|Editor’s Note: Today we feature a guest post about integrating digital devices and paper planning systems by time management expert Francis Wade.|
Does it always make sense to upgrade your electronic gadget?
Recently, some of my worst fears were realized as I made a fundamental and important change to my time management system – I gave up my beloved but antiquated Palm Tungsten T2 for a new Blackberry Curve 8320.
I faced the challenge of going completely digital after spending more than a decade carrying my Tungsten in a wallet that included a paper pad and a pen, which I used to collect information and new demands on my time for later processing.
I knew that I wanted to continue the practice of having a portable, synchronized calendar, address book and task-lists that matched the information on my laptop, but making this switch would require other changes.
How would I continue to capture new information in an electronic device as quickly as I could on paper?
The Downside of Digital Notetaking
My two or three attempts to replace the tried and true paper/pen combination over the past 15 years failed dismally, as I could never get the Palm to work as a capture point, returning to paper for the following reasons:
- Paper never needs batteries
- Paper doesn’t mind getting wet, hot or cold
- Printing is a natural activity, while the handwriting recognition of the Tungsten was decidedly unnatural and error-prone
Now that I am using a Blackberry, paper still reigns supreme as a point of capture because:
- Paper never makes me wait while it boots up (which as Blackberry users know, can take an eternity)
- My Blackberry is often being used to do other things when I need to capture information — it’s extremely awkward to talk on the phone while recording someone’s phone number
- Paper never requires a password to use after laying idle for a few minutes
- Paper never needs to be rebooted because of a “memory leak”
At these moments I have reverted to scrambling for pen and paper in odd places, often signaling to other people to pass me something to write on. The fact is, when I have an idea or want to record some important piece of information, I don’t want to have to wait for a piece of machinery to warm itself up before I can use it.
The essence of good capturing lies in its speed, and I am fully aware that I am now much slower at capturing than I was before. I have taken a step backwards.
A Case for Hybrid Planning?
The solution seems to be a simple one. Someone needs to create a wallet for the Blackberry that has space for both pad and pen. My old Palm wallet came with a very thin pen no wider than the average refill, and the paper I used had to be cut down to size to fit a slim profile – a perfect solution.
Unfortunately, I believe that in the absence of such a wallet many users have also regressed, and revert to using personal memory at those moments when their Blackberry is “busy.” This is a tragic error, and offers a clear case in which poorly adapted technology makes things much, much worse.
If you have come across a wallet that would do the trick, please let me know!
|Francis Wade is a time management 2.0 researcher who offers the MyTimeDesign and NewHabits programs from his website: 2time-sys.com|