Along with the new year comes the inevitable resolution to be more organized, more structured — or, to use today’s hottest buzzword, more intentional. For many people, keeping this resolution means turning over a fresh page in a new printed planner.
Even in this decidedly digital age, paper planners, bullet journals and other analog calendar and planning systems remain relevant for people of all ages. While category sales have always been robust, the recent bullet journal trend has boosted printed planner, notebook and related stationery sales, with double-digit growth year over year.
Many find it curious that a traditional paper planner would win over a digital solution, especially among millennials and other tech-savvy digital natives. But the reason is simple: Our brains prefer paper.
Printed Planners Highlight the Benefits of Paper
Much research has been done on the benefits of paper and handwriting in educational settings, and the same benefits exist outside the classroom. Paper offers fewer distractions and leads to greater productivity than using an equivalent digital application. Also, writing information by hand promotes greater information recall.
Reading on paper also feels good, offering a better sensory experience than digital solutions, and it promotes healthy habits. And according to Psychology Today, a printed planner may even be good for your soul because it can reduce stress and anxiety.
When you combine the psychological and educational benefits of paper with the idea of being more organized and intentional, it should be no surprise that printed planners come out on top. What’s intriguing is that there’s no single demographic that is more likely to use printed planners.
Paper planners are an obvious choice among older adults who may have never fully embraced digital alternatives, but they’re also preferred among many millennials and other digital natives for whom using apps, smartphones and cloud computing are second nature. As for that middle ground of Generation Xers who may have started with paper and then switched to digital in the late ’90s? Many are returning to printed planners to reduce so-called digital overload.
We spoke with several people about their preference for using a printed planner instead of a digital solution. Their responses might surprise you.