Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Paper Tools can be Perfectly Fine

To Do list - blank

I sometimes have clients who tell me, apologetically, that they use paper to-do lists, calendars, and/or address books. And I tell them that if those paper-based tools are working well for them, I don't see a problem.

The biggest concern I see in using paper systems is the almost-certain lack of any back-up; it's the very rare person who makes a photocopy of his or her paper address book! One thing that's certainly worth doing is putting your contact information in your planners, address books, notebooks, etc. - so if you leave one of these behind somewhere, the person finding it has a way to reach you.

A number of people who are very tech-oriented still use at least some paper tools.

Web Worker Daily presented five reasons to use a paper to do list back in November 2006 - and updated it with six more reasons this past April.

Wendy Boswell, at Lifehacker, in her pointer to Web Worker Daily, speaks of her own "wholehearted re-embrace of the paper list."

Penelope Trunk at Brazen Careerist says, "I am a list writer. I do it by hand. Every day." She also notes the importance of good paper and good pens.

And Mike Rohde at Rohdesign writes, in a post entitled Paper Planner Longings: Yesterday, the latest Franklin-Covey catalog appeared in our mailbox, activating a curious longing for the paper planner days of old. I admit it — I miss the feeling of writing on paper, handling a nice leather binder — the physicality of keeping my time, addresses and notes in the old fashioned way.

Related Post: Paper or Electronic Planner?

[To Do Pad photo from Knock Knock]


Paula said...


Does anyone know of a paper planner less clunky than the five-pound, overpriced DayRunner/DayTimer type? These covers are huge, heavy, and sort of overkill for the simple, repleacable (yet indispensible) calendars and address books inside. Or have I found a niche unexplored?

Jeri Dansky said...

Hi Paula,

You might like the Circa system, sold by Levenger.

And L'Agenda Moderne at Kate's Paperie looks much less clunky than most - but I only see it in the 3" x 5" size.

Smythson has some lovely-looking products - but they are quite pricey, unfortunately.

Then there's the Origami Organizer, which looks like it might be the closest thing to what you are looking for.

And I'm sure I can find more . . .


Mike Rohde said...

Thanks for the mention! I have switched to a custom-made Moleskine planner I hacked myself, about a year ago:

It works great. Simple, effective, small. Might be worth checking out as an alternative. :-)

Matthew Cornell said...

Another paper-based fan here!