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Who's using a PDA and Day Planner? Best tips/techniques?

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  • Who's using a PDA and Day Planner? Best tips/techniques?

    Okay now, tell the truth, who (like myself) is still using their trusty old Day Timer/Franklin/Filofax planner and a PDA?

    I have been a lover of PDAs since my original Apple Newton back in 1995. However, though I have tried many times to get rid of my paper planner altogether, I can't seem to kick the habit!

    So I'm no longer trying -- I would like to hear how others like me, integrate the paper planner and a PDA.

    I'll go first, here's what I use the Day Timer for:

    It's my "in box" most of the time. I use the right hand pages to record any information that I come across each day (phone calls, meeting notes, ideas, to-do, etc) IF and only if, I don't have the time to type them into my Palm first. Otherwise I type them in a the end of the day when I review my goals.
    I also use a weekly calendar in the Day Timer to plan time for projects and goals, and my massive action plan. I also have pages that detail my unifying principles and long range goals as well as a page to track these against my roles in life (sort of a hybrid Hobbs/Allen/Robbins/Covey approach).

    I use the Palm for:

    All scheduled time (with alarm reminders), and my action lists (that correspond to the goal setting I do on paper) specifically: @Agendas, @Anywhere, @Call, @Computer, @Personal Visits, @Errands. I also keep duplicates of most of my desktop files in Docs To Go, as well as all the electronic form of my "right hand pages" notes from my Day Timer in a program called Day Notez (kind of reminds me of my old Newton )

    That's it in a nut shell. Let me know what you think. Some of you helped me out back in '03 when I was struggling to design this "system" now is your chance to let me know if I'm getting the best possible use out of each -- or should I get real and ditch one format!

    Thanks for any and all advice,

    Mike

  • #2
    Not only would I endorse whatever methods work for the individual, but I am also an advocate of redundancy. Things need to be in as many places as will allow you to find them easily and use them appropriately.

    Andrew

    Comment


    • #3
      I use a Clie and outlook with the gtd add-in.

      I use my 3 x 6 daytimer leather wallet as my evening module. I gave up the dated pages and now use just a notebook. It serves as my inbox as well as a record of things that I think I will need to refer to. I draw a horizontal line across the page to separate the days. I process the notebook usually once per day, but at a minimum I process it at the weekly review. I also have in the wallet other things I like to have with me - business cards, a couple of blank post-its, a couple of blank index cards, a couple of index cards with some affirmations written on them, a couple of postage stamps, a 3-year calendar with week numbers compressed to 1 page, a credit-card sized magnifying glass, my contact lens prescription, etc. I keep a printed telephone book in there, too, printed compactly using clickbook. One advantage the daytimer has over the Clie is that the daytimer can be dropped, sat upon, or dunked in water (I've done all three) without damage or loss of data. A photocopier can provide a back-up, if desired. The printed telephone book can be accessed with one hand while holding a telephone (try that with the Clie!). If I am going out and feel that there is risk to the Clie, I take just the daytimer. A risky outing might be 1) a trip to the beach, 2) a fishing trip on my rowboat, 3) ice-skating.

      I also really like the freeform aspects of the notebook. I can doodle, mind-map, highlight, and circle to my hearts content.

      Ken

      Comment


      • #4
        I use Time/Design paper for everything, dates, address book, task lists and of course project lists. It is the best for project / context lists IMHO, have used Daytimer (90-96), Franklin (96-99) work supplied then went over to Time/Design and have not looked back.

        The palm is a reference viewer. It has details on troubleshooting the VMS Cluster, Unix processes, admin notes for VMS / Unix and to my dismay Win2K. These are electronic copies of paper documents. The original paper can be found in the reference cabinet, palm is just a handy viewer.

        Have a notepad and fountainpen (pencil as backup) from Levenger that is used for any onetime notes, or capture tool etc.

        Planning is done paper only. Worked with computers as Admin for too darn long, know they will fail at the worst time and if the only location of the information is electronic no joy.

        I have of course Newton (MP2k, MP2.1k), PSION 5mx and Palm Vx in my collection and have tried to make them work. The 5mx comes the closest to being usable (RMRTask / Agenda), but was discontinued therefore can not be replaced so I am keeping it safe. The Newton with Dateman or MoreInfo is hard to beat, just do not like them on the plant floor (Engine Plant), keeping them safe using as an ultra portable computer. Palm is small and finds a home on my belt most days.

        Never leave home without the T/D, but have left without the other 'toys'.

        Long winded and twisted...

        Comment


        • #5
          I use an Ipaq h5450 for my PDA and have implemented GTD completely on it.

          I also use dated DayTimer pages to record quick daily notes while at my desk and on the phone. I use the right hand page to journal the work I've done for the day, kind of like a diary of my daily activities. The DayTimer stays on my desk and the PDA goes with me everywhere.

          While I am intriqued by the TimeDesign system, I wonder if I could really switch back to paper after usng a PDA for so long.

          Comment


          • #6
            PDA vs Daytimers etc

            I admit to the "sin" of using both paper and PDA--the downside of a PDA includes:
            1. Small screen.
            2. Slow navigation
            3. Inability to see big picture at a glance.
            4. Dead batteries--especially with permanently installed ones.
            5. Synchronization problems.--e.g. moving info from work computer to home computer.
            6. Can't update when computer is uncooperative.

            The upside of a PDA for me is:
            1. Better phone book
            2. Specialized software--e.g. databases--can be added.
            3. Good for appointment reminders.

            Makes this simple system more complex. Any suggestions?

            Dan Neunaber





            The paper system is much faster. It is easier to write notes on paper. It is easier to get a big picture view (for me).

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by kglade
              I keep a printed telephone book in there, too, printed compactly using clickbook.

              Ken
              Is this the same ClickBook you are referring to?

              Comment


              • #8
                The very thought of going back to a paper planner makes me shudder.

                I use an iPAQ PDA for almost everything (I use a pad during meetings and a written diary at night). The most efficient note taking advice is the "record audio" notes function on the side of my PDA. For the first time in my life I don't have little sticky notes and napkins lying around my office.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Mike,

                  I was a devoted Day-Timer user and spent about two years weighing the pros and cons of going to the Palm. When I made the switch, I totally made the switch (or at last almost so).

                  I do carry a memo pad in my pocket (which doubled as a credit card holder, place to put receipts, etc. I do not carry a wallet). I capture when I am really on the fly or in one-on-one meetings (and not really worry about neatness or details because I am going to dissect those notes within a couple of hours anyway and put it all in the Palm or Outlook). In meetings of multiple people, I use my Palm.

                  That being said, if I was giong to hang onto one piece of the Day-Timer, it would be the right hand page. I think I would go to a simple journal (so that the whole thing is a right-hand page). You could then use parentheses on entries in the Palm to refer you to your journal (like Dr. Hobbs suggests).

                  I also keep unifying principles. For me, it's a memo. I have thought about makig reviewing them a repeating task that comes around every month and the list of principles would be a note attached to the task. Just a thought.

                  Frank

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by mike zimmer
                    Okay now, tell the truth, who (like myself) is still using their trusty old Day Timer/Franklin/Filofax planner and a PDA?

                    I have been a lover of PDAs since my original Apple Newton back in 1995. However, though I have tried many times to get rid of my paper planner altogether, I can't seem to kick the habit!

                    So I'm no longer trying -- I would like to hear how others like me, integrate the paper planner and a PDA.
                    Mike,

                    I confess. I still use my planner.

                    I'm a GTD newbie, so I'm still experimenting to find what works best.

                    For years, I've been searching for an optimal way to combine a PDA with paper planner. Both systems have tremendous advantages, but neither work well enough for me to use solely.

                    There are some things that I really love about a paper planner:
                    • It is the fastest and simplest way to make meeting notes or phone call notes
                    • I record all of my voice mails in the planner. I can easily go back to see when someone called about something or get their phone number again.
                    • When traveling, I can quickly refer back to recent meetings or phone calls.
                    • I can quickly flip ahead to make tickler reminder notes (i.e. minimize the "open loops") that will show up sometime in the future when I get to that page.
                    • The pockets makes a good place to stash a few business cards and the loose leaf format lets you keep some other reference material close at hand
                    • I simply like the feel of a quality pen, good paper, and a nice leather binder.
                    I tried going without a planner and using only a PDA and a spiral bound notebook. The spiral notebook was never as nice or as functional as my Franklin binder. Also, I wasn't able to manage my To-Dos effectively because I didn't have a good process for it.

                    Getting better organized was one of my New Year's resolutions for 2005.

                    To support that goal, I went back to the Franklin system. This was certainly a step in the right direction, but I also quickly rediscovered the same old problems.

                    This quest is what is led me to GTD.

                    GTD is the first organizational concept that I've run across that really ties it all together -- calendar, To-Do lists, projects, and a really good working filing system. I never really appreciated the value of a good filing sytem until GTD.

                    Now my calender is managed solely on my PC/PDA (Dell X50 Pocket PC).

                    My NA and project lists are kept in ListPro and syncrhonized with my PC. This is a work in progress, but I've got a basic structure in place and feel confident that I'm moving in the right direction.

                    The role of the paper planner has been redefined. It is no longer really a planner for the future. Now it is mostly a journal of daily events. I make my daily meeting notes and phone call notes in it. This works well because I can go back and process my meeting notes (looking for NAs) or make to captures the NAs or file copies as needed.

                    Next step/refinements needed

                    (1) For next year, I'm considering using Franklin's option of designing your own pages. They now offer set of dated page templates that are aimed at handheld users. The two page format uses one side for phone call notes and another for daily notes. That could be a great fit in my situation. I could still use my planner binder, but with a more refined purpose.

                    (2) I still do sometimes flip ahead in my planner to make tickler notes on a future date. I feel like this is violating my ideal GTD process because this stuff really should go onto my calendar but sometimes I'm away from my PC and putting it into my PDA is just too much trouble. Rather than have an open loop, I've given myself permission to make future notes in my planner for now.

                    There you go. True (and lengthy) confession time.

                    -Bill

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Why too much trouble with PDA?

                      Originally posted by Bill
                      (2) I still do sometimes flip ahead in my planner to make tickler notes on a future date. I feel like this is violating my ideal GTD process because this stuff really should go onto my calendar but sometimes I'm away from my PC and putting it into my PDA is just too much trouble.
                      Why is "putting a note into PDA" too much trouble for you? Just press calendar button, choose the date and start writing.

                      If you use a paper planer the sequence of actions is very similar - open the planner, find the date and start writing.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by TesTeq
                        Why is "putting a note into PDA" too much trouble for you? Just press calendar button, choose the date and start writing.

                        If you use a paper planer the sequence of actions is very similar - open the planner, find the date and start writing.
                        The sequence is the same, but the critical difference is speed.

                        Here is an example:

                        I am on the road, meeting with an important customer in their office. I have my planner open to record notes from the meeting. My PDA is also on the table.

                        The customer says that they will send me a report by the end of next week. This report will go into my reference files and will require no immediate action.

                        I want a tickler next Friday, when I'll be back in the office, to remind me that the email should have arrived.

                        Now I have three choices on what to do:
                        (1) Note the future action in my meeting notes. Choosing this option means that I am creating an item that will need to be handled again in processing before it gets added to my "waiting for" list or becomes a calendar reminder. Undesirable because it becomes an open loop until it is processed.

                        (2) Enter it directly on my PDA "waiting for" list. Truthfully, this takes a minute or so to open ListPro, create the entry, and enter the details. This is also undesirable because during the time that I'm focused on my PDA, I am distracted from what is being said or I make the customer wait.

                        (3) Flip ahead in my planner and make a note on next Friday. This takes only a could of seconds more than simply noting it in today's journal, but it is out of my head and requires no further processing for now. Next Friday, I will see it on my planner and either cross it off (report received) or add it to my "waiting for" list if it is still pending.
                        With the third option, I've processed the tickler at the same time I created it, but without interrupting the flow of the conversation with the customer.

                        Best case-- I get the report as promised and I have no more time invested in processing that item.

                        Worst case-- I see the reminder and process into a "waiting for" list. However, now I'm in front my PC and the customer doesn't wait while I add the item to my list.

                        Make sense?
                        Last edited by Bill; 09-21-2005, 04:06 AM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          In Palm PDA it is easy and straightforward.

                          Originally posted by Bill
                          (2) Enter it directly on my PDA "waiting for" list. Truthfully, this takes a minute or so to open ListPro, create the entry, and enter the details. This is also undesirable because during the time that I'm focused on my PDA, I am distracted from what is being said or I make the customer wait.

                          (3) Flip ahead in my planner and make a note on next Friday. This takes only a could of seconds more than simply noting it in today's journal, but it is out of my head and requires no further processing for now. Next Friday, I will see it on my planner and either cross it off (report received) or add it to my "waiting for" list if it is still pending.[/INDENT]
                          I think your example favours paper planner and is unfair a little.

                          In PDA case you are updating "waiting for" list in ListPro but in paper planner case you are entering a note in the calendar. In Palm PDA it is very easy to enter calendar items. PDA can be configured to start in Day View mode and when you press Calendar button it immediately shows "Today". Move to the next week (one tap), choose Friday (one tap) and start writing using Graffiti - the untimed event is automatically created. It is as simple as in the paper planner case.

                          The only drawback of using PDA in this situation is that your customer does not see what you are writing and may feel less comfortable (PDA is more personal while paper planner is more inter-personal).

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by TesTeq
                            I think your example favours paper planner and is unfair a little.

                            In PDA case you are updating "waiting for" list in ListPro but in paper planner case you are entering a note in the calendar.
                            ...
                            The only drawback of using PDA in this situation is that your customer does not see what you are writing and may feel less comfortable (PDA is more personal while paper planner is more inter-personal).
                            This is a real situation that I face frequently. Nothing unfair or contrived about it.

                            Don't get me wrong here--- I'm a gadget guy. I'm pretty proficient with my PDA. I'd prefer to have the item captured on my PDA if I could.

                            Entering a reminder into my PDA calendar in no faster or easier than putting it on my "waiting for" list. Either way, it is still slower than a paper planner.

                            I completely agree about the difference in the customer's perception. This is another reason why the open book sytle of the planner note seems to work.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              If you like the use of a paper planner (I do) there may be another solution to the Franklin system (does not handle lists of tasks very well IMHO).

                              Time/Design does work with multiple lists, (NextActions -phone,-computer, errands etc). This is the system David had used in the past (mentioned in the GTD tapes I have).

                              Time/Design did come out with a new format that will fit the Franklin / DayTimer binders (otherwise it is a European A5 6 hole paper). This could then be used saving the purchase cost of the binder if you wish to try it.

                              Visit the website at http://www.timedesign.com/ for more information.

                              Should check out the Getting Started manual - eye opener.

                              http://www.timedesign.com/reference/manual.htm

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