Procrastinators Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from chronic procrastination.

paper or plastic?

I realize a problem I have been creating for myself: I use both electronic and paper notekeeping, but do not transfer info between them.  My paper notepad goes with me everywhere and I jot notes all day, circling those that call for follow-up - but I create action lists, schedules and reminders on my laptop, never even looking at my paper notepad again once I am back in the office. Man is that ever sabotage!

An endless flow of response-demand email and phone calls come in on my computer all day, and these automatically become MUTs and rule the day - as GeorgeSmiley points out in  What results is that I'm at the mercy of MUTs all day, because my best ideas - the MITs of my work life - are all on paper while the MUTs are right in my face.

Has anyone found a simple way to integrate paper and plastic notekeeping/reminders/action lists? (preferably quick and easy too - I am after all a compulsive procrastinator!)

Scheduling daily time to transfer from paper to PC?

Would putting a daily, recurring, task note on your computer (this should be easy if you are  you using Outlook for the computer-based tasks) with an alarm for a certain time, to remind you to take your notepad list and transfer it to your computer list be helpful?


The Hero's Code:

Show up. Pay Attention. Speak the Truth. Let Go of the Outcome.

re: paper or plastic

I struggle with this too and I love to fiddle with my systems.  I'm currently using Remember the Milk and once I get my todo list for today pinned down, I print it out and then work from the paper.   This helps me focus on today's work and block out all the other stuff.  The printed list looks cool too with nice check boxes.  

I do love the act of writing in a notebook though.   I've started keeping my "long-term" to do lists, goals, and that kind of stuff in a notebook.   I tried keeping those lists electronically but they quickly got out of hand and hard to maintain.   I worry about losing the notebook so I make a photocopy once in a while.

The most important thing is:  whatever system you choose to use is fine.  Just pick one, and use it daily.   No system is perfect, but it is the act of using it daily and keeping it maintained that really does the trick.


There is a proper balance between not asking enough of oneself and asking or expecting too much.  - May Sarton

thanks for these ideas re: paper vs plastic/electronic

I should have added that I use a pda - but currently not very efficiently. Although I am fairly literate with these electronic tools - moreso than many 50-somethings - I am not a natural at it.  Small things stop me - or at least, things that are small to more tech-savvy people. 

For example, in last 2 months I've had to replace PDA (from Blackjack to BB Curve), and laptop (Vaio with OfficeXP to Toshiba with Vista).  The learning curve feels as though it has devoured my time and enjoyment of life!  I spent 5 hours trying to install the BB synch software and complete a synch - failing, researching support online, uninstalling, reinstalling, trying again, repeating the process, failing - argh!

So now I do not have synch capability. And I don't want to try anymore.  I feel good "thinking" and tracking on paper, but it's not as versatile as the electronics. I think I experience more demand-resistance from the electronics because of their 24/7 presence.  But paper can't give me auditory reminders, reorg capacity, etc.

Someone gave me a book years ago by a time management expert who recommended determining whether you are a "paper person" or and electronics person, and then going whole-heartedly with whichever.  I think I'm doing the addict thing here: trying to have it ALL - :D

Notebook or PDA?

Aw...If it makes you feel better, it's not all because of your age. I blame Windows.

It's hard for everyone to change operating systems. Really.

And of course Windows-based systems have to accommodate so many variations in hardware and software that it quickly becomes a compatibility tangle. Not to mention that Vista is garbage, it won't play nice with anyone. So it's not you, it's them.

Short of going over to Mac }:-) ... I hope the printout idea bridges the gap for you. Best of luck.

Simple way to integrate paper & electronic reminders/lists/notes


Print outs! Instead of circling things that need follow up, circle and fill out a printout. When you're back at your desktop take out the filled printouts and you have a very visual reminder of what you need to enter in your laptop. At this point I'd recommend the "do it now" philosophy. Do you like the idea?


Using your favourite word-processor you can make yourself a document that is only one page long.

The idea is that this document will have between six and eight spots where you can fill out the information you will need to enter in your software of choice.

What information do you need? The data requested when you enter a list item, schedule item, or reminder and you are shown a blank form with all the data you need to enter.

I guess you could make a different page to print out for each software need, or make one page that only fits four items but each item can be of any kind. Either way the trick would  be making sure you pull out that printout from the back of your notebook every time.

re electronic or paper


Is there a small electronic notepad that you can handwrite onto a screen then save that file and be able to upload it to your main computer?  Can you tell I am not at all informed on what is available to us!  It may be that this device is out there, but may be astronomical in price, or a function on something else that is not needed.

But I would love to have something like that myself!

I went to sticky notes for windows and downloaded the freeware.  I like it so far, I find it easy and quick.  It works for me, it may for you...

good luck!

Nothing is worth more than this day  - Goethe

Yes, there are small electronic organizers

They are called Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs). It's also a functionality that is part of the iPhone.

PDAs can be synchronized with the software on your Windows-based system, the iPhone synchronizes seamlessly with the software already included in your Apple computer.

Now as for cost, PDAs have been around for gazillions of years. Buying a used one that is fully functional should cost under $100. But they're unfriendly to Apple computers in my opinion.

The iPhone 1G didn't have tasks or notes sync so it's kind of useless for our purposes. The iPhone 2G costs about $300 used. The iPhone 3G should cost about $200. There's that pesky 3-year contract... but once I go iPhone I'm never going back so that's a moot point.

Plus the iPhone has all sorts of shinies!!! Like helping you track your gas mileage, your expenses, carrying your calendar reminders with you, your shopping lists,...