Just because you are into technology and want to be as efficient as possible, that doesn’t mean that you can’t use “Luddite” tools to get some stuff done.
I am in front of a computer all day and have an iPad or iPhone at my disposal almost 100% of the time. You can call it “too connected” if you’d like (and there definitely are some truths to that), but it’s the way I tend to live.
So many uses
Digital tools have enabled us to get more things done and to continually get them done faster. For instance, I have a small program at work that can search for a string of text in our Enterprise Resource Planning software and change it to whatever we want. Just a few months earlier they were doing this all by “hand”, that is, going in to each record and manually updating it to the new text. Not only was this slow, it was error prone as well.
And just think, before the ERP system was there, someone would have had to do that by hand again.
Obviously, not using a digital tool or process to make these updates is stupid and time consuming.
Except for these
But, there are many processes and and workflows where Not using an analog tool may be stupid and time consuming. Here are just a few:
I’ve tried so many digital mind mapping tools and other brainstorming techniques. If you can show me that there is a digital tool that does brainstorming better and faster than a pen and paper or marker and wipe off board, I will buy you lunch (no, I won’t). Using analog tools to brainstorm and get down ideas is natural. Instead of figuring out the best way to use the tool, you just write.
On the fly explanation
While developing a new system, starting a new business, or just working with someone on something complicated, it’s important to be able to explain things naturally and on the fly. Pen and paper are great for this as well. You can draw relationships between things, point out small nuances, or even rip the paper apart and start over.
I keep a large pad of paper on my desk. When people come in and work with me, we use that pad like crazy. It’s simple and effective and helps us get things done.
I am an avid OmniFocus, Evernote, and other digital productivity tool user, but when it comes to daily planning, paper is a great tool. There are a lot of great tools out there that are pre-made (like the Emergent Task Planner), but a blank piece of paper and your own format works just as good as anything else.
Tools like OmniFocus and others that store projects, actions, due dates, notes, etc. are important for the shear fact of being able to search and “shuck and jive” your input around. But, daily planning can be a nice break from that where an analog tool can give you some clarity.
Just because I’m into tech tools and processes doens’t mean that I think analog and paper tools are useless. Both digital and analog serve their own purpose. It’s up to you to find exactly how either fit into your workflow and make your more effective.