Productivity

To Digitize or Not, to Digitize

iPad & Midori Traveler's NotebookThe use of analog tools in my life in this age of digitization is quite significant and I’m not sure how this happened.  I’ve been playing around with Evernote…I know I’m a bit behind in doing this…and really enjoy being able to store files for work in it as a reference file.  I then created different folders and really began to organize the paper files I had stored in my home office. I am fortunate to work from home part-time (2-3 days per week).  The remaining time is spent at a corporate office 40 miles from home (great commute for listening to podcasts) or traveling.

I have set up a small office space to work in and have for a long time kept paper files in piles in the office.  Since Evernote, I have scanned all the paper documents and organized them within the Evernote system and it is working awesome.  I use my iPad Evernote app to retrieve any document I want to read, most are pdf’s.  I then began to have the notion of going paperless and unshackling myself from the ways of old.  I began reading up on going paperless and living digitally.  My motivation level elevated and I was in full swing to throw out the clay tablet and stylus. 

I decided to have a trial run with this and decided to pack my analog tools into a small bag and keep with me (just in case) but, not readily available.  My system was quite simple.  I’d use the iPad for note taking thanks to Evernote and 53’s Paper app.  Scannable on my iPhone to scan and file paper documents I received throughout the day.  Outlook (work) for email and calendar management, unless I’m using my laptop (which I hope will soon melt…I do not like it at all).  I had everything set and prepared and was off to work.

Once at work the first 3 days was spent trying to retrain my muscle memory not to look for my pen, notebook and Chronodex planner.  By Thursday I was sweating because the battery on my phone and iPad were dying before I was done with my day.  I wasn’t surprised since my iPad is the 2nd generation and over 2 years old.  I crave for the new iPad Air 2.

I woke up on Friday morning early, just couldn’t sleep and was sitting at the kitchen table drinking a cup of tea and craved for my journal.  I’ve been keeping a handwritten journal for the past ten or so years. This was the first time in a long time I hadn’t had it used it at some point in the week. 

I walked upstairs to the office and sat down at my desk and stared out the window watching the snow fall in the mid-morning darkness then, glanced at the shelf above my desk.  There sat my Midori Traveler’s Notebook staring at me with puppy-dog eyes begging me to use it once again.  Glancing around the desk my eyes fell upon my pen cup and there sat some of my most cherished possessions, I’m a pen nut.  The apex came when I again looked up an there was my Lamy Safari Charcoal Black Fountain Pen with EF nib…just a “starter pen” as far as fountain pens go…it is my favorite pen.  I knew it was loaded with my favorite ink and I crumbled.

I pulled the Midori Traveler’s Notebook from the shelf, pulled the elastic band from around its waist and opened it to my journal, grabbed my Lamy and began to write an apology letter to it and my notebook for the neglect I had shown it the past week.  Now I know I sound really odd to many but, to the few Pen Addicts out there…you understand.

I think I wrote for over an hour straight without looking up.  My tea had since gone cold and only the chill in the air stirred me from my writing.  I realized at that moment that though paperless was easier as far as I wouldn’t have to carry as much stuff, it would mean that I’d have to give up many of the things I enjoy doing and having with me.  I love to write and journal.  I like keeping my schedule in my Chronodex. I enjoy “taking” notes in a physical notebook and using pens. 

I took a course in college called the Nature of Media.  The final project was for us to describe in any way our definition of the nature of media.   During the semester we discussed digital v analog and at the time I was just beginning to read books on my Windows based phone.  I had my head up my digital backside for lack of a better description.  Now, after many years of discussing, contemplating and experiencing I think paper has a place that is necessary.  I’m not saying digital is junk or that those who are solely digital are crazy…if it works for them, “Peace out, homey.”  I function well somewhere in-between. 

Heck for these first two posts I’ve used Byword on my iPhone while lying on the couch early in the morning watching the sun come up and the fire in my woodstove come back to life.  I then, print out the article to edit, make changes in Byword and then send to WordPress for final review and posting.  However, I learned that I prefer taking physical notes and keeping a notebook for both work and life.  I prefer keeping a physical journal that I can pull off a shelf and read whenever.  I prefer owning and using my pens. 

I have always used analog tools, I’m just old enough to not have grown up with tablets, smartphones and such…analog tools were necessary.  Perhaps it is a generation thing, perhaps not.  I just know that for the time I will continue to use the analog tools I have and buy more of.  I enjoy putting ink to paper and carrying my Midori everywhere I go.

I think we all need to experiment and try new things and find that perfect balance that works for us all.  No one system is better than the next if what you are doing is the right system for you.  I applaud those ingenious creators who reveal their systems and allow everyone to see how they may fit into their lives.  Steven Covey, David Allen, Patrick Ng, David Seah, Merlin Mann, The Omni Group, Phil Libin & Stepan Pachikov to name a few, thank you.  I have at one time or another incorporated some or all of their products/ideas into my daily productivity.  I have fit it to tweak my productivity to best suit me.  It is something we should all do.  Analog has been with me since the beginning but, digital has enhanced my system in so many ways.  The two can be meshed and function quite well, just takes some practice and patience.

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Apple

I Choose You, MacBook Pro

I’m not sure when I truly fell in love with Apple and all their fabulously designed products but, I know I never want the relationship to end. Currently I use a 2013 – 14 MacBook Pro and relish the thought of using it daily. I’ve even gone to the point of attempting to use it for my day job just to use it more. Unfortunately like many corporations today Microsoft has their claws sunk deep and I use too many applications that can not be transferred. Oh well, it’s a small price to pay…I suppose.

My passion for tech and more so Apple began in high school where I was introduced to the Apple Macintosh Plus. I created my first video game on that computer. But, my history with the PC began years earlier when I was around 11 and my parents came home with a Tandy 1000 from Radio Shack. A very low-end computer compared to its competition but, to my 11-year-old eyes it was the best thing ever.

I learned DOS quickly and picked up BASIC afterwards and was learning to write actual code, though I had no idea what that meant. I was only a few years I to my PC love affair when, on a whim, I picked a computer programming class in the 9th grade. I remember it fondly…I sat next to a senior, Desiree… It was my introduction to a love I would never leave…Apple. The room was set up with tables along the walls and an island in the center of the room with Macintosh Plus computers atop them. I had entered Eden.

We started with learning the computer peripherals and then got inside and learned how it was able to “compute”. Finally after son time we were taught how to program. We were given an open-ended final project which accounted for half our grade. I chose to build a Star Wars game I. Which you flew the Millennium Falcon through asteroids and defended against on coming Tie Fighters. Using the ‘g’, ‘h’, and ‘space bar’ to control the Falcon and shoot Tie Fighters.

Needless to say, I received an “A” in the class. I was just unhappy I had no ability to take my game home to play. Wish I still had that game… Nonetheless I continued using Mac’s when I got to college and got into a graphics design course but, had Microsoft and the Windows PC brought into my life the same year when I began taking business classes.

Sad to say the first PC I bought was not an Apple, they were at the time outside my price range and I was forced to buy a windows based laptop from The local office supply store. The only upside was being able to play games on the PC. I was a huge fan of the Age if Empires series.

I spent nearly 2 decades away from Apple. Reading about their latest creations and celebrating the return of Steve Jobs. The domination of the music industry with the iPod was when Apple and I reunited.

I was one of the first in my circle of friends to purchase the iPod. I loved the wheel design and still have it today. The hard drive died some years ago and prompted an excuse to replace it with the new iPod Touch. Gone was the wheel and tactile experience I had become so familiar with and the dawn of a new age began, touch.

I still have and use my original 1st generation iPod Touch. Works just as good today as when i bought it in 2007. Since then I’ve had numerous iPhones, ending in my current 5c (I really am considering the 6 Plus). It wasn’t until late 2013 or early 2014 that I drove an hour and a half to the Apple Store (was the closest to me) and played with all the goodies within and ended up walking out with a 15″ MacBook Pro. I don’t see myself replacing it for at least another year or two. Next to my family, it is my most coveted item.

First and foremost it is a solid computer that handles anything I’ve ever thrown at it. Second, it is the sweetest looking, most well designed piece of art I own. I equate this to art, yes. Jonny Ives designs have actually inspired me to study design and architecture. I look at everything differently now because of the Apple design teams ‘ creations.

My dream set-up would be a 27″ iMac with Retina 5K display on my desk for home and an 11″ MacBook Air for work. I have at least 2 more years before my laptop is upgrade at work so I am stuck with my bloated and ridiculously unimpressive Windows laptop. I still have my MacBook Pro that I use everyday it will suffice. My relationship to Apple, like I’m sure many other feel is one that will not end…possibly ever. I’m a Mac guy. The quality and design of their products is currently unrivaled. Personally I don’t think anyone will come close anytime soon. They are just that good!

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