Our latest blog post on the benefits of using a day planner got us thinking: what other forgotten and discarded time management tools exist to help employees stay on task and plan their schedules more effectively? As we already mentioned, modern offices and workers have a tendency to pooh-pooh any non-digital methods of planning their schedules.
Despite all the digital tools we have at our fingertips, the tried and true methods of writing down our daily plans have remained strong. Even with emails and all the means of electronic communication available to the modern worker, paper consumption grew by 3% globally over the past decade.
Enter the business desk calendar: like paper, it too has grown in popularity. Sales of calendars jumped by 8% over the course of the past few years, despite the fact that we carry computers around in our pockets now. What could explain why more office workers are using desk calendars in 2022 than ever before?
It all comes down to the writing-memory connection, which we’ll explain below.
The Pen is Mightier Than the Laptop
One major reason for the return to the desktop flip calendar is that writing things down assists in memory recall, but it also helps us analyze and assess them better. Writing down your daily tasks on your business desk calendar actually improves cognition.
In a study by Pam Mueller from Princeton University, she found that students who take lecture notes by hand remember the most important points because they’re engaging in selective memory. When you write things by hand, you recall the key takeaways rather than writing everything down just because you can.
Laptop notetakers, she wrote, have a “tendency to transcribe lectures verbatim rather than processing the information and reframing it in their own words.” As it turns out, this is helpful to the learning process.
The same goes for the workers in your office. If they really want to remember something and process it, rather than simply entering it on their smartphone calendar and forgetting all about it, they should write it down. The image below provides an example desktop calendar.
Not all events are of equal importance, and you can see that from this worker’s business desk calendar. Picking up the kids from school is pretty important, so this employee made sure they wrote that one down. (Their meeting with GOS on the 6th is uber-important btw).
Desk calendars also provide you with a great place to jot down ideas when you’re bored with a particular work task. Researchers have found that employees who doodle, jot down ideas on the fly, and otherwise take time away from what is considered their actual work, end up coming up with creative ideas that help their organization increase productivity and efficiency.
The Dangers of Digital Burnout
Using a desk calendar in your office also prevents the phenomenon of digital burnout or digital fatigue. According to health researchers at Harvard Medical School, digital burnout refers to feelings of anxiety, exhaustion, or apathy caused by spending too much time on our computers and devices.
With American adults spending upwards of 10 hours per day glued to screens, they are beginning to suffer from more mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. Studies have shown that people are generally happier when assigned to give up social media for a week.
Digital burnout is a productivity killer for organizations. As the owner of a business, you should encourage your employees to take more breaks, engage in physical activity during the workday, AND remove themselves from their computer screens for designated periods of time.
One great way to help your employees break away from their machines is to supply your office with business desk calendars and ask them to write down certain tasks instead of entering them on their Google calendars.
It may seem like a small gesture, but anything you can do to improve your employees’ mental health and make them more productive is a step in the right direction.
The Amazing, Incredible Desktop Calendar
We’re not telling you to stop using your online calendar—even if we did you wouldn’t listen. For better or worse, online calendars and all the digital devices we use to schedule our lives—from work meetings to appointments to our kid’s dance recitals—are here to stay.
What we’re suggesting is that your business and employees also use manual time management tools such as day planners and desktop flip calendars because there is a real benefit to writing things down. They prevent digital fatigue, help you better remember important personal and professional events, and take the stress and guesswork out of your day.