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PDAs seem vastly over-rated

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  • PDAs seem vastly over-rated

    I have a Palm Pilot that I rarely use. I find it more convenient to use note cards to keep track of tasks. I don't understand how anyone could find a PDA of much assistance. Maybe I'm not using mine properly.

    I can write faster on paper than on the PDA screen.

    The screen shows only a small message.

    If the batteries fail, you've lost data.

    Where is the advantage of a PDA over a stack of cards?


    Arnold Howard

  • #2
    Collecting and processing VERSUS reviewing

    You've got a point there! I agree that I can handwrite something faster than I can write it on the small screen of the PDA. However, the collecting and processing are different steps, using different tools, than the review phase.

    The major shift for me was when I started putting in the reference data that the Palm PDA can hold. Essay ideas, camping checklists, even grocery lists are held in the Palm system.

    Personally, I'd say I review 90% of my "next actions" while I'm at the desktop version of the Palm. It's only when I'm out and about that I'd look at the @Calls list, or the @Errands list.

    I regularly sync my PDA to my desktop. The few times the battery charge has failed, I simply add a new set of batteries/recharge the unit and sync again. As a matter of fact, in 5+ years of working with a Palm, I've not lost the data once!

    The advantage FOR ME of the Palm over the cards is that the PDA is more universally available with ALL kinds of data I "might" use. The volume that I'm tracking now (about 80 projects, and over 100 next actions) may be unwieldly using note cards. This way, I can see it easily and appropriately, and I trust that it's all there.



    • #3
      PDA's overrated (misused)


      I think you are right in a sense, but tell me a customers phone number real quick. Tell me what you're doing October 21st real quick. Odds are I can do it quicker than you, but as Jason explained, there are other advantages of PDA's.
      Another: I can cut and paste a email into a todo and sort those todo's any way I choose. You'll be shuffling. Digital has its advantages in a digital world.
      Having said all that, I thnk the trap of PDA's is that we can tend to fiddle with them (misuse them) and get more caught up in the process than the outcomes.

      But who am I but a humble student of the process?



      • #4
        Paper vs palm has been discussed many times (see the archives). It is a very personal decision and different things work best for different people. For me PDA makes the most sense, and the advantages vastly outweight the disadvantages (your milage may vary):

        I am not desk based and rarely use the desktop. So any PC based solution would not work for me.

        --I used to use note cards/post its, but found I would never copy over the info into where it needed to go. With the palm , I turn it on, and enter the info into the right place (e.g. to do list @errand) right then and there.

        --I use grafiti and can write on the PDA faster the I can write (legibly) on paper. If you use e.g. fitaly you can "write" on the PDA faster then anyone can write on paper (shorthand excepted)

        --My PDA has rechargable batteries, and I put it to charge every night. If I ever ran the batteries down, my data is backed up automatically to a memory stick (I have sony CLIE 610). If you loose a paper planner, you are out of luck.

        --If I am out and unexpectedly need a phone number, I always have it with me. Or am out and need to know my schedule to make an appointment, I always have my schedule with me.



        • #5
          Bottom line:
          Don't use the PDA as a collection device. Use it only to organize your lists, contacts and calendar. That's it!

          If you use a PC workstation with a palm desktop OR Outlook customized per David Allen's specs in his handbook for Outlook AND you can get fluent with all the shortcuts, then there is NO question. The PDA rocks!

          Good luck.


          • #6
            I agree! I almost never use my Palm as a collection device.

            If I'm on the go at work, I always carry around a notepad. I write everything down and dump it into my inbox. I usually process my inbox about 2x daily, and then I capture all of my NA's in my Palm.

            If I'm at my desk and in collection mode (home or work) I enter directly into the desktop & sync.

            My main collection buckets are at my desks (home & work), and I have sattelite collection buckets set up everywhere that I expect to gather "stuff" - in my car, the "mud" room @ my house (for mail, etc.), and a portable "inbox" that I use to transfer stuff between home and work. Each day (wether at home or work), I make sure that I dump the "stuff" from these "Sattelite" inboxes to my main ones. I then process the main ones and capture all of the NA's in my Palm.


            • #7

              Here are the main PDA advantages for me:

              1) easy portability between home & work (I sync both places)
              2) data is backed-up automatically
              3) ability to revise, re-order and annotate
              4) ability to categorize
              5) portability of reference material
              6) ability to search

              It took me a while to wean myself from a paper planner, but it's done.

              I also carry a "pocket briefcase" which holds index cards for meeting notes and quick jottings. I have one of the small Cross pen/stylus combo's in it as an emergency pen or stylus. It's all personal choice, really. On an extended business/pleasure trip to Europe last year, I ran the GTD system for the trip out of a small spiral notebook. After I got back, I moved what was needful back to the Palm.

              Mike Ogilvie


              • #8
                I do use my pocketpc to collect data: I use the voice recorder and type it up when I'm back at the pc.


                • #9
                  PDA vs Paper

                  The type of tool you use to implement GTD is a personally decision. For me, I would never use stricly paper to manager Next actions on projects. Don't feel you need to use a PDA just because everyone else it, but don't knock other people for doing do either.

                  If it's of no advantage to you, don't use it. It sounds like you have your system under control, which is the bottom line.