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In Limbo

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  • In Limbo

    I have talked about this before but I just wanted to throw this out there to the forum to get some comments- mainly because y'all are so resourceful. Currently, I am in limbo. I have been using my PDA intensely for the past 6 months. It has become my trusted system from where I can pick next actions with ease while getting an overview of my calender and commitments at the same time. I also LOOOVE the small portable size. So you could imagine my own amazement when some unconscious part of me bought a 1/2" binder today at Target and proceeded to make a GTD Binder System like David suggests.

    My problem (and decision to flirt with paper-based) has come from this: I sync my Palm at home only (due to techinical incompatibilities with my work machine). This means that I am constantly creating and collecting all day just to have it pile up at home for processing. This "process" has seriously caused me some procrastination with getting things IN to my system. Its a BOTTLENECK.

    I would LOVE to keep the Palm PDA as my main tool, but I need more time to process my STUFF (which is ideal during work hours.) This is the reason why I am thinking that keeping the collecting, processing, action lists, calender, and address book in one place would help my situation- I could quickly add to the lists, cross things off the lists, and access information. The problem is that I hate the size, and I hate the rewriting.

    I would love to hear some comments from people who have either had similar situations, and have also walked the line between digital and paper. Also some tips for my situation would help me out a lot! Thanks in advance.

    I use Palm Desktop, plain with an older Zire model Palm.

  • #2
    I'm having the same problem. Here's what I'm considering: Type your lists and store them still on your PDA, but print them for your notebook. This will save the extra time you would have spent writing. Depending, then, on where you are going or what you will be doing you can take one or the other. I review, and type almost exclusively on the desktop, which allows me to see enough to give me the global view that you don't get with the PDA alone. So, if I'm in my office, where about half of my 'stuff' is located and processed, the PDA isn't really necessary.

    I'm curious to hear what others think as well.


    • #3
      I walk the line

      Using both PDA and paper has been vital to my happiness with my system. I use my PDA for my calendar, contacts, and project reference materials, including my "Project" list. I use a paper notebook for my next action lists. I use one page per context labeled with the "@ ----" at the bottom so I can see the context quickly. For my regular contexts, I use post it notes as tabs for quick reference. I flip the notebook around and use it from the back for incoming information, brainstorming for later processing, notes at meetings, etc. Recently I had a slightly more sophisticated notebook holder that keeps the notebook on one side and has a pocket on the other. I didn't like it as well since I have to flip past all my context lists to get to a clean sheet of paper to write incoming thoughts down instead of just turning the notebook over.

      This approach has also helped me during my weekly review, since I have a good idea of what isn't getting done by visually looking at where it falls on the list. If the item is at the top of one of the context lists but still not crossed off at the end of the week, I know to look at it closely to make sure it's a next action and that I don't have some kind of mental block about it. I also "wipe the slate clean" by restarting my most active context lists with fresh pieces of paper so I rethink all of the next actions I have committed myself to mentally.

      I can also circle and star and underline on the paper lists without pause to give the tasks the proper emphasis on the list, especially for tasks that I am procrastinating on or have a deadline. I'll admit I'm really addicted to the feeling of crossing off a next action in that tangible, physical way, with a determined scribble or a simple line or check mark as the mood strikes me (and usually in relation to how much I had to push myself to do it)


      • #4
        I Cross the line 3 Months Ago.

        I continue having a foot in the other line, I keep everything in Outlook, in that way if my paper blow I have a copy.

        I do not want to carry my paper planner with me (did that years ago before my first palm, in fact was the original reason to buy the palm)

        This is how My System Works.

        Notes (reference Material)

        List By Context from Outlook

        The advantage is that the paper gives me the pleasure of writing in there, I can go to Index Cards if I am traveling to have a page if I am in the Office. Just choose the size of printing.

        Also has given me another good reason to do a Weekly Review... Get a Clean List! I have discover that now I even do a Bi-Weekly Review, one on Wednesdays and one on Sunday so I have clean lists. Knowing that my lists are in outlook give me a lot of Confidence and also I am sure that I can understand what I wrote down.

        Check if you are looking for something different than a white page, they have grea stuff.

        Hope you the best!


        • #5
          I had a "Moment" today that makes me wonder about going back to paper. As I do every morning, I came to the office, put my iPAQ 2795 in its cradle and watched the Missing Sync program begin the process of syncing the MacBook Pro and the PDA. It told me there were changes (there always are) so I clicked sync and away it went. When I went to view my appointments for the day, they were gone, as were a large number of upcoming appointments. WHAT???

          It was a tough day booking appointments not knowing what I did and did not have on my calendar. I also lost many of my notes I keep in individual appointments on my calendar note field.

          I spent nearly 3 hours trying to re-enter the appointments and reoccuring appointments back into my system from memory and with the help of an old backup. But it was painful!!!

          Now: do I try syncing again or do I grab my Day-Timer and start adding things into it again? And how do I easily get 866 Tasks out of iCAL and back onto paper? Should I even try??

          Any thoughts you might have would be appreciated?


          • #6
            Originally posted by GTDWorks
            Now: do I try syncing again or do I grab my Day-Timer and start adding things into it again? And how do I easily get 866 Tasks out of iCAL and back onto paper? Should I even try??

            Any thoughts you might have would be appreciated?
            This is what I do...
            - Desktop overwrites the Palm.
            - Print iCal into Paper Update in the Weekly Review and Print Again...

            My 2 cents


            • #7
              Day 2- Feeling Good.

              Last night I printed everything out so everything is current between the binder and the PDA. I plan on just updating the binder during the week. So far I love the quick entry and especially the letter sized paper (and plenty of it for ORGANIZED project planning which I had no place for before....) For some reason, seeing the entire list at one shot on a piece of paper just does it for me... a lot more than a small badly lit screen. The plan is to update uncompleted things in to the computer during the weekly review which is much easier than PROCESSING and entering.....

              Thanks MINDI, I remember you posted the last time I wrote about this. Apinaud, I like the hybrid style you are using. I will be doing something very similar to yours but I will be also using a paper calender and a paper contacts sheet (I printed them out from PALM DESKTOP (no harm in experimenting right?)... GTD WORKS I had a similar moment a a week ago... this could be why I am experimenting with this... It really shocked me how much I was relying on my comp for this process......


              • #8
                I've had my share of 'special' moments with electronic devices as well. Years ago, I started with an original Palm, upgraded to a V, changed OS'es to Pocket PC with an iPaq and soldiered on with two versions of iPaqs. ActiveSync 'bit me' a few times, losing the identity of the attached device, forcing more than a few restores. Add to this the original iPaq's inability to replace the battery and Microsoft's overall operating system instability (I won't start a flame war on this; suffice to say, I'm an extremely careful OS upgrader and more than a few 'SP's' have bit me very, very well!) and it all started adding up.

                I was spending more time supporting my electronic devices than they were supporting me!

                So, two years ago, I took the reverse plunge and ditched PDA's from my life. Went back to a good old Franklin Planner and use this with my own 'mod's' to implement GTD with a paper planner. Outlook is still the trusted system (only other plug-in is an auto data backup program on exit) and GTD is my control panel. But I print on blank Franklin Paper (well, on Jeppesen paper but it works and is far cheaper) and yes, I do lug around a planner with me again.

                But I've got to say, it's still cathartic to hand write in an appointment and no, it doesn't bother me that I have to re-enter things in my weird world of paper/electronic 'syncing'. All of that is a small price to pay for KNOWING that everything I have is backed up on paper and the darned electronics can take a hike if they want to.

                Just this past Monday, we had a major lightning storm here in Carolina and even though everything in the company is surged protected and runs through a gen set and TVSS system, my LCD monitor still took a hike. Went to power it on and nothing. Was keeping my fingers crossed the pc didn't take a hike too (it didn't). But it sure felt GOOD to know that lowly paper planner was right there, unaffected by everything that seems to plague electronic devices.

                Yes, I'm a 47 year old dinosaur and lately, darned proud of it!