43 Folders

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”What’s 43 Folders?”
43Folders.com is Merlin Mann’s website about finding the time and attention to do your best creative work.

How to successfully mix Hi-Fi and Lo-Fi?

I've tried many methods in my search for the perfect GTD system, but I keep going back and forth on whether to go back to using a digital way of handling my day-to-day actions.

As a writer and historian, I've got many involved projects on my list, most of which require extensive amounts of research. Even my smaller personal projects have web pages or other data associated with them.

As much as I love using my Moleskine, hPDA, fountain pens, and other lo-fi toys, I can't help but feel as though I'm being held back by being unable to link my research notes directly into my projects. Index cards are top-notch for speed, portability, and trustworthyness, but half the time I can't fit a project onto a single card. For instance, if one of my tasks was "Google Maps: Get directions to the library", I would like to see that map along with my outlined tasks.

I've tried everything from tagging files in gmail to Evernote, to using Copernic Desktop Search (I'm in Windows), but the problem still remains that in order to find these files, I have to know exactly how they are associated with the project. Ideally, I'd like to see everything all at once.

As a possible solution, I finally opened my copy of OneNote 2003 that came installed on my computer when I bought it a year ago. I've read that this is one of those love-it-or-hate applications. I began several of my project plans into new pages, and experimented with the Note Flags feature to set statuses on invidual tasks (Very easy to maintain contexts). I even got the Note Flag Summary to print out on a 3x5 as an NA list. At this point, I feel as though this may well be the solution I've been looking for.

But, I have reservations. For starters, I like paper. I like the fact that it takes me more time and effort to actually write something down rather than type it. It makes that item more important to me in some small way. Paper is portable, reliable, and shareable. Paper won't eat itself or allow you to procrastinate on the internet. And the real kicker - As I was entering data into OneNote last night, I lost my power due to a thunderstorm. Reinforced the idea that paper has the potential to be productive anytime, anywhere.

If it weren't for the fact that I have to spend so much time in front of a computer and that paper is limited by how much can fit on a page, I wouldn't be so indecisive as to how next to proceed.

Has anyone else dealt with a similar problem, and how did you sucessfully link your digital research materials with your paper-based system? Thanks for any advice.




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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