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  • Paper still winning

    Some of you might recall I switched to a paper system a while back.

    I'm still there! It seems to successfully get used rather than tricked out with the latest features, extensions, trying things out, etc.

    Also the effort to enter things by hand makes me ensure its (a) really a commitment, and (b) really a next action. Copy & paste is too easy to do without it passing the brain.

  • #2
    For the past 2 years I've been shifting between paper and digital (at one point I was digital for work and paper for personal) and I do acknowledge that paper juts feels more comfortable and facilitates a free flow of thoughts; yet ever since I had to sift through trash a few months back because my paper based system was thrown by mistake in a dumpster I realized that a fully paper based system poses a risk of loss or damage (maybe even theft if you're using fancy casing) and without the ability to practically backup the data.

    Since then I've been all digital with plenty of backups. The prospect of losing my system and not being able to retrieve the data is just too much to bear (Thank you David!)

    Best of luck

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    • #3
      Paper backup

      My wife uses paper based system with a handy backup. Every week after the weekly review she runs the important documents through the scanner. That is: 1) NA lists + W/F (6 pages), 2) calendar (everything thats not within two next weeks is on monthly view only - as are all recurring events)(this totals 6-10 pages at most), 3) project list (1 page) and 4) some miscellanious stuff she keeps in planner (2-3 pages). Takes app. 10 mins.
      -Jukka

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      • #4
        Thanks for the thoughts; I hadn't really thought about backup. I might start taking out the digital camera and doing a quick snapshot in weekly reviews (then I don't need to take pages out for the scanner etc).

        I think the key advantage for me is that paper bypasses the geek gene - I can just use paper without tinkering.
        Last edited by sarahg; 03-28-2010, 01:42 PM.

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        • #5
          Another teensy-weensy shortcoming when it comes to paper is that you don't get the benefit of automated reminders, which for me at least, is very important.

          I'm now keeping only my action lists and reference data (i.e. checklists, bank acc. registration #'s, etc.) digital, and for everything else I use a hefty notepad

          RegionalSalesman: Thanks for the tip; crossed my mind (specially after the dumpster episode) but you just can't beat an electronic backup

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          • #6
            Paper and digital complement each other

            I've experimented with both paper and digital and find that they are good at different things, and thus complement each other nicely.

            Electronic ....
            ... is a must for calendar since it automatically reminds me of important commitments.
            ... is more portable (in a sense) since everything fits onto an encrypted USB key.
            ... is more secure and reliable since I can password protect it and easily make backups.
            ... is more shareable since people can have access to my calendar remotely for example.

            Paper ...
            ... is really easy to use especially for ad-hoc planning, brainstorming, note taking.
            ... is more portable (in a sense) since all you need is a pad of paper and a pen.

            For certain kinds of work, especially natural planning and brainstorming I just way prefer hand-written media such as notepads and whiteboards.

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            • #7
              PocketMod

              PocketMod is the only paper aspect of my system (beyond some paper filing at work). I use a custom one that I print from Word. It is very nice because:
              1) I can paste in my week's meetings. Handy considering my desktop sync to my Nokia omits the conference room; one page of my Pocketmod is used for my meetings. I print one per week, and just write in any changes or meetings that get added (fortunately the bulk of mine are schedule the prior week or earlier
              2) We use a home-grown resource planning tool at work and another page gets the work assigned to me pasted in.

              The rest of it is just lined pages for shopping and quick capture of to-dos along with a couple completely blank pages for whatever.

              The PocketMod site is a great starting point though.

              Comment


              • #8
                Currently on paper

                I too use a paper system. I too have gone back and forth. As it stands right now, I am solely on paper. I found that the temptation to leave old copies of lists in digital format was just too strong, especially when storage is so cheap and text files are so small. For instance, when transferring to my USB key, I would not delete the old copies on my hard drive (fear of losing key). Then, I would copy those lists to a laptop or other machine from the key. I would probably delete from the laptop when done, but then I have to reconcile the changes with my original lists on the hard drive once the changes came back in. If I took the time to use a naming convention and archive older versions, etc., it would feel too much like drag on my system. Even when cleaning out old "reference" (i.e. deleting old archived versions and folders on hard drive), I would be strongly compelled to do that one last look over every copy just in case I missed that one special list item. Again, too much drag.

                Now, the ONE THING I LOVE about digital is the ability to delete a friggin' line when done! On paper, old tasks are crossed out and then when sheets get crowded and noisy, I eventually have to do the obligatory transfer of remaining tasks to a new sheet. To me, this is currently the lesser of two evils.

                For repeat tasks, I use my Tickler File to remind me. I would really like some feedback on this approach. I couldn't bear cluttering email or calendar with so many task and event reminders, but I needed a way to do this function. So, the calendar is for known hard dates with certain people at certain times, but I use the Tickler File for day-specific reminders for events with no action yet decided about them, like birthdays and anniversaries. Example: For anniversary on October 31, I put note in "October" folder. Then I put "Call Restaurant xxxxx" on my @PHONE or @CALLS list, or a hard date on my calendar for that call, after I've dumped my tickler file into "IN" on the night before October 01. Putting "Anniversary" on my calendar is too ambiguous because there's work still to be defined for it.

                One last tip I use is to put a label on each sheet of my lists. When I do that, I know that only papers with a label on them at the top are my canonical lists, and all the rest are scrap or working papers, or other. I do this because my loose-leaf binder has lots of other pages in it too, like reference and checklists.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by mjbengt View Post
                  On paper, old tasks are crossed out and then when sheets get crowded and noisy, I eventually have to do the obligatory transfer of remaining tasks to a new sheet. To me, this is currently the lesser of two evils.
                  I avoid this by keeping each task on its own sheet of paper; you might find it worthwhile to give that a try to see if it's an improvement for you.


                  Cheers,
                  Roger

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Roger View Post
                    I avoid this by keeping each task on its own sheet of paper; you might find it worthwhile to give that a try to see if it's an improvement for you.


                    Cheers,
                    Roger
                    Certainly logical, but this seems so unfriendly to the environment. Let's hope we're using pencils and erasers....

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      The whole environmental thing comes up occasionally when it comes to paper-based systems, and it's something I worried about; I don't worry any more, and this is why:

                      Carbon footprints of:

                      One ream (500 sheets) of paper: 8.5 kg

                      One gallon of petrol, burnt: 9 kg

                      One hour of watching TV: 54 kg

                      One iPhone, through a 3 year lifespan: 55 kg.


                      There's lots of things in my lifestyle that are having a significant impact on the environment, but my paper consumption isn't one of them.


                      Cheers,
                      Roger

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Roger View Post
                        The whole environmental thing comes up occasionally when it comes to paper-based systems, and it's something I worried about; I don't worry any more, and this is why:

                        Carbon footprints of:

                        One ream (500 sheets) of paper: 8.5 kg

                        One gallon of petrol, burnt: 9 kg

                        One hour of watching TV: 54 kg

                        One iPhone, through a 3 year lifespan: 55 kg.


                        There's lots of things in my lifestyle that are having a significant impact on the environment, but my paper consumption isn't one of them.


                        Cheers,
                        Roger
                        Indeed. Still, I see a lot more than one's carbon footprint. Paper needs to be disposed of (transportation=smog), and if not handled in a manner permitting recycling tends to become trash that causes other forms of pollution. I agree it's not equivalent to a smoke-belching chimney or tailpipe, but size does not equate to significance.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          We could always use clay tablets; though I don't believe its part of GTD's best practices

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I am also on paper

                            Two of the biggest benefits

                            I can do a HUGE amount of work from almost anywhere anytime (contacts on Blackberry)

                            I can do my weekly review early Saturday morning at my favorite Coffee Shop

                            BACKUP CONCERNS
                            every two weeks I take photos of every page of my system - takes about 10 minutes at the most

                            =================================================
                            J.D. Iles
                            Hyatt's All Things Creative

                            Equipment and Software / Sales and Training
                            On-Line Training Coordinator


                            direct line or text: (603) 348-7658
                            voice: (800) 234-9288 ext. 862
                            fax: (603) 962-8522

                            jdiles@hyatts.com
                            PO Box 299
                            Lincoln NH 03251
                            =================================================
                            Last edited by J.D. Iles; 04-01-2010, 06:01 AM.

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                            • #15
                              I'm back to paper too. Love it so far.

                              I've been struggling with implementing an all digital system on the Mac. I've been through more task management software that I care to mention. I did stick with Omnifocus for about 8 months (that was an accomplishment). Although I thought I came close to having a complete GTD system a few times (Omnifocus for lists, iCal for calendar, Address book for contacts, MobileMe for reference and project support, MacBook and iPod touch), it never really quite felt right. I seemed I was always fiddling with it.

                              I finally broke down and bought a GTD Coordinator paper planner and a note taker wallet. I have been using it now for two weeks so it's too early to tell but I have to say, there is something really freeing about paper. There are no constraints about input format like there is with software. There's no syncing concerns. There's no cross platform compatibility woes. There's no hoping for the next cool feature to be released or conversely, there's no 'the new feature really messed up my workflow'. The best part is that it seems that when I physically write it down, I remember it. When I type it in, I don't seem to retain it.

                              I'm a sucker for technology so we'll see how long it lasts but I feel much more in control with the paper system. Plus, the examples included in the planner have been a big help. There is a place for everything and I don't have to tweak this or that to make it fit GTD like I've had to with every software I have tried.
                              Last edited by sriggs; 04-04-2010, 04:03 PM.

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