Productivity and Thinking on Paper – A key to your success?

How Productive are you? Or, phrased differently, how much time did you spend today advancing towards your primary goals?

About a year ago, John Reese (a famous Internet marketer), wrote an article about getting away from your computer and thinking on paper (or a clip board or a white board). He argued that this was a critical factor in his own productivity and success (which is considerable – he created the first million dollar day in Internet marketing). In fact, he has a planning and strategy room in his house where there are no computers allowed !! He is convinced that this is a significant factor in his success. This is quite a statement from someone who makes his money from computers and the Internet.

I have been playing with that concept, and believe it or not, I think he is right. I know that if I am struggling with something, the best thing for me to do, is to get away from the computer (literally take a step back), go to another room and get out my favorite pen and a pad of paper. Or alternatively, drag out the white board and rethink the whole problem again from a higher level. It seems as if the following is true:


A computer can be a focus killer that degrades productivity.

Why? Let me ask you something. How many computer applications do you have active now? I have 5. Research has shown that we can only keep 5–7 things active in out brains at one time. Therefore, I already have 5 distractions on my desktop. That only leaves 2 to get my work done. And probably the biggest time stealing culprit, is my email. If I really want to concentrate, I close it down.


Never read your EMail first thing in the Morning !!
- It may cost you an hour if you are lucky !!
- Try it and see what it does to your morning productivity.


Computers can link concepts and ideas into amazingly powerful networks of related topics (and sometimes unrelated).

But that power can also be an enormous distraction that is another time and focus stealer. Example: I just noticed there was a new version of my blog software (WordPress). An upgrade is typically a 15 minute job at the most. 2 hours later: I have upgraded Snagit; backed up my website; solved an annoying installation problem; and, oh, almost forgot – I also upgraded my blog. How much money did I just earn? Zip !! And I just lost 2 hours, never to be recovered again, and forgot what I was doing in the first place.

Remember: This is your life, and it is ending 1 second at a time !!


There is something about writing things down on paper. It appears to connect with your brain and helps you visualize the problem better, which helps solve it. And if you write something down over and over again, such as a daily review of your medium and long term goals, magic happens !! You will be amazed !! Try it. Digital todo lists are very useful and have some nice features, like rolling over tasks that were not completed today. I use one ( that I will review as some stage [Review found Here], as I have found it awesome. However, I have found that a combination of digital and a paper todo list works best for me.

Turning back to paper has boosted my productivity at least fourfold.

Hope you found my little insight useful. I know it has boosted my productivity. Feel free to add comments about your own experiences.

Signing off

The SAPGuy