Unable to de-tech

Haveing red this forum on how people change from electric gadgets for organizing all kind of PIM info, and many of the obvious advantages of paper based systems, I tried to do the same and failed:
So the questions to all of you that have been able to de-tech and go analog how do you do this:

1)convert an email to a task or appointment?
(without writing down the email into you task list, if you do this then its better to abandond email and only use snail mail)

with outlook this its just a matter of dragging to the task list.

2)how do you chare your appointments with other people?

3)How can other people see if you are busy or not, do you let them browse you filofax when they plan a meeting

4)How do you get reminder when a deadline is near? I havent found a filofax that beebs 15 min before an important meeting like my pocket pc

Should be interesting to hear how you have solved this

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Paper is personal thinking space.

1)convert an email to a task or appointment?

I find I can record almost any task or appointment with 5 words or less, if I can't do that I am not clear about what I need to do. Most e-mails invovling these things contain so much more and less then I need to record. I find that just moving this data does not give me the gap to think about what really needs to be done or what the meeting is really about. Sure you can drop and drag, but you have not processed the infromation, just moved it.

2)how do you chare your appointments with other people?

I don't, my schedule is no for public consumption. If someone needs to meet with me I will tell them when I am available to them. This might change depending on the person.

3)How can other people see if you are busy or not, do you let them browse you filofax when they plan a meeting

Hell no. It is none of their business when I have blank spots on my calandar, only when I am willing to make time for them. I am not available every time I don't have a meeting, I have other things to accomplish. This thought, that someone is avilable at any time they are not engaged in another meeting, leads to metastized meetings, a disease that eats productivity.

4)How do you get reminder when a deadline is near? I havent found a filofax that beebs 15 min before an important meeting like my pocket pc

True. I have to look at my planner for it to work. I will occasionally set up a timer on my PC at the begining of the day if I have an important meeting on my calandar. You don't have to think about it if you use a scheudling progam, but is that really a good thing? Having to look at what time is available to me every day helps me schedule my day and not start the "deep think" tasks when something will interupt.

De-tech Success

I'll start with some background...I was an avid PDA user for years (remember the Psion 3a?) and have used all kinds of PocketPC or Palm based handhelds to try and organize things. I de-teched this aspect of my life at the beginning of the year, even though I continue to spend 8-10 hours a day online.

Let's work through the list:

1. "I can capture that appointment in four notes." :) The trick I use is: what do I need to know to get me to the church on time? I have entries in my planner such as "1 eBiz mtg 301" which is 1 p.m. eBusiness team meeting in room 301. Took less strokes with a pen than it would with graffiti. I still run Lotus Notes so the entry also goes into my calendar, but when I need to know what's going on I check the planner first. I don't need a novel of information, and in the cases where I do a quick hit of the print button gives me a copy that is dead battery proof.

2. "You meeting with me?" A phone call, email, or personal request is usually a good start to get on my calendar. If the request is at work I say "kick me an invite" which bounces off the Lotus Notes groupware and they can review my public work calendar. My planner is "THE CALENDAR" where as Notes is "the calendar you can see."

3. People know I'm busy when they have the courtesy to ask. If they didn't ask and commit me to something I have every right to say no. I can flip through my calendar and give someone a date and time in about half the time they can do it electronically.

4. Deadline reminder - I used to think this was a huge show stopper until I remembered how many alarms I actually had on my person at any time. Between digital watches, cell phones, PDAs, desktop reminders, you can annoy the living daylights out of yourself. I use my cell phone alarm as my reminder. I goes along with the GTD next action approach. I set the alarm for my next meeting. It goes off and I advance it to the next one based on my planner. No more wondering if I'm going to miss a meeting reminder because my PDA was in my bag or other place where I couldn't hear it.

De-teching is really not all that hard. Learning to think simply in a tech world...now that's tough.

more on de-tech

I understand that you use 2 pim systems a lotus notes system for work and an analog paperbased system, in my view the use of lotus notes this i still very "tech" and not de-tech
I am unable de-tech even though i see certain advantages with paper based organisers.

My first demand for a PIM system is that I can store ALL appointments tasks and contacts there. I make NO difference in work or private appointmens/tasks/contacts. To have 2 systems one for private and one for work would quickly lead to chaos (what if you have a private appointment/task during work hours)

The PIM system (analog or digital) must be able to keep related things together.

In most work environments a typical meeting invitation would be like this:

You get an e-mail with with call for a meeting at a certain date the email contains several attachments with info for the meeting.
b)this call also creates a task for something you must do before the meeting.

A person with a e-based organiser like outlook or lotus notes, drags the email to his calendar and task list and make appointment and task with all attached files. He will also catagorise according to GTD system the task list which also can be filtered and sorted so that it automatic creates a next action list. he will also automaticaly have over view of free time where the task can be done

A person with a paperbased organiser must write down the appointment
AT LEAST 2 times in the calender in the day section and in the month section, possible also in the year overview section. Then print out all the attached files and put them in the tickler file for the meeting day. Then write down a task on the task list and next action list and look for openings in the calendar where the task can be done.

I still have problems to see how a paper based organiser can do this better than a e-based organiser.

Teachers with a fixed weekly schedule are probably the only ones that easily can de-tech to a paperbased system

The BIG advantage with paper system are in my view in note taking where you can combine text and drawings quickly and easy.

Honestly? I'm planning to

Honestly? I'm planning to do both. I keep my schedule and contacts in Outlook and sync them to my PPC phone, and I love it. That way of managing them works perfectly for me.

Notes and such are another story, and that's where the paper planner comes in. I'm going to use that to jot down things I need to remember, want to buy, meeting minutes, grocery list, etc. I'm also using Flylady, and am going to put my control journal in my planner.

The only thing I haven't decided how to handle is tasks and projects. I'm currently doing them in Outlook, but am not very thrilled with it. Time will tell if paper prevails.


I am not trying to de-tech, as such, as I was de-tech first and then layered the tech over it. I use my computer and pda all the time, but my paper planner is more flexible when I want to think things out or make more detailed notes. I don't like writing anything of length in my electronic devices. As far as some of the things I use outlook for, if I want to put it in my paper planner without re-writing it, I print it out. It can be tucked into an appropriate page with a bit of tape.

Something I would like to see are two-sided (glue on both sides) sticky notes - you could print a note out, attach it to a sticky note and slap it into your planner. That would be very handy.

I am NOT alone!

Reading through this string of responses has been somewhat of a catharsis for me. I used to think I was alone in the endless pursuit of seamless organization. Now I know I am NOT alone. Thank you for sharing. My story follows:

Since purchasing a Palm V PDA about seven or eight years ago, I have been battling the tech vs de-tech demons endlessly. I look back fondly at the good ol' days of my first Franklin Quest classic size planner. But the office at my next job had a tiny desk, so I switched to a pocket size planner to conserve desktop space. It was then I discovered the mobility aspect of a small planner. And I knew inner peace.

With my next promotion, though, I got caught up in techno-gizmo world and bought the aforementioned PDA. Being the tightwad I am, I could never justify NOT using the Palm V...even though I didn't fall in love with it completely. Since then I've gone pocket wirebound daytimer, classic franklin, Palm V, back to pocket wirebound daytimer, Outlook only, etc. etc. etc.

Fast forward to 2005. After reading Getting Things Done, and Organized for Success (Stephanie Winston), my world changed dramatically. I have arrived at the juncture that many of my new DIY friends so freely discuss.

Today I realize that the "holy grail" of planning instruments does NOT exist. The best system is the system that you actually use.

My current system is a combination of several components: 1)Pocket size wirebound Daytimer. THE most important aspects of my calendar are that it has to fit in my pocket, and that I can see an entire month a glance. No more tap tap tap on a PDA for me. I also carry the two page per day wirebound booklets for daily planning and scribbling. New to my system is the "move-able task list", i.e. a lined post-it note that can be moved from one day to the next without having to constantly re-write unfinished tasks. 2) A comprehensive set of paper based manila folders kept in an organized system in my filing cabinets. Taking the GTD suggestion to heart, I have labels made on a Dymo labeller. 3) A cheap imitation leather three ring binder with retractable handles, interior gusseted pockets (for carrying files), a pocket for carrying my PDA (which has deteriorated to an electronic address book), and a tabbing system that used to contain 15 tabs, but has now been reduced to five: "internet" - for work requiring an internet connection, "personal" (self-explanatory), "Master task list" - a list prepared in my old Palm V desktop software which I print off, "Parking Lot" - a combination of three tabs formerly used (someday/maybe, delegated, & waiting for). And my "Phone List" tab behind which I keep my printed off version of my Outlook address book (my Palm V is so shot, I can't get it to sync with Outlook anymore), and a few sorted phone lists that have not made it into my Outlook book.

As I said, this is my "current" system. But I just received that @#$% email from Franklin Covey offering Plan Plus for Outlook for only $69.95, and am seriously considering tinkering with the whole mess again.

"A pen and a calendar should never meet."
-- C. Bowley

Plan Plus for Outlook and seamlessness

I loaded Franklin Planner for Outlook about a week ago. I have had disasters with it in the past and I am still unsure why I proceeded to try it again. I am glad I did. The software has worked without a hitch and my Outlook has accepted the add on without compromising performance. The primary reason for using FP for Outlook is the great tools it has including a great Projects function and weekly planning wizard. I like having a daily notes area on my desktop and power notes are a good collaboration tool. I am personally much more aligned with the system that H Smith, S Covey and R Merrill have developed; particularly the latter two. I was a reader and very early adopter of the GTD methodology and it worked fine in a pure productivity sense but it left a lot to be desired in aiding my creativity, idea incubation, and life goals areas.