43 Folders

Back to Work

Merlin’s weekly podcast with Dan Benjamin. We talk about creativity, independence, and making things you love.

Join us via RSS, iTunes, or at 5by5.tv.

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

Using Paper + Pda?

Hi everyone.

First the backstory:

I got out of grad school in 1997 and started working and trying to use a DayTimer. It did not work because it was huge and ugly and I hated carrying it around. In February 1998, I bought a Palm III, which worked well for me. It was fun to use, and always with me. I have used PDAs ever since.

The things that made the PDA work for me were that it was always with me and that it forced structure on me. I could not cram paper into it or write in the margins. I had to do it right. However, this created a messed-up thought process in me: it made me think everything has to be all digital or all analog. There can be no intermingling of the two. I have no idea where this came from, but it became my predeominant way of thinking. It was like I was afraid of betraying the PDA cause, having too much to carry, or something else crazy.

Fast-forward to today:

I have a Treo so I don't have to carry planner and (e)books and phone and to-do list and notepad and address book, etc. However, now I have read GTD and now cannot live without the GTD Outlook Plug-in.

Yet there is something unexplainably intriguing about the Hipster PDA and the Moleskine. I cannot give up a digital planner (my addresses just HAVE to be perfectly alphabetized). Even though I am, after eight years of PDA use, pretty darn fast at input, I have found I am less likely to write down everything in the Treo as I am in my (just made today) hPDA. I also spend WAY TOO MUCH time looking at Treo-related junk online when I should be actually living life.

The Hipskine (desktop + moleskine) is an idea I never thought about. It seems redundant, but GTD is not about the fastest way. It is about the best way, right?

If anyone is using some combination of PDA/Smartphone and paper, I would love to hear how you make it work.

I just wish I had thougt of this before I bought the damn Treo.

GOD's picture

Having the paper for random...

Brerlapn wrote:
Having the paper for random thoughts and to-do's works better for me because 1) I am more likely to write them down...

I think this is one of the most important things I learned from GTD and something I try to impress upon everyone I talk to about being productive -- always have a quick and painless capture device. Just this little lifehack is so incredibly and unbelievably powerful.




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


Subscribe with Google Reader

Subscribe on Netvibes

Add to Technorati Favorites

Subscribe on Pageflakes

Add RSS feed

The Podcast Feed


Merlin used to crank. He’s not cranking any more.

This is an essay about family, priorities, and Shakey’s Pizza, and it’s probably the best thing he’s written. »

Scared Shitless

Merlin’s scared. You’re scared. Everybody is scared.

This is the video of Merlin’s keynote at Webstock 2011. The one where he cried. You should watch it. »