Does a digital diary and to-do-list make you efficient?

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Google_Calendar_screenshot1Does using a digital diary and to-do-list, etc. make you really more efficient as opposed to using a paper-based system?

The answer, short and sweet, is No! The reasons, I would argue, are that you have to leave the “page” on the PC on which you are working on to deal with entries and grabbing the paper-based agenda or what-have-you is much quicker. And the same is true as regards to the to-do-list.

Using digital has been surrounded by so much hype including saving trees but may that not be an invention of those who conceived those digital task managers and such? I would say so.

While it is possible, obviously, to share a digital diary, etc. via email and such like paper-based is, in my opinion, much more efficient as, more often than not we, anyhow, still have a paper-based diary and other such, alongside the digital and thus we actually duplicate all we do needlessly. Paper beats digital and that also and especially in the event of power outages and/or computer failure and very much so if our digital diary and lists are “in the cloud” and, maybe, we even work in virtual desktop environment.

I do know that I am rather old-fashioned, and that in many ways, but have found it to work better in many – if not indeed all – cases. And what goes for diary and to-do-list also goes for paper-based contact list, or address book, as we used to call it. But I make no apologies for being old-fashioned, none whatsoever.

Having been bitten by failure of the digital version of the latter as well as the former through crashes of computer and hand held devices – and they do say once bitten twice shy – I no longer use digital for any of those and the same goes for note taking and -making. Pen and paper work very well and a paper notebook can get run over by a main battle tank and the “data” will still be retrievable. More than what can be said for any digital device.

As far as efficiency, today all too often called productivity, goes with a paper-based system with paper I have always access to my stuff (as long as I have diary, lists and notebooks with me), whether the power is down, the Internet down, in am in a forest, on the top of a mountain, or whatever the case, so that I can get on with the work.

Thus, I believe, paper – and we have used it for centuries and more prior to the advent of computers – is very efficient as long as we ourselves are and are not procrastinating.

Clerks of old have been efficient simply using paper and filing systems and with paper we can still achieve the same today and could do better even if we would not try to be super-efficient by using computerized system which often rather hinder than help.

How often have you lost an entry that you thought was saved and had to go back to do it again? I know I have. With paper that does not happen. Once it is written it is on the page. No need to press save to – well – save it.

I have lost my electronic address book, when I was using it, too many times to count due to computer crashed and online ones were lost due to the service having been closed down by the provider (without notice in more than one instant) that I have gone back to paper entirely and not just as a backup. And I also have another address “book” in the form of index cards in a box. It works and that way I am not going to lose my contact list ever again.

And a paper diary is more that just an appointment log. It also can be used to add notes in respect to an appointment or a task and is then, if kept, as I do with all of them, a record of what one has done on a certain date and also one can reread the “annotation” that one has made. Can anyone guarantee that that will work with any electronic device? I doubt it.

My to-do-list is basically incorporated into my diary and thus also always handy and I know what I have done or not done on a certain day also when reviewing the pages of the book. Something that cannot guaranteed either in the digital world or at least is not as easy to access and you cannot leaf through the pages as easily as in a paper-based diary. So, as far as I am concerned paper wins hands down. No contest whatsoever.

© 2014