Paper V Tablet?

Tablet V Paper
Last Thursday and Friday I attended the Dublin Web Summit. Two days, over 100 speakers and 1,500 attendees. The speakers included the founders of YouTube, Skype, Bebo, Angry Birds and many more. Overwhelming and inspirational are the two words that described the 48 hours for me. So many Hyper-successful people under one roof.

Thursday morning I sat with my friend and an ex work colleague of hers to listen to Joe Fernandez, founder of Klout. The two of them whipped out their iPads, I took out my notebook, not a HP notebook nor any other technological manufacturer but my Moleskin notebook. Paper based low tech notebook, and with it I took out my biro! And yes I was further humiliated when I received the comment “What’s that?” accompanied by a surprised look on the person’s face. Yeah, yeah funny joke, would I have felt the same loss of dignity if I possessed an iPad or any other tablet? Or was it because I wanted to be them? I could have brought my laptop or taken notes with my iPhone as the person to my right was doing, but pen and paper was my choice and I now feel the need to justify that choice.

Note Taking

As we sat there taking notes at the conference the truth has to be told, that pen and paper was faster, I had my more detailed notes taken while they still fumbled away on their little keypads. One score for me! But does pen and paper usually save us time? I suppose it depends what you are trying to achieve. If it is for taking notes, paper can be your quickest option although creators of Evernote and OneNote would definitely disagree. If you can type faster than you can write and you have a wireless keyboard connected to your Tablet then probably these programs are better. But if you have to type on the terrible keyboards the tablet manufacturers have created then the pen wins again.

Task Management

If you need to keep a task that needs doing or an appointment it may make more sense to put it directly into your electronic Task lists or Calendars. This will save time re-entering in your system to avoid forgetting or missing any appointments. There are many Productivity Apps created for task storage, but although planned for saving time more often than not, they can be time wasters. First you research them, then you download them and have to figure out how to use them and optimize them. Then you start to use them but they lack something so you start looking for something else that may do the job a bit better and clock up more wasted hours.

But of course there are some great productivity apps out there that work for a lot of people, and if you don’t waste time fiddling around with them and changing from one system to the next, they can work a treat. Check out my top five.


Does going electronic inhibit creativity? Some believe that creativity and productivity are two opposing sides of the spectrum. I believe lack of organisation can inhibit creativity and that to allow creativity to flow, creative people need to get organized and clear the clutter from their lives.
I have just recently signed up for an account on Action Method. Action Method is a product provided by the Behance network. Behance states their objective as being an organisation that develops products and services that empower creative professionals to make ideas happen. Whether their productivity app is just another task management system or one specifically for creative people I’m not sure yet, I will keep you informed.

Paper can definitely help if:
1. You are not technologically inclined or
2. You are drowning with your electronic organisation.

If you haven’t yet found a system that works for you, stick to paper. If you don’t know the difference between delete and backspace stick to paper!

But if you are a tech lover like me or if you work a lot with your laptop, tablet or computer, electronic systems can be much more efficient. Mind mapping software can be used to take notes and brainstorm projects, electronic notes can be transferred easily into documents or other files with a copy and paste. If you use a multidimensional program like OmniFocus for Mac or Nozbe for PC, these can transfer across your phone, computer and tablet, meaning your productivity is not compromised when you switch from one device to another.

The truth is that even though I couldn’t live without my moleskin notebooks, I think overall the tablet will win the race for productivity.

I do wish my husband would read my blog more often! 🙂

Have a great week

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Comments (4)

To quote David Allen: “Capture low tech, organise high tech”. Seems to work well for me…

Thanks Gerrit, that approach makes a lot of sense

Great article Ciara, sorry I missed the Web Summit. I always think it is about having a system that works for you. I love the notes function on my iphone, great for capturing ideas,as I’ll always have my phone with me. At heart I’m a note book person though, especially for creative thinking and my to do list is still captured manually, though my diary is online!

Absolutely, good to hear I’m not the only one who still uses paper!

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