Four Old School Business Tools That Will Never Go Out of Style

"... It seems to me that the world is suffering from an inundation of technology for technology's sake." ~ Larry Maguire in the blog post "Why Low Tech Is The Key To Happiness And Success."

Although my business -- like many others in this digital, cloud-based era -- could never survive without the amazing technology tools at our disposal, I do agree in some respects with Larry's observations in his post. I believe unplugging from technology periodically is extremely important; it allows us to more fully connect with our spouses, families and friends.

Similarly, I've found that using low-tech tools (instead of or in addition to high-tech tools) can often be an effective way to stay organized in our businesses. While the latest smartphone apps, tricked out mobile devices, and new internet browser extensions get a lot of buzz, "old school" tools remain unsung heroes despite their long-time track record of keeping us in order.

It seems a bit unfair, don't you think? That's why I figured it's time to give credit where credit is due. So, here's a list of my all-time favorite old school tools that can help you stay on track and get stuff done:

I also live by my iPhone note pad and just plain yellow note pads.

  • Whiteboards: I wouldn't ever want to be without mine. Whiteboards work immensely well for keeping a to-do list and other top priorities front and center. You might consider using one to have a visual reminder of: due dates of your projects in progress; clients with overdue invoices; prospects to follow up with; immediate tasks you need to take care of; and inspirational quotes to motivate you. You might also use it as a platform for some doodle therapy when you want to relieve some stress.

  • Notebooks: Whether it's a Moleskine or of a generic variety, never underestimate the value of a lined notebook on which you can put pen to paper! I've learned the hard way that even the most brilliant, innovative thoughts can all too quickly be forgotten if I don't write them down ASAP. I find notebooks and notepads especially helpful for capturing ideas on the fly when I may not be able to readily use my iPhone notepad app.
  • Desktop calendars: Even with appointments and meetings neatly organized in your Outlook, Google, or other electronic calendar, a paper desktop calendar provides a quick, at-a-glance way to see what's up and coming on your schedule.
  • Sticky notes: Best invention ever, right? I find it hard to think of any other tool that offers as much versatility. I live by my yellow ink and neon green sticky notes. The multiple purposes I use them for include: leaving quick notes to myself about personal tasks I need to do but would probably otherwise forget while wrapped up in my work; jotting notes to team members when I've dropped by their desks and they were on the phone at the time; and capturing blog topic ideas that suddenly popped into my head while I was working on something else. The possibilities are pretty much endless with those ingenious squares of colored paper.
  • All of the above low-tech tools are extremely inexpensive, and while I haven't officially calculated it, I'm confident they have a rather impressive ROI. And with no technical difficulties to navigate, they hold their own in comparison to high-tech tools when considering the virtues of convenience, simplicity, and reliability. What high-tech tool can you think of that's completely immune to hard-drive crashes, loss of internet connectivity, and power outages?

    Enough said!