Everyone uses technology, but I thought it would be interesting to see in what areas people have decided they are better off avoiding technology. So we asked a bunch of bloggers:
Are there areas where you have decided it works better to go low tech? (3593)
Personally, I have found that I prefer a mechanical watch. I think there is something about having to set it and make sure it is wound that makes me more aware of time and how I spend it.
An old-fashion book is still better than an MP3 or a PDF. There’s just something inexplainable about holding a good, hard-cover book in your hand. It feels more important. It feels like there’s actual knowledge contained within.
And it’s easier on the eyes too.
I have been pleasantly surprised by how much I like the e-ink readers, but I still love a library of real old fashioned books.
I still use paper for a lot of things. My daily planning sheet is irreplacable. I also use a card based walleteer and desktop flowchart for planning tasks. You can download a lot of free paper based resources on my blog.
I think there is something very helpful about actually writing your goals down with a pen on a real piece of paper.
My experience with daily planners and forms is that paper forms, all things considered, are better than a bunch of software that we’re prone to fiddle with. The focus and tangibility of paper planners is a powerful productivity enhancer. For instance, the resistance to erase a planned activity and move it to another day makes it such that I’m more likely to plan fewer things – and actually accomplish them – than to have a digital list of twenty things I can’t do.
I find that the software based planners are good when I have hundreds of things I’m trying to track. Paper works much better when I have fewer (but probably more important) tasks to manage.
Absolutely! I use a paper calendar. I just could not give up being able to see everything at a glance!
I wouldn’t want to give up my ability to sync my calendar with my Blackberry and my wife’s computer, but if I didn’t need that I’d agree with Ariane. I used a Franklin planner for years and it is amazing how well you can organize your life with paper as long as you have a decent system and process.
I’m paper-centric—for portability and ease of use, there’s nothing better. For a shopping list, an index card suffices. For planning, a pocket notebook. My higher tech is often low too—when I’m writing on the computer, I like TextWrangler or WriteRoom. Writing, as I tell my students, is not word-processing.
Sometimes the low tech software can help you be much more productive. (See the Paradox of Powerful Tools for a story about this.)
Note taking is my favorite low tech solution. Palms and tablet PC’s still do not compete with the good old notepad in this realm. I carry a pocket notepad just incase, and use a full size notepad and clipboard when prepared. Just remember to scan or transcribe important notes. It is also much less expensive to lose a notepad.
I haven’t found any computer program that can really give you the immersible experience of mind mapping as a way of taking notes.
I think that capturing thoughts and ideas, especially on the go, is quickest and easiest with paper. I have found that having some device I need to turn on, dial, wake from sleep, or otherwise manipulate gets in the way of what is most important. That is, getting that thought, idea, must do item out of my head and captured quickly, before it is gone.
Even though I can type faster than I can write, I agree with Patrick that it is hard to beat paper for this.
My To Do List! I’ve tried numerous online apps as well as the usual Outlook/Note functions but what has always worked best for me is a simple spiral bound notebook in which I can write my to do lists, then tear them out when I’m done or need to re-write one.
Plus I can carry it everywhere easily and it takes 2 seconds to open up and scribble something in, instead of the time it takes to power up the laptop.
My most effective to-do list is a single sheet of paper in the middle of my desk with a short list of things I want to accomplish for the day.
I have tried just about every electronic method of taking notes including trying a dozen different desktop programs as well as features for my Treo. In the end, there is nothing more conducive to learning for me than writing something down on a pad of paper.
It’s also an incredible tool for creativity – just take a pen, a pad of legal paper and do a brain dump on whatever problem you’re working on.
The only thing I’ve found that works better than paper note taking is collaborative note taking with something like SubEthaEdit–where multiple people can type on the same document at the same time. But that only works in specific situations.
In general I’d agree with Jared. I find it much easier to think with paper when taking notes or brain storming.
I don’t have a PDA. I just use a notebook. I had a PDA once, but lost it. The notebook is helpful because it forces me to look over my notes/contacts after an event to enter them into my computer. Doing so helps me to remember whom I met and what I need to do next. Also, if I lose it, I’m only out 69 cents!
I’m not a big fan of double entry because I don’t feel it really helps me remember the material any better. However, I’ve heard a lot of people say that this helps them, so it must work for some people.
There is still something to be said for a personal connection in your personal and business relationships. We often forget that business is really about people. We tend to do business with people we trust and trust is best gained by getting to know someone personally. So don’t forget to connect with people in person and over the phone as well as through email and other forms of digital communication.
Good point. I would add postal mail to the list as well. Maybe I’m old fashioned, but there is something special about a physical letter coming in the mail.
If you’re talking about life in general, I use tech for all my work, so for anything that’s not work, I try to avoid using technology. I do read books from my PDA, so ‘try to’ is operative. Television is for people who haven’t got a clue what they’re living for.
If you just mean work, no – not really. I find that pretty much everything I do throughout the workday can be augmented and improved by technology.
I tried to get away from reading so much on the computer by subscribing to some newspapers. I was amazed at how much paper accumulates in just a week.
Fountain pens. :-)
I love fountain pens, but I’ve finally settled for a nice gel pen. It is a bit more airplane and Kansas heat friendly.