Do you sometimes feel like going back to analogue tools? Paper planners, pen and paper to write down notes and reminders, etc?
I’ve been a heavy user of technology to organize my workflows, but I’m feeling more and more exhausted by the screens, bips, notifications… it’s as if I’m losing my ability to focus.
Maybe all that is due to working from home due to the pandemic, but I’d like to now your experience…
Thanks in advance!
I never stopped using pencil and paper. That’s how I best capture things in the moment.
And some then make it into the digital realm. Most don’t.
I also spend quite a bit of time outdoors. And during this work from home time, I’ve taken on the responsibility to cooking dinner most nights. So I’ve plenty of analogue stuff in my life.
And maybe that’s why I don’t feel tired of the digital side of things.
I’m sure many of us feel that way at times. Though sometimes I may feel that way, I would not want to go back to analog. I had very specific reasons for abandoning paper and I don’t regret it.
That said, I think less accessible and less instantaneous communication would have benefits. If people had to take out paper and pen, write out their thoughts and then mail a letter or note, they would be more thoughtful, less “trigger happy” and would in many instances decide that the matter was not worth creating an issue of.
As to beeps, notifications, etc., I have very few of those, I have all notifications off except for events. So, I’m not constantly distracted and I have only a few apps running at one time and I have no social media so I’m not “harassed” by my technology. This is one reason I will not use programs like Slack.
I do as well, usually a 3-4 mile run outside 4-5 days/week. It gets me off of the screens.
I definitely do—not so much the tools we talk about and share here, but having a computer-based career that has me using one a few dozen hours per week on top of any personal use.
I too use pen and paper every day, but only for very quick notes and shorthand info for tasks I need to do right now. I keep the pad open, and just scratch out as I complete them.
For more long-form note taking I love digital. Depending on the context, I can be in MindNode, GoodNotes or even Ulysses.
While I am the type who really loves working from a home office, I still am not happy with the state of digital meetings over Zoom, Teams etc. It is so much harder than in-person, I find, as all the non-verbal cues are basically lost, even with webcams.
The term “digital life” is so much more though, isn’t it? I am really not expecting to grow tired of the convenience of digital as in
- streaming video services for movies and TV, in glorious 4K HDR
- having access to basically all recored music in the history of mankind, in qualities better than ever before, from anywhere
- the instant answers to anything through search engines
- iPhones - a superbly powerful tool for a wide range of tasks
- great quality education available for SO many topics
- turn-by-turn directions to guide me straigth to new locations
- live reporting of when the next train or bus is leaving for my destination, and if there are any delays expected on the commute
- being able to work in teams across continents, on a daily basis
- shopping for anything and have it show up at my door
- lightswitches that know when sunrise is, and turns off outdoor lights
- connecting with ragtag groups of semi-misfit weirdos like myself on various digital forums
- the list goes on, right?
As a kid, I dreamt of living in the future. Now I do, and it’s friggin’ great!
All the time. I sometimes wish I lived in a time where a pen and pad was the only device carried and I read actual books made of paper (Novelist Phillip Roth said the book can’t compete with the screen and predicted that someday readers of literature would be as rare as students of Latin). I would like to know how much greater my ability to focus would be in such a world.
Instead, it’s electronic devices for me. What always breaks me when I try to go analog is I forget my field notebook at home. I also love the organization that digital allows. I can never go back. At least not until retirement, which I expect to be some years from now.
I adore my fountain pen, so I couldn’t go full-on digital, even if it’s the better choice for most things. There’s something about gold nibs, good ink and fine, textured paper. I think I must have been a scribe in a previous life.
Yes. I still maintain some analog in my life.
I have about 8 Fountain Pens
I write some good quotes I find using my pens.
Every year I get one pen from pen shows
I hand scribble notes during meetings.
My watch faces are analog.
At the same time I have a Digital PKM in Obsidian. Roam, Ulysses and some other.
My son stated to use Fountain Pens since 8 years.
I mostly do not. I carried a paper day planner in my pocket all through high school in the mid-nineties, and was totally lost anytime I (temporarily) misplaced it. My freshman year of college I bought myself a Palm Professional, and it has been all digital ever since (some of my contact entries on my iPhone to this day date from 1998; the legacy of Palm, and later Apple’s, tremendous sync/backup software.) Everything is digital, and accessible everywhere I go.
I keep paper and nice pens around for quick sketches or doodles, but anything important that happens there gets transcribed or photographed into a digital format.
Nope. 40 years ago I had tons of bookcases with books and magazines. That now fits in my iPad. I do use pen and paper for sketching, quick notes, and doodling. My watch uses an analog face but with a bunch of complications.
- I can’t write with a pen to save myself! Filling out a form that’s a whole side of A4 is agony by the end.
- There’s a bit of a theme here with the ‘intrusiveness’ of tech. The trouble many (most?) of us have is learning to dial it back.
I wear an Apple watch 22x7 (only taking it off to charge) but very few notifications make it there, and of those that do, most are set by me to make sure I don’t miss things - like drinking enough water!
I’ve not yet finely honed my Focus Modes, but very little disturbs me at certain times of day and even during those times a lot more gets through, any app has to earn the right and I will frequently have a moment of “I’ve had enough of these. Goodbye!”
My Mac tells me to stand up every 45 minutes so I do not “lose myself” for too long at the expense of my health.
In the end, I enjoy my tech. It has been my hobby for over 40 years. But I have learned how I can control it so I don’t end up suffering from health issues (learned the hard way).
Then moving further in the positive direction, I don’t think I would get out for my walks nearly as often nor as far if I didn’t have a podcast playing in my ears. And my watch also tells me how hard I should push and how hard I did push.
You describe my approach perfectly! I’ll add that though I like the idea of writing nice script using a good fountain pen, it would be a wasted effort. My hand writing is terrible and writing for any length of time is literally a pain. I much prefer typing and using the Apple Pencil for quick scribbling out of “hand written” notes.
Thank you so much for such insightful comments.
I guess my main problem is “redundancy”: I keep my office (I’m a psychoanalyst) in Apple Calendar AND paper planner.
I take notes on Apple Notes AND I handwrite because I love fountain pens.
I guess I’m getting old and grumpy, but I thinks so many thing are more difficult nowadays. For example, in the 00’s, when I wanted to watch a soccer game, I just had to sit in front of my TV and put in the sports channel (2-3s). Now, I have to open the terrible TV app, browse the channels and, then, play the internet connection is stable enough to what the same game.
That’s one example, but I guess I have some more…
I have stopped bringing any distracting tech to meetings, and I love the results. I spend most of my day in face-to-face meetings and I don’t miss having a screen and keyboard in front of me.
I do use a Remarkable, but I treat it just like a paper pad (with the advantage that it OCRs all my writing after a meeting and can store PDFs).
The difference has been startling, especially in how much I remember from meetings (much more!) and the fact I never get distracted by email or playing around with settings.
Typing definitely reduced the amount I remembered when taking notes and even the Apple pencil was nothing like a real pencil - I tried using an iPad but I write so much it gave me crippling wrist pain, as well as being full of distractions like the Web.
Reducing digital clutter is a good thing. My iPhone and iPad home screens are nearly identical, in that, I have only the apps to operate my business (plus two widgets) on the home page, and then the remainder of apps are in the App Library. I am driven only by what goals I have, and the apps that are in front of me should complement that. All of the Facebook filler, etc can wait until I feel the need to check in on friends/acquaintances or play a game. I also use a certain paper/pen brand exclusively, and love the feel and quality. My writing has improved in the last 2 years thanks to this.
Hard nope. Here’s another digital net positive to add to the list: Tax preparation software. (Hmmm. What might have prompted that thought?) Let’s add the other digital tools that make tax filing orders of magnitude less difficult than it was back in the analog days when we had to do it all by hand (and by hand, I mean writing numbers into a form with a pen after adding up said numbers by hand with a pencil because hand-held calculators were still too expensive), put a form in a big manila envelope with 20 stamps on it, and tote it to a mailbox, or, if you were a procrastinator, race to the Post Office before it closed to get it postmarked on time.
So, in addition to tax preparation software, let’s add filing and paying online, the various forms of digitized documents that aid preparation (scanned receipts, downloadable W-2s, broker 1099s, etc.), searching online for guidance re the rules, downloadable IRS forms and instructions, our digital filing cabinets, and CALCULATORS and SPREADSHEETS.
And that’s just the personal stuff. If you’re running a small business or non-profit the benefits of digital tools to aid in tax preparation and filing are huge.
Did I mention CALCULATORS and SPREADSHEETS? Game changers. My professional life would have been unimaginable without either of them. (I use the same HP-12C I bought in 1986 when I was getting my MBA every single day. You will pry it out of my cold, dead hands.) Again, that’s just on the personal side. Another game changer? Mathematical software like LINDO (It’s an Excel add-in now, but I first used it on a mainframe.)
I would tolerate my devices beeping at me all day every day if it were the only way I could have spreadsheets.
My three 10Ks a week turned into three or four 5 mile walks a long time ago
This may be the only way I’m like @MacSparky, my digital devices do not distract me. Perhaps because I’m blessed to be able to focus, perhaps because I’ve configured my devices to limit distractions, perhaps because I don’t use social media, perhaps a combination; I’m not sure. But, I’m grateful that I’m able to use the digital tech and remain its master rather than being mastered by it.
This is probably corny but here are two of the slides I use in my graduate course where I deal with technology best practices in the private school. I make a big point of emphasizing that for both instructors and students technology is to serve us, not the other way around.
You’re ahead of me, I’ve never done a 10K!