GTD: Paper vs. PC

So I’ve been doing GTD for a bit now and keeping up pretty well with the process. The one part of the process that I’ve been absolutely terrible keeping up with is the weekly review which, of course, is one of the most important parts of the system 😉 However so far things seem to be working well regardless.

One of the problems I’m finding though with trying to do GTD with the PC is, well, the PC. I’m using Outlook right now because it syncs well with the Blackberry I have from work. The big problem though is that I have to be at a PC in order to update my lists, etc. I suppose I could use paper but then if that was the case why not just switch to paper in the first place?

There are two great things about paper: the portability and the immediacy. My Blackberry is portable but the user interface is awful. It’s painful inputting items on it even with the “full” keyboard. It takes a long time. So far nobody has matched the interface of pen with paper.

The Blackberry also will not let me categorize calendar items which I then have to update later on Outlook. I tend to like using the color-coding of calendar entries because it gives me a real quick view of my contexts.

I’ve been holding off on trying paper because of the old problem of having to constantly copy items when having to start new pages in the organizer. I just realized today however that with GTD that isn’t an issue. Because I am working with contexts in which things have to be done and not dates on which they have to be done (when not in the calendar but it isn’t an issue with the calendar) there is no need to move things around. They are simply crossed off when done and the list can easily be expanded by just adding a new page and continuing.

The other neat thing about paper is the freebie templates like DIY Planner and The Printable CEO. There are some fantastic options on just those two sites.

So fine. At this point I’m pretty much convinced that I’m not getting much on the computer that I can’t get with paper. In fact I think I’m missing out on some things by not using paper. The one thing I’m not sure about though is this: what if I don’t want to carry a paper planner around with me when I’m not at home and not at work? What are other people doing in this situation? I have the Blackberry almost all the time so while it isn’t ideal it’s highly portable. I just don’t think that’s a good reason to not use paper. Anyone have any ideas?

One thought on “GTD: Paper vs. PC

  1. Hello,

    I feel interesting of your blog because I also face the same problem as you. But in my opinion, The big different of paper and PDA is their way of presentation. The big advantages of using paper is it provide wide, clear presentation without giving any glare but PDA is opposite of it. However PDA has the advantages of flexibility of editing and storing the information. It is very hard to make a decision to choose either paper or PDA. I have trying not to use paper but I really can not make it. Finally I can not read from the screen for a long time but i can read from the paper for a long time. This is the problem I face for a long time. I think no one in this world can remember well by reading from the screen. So finally I also choose to use paper. Normally I will use paper for scratching and reading. I will do my works using PC or PDA.

    This is your choice to use paper or PDA. It really depend on personal interest and comfortability. Don’t need to force yourself to follow the development of technology. It will slow down your productivity. I believe that the development of technology can not make paper instinct since paper is still the best and cheap media.



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