As WFH entrepreneurs, we typically go through our days with a smartphone, smart TV, laptop, tablet – or all of the above – at our fingertips. And this makes access to communication, research, and business opportunities seamless.
However, some are feeling burned out from electronics and dopamine overload. According to 2022 cell phone usage statistics, Americans check their phones an average of 344 times per day – or once every 4 minutes. This includes during activities such as driving, walking the dog, in the bathroom, or on a date.
In an electronically oversaturated world, it’s important to BOTH take timeouts that are not work-related, AND have a handful of ways to be creative and productive sans electronics. That is why we put together this handy list of 7 ways to go low tech.
You can pick up many of these items for under $20, while the value of being organized – and having alternative ways of working when you get touchscreened out – is beyond measure.
Whether you prefer a notebook, desktop, or wall calendar, it can be a helpful practice to look at the week, month, and year ahead for planning purposes. Use an analog calendar to anticipate important birthdays and events, fitness, travel, and moon phases. Get a whiteboard calendar or use post-its for flexibility of moving things around when plans inevitably change.
Whether it is a composition book, spiral, or three-ring binder, grabbing a paper and pen instead of your phone or laptop is a perfect way to get your thoughts down without an electronic device. A $1.99 composition notebook is invaluable for a daily paging practice – inspired by Julia Cameron’s “morning pages” – and a spiral notebook for taking notes during calls with clients.
You can also get tiny notebooks to take with you to-go, or use loose leaf with a clipboard and then file it into a binder with sections. Pretend it’s back to school time, and pick out some supplies you’ll enjoy using. While you’re at it, pick out a pen style and ink color you like.
Tackle paperwork piles by reviewing each and every paper, receipt, and envelope, and placed items into categories. To avoid having to ever go through this process again, consider labeling items that aren’t immediately identifiable, and creating folders for specific categories and/or timeframes.
Now, when you need to find something, you know exactly where to look.
Index cards are another inexpensive tool to capture and organize your ideas. You can use the cards in a multitude of ways, including creating a color-coded system for different categories such as wellness, business, and recipes. You can also use index cards to create your own oracle or tarot cards for those moments when you need a reminder of your own inspiration or wisdom. Half-size cards nestle perfectly into a wallet for to-do lists, grocery lists, and short-lists of priorities.
Now that you’ve created your color-coded system, you can apply the same colors to post-its. Small tab post-its can be used as dividers for index cards or put to use on the calendar to flag deadlines, appointments, or events you may be interested in attending. Since everything is subject to change, it’s easy to move the post-it tabs around when an appointment needs to be rescheduled, or remove it from the calendar when a task with a deadline has been completed.
It’s helpful to reuse glass jars and bottles for different items than you originally purchased, or repackage items in saved pouches and containers. To avoid forgetting what’s inside (in the case of a clear container) OR opening these over and over again (in the case of an opaque case), develop a system of labeling. A simple and inexpensive method is using black painter’s tape and metallic Sharpies. Simply handwrite what the item is on the black tape in silver, gold, or bronze, cut the tape with a pair of scissors, and affix the handwritten label to the item. If you have neat handwriting, this is an attractive-looking DIY approach to labeling.
When you want ideas and information accessible visually – rather than on individual post-its or index cards – then a standalone whiteboard or whiteboard wall is a good option. Whiteboards are a great tool for capturing brainstorming sessions, lists of things you want to reference regularly, or for connecting ideas with words, pictures, and symbols. Once again, collecting multiple colors can help to make your whiteboard more fun to use and aesthetically pleasing.
How do you go low tech?