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The war of paper vs. digital

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  • #16
    Dictionary = A-Z paper notes filing system.

    Originally posted by supergtdman View Post
    I don't see how finding a word in a dictionary could be compared to finding information in a well organized digital database though and so on but sure it's all possible with paper...
    Dictionary = A-Z paper notes filing system.

    If your computer is on and your database software is running you surely will find info faster. But if your computer is off paper is faster.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by supergtdman View Post
      You still have to chose which parts are paper and which are digital.
      Well, yeah, absolutely, for sure. No argument here. I'm just speaking to the general misconception, which I'm happy to see you do not suffer from, that it's an all-or-nothing affair.

      My point was actually that there is a lot of rewriting unless you simplify the system as much as possible. Not that you have to do a lot of rewriting because it's on paper. So you just have to keep things simple which might be beneficial.
      I think I understand your point, but I happen to disagree with it. Which is fine; there's lots of room in GTD for disagreement.

      Well, I guess you could get away without rewriting some stuff ever like action lists ( but still what if you want to rename an action or something? )
      This is one of those things that I keep re-reading, expecting to understand it... but failing. And it may well be that our experiences with GTD are such that there will be some things we'll never agree on; that's fine.

      Renaming a Next Action is something that's so bizarre and alien to my experiences, so totally outside what I can imagine anyone doing, that I really don't have any response to it.

      So... yeah. It sounds like you're working your system just fine, so I'm in no position to throw stones. Different people work the system different ways, and they'll find their own advantages and disadvantages to the various media.


      All the best,
      Roger

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      • #18
        I think the comment that it's a false dichotomy, and people talking about having digital as a backup, is really interesting. I mean...why can't I use both?

        This might seem really anti-GTD at a first glance. DA loves his quote about how the man with two clocks is never sure what time it is. But stay with me.
        I'm thinking, as an example, my iPhone...it's really great at holding contacts. If I had all my contacts on paper, it would be near-impossible to maintain, and huge. Much easier to have it synched up with Google & facebook. So, my iPhone might be my ideal place for contacts.

        And I like my iPhone to send me reminders of events as alarms so I don't lose track of time. But that doesn't mean it has to be my full-time calendar.

        One thing that attracted me to my paper system is that I used to keep it physically on my coffee table when I was at home. When I was watching TV, or tidying up, I'd take a glance at my calendar for the next day, and looking at the whole next week or month was just a flip of the page away.

        So maybe this ends up looking like this: my paper calendar is my authoritative calendar. But during my weekly review, I go over my facebook event invites, emails, etc that might have fallen through the cracks, add them to my paper calendar, and then add a few reminders to my iPhone calendar. It won't be what I check when someone asks me if I'm available on such-and-such a date, but it will be helpful to keep me on task.

        Too complex? I hope not. We'll see...

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        • #19
          Originally posted by Roger View Post
          Renaming a Next Action is something that's so bizarre and alien to my experiences, so totally outside what I can imagine anyone doing, that I really don't have any response to it.
          Things I used to re-write:
          reoccurring meetings (and I'd just develop some kind of three-letter code for them)
          next actions if, as I mentioned in my first post, it was the last thing on a long list I was otherwise throwing away

          Next actions are supposed to be little chunks! Like 20 minutes long! So most of the time, they weren't on my list long enough to have to rename them...I remembered what they were from a few words...

          Not a lot of rewriting, unless you suddenly decide you want your blue paper to be pink polka dots.

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          • #20
            one little notebook

            I'm a gadget person- had the first Palm Pilot, moved up every year or two, and took my digital system with me at each upgrade. I tried all the new software, and often had more fun creating my system than I did using it. In fact, I killed a lot of time that way.

            Recently, I started having the urge to try paper. A few dead batteries when I needed access, and frustration with what seemed to be an endless list of tasks were part of the motivation. I love new stuff, so I looked at FiloFax, and other beautiful notebooks and organizers. I made myself buy a cheap imitation to try first. I loved paper for my lists, but my calendar needs to stay digital because of my job. So I found much of the organizer unnecessary and annoyingly heavy. I've now spent about a month with a single 3x5 moleskine notebook, maybe 3 ounces, fits in my pocket, and goes with me everywhere. I love it. In the front, I have a page each for next actions by @category. In the middle, I started @agenda pages. In back, @project lists. I found nice re-stick tabs to mark my active next actions page and the start of the agenda section. It's incredibly simple, and works like a charm. In fact, the simplicity seems to be rubbing off, because I did my weekly review in an hour today- shorter than ever, and still thorough.

            Someone mentioned the value of seeing one item left on a page when all else was crossed out- that's been great, and I take a minute right then to analyze why, then start a new page with the corrected next action and tear out the old one.

            I also don't write down as much unnecessary stuff- I would sometimes have 10 tasks listed for a project. If I did a bunch at once, they didn't all get marked done, since they may not have even gotten marked Next Action yet. Then those clogged up my system until my next thorough review. On paper, if I have one next action on the list, and do it, that triggers the next one. I may do several more steps in that project, but they don't need to get written down. When I'm done working on that project, I only write down the one key next action.

            So, I don't have any fancy gadgets, or even fancy FiloFax right now, but at least I get to go pick out a new Moleskine every month or so!

            Comment


            • #21
              Originally posted by Roger View Post
              ...

              Renaming a Next Action is something that's so bizarre and alien to my experiences, so totally outside what I can imagine anyone doing, that I really don't have any response to it.

              So... yeah. It sounds like you're working your system just fine, so I'm in no position to throw stones. Different people work the system different ways, and they'll find their own advantages and disadvantages to the various media.


              All the best,
              Roger
              I don't rename actions often but I don't see anything bizarre with it. For example during a weekly review you notice some actions repel you and so you go ahead and use different wording, or some projects aren't named as good realistic outcomes, or maybe you want to turn some actions into projects and so on.

              I don't do it very often myself so it's not the main reason to use digital system obviously but I doubt it's totally unimaginable process

              Comment


              • #22
                Originally posted by Roger View Post
                Renaming a Next Action is something that's so bizarre and alien to my experiences, so totally outside what I can imagine anyone doing, that I really don't have any response to it.
                I'm firmly in the majority of stuff is electronic camp because of the re-writing needed on paper. I can't imagine a system that didn't need at least some changing of the next actions, changing project names, changing contexts, adding to the outcomes or adding to project support at each and every weekly review. I always find several things that need to be clarified and re-worded to get them unstuck every time I review so I can't imagine a scenario where I got it right the first time ever.

                When I've tried paper (usually when I was switching electronic systems) I couldn't even get through a full day without having something bug me about the wording of an item.

                So while you can't see a need to change stuff I can't see a way not to.

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                • #23
                  Paper and electronic

                  I feel MUCH more connected to the money I am spending when I write out paper checks vs e.g. quicken. So for GTD I have used an electronic program (which one has varied) where I can change things easily and print it out in the evening and keep the printouts in a binder which I take with me during the day. One week in 5 I work a totally different work schedule so I also have a LARGE month at a glance calendar.

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                  • #24
                    why I prefer paper

                    LS! Mankind has thousands of years of experience of archiving on paper. Only for decades we digitally preserve data. In my country, the Netherlands, managers choose the cheaper option of digital archiving. I have a very negative experience with this. In small and big NGO's there is often nobody responsible for archiving. Workers save files on computers, change jobs, the computers with the hard disk are replaced. The industry sells us new incompatible systems to store data. Paper is thrown away, because it takes up so much space and there is seldom anybody interested in reading any of it, when it is more then five years old. People say internet remembers everything, forget it! I wrote for several websites and after a number of years they were restyled, or vanished into nothingness. For three years I published on a text page (Ceefax) on our local television station. I have no records of this, so I am not sure whether I can put it on my CV. And data more then ten years old are permanently lost in my country. Sincerely, Sebastiaan

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by ScottL View Post
                      I feel MUCH more connected to the money I am spending when I write out paper checks vs e.g. quicken. So for GTD I have used an electronic program (which one has varied) where I can change things easily and print it out in the evening and keep the printouts in a binder which I take with me during the day. One week in 5 I work a totally different work schedule so I also have a LARGE month at a glance calendar.
                      This is the perfect example to me of how different systems mean different things to different people. I run an extremely tight budget (grad school...some day there will be a salary again!) and I do it by ensuring that absolutely no paper money or checks ever go through my hands. For me, a running electronic tab that is to the penny of how much is in my checking account is what I need to feel connected to my spending and to not be tempted to overspend.

                      I think the key is to learn what really causes your brain to behave the way you want it to and don't assume that someone else's method will work for you. If paper isn't flexible enough to keep your mind clear, then digital might be solution. If digital is so fiddly for you that checking it becomes a chore, then paper might be the answer.

                      I think most of us find that paper is crucial for some things, and digital for others. I'm a big time techie and have two different tablets as well as a smartphone and a tablet convertible laptop. I spend most of my day in front of a computer. My GTD system is entirely electronic. However, I hand write all my lesson plans in a composition notebook and take it with me every time I teach. There are some things that just feel more comfortable on paper!

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