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Either/Or vs Both/And

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  • Either/Or vs Both/And

    I'm looking for solutions that other GTDers are using to either use ALL PAPER or both PAPER and DIGITAL. I've realized there is no "perfect" tool - and with technology being what it is today, using all paper might be too much of a throwback to the pre-digital age... but I'd love to hear how others who struggle like I do to be comfortable with one or the other, or both. I currently have lists and calendar items on iCal/Treo, but like a paper planner to see my day and block out time for specific projects. And I'm tactile enough to want the paper to be really nice, in a beautiful binder. What happens is that I get things set up and then suddenly am obsessing more about what tool to use than actually GETTING THINGS DONE! Not sure there IS an anwer for me... I've been using GTD for years and have never solved this. With the new year ahead, I thought I'd see if anyone else out there has any insights. Thanks!


  • #2
    My Paper-Digital Solution on the Mac

    It's tempting to try to shoehorn everything into either all paper or all digital but we are increasingly living in a world where only a paper+digital solution will suffice. I've tried doing all paper and then all digital but neither of those worked. Eventually I ended up creating my own implementation on the mac. I describe more about what finally led me to this approach here if you're interested.
    Last edited by Todd V; 08-08-2012, 01:29 PM.


    • #3
      Hi PhotoDiva

      Hi Claudia,
      Not even close to being as big a techie as Todd, I am stuck like you---I have a Mac, iCal, a Treo----so far so good----but soon go numb to the lists, and then go to my Franklin week to a view binder and start working by hand where I "think" much better, but then since I have 3 jobs this year, crunch time comes in the form of 75 emails a day--a third of which become projects, so just to survive I move quickly back to all tech all the time so I can throw balls back across the net as fast as possible, and stay afloat, but then I end up with two Calendars---a total no-no I know--but I totally get what you are saying. I am caught between technology and paper and if I were a real techie, I am sure I would add all sorts of apps and go my merry way, but I am a medium techie. I waste so much time with all this. And I hate carrying that heavy dumb Franklin all over with me too!! But the thing works a lot better than a bunch of calendars and notebooks!! or I would break it down. I am not a kid, I lead a complicated life---professor in grad school, president of a large Board, and novelist with a book due, a family, a dating life, pets, friends---I am smart, but darned if I can't crack this implementation of GTD!! Like you, I haven't so far. It's a time suck and a killer.


      • #4
        Multiple Roles

        Maybe part of the issue is having multiple roles. Like Trish, I too juggle a variety of jobs: I am managing a small publishing house, run a digital photo business from home, and have regular freelance editorial clients, and that's just the work side of life. For me, I love the streamlined nature of iCal/Treo, but I definitely lean more towards paper. If there's too much techie stuff, I run the other way; I like the plain vanilla apps for simplicity. (That said, I appreciate Todd's comments and will look at how he's sorted it out!!) I want to get to the root of why I can't seem to sustain a set of tools for longer than 4-6 weeks without wanting to change it all!



        • #5
          Hi Claudia,
          If you are sustaining a set of tools for 4 to 6 weeks, you are doing better than I am. I make it a week to 10 days at best. Arrrrrghhhh.


          • #6
            I am less of a techie than most people. I use the three ring binder organizer I described on the other forum. All my lists are hand written.

            The only exception where use technology is that I have found the @Waiting For function where you put a [w] in your emails and have outlook put them all into a folder so you can quickly scan them to see who "owes" you what, a simple invaluable tool that is easier than creating another paper list.

            For me I can not handle any duplication or complexity, because I know I would not keep the system up and loose confidence in it.


            • #7
              Dear ggoldman,
              Do you carry the 3 ring binder with you then? Or just take pages out of it, or what? Your system sounds simple and smart to me. I assume there is a calendar in there too. Trish


              • #8
                I do carry it with me, either in my briefcase, or in my car on the weekends. I always keep it together in one piece, as I know if I start pulling it apart, I will loose trust in it.

                Currently, I do carry a separate calendar, because I started using it before discovering GTD. I am not sure I will have a separate calender next year, if I can find or make some printed pages to put in the binder.

                I always have at my desk or in my briefcase a pad of 8 1/2 X 11 paper, which is pre-punched with three holes, so as I take notes, I can put them right in without a fuss.

                The other thing that makes this work for me is the plastic three hole punched pocket in the front, where my wife can give me stuff, like bills to pay, notes about people to call etc.

                If the size is an issue, I am sure there are smaller binders with ready made paper available, I just wanted to go as simple as possible.


                • #9
                  DIY Planner is a solution for you.

                  Originally posted by ggoldman View Post
                  I am not sure I will have a separate calender next year, if I can find or make some printed pages to put in the binder.
         is a solution for you.


                  • #10
                    DIY planner

                    Has anyone found a source for really great paper that one could print the forms on?


                    • #11
                      A few thoughts:

                      o You probably can't get away with all digital or all paper - paper will never go away. Why? Read 'The Myth of the Paperless Office' - paper has some unique 'affordances' that digital hasn't yet reproduced. Plus technology has some big minuses. So don't sweat it - just work with it.

                      o Portability is crucial. whatever system you pick, you must be able to have with you at all times your four action categories and project materials.

                      o Avoid duplication. if you're using a digital tool (and it really works for you), but want paper during the day, consider printing daily calendar/actions lists

                      o Project materials: These days, we're stuck with at least three places to store related documents/thoughts/plans: paper folders (A-Z, etc), hard disk folders (for saving attachments, and any documents you create), and email folders. The key: Name them all the same as the project list entry.

                      Hope that helps.


                      • #12
                        very good advice!

                        Thank you Cornell! It is both/and - and I think that probably technology probably rules with paper as a back-up, notetaking tool, etc., not the other way around. It's an uneasy partnership for me right now though!


                        • #13
                          Claudia, I hear ya! See my post of today's date. I've only found a combination of paper/digital to work for me but waver back and forth.

                          And I LOVE notebooks and pens!