We live in a digital world. Computers, smartphones, and tablets are staples in today's offices. These devices allow us to work faster and more efficiently, which is beneficial since time is money. However, in the face of ever-evolving technology, analog tools are experiencing a resurgence. Although few would adopt a strictly analog workflow these days, combining digital and analog tools can provide some subtle and significant benefits.
Sometimes, analog just feels right. Just look at how vinyl records have maintained a loyal fan base among casual listeners and audiophiles alike. There's a certain charm to using analog tools, even though a digital approach may be easier. While taking notes with a pen and paper instead of a computer may seem frivolous, it may help you to better absorb and connect with the subject matter. It makes the information more personal. And, for many employees, an analog workflow just feels more natural. Taking a break from digital technology can be a great way to refresh your mind and give your eyes a break from the screen.
You may not want to abandon digital technology entirely, but keeping analog tools in your arsenal can be advantageous for both yourself and your team members. For example, if you have to write down instructions for a personal project, try doing it with a handy notebook and pen. Or, next time you're giving a presentation, opt for a white board and markers instead of PowerPoint. In addition to retaining the information better, you and your staff may be able to reference information quicker and easier throughout the workday. Instead of waiting for your computer to load and then spending time searching for a document, the pertinent information you need is already laid out and ready to use.
An analog workflow can also add a great deal of focus to your work. When you disconnect from modern office technology, you tend to accomplish more. Computers are deceiving because they offer more capabilities, but they also offer more distractions. Turning off your smartphone and computer frees you of the temptation to look at social media or browse the web. An unobstructed analog workflow can actually save you time. It's not always the right solution, but it's an option that can yield surprising results when you need to concentrate.
Another reason to adopt the occasional analog workflow is to personalize your work. With a pen and paper, you're only limited to your imagination. Being able to draw pictures, underline important words and phrases and control and customize the results to your exact liking can really add another dimension to how you work. Your custom notes may not be ideal when you need to share information with co-workers who may not understand your unique system, but they can be a huge help when you need to review them later on your own.
Next time you have research to do, try pulling out a book and your trusty pen and pad. You may be surprised by how combining an analog workflow with your usual digital tools can make you more productive. Even if the only benefits are that you enjoy yourself more and feel more connected with your work, the results are often worth the effort.
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