Rediscovering Paper

 Hi enthusiasts,

Naveen Kulkarni here after a gap. Hope you are doing great and I thank you for being so much supportive to my blog.

Of late, I have been receiving a good number of guest posts to publish on this blog, but didn’t find any of them compelling or actionable. However, this one from Nenad Ristic caught my eye and felt it would be a great post for my readers. After all , it talks something that is close to my heart ; simplicity.

So , what this guest post all about? Well, I will let Nenad talk about it in this short, yet useful article. On his blog, Nenad writes interesting stuff on topics ranging from technology , ideas and little hacks.

Over to you Nenad.

I spent a long time trying to remove paper from my life. For storing and note-taking I used either NotePad or Word, at first. Even in high-school my diary was a Word document, and I printed my assignments whenever I could.

As things advanced, I discovered Evernote, Google Keep, OneNote, and any number of other note-taking apps. For my lists there were things like Remember the Milk, Wunderlist and even Trello. I loved the idea of being able to access what I have written from anywhere.

I thought that I was very organized, effective, and environmentally friendly. The challenge came from my todo list.

I just never seemed to get a sense of completion, when I marked things as Done in my app of choice at the moment.

If course, there were still times when I would have to do things with pen and paper, sometimes a quick sketch on a piece of paper is the best way to explain something, and for some reason I still kept using paper shopping lists.

It was thanks to those holes in my otherwise flawless all-electronic strategy, that I eventually realized /remembered something:

I actually enjoy the physical sensation of writing. There is a certain smoothness to putting pen to paper, that no keyboard can match.

The only thing that comes close in the digital world is using something like a SwiftKey keyboard on my phone and tablet, but even that does not have the immediacy of physically creating words in ink. Physically crossing out something when I have done it is satisfying in a way that tapping a check mark, or swiping cannot match.

Soon I switched from Wunderlist to a succession of paper notebooks. While I still use OneNote, to store my notes, I scribble down things as I need to, and transfer it later, if they are worth keeping (they rarely are).

Since then I have encountered some research that shows that taking notes by hand improves retention. This matches what I have experienced.

The fact is that I still have my todo list available from anywhere. I simply carry my notebook with me wherever I go. It never find out of power, but I do need to carry a spare pen.
Even the environmental impact is less than I thought. Paper can be recycled, and cloud storage and apps can use a lot of power.

There are limitations to using own and paper. I started writing this article in my notebook, and after having crossed out three different first sentences, I switched to my tablet. Paper is just too much work to edit. I have heard of writers who do all their first drafts by hand, and while I admire that, I doubt I could do it myself.

If you want to make the switch back to low-tech writing, some advice.:

Try out several types of pens, until you find one that you enjoy writing with, then buy several of them. I personally prefer using gel ink pens, especially cheap ones. I have tried using more expensive pens, but I have not found any real difference, and this way I worry less when I lose a pen.

Carry a spare pen. Pens easily run out, or in my case, more often, get lost.

Some people spend a lot of time deciding on the right notebook. I just prefer whatever is at the shop when I go there, so long as it does not fall apart.

if you actually want to store something you have written, transfer it to cloud storage, either as a scan, or typed out. Some scanning software allows you to translate scanned images into text, but my own brand of chicken scratch seems immune to their powers. You might have better luck. When you are finished with a notebook, just recycle it.

Use whatever works for you, abbreviations, sketches, doodles. Paper has an unlimited character set,so have fun with it.

Give pen and paper a try for a couple of weeks, you might be surprised how well it works.

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Comments

  1. I just blogged about this very topic! I also used a lot of digital apps and systems but found task management best handled with paper.
    Christine @BecomingChristineSmith.com recently posted..Why a Paper Planner is Better than DigitalMy Profile

    1. Hi Christine,

      Thanks for stopping by. And yes, I saw the blog post on your site. Super timing , by the way :-)

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