The starting place to making any productivity system work is to get information into the system. Methods for capturing information vary. Some people are adamant about all-electronic input, others just as forceful about all-paper. And some, like myself, use a combination. Here are the pros and cons of both systems:
The information goes into its final destination. There is no transcribing of data; addresses go right into the address book, appointments right into the calendar.
Everything is in one place. Electronic systems keep everything together. PDAs in particular keep all parts of the system in one device.
It can be hard to start entering information. All electronic devices have some sort of lag as you turn them on, go to the correct place and start entering information.
Electronic devices aren’t as flexible as paper. This can be taken literally — try folding a laptop to fit into a book — or figuratively. With electronic devices you are limited to what the software provides. You can draw a graph, make a border, enter a phone number and perform calculations all in one place on paper. It would require four applications to do the same on a PDA.
Paper is flexible. I can fold a notecard and put it in an evening bag in a space that my PDA would never fit. I can also capture any type of information on paper.
Paper is portable. Paper can go anywhere. You never have to recharge paper, or worry about all your information being lost because the battery died.
Paper scatters. Unless you are using a bound notebook, paper has a tendency to scatter. Sticky notes get lost, scraps get wadded up in the bottom of the briefcase.
Paper requires transcription. Even if you enter the original information into the appropriate location, later needs for the information are going to require transcription. For example, if you write a phone number in your address book, you will need to copy that phone number out when it comes up in your to do list. PDAs can link information quickly.
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