Paper Productivity

Latest Update: Added links to two lists of reasons to use paper, from Web Worker Daily.

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Why, with PDAs, laptops, and Tablet PCs available cheaper than ever, and organizer features being included in more and more mobile phones, would people use paper for organising themselves? Well, there’s a few good reasons…

  • Faster: No matter how nice your laptop is, by time you’ve got it unfolded, powered on, started the software you want to use, made a note, and closed everything down and put it away again, you could have made the same note on a bit of paper in your pocket, and been on your way for several minutes. Paper is a great way to keep quick notes – just ask Doug.
  • Feeling: Paper just feels different to using a computer, especially with a nice pen. Some find it worse, but most find it better for quick notes and thinking.
  • Less Breakable and less expensive if it does break: If I drop my Tablet PC on the concrete floor whilst making a note, I’ll be very upset. I’ve dropped my Moleskine notebook down the stairs at home, and couldn’t find a mark on it.
  • Less Obtrusive: A bit of paper feels more sociable (as Sacha notes). Making notes on an index card or bit of paper doesn’t make people think you’re ignoring them in the same way as a laptop or even PDA can. Maybe because they aren’t wondering what you’re doing – they can see what you’re doing.
  • More Creative: Anything short of a Tablet PC can’t come close to the expressiveness you can get with paper and pen or pencil, and even the Tablet falls a bit short. That’s why Mike Rohde uses paper when he wants to get real.
  • It’s also probably better for the environment.

Web Worker Daily also listed five reasons to use paper for to-do lists, then got carried away and followed up with another six.

PigPog Articles

Productivity with Paper

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  • PigPogPDA: one of our most popular articles – a Moleskine notebook hacked into a complete system. Could be used as a sort of simplified GTD system, or it could be just the ‘capture’ end of GTD. Either that or it’s just a notebook with a couple of Post-IT tags.
  • CheapsterPDA: the smallest, cheapest paper PDA out there. For those who find a HipsterPDA a bit over the top.
  • nowMap: a simple form for planning your day or week. Could be a complete system if you’re not too busy, or just a way of getting a grip when things are getting a bit much.
  • Templates: A selection of templates for various tasks – many of them are designed to be printed and used with pen or pencil.

Other Paper-Related Stuff

  • Paper and Notebooks: OK, OK, we all love us some Moleskines, but there’s other types of paper out there too. Well, yes, it’s mostly about Moleskines, with a few nods to Filofaxes and the wonders of the D*I*Y Planner.
  • Pens: We love pens. We’re a bit disturbingly geeky about it, but you can share the love here.
  • Mechanical Pencils: We love pencils too. Here, we’re just talking about the various types of mechanical pencils, usually with replaceable leads.

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