Thinking paper as potential comeback system
I have fallen from GTD wagon and I'm thinking about getting back with paper. Previously I used Omnifocus for mac and its iOs version. Now I feel some resistance towards starting to use it again (there were some sync issues), so I thought maybe paper would be better to start with. Although, I always did all capturing in paper. And I will always do. Until there is PDA/Phone like device with which I can capture as fast as typing to paper.
I like paper. :mrgreen: Only weakness of paper, to which I have stumbled upon, is the physical size. I'd like to be able to always have my system with me, and as I live fairly active life, that means it should be pocket sized. All pocket sized solutions I have tried have been repulsive. My previous paper system, which was ok, was A4 sized binder, but it was a pain to always carry a bagpack with me.
I'd like to use paper, but digital has some fairly nice advantages toward it.
Yep, paper-based is working well for me...
I've been using GTD for about two years now and recently switched to a paper-based system for a number of reasons.
My partner used to (well, still does) make fun of me for always getting organized, yet rarely making progress on getting things done. (That's not entirely true, but it looks that way from the outside.) I realized a few months ago that I frequently look at other applications and test them out to see if they're better than Toodledo. I've wasted a bunch of time setting things up in other systems, trying them for awhile, then reverting back to Toodledo. In retrospect, I was just procrastinating and playing.
With a digital system, I often wrote paper notes while on calls or in meetings because it was quick or I didn't have access to the digital system. (Typing a long note on an iphone is tedious for me.) Later, I'd have to transfer those notes to the digital system. Usually, I'd be overwhelmed with new stuff and those notes just wouldn't make it in the system, so I couldn't trust the digital system to be up to date.
Less detail/more focused/less duplication
It's so easy to copy-and-paste with my digital system that I ended up putting way too much detail in it. Copying entire e-mails that required me to scan lots of text to get the gist of what the task really was - annoying. With the paper-based system, I just write out a few things - sometimes "Issue 363 - fix user access" because that issue was already logged in the clients SharePoint site, so I could go there for the details (which would also be more current than my list).
My paper-based system uses small notecards (about 2 inches by 3 inches) and a little box with dividers. I keep a stack of notecards on my monitor stand and just grab one whenever I have a new task. The small size forces me to be brief. Since I still have some tasks which require additional detail, I have OneNote on my computer that contains reference material. The cards are great because I can lay them all out and see a global picture of each context or group.
When I'm out and about and think of a task, I just send myself an e-mail and write it up when I get back to my desk.
Paper works better for me
Being a geeky kind of guy I thought electronic would be best for me, but I found I had a tendency to shoot things onto action lists too quickly and ended up with hundreds of useless items. Writing on paper has worked better; it gives me a bit of time during processing to think about things. I also love the tactile feel of a fountain pen on thick toothy paper, so I bought premium TOPS heavyweight pads at Office Depot.
1. If the lists get over a page long it causes discomfort and I'm more likely to buckle down and do things.
2. More flexible; doodle, picture, put exclamation points, etc.
3. tactile feel is nice for me.
1. Having to rewrite list periodically when it gets cluttered.
2. A bit of a pain to correlate actions with projects (but my workaround is to number my project list and add the number to the action in parentheses.) also I copy the project list and check it off during weekly reviews.)
3. Less portable; so I put my @errands list on blackberry and calendar on outlook/blackberry. Home and work, gee, portability is not an issue.
4. Can't just drag an email to paper. Still working on how to make email actions work better for me; out of sight out of mind is an issue.