Friday, May 26, 2006

Back to paper

Having had an accident with my aging Visor Handspring a few weeks ago (allowed the batteries to conk out - very stupid - but fortunately I had backed it up reasonably recently) I'm very interested in the "pack to paper" movement that seems to going on.
Bill Westerman is clearly serious about technology but has found himself attracted back to quality paper, binding and pen
But it was all too ... digital. All of the nuances of life - the margin notes, the scratched out words and curvy lines - were demoted to little ASCII characters on the screen. Notes were meaningless without that context, splayed out on rigid horizontal lines, one after the other. And then few months ago, I snapped. I went out and bought a bound blank book from Spain (by Miquel Rius), grabbed a UniBall Vision Elite from the drawer, and felt the tension ease out of my shoulders as I put pen to paper, scratching away as I slowly regained my feel for handwriting. It took me a few weeks to remember how to happily form characters again, but now I find myself writing with abandon, hooking the bottoms of my "g"s and crossing the tops of my capital "J"s.

Inspired by this, Mike Rohde describes his experimental weekly planner based on a standard Moleskine notebook. Pictures are, of course, available.

Christian Lindholm is also going retro after years of electronic notetaking.
For my Retro solution I opted for the Moleskin Japanese NotePad in A6 which I modified by cutting out pages which I complemented with a thin notepad A6, where paper is thinner and some can be teared away. For input I acquired a Muji pen with multiple pens, it has black ink, red ink and a 0.5mm pencil. This allows me to make small mind maps with some highlight colour.

No movement is complete without its fundamentalists, and these are surely represented by the Hipster PDA folk. Gadgets don't come any more basic than a bunch of small cards and a bulldog clip.

But none of this is a flight from technology. It is a genuine attempt to harness the best available tools for the task, to pursue elegance, versatility and usability. I've already found benefit from carrying the most basic Hipster and as my journey into gtd continues, I'm looking forward to refining the methods I use for collecting my 'stuff'.


Anonymous jim said...

the hipster pda concept has been such a great thing for me. I've gone back to a full sized calendar as well. I always lost my pocket one. h

7:40 PM  

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