Confession post: I went digital.

2009 has been a difficult year for me and my family. Many changes have occurred, many heart breaking events, both on a personal and professional level. As a result, I had to make a lot of changes to my planning habits, in order to keep up with everything. Unfortunately, sadly, I ended up going digital. Kicking and screaming, mind you. I physically miss the feel of paper and pen. I miss planning my months on little index cards. I miss jotting notes on little index cards. I miss little index cards. *sigh*

When my mother-in-law's cancer went for the worse and we moved to her town for two weeks to be at her side for the end, I brought my computer with me and my agenda, but since all my work was done by computer, all my meetings on my computer, all my messages by email, my agenda went forgotten in the hotel room most of the time.

When two of my colleagues tried to stop my promotion and started spreading libel and smearing my reputation, my computer, my on-line journal and my digital correspondance records became my primary tools. My day book never kept up with the daily changes to my meetings schedule with the union reps and the department head. I fought the trolls and won, I got my promotion. But my day book went by the way side again.

When my father suffered an infarction, I had to purchase a cell phone. I had been fighting the good fight against that one for years and years, but I had to buy one months earlier then I had planned. I wanted to wait for the Droid phone to make a final choice. Coronary disease made the choice for me. I knew that if I got a phone, ever, it would be a smart phone. I got an iPhone. And it took only a week to come to the conclusion that if I had a smart phone with me 24/7, there was no point in my carrying a day book around. Especially since I was already trying to keep up with my email planning in it already...

I have a confession to make: I'm now using iCal for planning. I am also using the notes feature in Mail and the Notes app to jot ideas. I have not used an index card in weeks. I feel ashamed. Really, I do. I miss paper.

The only paper survivors to my passage to digital are my notebook. My meeting notes, my article ideas, my presentation planning all still start in the bound notebook. My class discussion ideas also. It does mean I pull it out less often than before, but at least it means I still have some stationary with me. The circa notebook is still my friend when I go to a conference. I write down all my conference notes and then file by date and topic. Since I go to 4 or 5 conferences a year, I don't carry that one often, but it's still my go-to for conference related insights.

2010 will see me being a digital girl all the way. I will not be printing planner pages for 2010 for myself. I did print some for Mamou and I made a pingouin desk calendar for him, but not for me.

I miss paper.


ETA: Thank you all for the comments!

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Don't forget to backup

I would really hate to see you go through a major data loss after all you describe.
"I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." (Calvin and Hobbes/Bill Waterson)

No worries about that.

I have three types on on-site backups and off-site backup as well.

Hey, don't beat yourself up about it...

They'll have to pry my Palm LifeDrive from my cold, dead hands, at least until September of 2010 when my AT&T contract will allow ME to get an iPhone. Right now I just start my Palm up with a crank each morning, being the elcheapo Luddite that I am ;-)

I have never used paper for my scheduling, for all of the documentation reasons you describe, and also because my schedule changes constantly and I can't STAND crossouts.

But for creative work, brainstorming, journaling/art journaling etc., etc., etc. paper is Queen.

Crafty Pagan Computer Geek

I miss paper *pouts*

I miss paper *pouts*

Do what works

So very sorry you had to go through all that. The art of planning is to find what works for you. BTW, I am very proud of you for fighting that work nightmare. It must have been difficult to find the energy to do that in the midst of everything else.

One suggestion, if you have a chance to breath, is to journal. Curl up in a quiet place with a nice pen and a good journal and pour out your heart. It will help you process all that has happened to you and those you love. It would also help get you your paper fix.

I agree

You don't have to miss paper - that's the mistake I made when I first went digital. You have to RETHINK paper.

Before you know it, you will find a whole new paper world outside of scheduling, documenting and communicating, a more personal and creative world.

I know I did.

Crafty Pagan Computer Geek

Thought about it

I've seriously thought about going digital. It's got some advantages: more portable - you can fit a ton more info in a smaller space with laptops & PDA's than a planner, more searchable, easier to back up.

But you just can't beat the feeling of pen & paper to get the mind going. I'm considering using a paper + digital combination. We'll see how that works out.


Going digital/paper combo

I have been attempting to go digital with some trouble using my Macbook and an ipod touch. We have to use Outlook at work - no choice. My Macbook and touch are (obviously) on a different platform. Synching directly is not possible (work restrictions on what we can plug into our computers) so I had to find an indirect route. I can sync my work PC to Airset. I can't sync th ework PC to Google calendar (which would also sync with my Apple stuff) because the IT folk won't install the latest clock/daylight savings time patch on our PC systems. I guess keeping accurate time globally isn't important in a scientific research environment to them. I have requested the patch and been rejected.

I can export my calendar file from Airset to my Macbook then import into ical. That has been problematic - I end up with multiple copies of some appts, probably because I am importing/merging/whatever wrong but haven't had time to figure it out. Also, I don't have a way to transfer my todo's from Outlook to Airset then get them into something on my Apple platform stuff. I really wish ical had a task list function then I would just enter my todo's directly into ical and reject putting them into Outlook. I don't like using Notes for tasks. I need something where I can set up repeating tasks that I can check off and reuse, nested todo's, and categories. I would like a task manager that I can have on my Macbook that will also sync to my touch. The iphone/touch apps, for the most part, don't have a desktop/laptop version so that data entry can be done on a regular keyboard. - a big drawback for the touch for me.

I still use a moleskine for meeting and research notes. I also end up with scraps of paper with tasks on them that mostly end up in a list in my Moleskine that gets out of date. All still a work in progress. I used to have a Palm Pilot (monochrome old one) that did everything I needed, including sync calendars, tasks, etc. It even had Pocket Quicken that sync'ed seamlessly with my laptop version. I miss it horribly. Nothing has ever been as perfect as when that old Palm Pilot was my main tool. I love Apple products but sync issues are a pain.


Sounds like you are in a similar situation to me as far as restrictions on what you can install at work and what you can get to. Gmail & google calendar are blocked here.

I'm not sure if this helps you or not, but I've been really liking TaskPaper on the Mac. It is very simple. You set up projects and tasks go under that. The tasks can be nested, tagged, etc. The only thing you mention that you can't do is set up recurring tasks - pretty sure it can't.

I think they are working on an iPhone version that syncs with the desktop Mac program. There is also an app called Things. It is built on GTD and looks great but looks like overkill for what I want to keep track of. Unlike TaskPaper, Things does currently have iPhone syncing.


Things syncing

What does it sync with - a desktop verson of Things? I will investigate further. Thanks for the tip. I have found a lot of to do apps for the touch but really need to be able to use a keyboard for primary input rather than the little touch screen. I would like to see a keyboard for my touch on the market. I had a little keyboard for my Palm Pilot and loved it. It folded up and fit into my purse and was fabulous.

Things on the Mac

The iPhone version of Things syncs with the desktop Mac version. I have no clue what it uses for the syncing. I think you can input on the iPhone or the desktop & then just have them sync up.


Might be Overkill for You - OmniFocus

I'm also in a crazy locked down work environment. I have OmniFocus for my MacBook and my iPhone. Love it! But it might be overkill for you and it is pricey. I use SimpleNote or Notespark for general note taking, but they are both really just a replacement for the Notes portion of Mail from Apple.

What is *most* important?


I can sympathize with your plight. Having jumped back and forth between digital and analog many times over the years, analog always wins. I was one of the early adopters of the Palm Pilot - pre-ordered two of them the day before US Robotics announced the Pilot publicly. I've also tried nearly every desktop note-taking, outlining, mind-mapping, and scheduling application there is, as well as PDAs, Smartphones, and Tablet PC's.

The bottom line is that there is something magical about making a permanent mark with ink on paper. It does something different to the neurons in your brain than typing, tapping, or clicking does. As many of your remarks hint at, paper & ink is more satisfying than anything else, on several levels. Digital may have the advantage of raw efficiency, but efficiency isn't the *main thing*. Your personal satisfaction & happiness is. At least that is what I have found through years of painful (and sometimes comical) lessons.


I have not abandoned paper

I have not abandoned paper altogether, thankfully, but my paper daybook just could not keep up with my life.

In the same boat...


Wanna know something funny? My husband surprised me with an iPhone last friday. It's also my first cell phone ever. So I'm now in the same boat with trying to figure out how this new "shiny" will fit in with my life.

So far I'm using it to keep my twitter feed and my facebook updated. I've had maybe two calls on it. I've synced both my Dropbox and Evernote account with it. Although I'm thinking of purchasing a copy of "Awesome Note" soon. :)

I'll still use paper for the long notes and the journal entries, etc. But I'm already attached to this phone and I can't wait to see what 2010 brings. I know it's going to come in handy next month when I fly out to Denver to take care of my mom who had a back surgery (I get to tie her shoes... fun: ) ).

Good luck with it all, congrats on your promotion, and let me know what apps you enjoy!

My fave apps? Easy. Tweetie

My fave apps? Easy.

Tweetie 2, for Twitter
LiveJournal App, for LJ, of course
Things, for todos. I really do love it and it synchs with the desktop app.
AutoStitch for panoramas, which is love
Sol Free, MahJong, BubbleWrap and Fling for mindless games
1Password, for password management
Instapaper, Stanza and GoodReader, for reading on the go

There are others that are not always on my phone, that are contextual, such as the IleSansFil app that tells me where in Mtl I can find open wifi, or Keynote Remote, that I install only when at a conference.

Don't forget

Don't forget to take care of yourself when you go taking care of your mom. *hugs*

digital vs analog

this is a continuing theme of my life... digital or analog??? i obviously go back and forth. i have always had a palm pilot, but now have gone to a smartphone with the palm apps - I LOVE IT!!! one thing that i always have with me is my phone! so, i can email myself to do's or ideas, etc. i have my grocery list using splashwallet. i have a ton of notes and journals in the memo area, etc. and of course, my calendar!!!! love that my calendar is on my phone and syncs with my computer.

here is the problem i find... did i complete the to do item in my task list and just forget to mark it done??? especially when it is something like my dogs monthly meds. this is where i miss paper. i truly enjoyed highlighting a to do item when it was complete, so i never forgot to do so. with digital, checking the little box just doesn't seem as fulfilling, so I forget to do it.

so, i am mainly digital, but i think my to do list will be on index cards. my personal to do list does not have much on it that needs to be kept for future reference, so there is really no need for it to be digital.

ahh, the battle continues....

best of luck in 2010 everyone!!

nay nay

The Dark Side

She's gone over to the dark side. The temptation is strong. Not all are able to resist.


I am but a simple caveman.


Even those who pay lip service to paper all go digital and disappear after awhile. We paper lovers really are an endangered species. Hmm...wonder if there are any government grants available for that? I could see a new non-profit foundation for the protection of paper/pen lovers. You suppose?

I still love paper!!! I

I still love paper!!!

I do!

I still read this site daily! (ok, not in the last few days, because of, you know, the Holidays...)

I'm not paper planning at the moment.