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GTD – Experiment In Progress

Sunday night I posted this photo to Instagram, and it’s an honest question that might need some explanation. It’s a screen capture from my phone of the Day One app, which is actually a wonderfully elegant app for just journaling, jotting down the day’s notes, making sure the user doesn’t forget whatever’s important. It’s one of a handful of apps I have on my phone for the same purpose: writing these daily instances on a digital app/device rather than on a notebook page with pen.

At least this week, I’m trying to wean myself a bit from the spiralbound notebook, for better or for worse. Honestly, I want to see if I’m missing out on anything by not taking notes with my phone or other device. This experiment’s upside for me might be that I miss the pen and lined paper so much that I go back with a smile, knowing what I probably already know. But the opposing end is equally cool, finding out that I can have some of the same experience digitally that I currently really only have offline.

My normal morning routine:

  • Get to my cubicle and login.
  • Pull out current spiralbound notebook.
  • Find a decent pen (this is part of the fun for me, the pen geek).
  • Write down my usual every day tasks – this might be weird, but there’s something gratifying about putting the same three-five things on a piece of paper every day. I do them, and I cross them off. Productivity ensues.
  • Think about meetings, check Outlook calendar for anything else, and make those notes on the page as well.
  • Checkmarks with circles around the tasks as we roll together through the day.

And maybe there’s a clue about why I like the analog world for my daily notes and doodles: “as we roll together through the day”. The pen and paper become as much of an offshoot of my identity as anything else in my life, much like my iPhone. And there’s the crux of it as well, wondering if one constant (my notebooks) can interact as wonderfully with another constant (iPhone) in my day-to-day workflow.

We’ll see.

What device/habit/tool are you most attached to for your own GTD?

UPDATE 1:45pm 02/22 – phone call, jotted down note/reminder for Friday on a sticky note with a pin. Force of habit. Was on my iPhone, reached for something else to write down that note.

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4 Responses to GTD – Experiment In Progress

  1. Melanie says:

    I’m exactly the same way with pen and paper vs. digital for daily notes, even down to finding the right pen (yay, gel rollers). For me, it’s just easier to grab blank paper that has no distractions or other purposes I have to page through, easier to scrawl across a page with my cursive than to type on my smartphone, and easier to be able to keep a piece of paper in sight all day without worrying about it turning off or needing to go to a different screen and not reverting back to my to-do list.
    As a 22-year-old, I realize I’m a bit of a weirdo in my generation for this. But I go with what works for me.

    • Exactly. And I fully expect to go back to that at the end of this experiment. I want it to work out, to find a suitable app/digital tool – but so far it’s not happening. Just making sure :) – and I applaud you in “your generation” for keeping it real and tactile.

  2. James Kirk says:

    There will always be something gratifying about making notes or keeping a journal in a spiral notebook. Our kids will never know that pleasure.