More on Paper Use

An avid reader of this site sent me the following comment:

There is one thing that stands out to me, however, and that is that you seem to link using paper with using memory. I write everything down so that I don’t have to use my memory. Listing can be done electronically too and if one just sticks to listing, it leads to using memory regardless of the tool you use. You also say, “there is a limit to the number of time demands that can be handled using only paper.” I don’t understand. A 24 hour day is the same whether you use paper or a BlackBerry. Do you mean it is difficult for schedules that are constantly changing (dynamic)? Although, I’ve never had a problem there either. Simply scratch, rewrite, and keep going.

Thanks for your patience with my comments and questions. All-in-all, I really like your approach to time management

At first, I couldn’t see how I linked the use of paper with the use of memory as she is absolutely doing the right thing by Capturing (by writing) in order to avoid using memory.  When she elaborates by quoting me in saying that “there is a limit to the number of time demands that can be handled using only paper” I began to understand.

Paper is a limiting factor in the following fundamentals:  Storing, Scheduling and Listing simply because paper is difficult to back up in case of a disaster, and doesn’t allow for efficient searching when an item needs to be found.  Above a certain number, keeping time demands on paper only invites problems.

The truth is, paper also doesn’t scale well,  It might work well for simple, low volumes, but it fails when storage needs become complex, schedules become dynamic or heavy, or lists become too long.  Anyone who still tries to store passwords on paper, for example, probably has a challenge that also extends to one of security.  By the same token, anyone who needs to schedule activities in 2012 probably has the problem of lugging around multiple paper calendars.

I once had a personal, paper diary that I left on an airplane.  It had some important notes in it and I regretted the loss of this unique information.  My wife seems to have particularly bad luck with her computers.  Three of them have crashed four times in the past couple of years.

It’s been a hassle, but restoring the content from backups (we use has been an easy affair once the computer was back up and running.

I hope this helps — if anyone would like to add to the discussion, please do so in the comments below.