Are You Digital or Analog?

One of the holy grails of type ‘A’ personalities is the search for increased productivity. Through the years, it has presented itself in a lot of different forms, but the search is constant and ongoing. For years, we increased our productivity by implementing the analog tools of the day and taking day long courses on how to use them.

Starting with a calendar, I progressed to a Day Timer (I think mine was the cheaper Day Runner). With this technology, I could track the tasks for the day, schedule appointments into open slots, and remind myself of previously scheduled meetings. In the back was the address book, where I kept all the important numbers. This was great. Then sticky notes were added to the mix and later 3 X 5 index cards and life couldn’t get any better than this.

Then I saw my first electronic organizer, which happened to be, an Apple Newton, and I was completely blown away. It was a real beauty and offered everything the Day Timer did, but with search capability. It was small, great looking and felt super, resting in the cup of my hand. I was calling on a prospect in White Deer, Texas, and he had a need to share his new productivity tool with me, and truly, I couldn’t stop thinking about how much this was going to change everything. I mean, EVERYTHING!

No, I didn’t buy a Newton (they turned out to be a little pricey), but I did buy an electronic organizer. The first one was made by Rolodex, exclusively for Radio Shack and I went through three of them before they were discontinued. This prompted the move to the Sharp Wizard from Best Buy, and life was still good. Over the next few years, I went through three Wizards and they were discontinued. I was beginning to see a pattern emerging and I wasn’t liking it one bit.

Something I have discovered over the last few years … some people are digital in their thinking and actions, and some are analog. I can’t imagine going back to analog, and the Redhead can’t dream of going digital. Others I have talked with are in one camp or the other. Some will never give up the Franklin-Covey Planner (with the embossed leather cover, and custom printed pages), and others (the digitals) think they are nuts.

After my last Wizard quit working, I went back to the analog Day Timer and quickly discovered that I had become a digital person, and as such, could never go back to the analog world. It just wasn’t natural, somehow, to tote that big huge 5″ x 8″ planner around, but I had no choice.

Six months later, I saw a real, live Palm Pilot (a name that was dropped in the first year of production because of a lawsuit from Pilot Pens), and knew that I was destined to move back to the digital world. After much research and looking, the Palm Vx won out over the newly introduced Sony Clie’ (no numbers, this was the original) and I haven’t looked back since.

That was six years ago and I am using my second Palm, a Tungsten T5, which is fantastic. Yes, digital life is good, but some will never hold that same feeling for cold metal and software. They need the feel and smell of leather, with the touch of pen to paper to feel complete and fulfilled.

It is one of the things that makes the world go around … so are you DIGITAL or ANALOG?

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9 thoughts on “Are You Digital or Analog?”

  1. He’s not kidding. If you were brave enough to look in my purse, you’d find an index card wallet, a tattered spiral notebook, sticky notes, and a dozen assorted pens and pencils. Larry gave me his beloved Palm Vx (when he upgraded to the Tungsten T5), but it kept doing dead on me. How annoying is that! Now where did I leave that charger?

  2. Um, this is actually a great topic. I’m attracted to being digital, like how organized it makes things. But I don’t keep the tools up to date and find myself relying on handwritten lists or printouts. Which leaves me unsure of where I am organizing myself.

    If I were in a position where being organized is essential, perhaps I would have to resolve this. But I should be better organized anyway. Sigh.

  3. Early on, I realized little pieces of paper get lost and usually don’t have enough information to make them useful a day or two later. 555-555-5555 jon doesn’t help me with my productivity when I have to spend an hour researching who jon is.
    Also, as I recall Dave, you were installing kinklessGTD (or a variant) on a server some time back. I take it that the experiment is not going well?

  4. It was actually GTD-PHP. It works okay, but the problem is GIGO.

    Its kind of like signing up for a gym membership, buying new workout clothes, and then deciding all the walking you did today means you don’t need to work out today. And the next day…

  5. gtd-php, I didn’t remember that. I have suffered from the same problem many times, especially on the exercise front. More there than on the GTD side. Organizing seems easy, and getting better takes practice, but exercising, that’s work.

  6. I’m a Hybrid. The key is notetaking. Nothing handheld and digital is capable of taking notes at a meeting, a phone call, or your boss popping in the office saying I need “XYZ”. I love my Franklin planner for notes, goals, and to-do list. I also end up booking appointments in it as well because it so fast to see the big picutre of my month, week, and day. Once a week I sync my written calander of appointments with my digital world of outlook and SalesLogix CRM. All my name address and phone is digital and I mix in my appointments. That then syncs to my HTM WM 6.0 phone. Now I can stay in contact and still take fast notes on paper.

    Going one step further I decided to by a messanger bag for my gadets (Ipod, Garmin Nuvi, and camera. I just made sure it was just big in enough for a few files and my planner. Now all my toys play nice together.

  7. Matt, it seems you’ve solved the hardest part, finding something that works for you. I’ve never gotten the blend to work, preferring to go digital. My Palm Tungsten T5 is never out of arms reach, so it’s easy to jot those quick notes.

    What messenger bag did you buy? I’ve been looking and reading, but can’t decide exactly what I want.

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