I have noticed that having and using papers in your work, especially a lot of papers, is by some people regarded as being old-fashioned. Someone shamefully confesses how they have many piles which clutter their desk and someone else expresses their dissatisfaction with that they ”still” make notes using pen and paper during meetings.
With a risk of reading too much into this, it saddens me a little to hear these sort of statements. You see, I think it is a shame that we feel shame about something for no good reason. The problem is not that we are using papers, but possibly how we do so.
Not so bad after all
Paper in itself a material and medium with many benefits. Personally I prefer making notes on paper during my meetings since I feel that a digital screen becomes a kind of barrier between myself and the person I am meeting with. This text is being drafted in a notepad since the Fasten Seatbelt-sign is lit and I am not allowed to have any digital devices switched on, but still want to catch my thoughts and ideas as they emerge.
With a small risk
But if the notes are left laying unprocessed somewhere in a notepad and we then miss something we promised we would do during the meeting, there will be trouble. If the piles take up so much space that we eventually have difficulty finding space to work in, then papers will have become an obstacle to your progress. If I had forgotten the little notebook behind the Inflight magazine, you might not have been reading these very words.
So, instead of thinking that you should be working only with digital devices, think about what you need to refine in order to allow yourself to use papers in certain situations and still benefit from using your digital devices and digital working methods.
- Ask yourself; in what situations are you particularly satisfied with using pen and paper as your primary tool?
- Is it when making notes during meetings?
- Is it when you think of something you mustn’t forget to do and things are so hectic at the moment that you risk forgetting the insight, and hence write it down as quickly as you can on a piece of paper?
- Is it when you are brainstorming the development of the new project by creating a big mindmap on an A3-paper?
- Think of a way to digitalize the central content of what you wrote by hand quickly and easily.
- Do you take photographs of the notes made during a meeting with the app SwiftScan, e‑mail them to yourself and then save them in the project folder (after adding any to-do-tasks you made note of to your to-do-list)?
- Do you use Whitelines’ convenient Link-notepad and ‑app which automatically digitalizes you notes and sends them wherever you want to send them?
- Do you add all the next steps to your digital to-do-list before putting away the mindmap containing ideas for the new project, so that you can get started with doing concrete things on the project right away?
- Do you keep a portable inbox-folder in your bag where you put all the notes and pieces of paper which you will process and turn into to-do-tasks when you get back to the office?
- Or do you need to do something else to close the leaks in your flow of information and communication?
- If you are not able to execute the refinement immediately, then write the first step of this structural improvement as a to-do-task on your to-do-list right now.
Have the cake and eat it too
If you build a stable bridge between the physical and the digital, you will get to enjoy the benefits of using pen and paper as well as the smooth ease and simplicity of using digital tools. You can let go of the belief that you ”have to” do things in a way which is not in accordance with your actual preferences, and it will feel good to know that you at least do not have to change much more in this particular area.
What methods do you use?
What is your favorite way of bridging the physical and the digital? Do you use an app, a certain method or have you established a habit that helps you? Tell me!