Apartment Therapy on Paper over Gadgets

Apartment Therapy on Paper over Gadgets

Maxwell Ryan
Feb 22, 2005

I consider myself an early adopter. I like electronics, have had a cell phone and a PDA for a long time, and am willing to try a new, new thing that promises to make life better. In short, I am an optimist.

But recently I became an early adopter in the completely other direction. After mounting frustration with multiple power failures and memory loss, I demoted my Microsoft Outlook Calendar Program and Tungsten Palm Pilot with Bluetooth capability and a whole load of other bells and whistles for a paper based calendar that costs a fraction of the price and guess what? It works a whole lot better.

While I still keep all my telephone numbers on my Palm (database uses like this make sense to me), and I do refer to it occasionally, my daily life is much happier being organized with a pencil among the many, clean white pages of my daily planner. Each day gets two pages: one for notes and one for a to do list and the hourly appointments of the day.

And guess what else? Aside from weekends, I fill up every page, every day. This is a freedom that my PDA or any of the other gadgets I used never allowed me.

While there are good uses for technology and gadgetry, they are not the solution for everything as they would like you to think.

Since December, my open planner has lived in front of my keyboard on my desk (where I can see it without changing screens) every day. I refer to it, I make notes in it, I doodle in it and I use it heavily. AND it never dies for lack of power or gives me an error message.

I have found that for the creative and often surprising task of day to day living, a human scale solution - such as a blank piece of paper with lines on it - is a far better design than anything you have to turn on, boot up, or type into with your forefinger. Paper just works better. MGR

(For the record, I use Franklin Covey's Classic Two pages a day planner because I was inspired by Steven Covey's 7 Habits years ago.)

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