PDA or Paper

Photo by Kevin Dooley

I use a Franklin Planner as a work tool. I have used it since 1996. I would not say that I love it but I recognize that there is a great deal of power in its design and that paper is a technological marvel.  As with other tools, the value depends on the way it is used. I would rate myself as so-so in terms of my Franklin prowess.

Where it is most valuable is the in the daily task list with priorities. If I make the list, I find that one way or another, the tasks get done. If I don’t make the list, then the tasks may not get done.

The next most useful function is finding information from the past. This works best when I log significant events in the monthly index, something that I don’t do enough. It seems difficult to know what events I will want to review in the future but it is probably more that I get too busy to remember.

Finally, my Franklin serves as my address book and a place to store passwords. The trouble there is that I don’t keep that up to date either. Passwords get changed all the time, either by me or by asking to have it reset when I forget (and did not bother to update my Franklin).

I have been thinking seriously about my Franklin and the power of paper as I consider replacing my aging cell phone. I have always lusted for a PDA and always resisted for one good reason or another – although you could say that my major reason is that I am cheap. Over the years, I have restrained myself from buying a PDA for so long that PDA’s no longer exist. Now we have the notebook and the Smartphone. It’s now to the point that I can get a Smartphone for relatively cheap – essentially the same cost as a regular cell phone. Now my hang-up is the data plan – $30 per month for data and $20 for text messages. I end up paying $15-20 for text messages on a per use charge, so the messaging cost can pass. It’s just the data cost.

My question:

Will I use the data to good purpose? Will it improve my productivity? Will the Smartphone replace my Franklin? Will it all be worth the data cost? Will I have any use for excel and word on my phone?


Will I spend my day Twittering and texting. Will I surf up a storm diverting myself from important tasks and responsibilities?

I’m about to stop dithering and do it. I think it’s time to step into the 21st century of time management but what about you? Have you made this switch? Did it work out well for you? What surprises did you find?

They always tell you that the best experience is somebody else’s. How about sharing yours?

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