Do you still use pen and paper?

By Anders Björklund

Do you still use pen and paper?

If you are trying to facilitate change, you need to start with yourself and your habits. Therefore, when we started Zooma in April 2001, I decided to throw away my pen and paper to digitalise and onlinify my behaviour! How about you, do you still use pen and paper?

Lots of people still use an analogue approach when taking notes in meetings and in their usual ways of working. I strongly challenge the rationale for that, from many perspectives.

From the earliest days, the concept of the so-called paperless office and life was only a sales slogan. But in 2019, that vision has started to become a reality.

A rapidly growing number of small businesses and start-ups are focusing on using an all-digital ecosystem, digitalised formats, processes, and an onlinified offering and way of working. Fewer and fewer people write by hand using pen and paper. If you still have an analogue approach, it’s time to go all digital.

Why go all-digital?

Some of the driving factors for using online and digital as a natural part of your companies and your own way of working can be: 

  • convenience
  • simplicity
  • effectiveness 
  • cost 
  • collaboration
  • productivity
  • speed
  • image, and 
  • perception. 

In my case, back in 2001, the driver was to be credible in facilitating change.

As mentioned, one of the advantages of replacing paper and pen can be convenience. Digital data is both more searchable and easily transferrable. What’s more, the mature state of online and cloud services today means that you can expect that the information you store online will be available across whatever devices you may use—be it a tablet, smartphone, laptop or computer and where ever you are—on a flight without an internet connection, or even through a browser in a hotel lobby during your vacation.

To go all-digital opens the door to greater levels of collaboration at work by making it easy to collaborate with colleagues using the most recent data and versions. An entire generation of online tools is available for a diverse range of tasks such as time tracking, project management and collaboration.

Start with an all-digital approach in your normal way of working

Stay close to modern’ people

Make sure that you surround yourself with ‘modern people,’ and ask them about and observe their habits and how they solve ‘things.’ Observe what other people do in stores, at airports and in offices.

Maximise the use of your devices 

Do a Google search for ‘How to use a…’ to get inspiration, and relevant suggestions of how to use your devices. One example from my life is ‘What I use my smartwatch for.’

Only use paper and pen if needed

Drop pen and paper for all possible situations where it’s not really adding value, or mandatory. In the vast majority of situations and cases, you’ll soon find that pen and paper wastes time and energy compared to being all-digital.

Of course, the above is just the tip of the digital iceberg when it comes to going digital-first. There are thousands of tools that exist to facilitate the full range of potential activities and processes without ever having to involve a single analogue sheet or a pen.

I started off by dropping pen and paper to be credible when advising people and companies. I also did it to be able to lead by example and to facilitate change. 

What habits will you change to all-digital to be credible in facilitating change?

As a keynote speaker, I often share my tips and advice about online and digital. I’d love to share more of my thoughts with you and your audience.

I’d like to hear more

Anders Björklund
Founder, CEO & Strategist since 2001. Anders provides thoughts and reflections about what and how to think about onlinification and digitalisation in B2B. Asks a lot of questions, and knows what to do with the answers.
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