Our world is changing at an ever-increasing rate. With the new wave of “connected” devices it’s going to be almost impossible to disconnect. A feel a “matrix” coming on, or perhaps SkyNet will learn so much about us it will simple create new humanoid drones, or maybe… nah, that won’t happen. What I’m trying to say is that technology is all around us, but how much of it is actually going to help us live a better, more productive life?
There’s been a recent rise in the popularity of analog productivity tools. The good ol’ pen and paper approach. Through the release of stylish notebooks such as Moleskine, Leuchtturm, and others, and even pen and paper productivity methods such as Bullet Journal the traditional method of getting things done has seen a big come back. But is it enough? Will the fade last?
Personally, I use digital tools to manage my productivity. It’s a mishmash of desktop, web and iOS apps. For example, my arsenal includes:
- Asana (Web, iOS) – all my todo items that relate to bigger projects
- Wunderlist (Desktop, iOS) – simple tasks and errands
- Evernote (Desktop, iOS) – manage all my life basically
- Gmail (Web, iOS) – email, calendar.
And really that’s it. I try not to over complicate things by introducing too many automated services. I fail to see the value of storing every one of my tweets in my Evernote account using an IFTTT recipe. If something I want to share is important, it would already be in Evernote anyway. Each of the tools I use has a purpose and I use it for that purpose.
I’m also a fan of taking notes with pen and paper. I have a notebook I carry around with me to meetings. This give me the option to quickly sketch things, draw mind maps, and take all kinds of notes without being distracted by the much hated red line of “spelling errors”, or formatting issues.
I also carry around a stylish Evernote Moleskine that I use for my journal. I find that keeping a journal using pen and paper has a much more authentic feel to it. I can see the emotion in how my writing looks. And it forces me to actually slow down and really think about what I’m writing. After each entry I snap a photo of the page and keep it in Evernote as a backup.
Mrs. Roberts is completely analog. She carries around a diary and likes to hold on to pieces of paper received in the mail, or written on until they start to fall apart or float away into the mysteries of the universe. While I can’t really see the methods she uses to keep on top of things, somehow she does. As much as a I continually try to convince her to start storing all this stuff in an app (like Evernote or Dropbox), she resists.
There is fear that entrusting information to these applications and committing to the “cloud” leaves everything exposed. Also that the information will be unreachable should the internet be unavailable for some reason (even though this is not necessarily the case). And so these analog methods continue to prosper.
Whatever tool, or combination of tools, that you use, the real value is when they work for you and not the other way around. If you’re keeping organised, getting the right things done and enjoying it along the way then you’ve likely found a nice balance of resources. If however you feel lost dealing with either too many apps, or too much paper, it might be worth at least trying the alternative.
Over to you. What do you prefer, digital or analog, and why?