Digital Journals vs. Paper Journals: Pros and Cons

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

When is the last time you have touched a paper journal? Perhaps there was a time you bought one but it's probably lying somewhere gathering dust right now. We don't have a life without our smartphones and computers nowadays, they have no doubt made our life a lot more efficient in many ways. However, there has been more and more research suggesting going back to a paper journal offer tremendous benefits to our modern lifestyle. 

Curious if a paper journal is the right thing to try? Here are some pros and cons of digital journals and paper journals.

Pros Of Digital Journals:

  1. Easy and fast accessibility 
  2. Efficient for idea gathering

You will never forget your journal at home, and you can write whenever and wherever with your phone. This makes the digital journal a very efficient way to just record some quick ideas and notes to increase the utility of a very busy life.

Cons Of Digital Journals:

  1. Distractions from computer and phone
  2. Not motivating to retain 

Do you sometimes find yourself scrolling around social media and forget why you picked up the phone in the first place? Computer and phone are big sources of distractions. On average we spend over 3 hours on our phones alone daily, do you think you will able to abstain from all that distraction while writing your journal?

You can set up a reminder on your phone for journaling but as with tons of notifications every day, how many of us have forgotten about or ignored them? As easy as to start writing digitally, it is easy to stop writing as well.

Con of Paper Journals:

    1. Writing things down helps us retain it better
    2. Writing with pen and paper has therapeutic benefits
    3. Room for customization and creativity 
    A notebook with handwritten "Am I good enough?"

    Research has shown that the act of writing helps you to reach goals better. Typing is faster and easier but it is more difficult to distill an idea down to it’s most actionable that way. The simple act of using hand to form letters and connect them and in the process engage the brain more actively. Furthermore, we are able to clarify our thoughts and connect with what we want and need better and therefore it reduces our stress level. We have dedicated an article regarding why writing by hand is beneficial for us emotionally, If you want to know more about it, visit the article here.

    Paper journals can be the best canvas for your creativity. It can be filled with your colors of choice and variety of visualizations/doodles to motivate you to accomplish more. In the end, it is your proof of work and memory towards your journeys in life and you have to do YOU!

    Con of Paper Journals:

    1. Need to carry around
    2. The pressure of completing a journal

    It is obvious that a paper journal takes space and you will need to remember carrying it around. But it's rather a matter of mindset. After all, you don’t forget your phone often, right? 

    You might find writing journal is like a school task that it is stressful to fill in every space or to make it a work of art. Remind yourself schedule time for journaling is a fun and important self-care routine for yourself and make it your unique experience.

    black shoed feet standing in from of two arrows pointing to different directions

    Considering Switching to A Paper Journal? Ask Yourself:

    How Do You Want Your Journal To Serve You?

    Mindful Reflections, Goal Setting, Habit Tracking, and Memorisation of Special Events. Understanding why you want to start journaling helps you to decide what type of journals would be the best fit.

    How Much Money Do You Want to Spend?

    Do you want your journal to be a lifetime memory book on your bookshelf or a yearly tracker of your progress? The price range of journals ranges from $10 to over $60 base on the quality, functionality, and design. 

    Are you ready for the Challenges?

    We are not able to make a change without challenges. Going back to paper writing is a change in your lifestyle, a new way of understanding yourself, and a new responsibility to establish routines to schedule off-screen time.

    If you were spending this much time reading about journaling and even considering spending money on it, isn't it the time to make a deal with yourself to utilize your journal to improve your life now?