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Reblogged:Pen and Paper -- or Electrons? Yes.

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Also, you can't wad up a bad electronic draft. (Image by Lauren Mancke, via Unsplash, license.)
A recent Cal Newport post about using plain text files to block out time drew the following comment:
Great technique, but I think using the traditional paper and pen will be more convenient. As you don't have to update the file from your computer or phone after every time blocking session.
This person may simply find that pen and paper work better for his tastes and circumstances than computers, but he comes across as hasty in dismissing the value of using electronic devices for planning.

Who says you have to clumsily enter notes into a phone? I do most of my tracking electronically, but I absolutely hate typing -- or editing a voice transcript -- on a phone. (And that doesn't even get to cases where you might need to make a sketch or draw a simple diagram.) Generally, I jot down notes on paper for later review if all I have is a phone. I can summarize them in my "space planner" later. Or, if the paper notes are extensive and important enough, I can scan them in and link to the copy from there.

But overall, the comment reminds me of something I have observed time and time again in discussions like this: Someone has such a strong preference for one method (or technology) that he will exhibit a lack of appreciation for another when there is a choice that could actually enhance his ability to use his preferred method.

I like using computer-aided planning in large part because it makes backups and later retrieval easier -- but I incorporate paper-based methods when they make sense. I could conversely see someone like the above commenter sticking to paper, but scanning in his annotated planners and other notes on a regular basis. This would add permanent backups and possibly also ease of later retrieval to his arsenal.

I find personal productivity advice to be very much like diet and fitness advice: Highly particular to the individual. Critical thinking -- More convenient? When? For what? For whom? -- and a willingness to experiment and change when needed, will pay off much more handsomely than simply taking someone else's word on how to be productive.

I use a technique similar to the one Newport discusses, but I do appreciate the reminder to keep paper handy for some tasks.

-- CAV

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For those of us who keep both, electronic and  written, it is the  old arts that gave rise to the new. During a few thoughts going back from the evening, one of them tied into the Covid-19 Pandemic, which is akin the Northeast Power Outage of 2003, which happened after the event identified most often as 9/11.

When committing thoughts to written word via a journal, the letters in one sense are irrevocable. Electronically there may always be a copy of the digital version. The written word, as Ray Bradbury  identified brilliantly in "Fahrenheit, 451", had a temporal aspect to it.

Some electronic version have the ability to be searched in ways written copies do not. Either version provides a means of referencing the other in some manner.

In 2017 a documentary was put together entitled: Pressing On: The Letterpress Film. The nostalgia is focused on printing presses prior to consigning newspapers and magazines to computerized typesetting.

Going back to 1995 another avenue can be encountered: Sword and Brush: The Spirit of the Martial Arts, by Dave Lowry.

Personally, if the note is jotted down on paper and deserves to be committed electronically, do so. If a lesson need be learned, do so on the order of discriminating between the essential and the inessential. At some point, you may pick up your pen and decide to order a DICTOPRO to use with your smart-phone instead.

 

 

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