The war of paper vs. digital

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supergtdman

Guest
Roger;91443 said:
...

Renaming a Next Action is something that's so bizarre and alien to my experiences, so totally outside what I can imagine anyone doing, that I really don't have any response to it.

So... yeah. It sounds like you're working your system just fine, so I'm in no position to throw stones. Different people work the system different ways, and they'll find their own advantages and disadvantages to the various media.

All the best,
Roger
I don't rename actions often but I don't see anything bizarre with it. For example during a weekly review you notice some actions repel you and so you go ahead and use different wording, or some projects aren't named as good realistic outcomes, or maybe you want to turn some actions into projects and so on.

I don't do it very often myself so it's not the main reason to use digital system obviously but I doubt it's totally unimaginable process :)
 

Oogiem

Registered
Roger;91443 said:
Renaming a Next Action is something that's so bizarre and alien to my experiences, so totally outside what I can imagine anyone doing, that I really don't have any response to it.
I'm firmly in the majority of stuff is electronic camp because of the re-writing needed on paper. I can't imagine a system that didn't need at least some changing of the next actions, changing project names, changing contexts, adding to the outcomes or adding to project support at each and every weekly review. I always find several things that need to be clarified and re-worded to get them unstuck every time I review so I can't imagine a scenario where I got it right the first time ever.

When I've tried paper (usually when I was switching electronic systems) I couldn't even get through a full day without having something bug me about the wording of an item.

So while you can't see a need to change stuff I can't see a way not to. :)
 

ScottL

Registered
Paper and electronic

I feel MUCH more connected to the money I am spending when I write out paper checks vs e.g. quicken. So for GTD I have used an electronic program (which one has varied) where I can change things easily and print it out in the evening and keep the printouts in a binder which I take with me during the day. One week in 5 I work a totally different work schedule so I also have a LARGE month at a glance calendar.
 

sebastiaan

Registered
why I prefer paper

LS! Mankind has thousands of years of experience of archiving on paper. Only for decades we digitally preserve data. In my country, the Netherlands, managers choose the cheaper option of digital archiving. I have a very negative experience with this. In small and big NGO's there is often nobody responsible for archiving. Workers save files on computers, change jobs, the computers with the hard disk are replaced. The industry sells us new incompatible systems to store data. Paper is thrown away, because it takes up so much space and there is seldom anybody interested in reading any of it, when it is more then five years old. People say internet remembers everything, forget it! I wrote for several websites and after a number of years they were restyled, or vanished into nothingness. For three years I published on a text page (Ceefax) on our local television station. I have no records of this, so I am not sure whether I can put it on my CV. And data more then ten years old are permanently lost in my country. Sincerely, Sebastiaan
 

jesig

Registered
ScottL;91583 said:
I feel MUCH more connected to the money I am spending when I write out paper checks vs e.g. quicken. So for GTD I have used an electronic program (which one has varied) where I can change things easily and print it out in the evening and keep the printouts in a binder which I take with me during the day. One week in 5 I work a totally different work schedule so I also have a LARGE month at a glance calendar.
This is the perfect example to me of how different systems mean different things to different people. I run an extremely tight budget (grad school...some day there will be a salary again!) and I do it by ensuring that absolutely no paper money or checks ever go through my hands. For me, a running electronic tab that is to the penny of how much is in my checking account is what I need to feel connected to my spending and to not be tempted to overspend.

I think the key is to learn what really causes your brain to behave the way you want it to and don't assume that someone else's method will work for you. If paper isn't flexible enough to keep your mind clear, then digital might be solution. If digital is so fiddly for you that checking it becomes a chore, then paper might be the answer.

I think most of us find that paper is crucial for some things, and digital for others. I'm a big time techie and have two different tablets as well as a smartphone and a tablet convertible laptop. I spend most of my day in front of a computer. My GTD system is entirely electronic. However, I hand write all my lesson plans in a composition notebook and take it with me every time I teach. There are some things that just feel more comfortable on paper!
 

randman

Registered
I have a theory.
if you prefer to work when your head is looking down you’ll prefer paper even though it may make take more time.
if there’s no advantage for you to work with your head down then you’ll find more value working digitally.

There is also the factor of reading versus browsing.
do you always prefer to read a book on paper them on screen… Even if the screen is showing a photo of paper?
Then working with paper, the tactile feel, has value to you.
One middleground possibility is to use the computer to manage an archive information that is created on the computer. Like dictating notes into Evernote.
but perhaps tracking a project, which is not created on the computer, is better done on paper… With each task having reference checks boxes to note where any supporting information is stored… A checkbox for Evernote, a checkbox for a paper file ... no need to convert the paper to digital or print out the digital to paper… You just need to be able to collect them together when you need them, some can be on the screen and some can be in hand. You keep the information in the format it was created ... organically determined archiving with paper management.
 

OF user

Registered
I use paper (for my lists and other portions of my system) for the following reasons:

1. I get tired of using a computer all day. My biggest issue is that I can only see a small portion of information on the screen unless I zoom out and then everything is too small.

2. Paper is flexible and more interesting. I can do nearly anything. If I get bored I just change the format or the paper system I am using, e.g. planner, notebook, disc-bound, small, big, etc. If you find you need to do a lot of filtering and parsing of information, your system is probably overcomplicated. I am at the mercy of what an app can do, or worse I feel I need to use all the features of an app. Take a look at the GTD study guides. They only recommend using portions of an apps capabilities because anything else overcomplicates your system.

3. Using paper is usually satisfying. When I was on the digital roller coaster, it was exactly that. See the newest tool that is different (e.g Notion), and I gotta try that. With paper I just switch the "system" without changing the "system".

4. There are a lot of digital productivity "gurus" that are using paper - Shawn Blanc, Joe Buhlig, Mike Schmitz, and even MPU David Sparks (to some extent) use paper in their system. In Buhlig's case, all paper except calendar.

5. My favorite reason for using paper is that paper slows you down, makes it easy to focus and be intentional., and be selective about the things on your list. I listened to a David Allen audio from a while back where he stated that much of what he captures is never organized because it has been trashed during CLARIFYING. A great reason to decide a project/next action is not worth carrying anymore is the fact that you have to re-write it.

6. I never lost parts of a paper system. And if I did I probably could recreate it over the course of a couple of weeks.

I could probably go on but I have rambled enough. These are obviously personal reasons. There is no war between paper and digital. Everyone has a preference and that's fine. What I will say is that when you are having GTD problems or you are not sure GTD is for you (in whole or in part), try an analog system first and see if you don't feel better - before jumping to the next app or abandoning GTD altogether.
 
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