The Forgotten Perks of Analog.
In a technology-centric world, we all seem to be relying on our computers, devices, and gadgets more and more for everyday tasks. Instinctively, we think that the more technology that’s involved, the more efficient and productive we will be. Although that may often be the case, there’s a handful of old-school methods that shouldn’t be overlooked, even in 2017. We often forget how important the old analog world is for our health – both mental and physical. Remember notepads? Books? Clocks with a big hand and a little hand? Anyone?
Being a digital-focused agency, it may sound kind of weird preaching analog techniques and habits. But we often spark inspiration, imagination, and problem solving from the analog elements in life. Whether it be a rendezvous with the great outdoors, challenging our photography skills with film cameras, or jotting down designs and thoughts in a sketchbook versus on evernote. Although, our craft’s end result is 99% digital, what we do before the pixels is where the magic happens, for us.
Below, we compiled a list of analog areas that we leverage to increase creativity, productivity, and overall happiness.
ALWAYS KEEP A SKETCHBOOK AND/OR JOURNAL.
Even if you’re not a creative professional, keeping a sketchbook is one of the best things you can do. A quick morning sketch can ignite ideas, log progress, and even serve as a form of therapy. Not only is it good to sketch and doodle, but going back to journaling can be crucial food for your brain. One of my favorite exercises is the Five Minute Journal method made famous by Tim Ferris. I basically take 5 minutes every morning to write down anything and everything that’s on my mind or may be bothering me. The main benefit of the exercise is to get out all the confusing, anxiety-ridden thoughts in my head, so I can clearly focus on what’s important in my day. As author Julia Cameron said, “it’s like spiritual windshield wipers. The most cost effective therapy”
NO SCREENS BEFORE BEDTIME.
I know bedtime routines have changed and instead of curling up in bed with a book or magazine, we mindlessly scroll on our iPhones or fall asleep with the latest episode on Netflix. Guilty. But screen time before bed can seriously hurt your night’s sleep. It is proven that bright screens from your iPad or iPhone suppress people’s normal nighttime release of melatonin, which is a key signal that tells your body that it’s time to fall asleep. Also, it might seem like a great idea to keep your smartphone on your dresser and use it as an alarm clock – but you should really….
GO BACK TO THE OLD ALARM CLOCKS.
This is one of my favorite’s and it goes hand-in-hand with “no screen before bed.” I’ve been following this rule, religiously, for as long as I can remember. Get an alarm clock (that isn’t your smartphone) and never go back. Go even further as to setting it across the room (or in another room) so you have to get out of bed to turn it off. This will also prevent the temptation of logging onto social media before and after sleeping.
While we’re on the clock topic, go even further and get an analog clock to hang in your house. The clocks in schools are turning digital and even the analog clocks have a digital face at the bottom. Soon, the kids growing up won’t even need to learn how to tell time.
Write to-do lists on a notecard sized piece of paper.
In general, writing a to-do list for your day is super important to productivity. Every day I write out a 3-5 task list on a small, note card sized piece of paper and bring it with me everywhere throughout the day. Why on a small piece of paper? This is going to prevent you from adding too many items on your to-do list. Not all to-do items are weighted equally and sometimes it’s hard to choose what to tackle first. I always pick the 3-5 that make me most uncomfortable. Those are often the most important.
Another reason to write this on paper is because of the chance you’ll receive a text message, Facebook notification, missed call, or Instagram “like” which will then likely procrastinate your task even further. Put your phone away and pull out that old-school to-do list.
Go back to the calendars you can write on.
Whether you have an office job, a desk at home, or neither – everybody needs a calendar in their life. It’s right there – in your face – with all of you appointments, meetings, reminders, and friends and families birthdays (if you feel so inclined). If you have a desk, even better! The best are the bigass desk calendars that have massive squares and lay right there, in your face. Like, this one here. The most beneficial part is that you can view all your commitments in one glance. This can help you notice how effective you’re being with your time or if a new balance is needed. Plus, you don’t have to rely/check your iPhone//iPad/tablet/laptop.
Dust off that old film camera.
There are few people in the world who still shoot film because it’s a digital world now. A few weeks ago, I pulled out a disposable camera and one of my friends said, “Is that a disposable camera? I haven’t seen one of those in years!” But the truth is – there are so many benefits to taking on (or continuing) film photography. For one, the aesthetic of a film photo can never be replicated by digital. It has this incredible grain and texture that varies with every photo. Film is not consistent, and that makes it beautiful.
It’s also taught me to have patience because unlike digital photography, I can’t take a hundred photos of the same subject to get a keeper. I have to carefully choose my settings, make sure the subject is in-focus, then push the shutter button and hope for the best. And I don’t get to see the photo till I drop it off at a photo lab to be developed, wait about a week, pick it up. It’s like Christmas Day.
But all of that patience and work spent on taking each photo makes the outcome so much better. It’s rewarding to see that you created that photo manually. I just love the way film photos look – the colors, the grain, that vintage-feel. It’s the best. And if you want to get into photography, you can find all the basics on our blog post.