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Has anyone gone back to paper?

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  • #16
    When i fall off the gtd wagon i refocus / regroup by using paper and then input it into my electronic (omnifocus system). I prefer electronic as it syncs across my devices and is backed up, easy to edit and organize.


    • #17
      all except calendar

      My system is paper-based except my calendar. iCal syncing across devices is the only way I can handle date/time based actions. Otherwise, I love paper!



      • #18
        I have moved back to paper temporarily but quickly lost my enthusiasm for it once I realized that it was much easier for me to forget my paper planner and also, a paper planner is not as mobile as my iPhone which is where I keep my lists and projects.

        I use paper for brainstorming and for mapping out initial project plans but after I'm done with that, straight to digitial. I love the mobility too much to give that up permanently.


        • #19
          I recently went back to paper from OmniFocus. Don't get me wrong, OF is the best electronic tool I have ever used. It is so good and you can create so many views (perspectives) that after a while you find that if you can't tweak OF to do more things, it's not as fun to use. Plus, if you every view your whole list (Show All), it looks mind boggling.

          Even with paper, I tend to go for something that is fun using (Filofax Malden in Ochre), but with paper you tend to interact with it in such a way that you don't need to tweak it. Plus, it never seems overwhelming while an electronic list always looks huge no matter what you do.

          Not sure this makes sense to you , but yep I am back with paper.


          • #20
            Yay, Filofax!

            Originally posted by OF user View Post
            Even with paper, I tend to go for something that is fun using (Filofax Malden in Ochre), but with paper you tend to interact with it in such a way that you don't need to tweak it.
            I have a grey A5 Malden, and I LOVE using it. I love the feel and the smell - and the crinkle of the paper as I flip the pages. I have seen people do LOTS of "tweaking" of their Filofaxes, but I agree - I find I am spending more time on the actual items on my lists when I use paper, as opposed to how many ways I can view said items. I think it comes down to "which tool do you enjoy interacting with?!" and I would never try to convince someone who is a diehard electronic list manager person to "go paper"!


            • #21
              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. 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.


              • #22
                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.

                Less temptation
                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.

                More Current
                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.

                - Zac


                • #23
                  Originally posted by kkuja View Post
                  I like paper. Only weakness of paper, to which I have stumbled upon, is the physical size.
                  One of my systems is a pocket-sized notebook with a page for each context. I write actions onto the appropriate part of the appropriate page as soon as I think of them. I erase them when done, to make room to write new ones.


                  • #24

                    My system is a hybrid. I find that for meetings I prefer to take notes on paper. I also use paper when I'm brainstorming or working on a primarily creative activity. My thought processes are different with a pen in my hand, rather than a keyboard.

                    But I LOVE using OF to ensure I have everything captured, organized, and prioritized.

                    My hybrid approach requires I have a way to easily get paper notes and action items into the digital world.

                    For that, I use a combination of Evernote and some custom software I created.

                    Papers that are needed for reference are photographed and land in Evernote. Papers that contain to-do items get processed with my custom software.

                    It let's me take a photo of my notes and it automatically extracts the parts of the photo that contain to-do items (it looks for a special marking) and puts them into my Omnifocus inbox where I can process them within my normal workflow.

                    No more transcribing my handwritten to-do items!

                    As others have said, the key is finding the balance that works for you.



                    • #25
                      Judging by the start date of this thread, I've been using a paper system for 5 months and it simply isn't working as well as my old electronic system. Don't get me wrong, there are things I like about my paper system but there were more things I liked about my electronic one.

                      I'm going to temporarily move my stuff back onto Toodledo. I say temporarily because it wasn't ideal either. Part of the problem with electronic list systems is that they is that they are more restrictive than paper. They always want to display stuff in rigid lists or tables. Printing formats often seem like they are thrown in as an afterthought and the interface for editing the relationships between items can feel clunky at times.

                      I think I can do better. Someone on here said one of the best systems they have used is a relational database. It certainly must be the ultimate in flexibility! I've thought about this and have come up with a simple schema that captures what I want out of a GTD system.

                      I also have plenty of ideas for a user interface that shows useful views of the data depending on whether you are collecting, processing, doing, etc. I also have an idea that may solve the problem of linking a project to an action. If it works as well as I hope it will, navigating between views will feel incredibly smooth.

                      I know this project could potentially suck up a lot of time but I work as a freelance software developer and always let myself have one personal project on the go.


                      • #26
                        Paper gets a little messy but sometimes my hands really want to write down things rather than typing them over some software.


                        • #27
                          Having just attended the Mastering Work seminar, I'm inspired to go fully analog (at least with respect to projects, goals, next actions). I'd love to hear/see how people are doing this. When I'm ready, I'll post photos/video of my system.


                          • #28
                            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.



                            • #29
                              I find paper works brilliantly for me. A few years ago I had my lists in excel and they just weren't particularly attractive. Paper and pen is just more comfortable somehow. I have just reinvigorated my lists at work by printing lines onto A4 coloured paper and using different colours for different contexts. It's made them really enjoyable to work with - a simply change that has made a bigger impact than I expected. In case you are interested, I have four contexts at work:
                              I had just had an office and WF list before I moved to the coloured sheets but it was getting unwieldy and these new contexts are working very well for me.

                              In response to the comment made by jmsmall, I also struggled initially with email, but my method is now as follows:
                              - Process item from inbox
                              - If actionable, write the NA on the appropriate context list and move the email to @Action Support folder within outlook. I also normally write next to the item (Em. A/S) so that I know that it came in as an email. If the item is paper related I write (N/A Supp) next to the item so I always know exactly where to go to get the support documents, whether electronic or paper.
                              I failed entirely to work direct from email, with the items in the A/S folder as the list so to speak, and this hybrid version that I run now works really well for me. I can also feel confident that all my actions are in one place (on those four sheets of paper in my lists tray) rather than feeling that they are strewn about.


                              • #30
                                Ashamed to admit, I own:
                                • The Hit List
                                • Omnifocus (Iphone & Mac)
                                • Things (Iphone & Mac)
                                • More, so much more

                                and always return to paper. I'm currently using paper, and think I may be here for a while.