Notes from a Floating Life Thoughts about productivity, digital living, and leading a simpler life

Paper Definitely Isn't Perfect

Paper is definitely a useful tool for helping you get things done, track tasks, and plan your work. I use it quite extensively, and I’m sure that more than a few of the fives of people who read this blog do as well.

But paper is far from perfect. I was planning (on paper, in case you’re wondering) a post explaining why. Then I ran across the following quote, which sums up my thoughts nicely (sorry, I forgot to note where I found it):

Paper isn’t a perfect system for receiving or storing information, of course. Whenever you have a lot of information arranged in no particular order, paper isn’t your friend. You can’t, say, quickly search for something stored on paper, like you can in a digital format. Paper notebooks, documents, and file folders take up a lot of physical space, too. Information on paper isn’t necessarily available to you wherever you go, as a file stored in the cloud would be. Instead, you have to predict when and where you’ll need that paper document in the future. Otherwise, you’re out of luck. And you can’t easily share your paper documents with others like you can, say, a Google Docs file.

The key is to think about your goals for the information you receive and need to keep. Let your goals determine if you should use paper or some digital format for that information. Figure out when you’ll most likely need that information, how you’ll use it, how long you’ll need to keep it, and with whom you may want to share it.

— Douglas Merrill

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