electronic devices introduce too much friction into the process of thinking and writing down. Writing also sparks a larger portion of the brain’s thinking, language, and “working memory” areas than typing. Elementary, my dear Watson.

3.  Writing makes you more committed.

Like when you tell other people about what you want to accomplish, writing down your goals makes you more likely to follow through. The good news is that this works with your daily to-do list as well. By writing down tasks and checking them off throughout the day, you are reminded of your small victories and become motivated to keep up the good work. Because it is satisfying to cross off achievements, writing can become a fun way of holding yourself accountable.

4. Jotting things down makes you happier.

Studies show that writing about your life goals can make you healthier, and that writing down your anxieties can calm you, and even increase your performance.

Another simple mood-boosting ritual, ideal for before or after a long workday, is to write down one or more of the following: three good things that have happened to you, what you look forward to, things you are grateful for, what is good about your current situation and who you love (as well as the people who love you).

Living in a fast-moving world, with high-intensity workdays and high demands at home, can prove a challenge. Writing can help you reduce the feeling of pressure by setting a slower pace, which in turn helps you balance your day.

Taking short breaks in between office work or laundry sessions, where you are alone with your thoughts and write down what comes to mind, is a simple tool to unplugging and recharging your mental batteries throughout your day.

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