We live in a time of amazing technological advances. It is feasible that I could go through an entire day of consuming information without ever touching a piece of paper.
Feasible, yes. Likely? No.
I love my devices, I really do. So much, in fact, that I switched to digital planning after using paper planners for more than 20 years.
And then I switched back.
After a year of trying everything I could to get my digital planner to do what I could do with my paper planner with little to no effort, I acquiesced.
My perspective on the whole Digital Vs. Paper Thing is partially formed by the time I spent working in a bookstore. When we started selling e-readers, I was given the dubious task of 'Being In Charge'. I spent a lot of my time listening to people tell me that e-readers would be the downfall of Western Civilization.
The advent of e-readers and PDAs meant that there would be no more books or planners. Anywhere. Ever again.
My response to this was simple: I reached into my drawer and pulled out my paper planner. These customers knew that I was very well-informed regarding the uses of digital products; most were shocked to discover what a lover of paper I am.
I tell you all of that to tell you this...
You should plan in a way that works for you. There is no Right or Wrong Way. I personally, honestly, don't believe that technology will be the death of The Written Word. However, if you're looking for some insight into why some of us love our paper while others love their devices, here's a little (ok, let's be honest... it's long-winded because I'm fascinated with this topic) list I compiled of the benefits and drawbacks of both.
Tablet Pro: A tablet makes it terrifically easy to take all sorts of things with you anywhere on just one device. Making room in a messenger bag or purse for a tablet can be far easier than finding room for a stuffed planner. That's just a fact.
Paper Pro: If you prefer planning on paper, you probably just adjust what you carry in your bag or change bags entirely to accommodate your planner because it works for you.
Tablet Pro: If you juggle a lot of calendar appointments, multiple calendars, or put your tasks right on your calendar, the right app can truly make your calendar end up looking quite organized and pretty, what with the color-coding and all.
Paper Pro: One of my biggest issues with digital planning was that I simply didn't like how my calendar & tasks looked digitally. I missed tabs. I missed post-its. I could never make my digital calendar pages look like this:
Recurring appointments & tasks.
Tablet Pro: Again, the right app can make or break a digital calendar. The ability to drag & drop or copy & paste your appointments or tasks is an incredible timesaver. Additionally, setting a recurring appointment or task and having the app automatically repeat it for you saves a lot of writing. This is, however, where my troubles with digital planning began. Those recurring tasks and appointments were suddenly multiplying like bunnies. Of course, I assumed that the tribble-like characteristics of my multitude of repeating tasks was simply due to an "ID10T" error; yes, I thought I was somehow screwing it up. After tons of research and using many different apps, I found that this is simply a ghost in the machine, so to speak. A bug. And a very annoying one at that.
Paper Pro: First of all, if I'm writing things down by hand my tasks won't multiply all by themselves. Enough said. I can also cut down on repeatedly writing repeating tasks by using sticky notes and just moving them when and where it is appropriate.
While we're talking about writing things down, let's look a little closer at the issue here. We write these things down because we want to remember to do them. Simple enough. But the physical act of writing down all of the Important Things does something to your brain that typing just doesn't do. The act of writing stimulates an area of your brain called the Reticular Activating System (RAS). This lovely little bunch of cells nestled at the base of your brain is a kind of filter for everything your brain needs to focus on at any given moment. As Henriette Anne Klauser puts it in her book Write It Down, Make It Happen, triggering the RAS "sends a signal to the cerebral cortex: 'Wake up! Pay attention! Don't miss this detail!'"
And that is where my digital dreams fell apart. I was typing all of these tasks and goals and appointments into my iPad, and that was unfortunately where they tended to stay.
Especially the Goals.
Writing my goals on paper made them more tangible, more attainable, than typing them onto any screen ever could. The whole point in making the effort to set goals and then pursue them is to complete them. Typing my goals into even the most sophisticated project planning app still left me with a hazy perspective on what I was striving for.
That, right there, is why I don't think Digital will ever kill Paper. Our brains harbor an innate yearning for the physical act of writing. Putting pen to paper and letting your ideas and goals spring forth brings focus to what would otherwise seem blurry or unattainable.
Thank you Carie for an excellent guest post and insight in to your thoughts on the differences in planners