The Amazing Comeback of Paper Notebooks

Why should you have to choose between digital and paper tools for getting things done?  

David Allen, founder of GTD, has long praised the value of a portable paper notebook that he uses to capture random thoughts during the day.

Still, I see lots of people struggling to find the right balance between paper and digital. They feel pressure to use their iPhone for everything.  Or, they've never really thought about how they like to work and just default to what they see other people doing.  They typically fall into one of three categories:

  • Random paper on the desk (i.e. post-it notes)
  • Multiple notebooks with lists and thoughts inside
  • Everything on their phones

Here's the good news- there's a better way!  Even better, there's a better way that can be custom-tailored to your particular style of working.

In the next episode of the Emergent Leader Podcast, I'll be talking about a simple formula that I use for combining paper and digital productivity tools.  

In the meantime, here's what I use every single day:

  • Smartphone (for calendar, email, social media, todo app)
  • MacBook Air (for blitz emailling, calendar, writing, creative work)
  • Pocket capture notebook (with notecards for small thoughts and reminders in the day)
  • Black notebook (what I take to all meetings, where I form my daily plan)

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See the last item?  Yup- a single notebook with old-fashioned paper in it.  Turns out, paper is making a big comeback, especially for people who appreciate aesthetics and for those that see the value of writing things down.

Just check out these recent articles about notebooks and their raging popularity:

You don't have to go solely digital or solely analog.  The most productive people I know actually use both.