In many ways, I’m a denizen of this age.
I scoff when others lament the demise of paper and print.
It’s all very well to talk about the smell and feel of new books when you buy two books a year.
I buy several a month, and in the good old days before handheld readers, would give away dozens of books to friends every six months or so, lest the house get overrun!
I do get paper books once in a while, still. I do like the smell and feel of some books: Especially books with a lot of art in them. I love getting books to review.
But you’ll have to pry my Kindle out of my cold, dead hands.
However, one way in which I’m old-fashioned in the use of paper is to make notes. I have a lot of notebooks for a variety of uses.
- One memo pad to make daily to-do lists in and write short notes to myself and my team. It’s only a few inches long: Write a few lines and crumple and throw away the page when you’re done.
- One small notebook to write down what I’ve been working on.
- Another small notebook for household lists that we’ve had forever (it’s thick.)
- Another little notebook to carry in my small handbag, in case I should want to write down something in the middle of a coffee date.
- One more lovely little notebook where I wrote down the early notes about Markitty: Our ideas and plans and updates. Haven’t updated that in some months!
- One notebook for blog ideas, which I started after Gini Dietrich suggested it. I’ve found this really useful.
- One plain notebook I’ve just started using to draw requirements for graphs I want to add on to Markitty.
- One notebook for everything. I’ve had it for a couple of years now, but haven’t made my way through a third of it. It has different sections for meeting notes and task lists (longer versions, that don’t fit into my little memo pad), ideas, and blog posts.
- A couple of older notebooks I have used for years now (but still have some life in them). I usually take them out to meetings so I don’t have to lug around the Giant Notebook!
This is all I use regularly (I think). The ones I use most are the little task list memo pad, the blog ideas notebook, the smaller of two notebooks I use for meetings, and the Giant Notebook of Everything. And of course, the accomplished-tasks notebook that I don’t update as often as I should.
Ten notebooks! I don’t blame you if you think I’m weird, but when I tell myself I should use fewer notebooks, I can’t settle on which one to give up.
Paper > Digital
I do use digital task management tools as well: Email, Trello, calendar, but I’m not giving up on paper. Here’s why:
- It helps me focus. There is no Twitter to skip to or incoming email to catch my attention.
- I love the satisfaction of physically checking off items on my list, and of crumpling the little sheet and throwing it away when I’m done.
- It’s more versatile. I can start out by writing down what I want a graph to look like, but draw it instead. I don’t have to know Photoshop or figure out how to make the right kind of bar on PowerPoint.
- For someone who spends most of her workday staring at her computer screen, any little time away from a backlit screen is a bonus!
- It’s portable. If you’re like me and don’t enjoy writing long posts on your phone, and have no idea how to draw a graph on it… pen and paper really is the easiest recording tool to carry around. And if you forgot your notebook, there’s always a napkin around somewhere.
Are you holding on to paper too, or do you think I’m a troglodyte? What’s your favorite productivity tool?