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Need a creativity boost?

Daniel Koprowski
Software Engineer & Tech Productivity Advocate

This is my salute for old-school physical things. I love modern apps like Notion or Nozbe to note everything, but in this article I will try to convince you that old fashion way is the better way (at least for first phase of planning). I will not tell you that paper doesn't need charger etc. It's true but c'mon... It's so obvious ;)

We need creative work when we want to plan something (eg. to-do list for today, phase of project, blog-post), to create something (eg. game level, gift for somebody) or in other cases that need to be carefully thought through. And remember

Thinking without making a note is waste of time.

Why? Because as David Allen said:

Your mind is for having ideas not holding them


Productivity and creativity boost: Notepad) Clean sheet of paper. Great. What now?


You can draw, write, underline and much more. You can do anything you want, you are the master here. You can say that you can do the same things in popular editors but in editors...

  • You can't do whatever you want

Even if you have great editor with cloud storage and stylus support it always will have some limitations. These are programs so somebody wrote it. Somebody tried to figure out how you will use it and they did their job great. The thing you need to remember is that their target was to create something as flexible as clean sheet of paper. So why not give a chance to paper?

  • You can't focus on your task

Ok, maybe you are a super productive person and focusing on something among all that apps, notifications, chats, emails and other stuff isn't a challenge for you. My congratulations. But I cannot do this, my friends neither. I assume that other people have the same problem. Paper will never distract you as it only takes things, thoughts, ideas and keeps them.


Productivity and creativity boost: Pencil It must be a pencil. Not a pen or something permanent. You shouldn't be afraid of what you can note or draw. Fear kills creativity. With a pencil you can always correct things, do new attempts over and over again. It's really important because you can always rearrange your notes. Your mind constantly rearranges your thoughts so your notes cannot be permanent, it has to change.

Physical things instead of digital?

No! Combine them. Notepad and pencil are great for creativity, ideas but it is only first phase. Then you need to store all this work and paper has many disadvantages in storing. You only have one instance of your work, so if you lost it - it's gone forever. You will not have a big notepad and pencil always in your pocket, it's rather impossible, so if you will have some great idea in train/walk/classroom and don't write it instantly you will lose it. So after first phase go to some modern tool for notes like mentioned OneNote or other great software with cloud storage and mobile app. You should always have your notes with you.


  • Pencil
  • Notepad
  • Nozbe - my favorite to-do list management tool. It's based on GTD!
  • Notion - great app to store notes
  • The Fabulous - this app gave me idea to write this post
Daniel Koprowski avatar
Daniel Koprowski
Software Engineer & Tech Productivity Advocate
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