Using Paper

I don’t use paper because I’m “nostalgic” for it. I use paper because I prefer it.

I use paper for as many things as I can. Notes, lists, tasks, everything that makes sense. I even tried a paper and folder based project management system for a while. I loved the idea, but it turned out to be less than ideal. I also really want to use a paper calendar, but the iPhone is better for that sort of thing. Dangit. It’s not for lack of trying, though.

Paper is slow, unsearchable, immutable, sloppy, prone to loss, and it kills trees. You know the list. It’s also better in almost every way that I find valuable. For example, slow is good. I know, all luddites make that argument, but the slow physicality of writing something down makes it “stick” for me. So again, slow is good.

Paper is immutable. This happens to be one of its best features. If I write something down, it stays there. On the other hand, whenever I type something into OmniFocus or nvALT or whatever I tend to change my mind a week later and move everything to Asana or VoodooPad or OneNote or whatever. For all the fancy ways I have to take notes, I can’t find shit half the time. You may do things differently, but for me, ink on paper sticks and remains useful forever.

Paper is sloppy. Yes it is, and that messiness helps me find things. I can look for something and find it based on ink color, bleed, flourish, stains, location on page, etc. This is a good thing. I love sloppy.

Paper is unsearchable. Well, I can’t argue with that, although I’m pretty good at finding things I’ve written down (see above). Mileage varies.

I wouldn’t try to convince anyone that paper is inherently better for everything, but I still prefer it, and if that means a few extra trees have to go, so be it.