Paper Beats Tech

Note: While I’m away this week toiling away in the desert (read: I’m working and playing in Las Vegas) I’ve asked a few friends to step in and take over for me. Today’s guest is Gini Dietrich of Spin Sucks fame. Gini gets a daunting amount of things done. She blogs daily, she’s launching an educational site, she runs a growing PR agency and just published her first book, Marketing in the Round (GO BUY IT NOW!) with Geoff Livingston. And if that isn’t annoying enough, she does it all with a piece of paper. I’m always in awe of just how much Gini manages to do with so little. I often suggest tools and she just sort of laughs at me. Without further ado, here’s how Gini does it all…

Gini Dietrich's To-Do ListI love technology. I love Evernote and Instapaper and Dropbox and Google Reader and alerts in my calendar that tell me when it’s time to do something.

I’m always the first one to jump on a new social network to check it out and determine if there is something there we can pass along to clients to make their lives more efficient.

But I keep going back to the tried and true method of a paper task list.

I blog (a lot) and I read (a lot) and I use technology to help me do both of those things. Instapaper and a good old fashioned copy of a link into a draft blog post in WordPress work really well for me.

So why can’t I give up my paper task list?

I don’t know if it’s because I spend most of my nights on planes, without access to the web, or if it’s because I get great satisfaction from physically checking something off my list, but I just can’t give up the paper method.

Just last week, Michael Schechter wrote a great blog post about keeping yourself more organized. In that he included ways to manage your to-do list.

He said:

Without a way to store the things you need to do, you will find yourself overwhelmed and you will notice things slipping through the cracks. No matter how good you are, it’s improbable that you can keep this all together without a system. For some, that will be as simple as a sheet of plain paper; for others, robust task management systems like OmniFocus will do the trick. My Suggested Tools: OmniFocus for iOS and OS X, Due App for iOS, Fantastical for OS X, Listary for iOS and David Seah’s Emergent Task Planner.

I’m pretty sure he was channeling me when he wrote, “For some, that will be as simple as a sheet of plain paper.”

Mike’s suggestion: $79.99 for OmniFocus.

Gini’s suggestion: $14.99 for 12 packs of 100 sticky notes in any color you desire.

Long live the paper to-do list with dates written in chronological order and little boxes drawn next to each for the satisfying check when you’re finished!

How do you manage your to-do list?

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, a Chicago-based integrated marketing communication firm. She also is the founder of the professional development site for PR and marketing pros, Spin Sucks Pro, blogger at Spin Sucks, and co-author of Marketing in the Round.

Be sure to give her grief on Twitter. She’s probably getting far less of it while I’m away.

  • Billy

    I love it! I always keep notes in a calendar, a management system, or some other techie device, but in the end I always turn to my trusty notepad.

    • http://spinsucks.com Gini Dietrich

      Same for me. I try really hard to use technology, but always return to the trusty notepad.

  • http://yuvizalkow.com/ Yuvi Zalkow

    Paper is fabulous. Though I admit I’ve come up with a more costly solution that involves both Schechter’s $80 solution (OmniFocus) and your $15 solution. I like to use a fancy pants computer program for reminding me to tackle certain tasks and projects, particularly for recurring tasks, but when I quickly need to break down my plan over the next few hours, I think nothing beats the simpleness and versatility and reliability of pen & paper.

    FULL DISCLOSURE: I spent five minute trying to come up with a joke about scissor, paper, rock to post as a comment before giving up and just writing a normal comment.    I’m ashamed of that.

    • http://spinsucks.com Gini Dietrich

      Your full disclosure just made me laugh out loud. Literally. Hilarious!!

      What’s your fancy pants computer program??

      • http://yuvizalkow.com/ Yuvi Zalkow

        Glad you enjoyed my disclosure :) I actually misspoke. I meant to say that I use OmniFocus as my fancy pants program. But I like paper for my short term plan.

  • http://spinsucks.com Gini Dietrich

    I haven’t had to call anyone a brat on Twitter all week. It’s kind of sad. Please don’t ever leave me again.

  • http://ariherzog.com/ Ari Herzog

    I recently attended a presentation by a Google executive. He said his office has a printer but he rarely uses it. His office is devoid of paper. His home is devoid of paper. He electronifies everything, his smartphone acts as that paper stack.

    Is he the anomaly?

    • http://spinsucks.com Gini Dietrich

      The only paper I have is a stack of my books and my to-do list. Everything else is electronified. 

  • http://www.enmast.com/ Brad Farris

    Gini;

    I recently abandoned my paper notepad for Noteshelf on my iPad. It’s still just a piece of paper, but without the paper. 

    My problem with paper is that I lose it – almost all the time the paper isn’t where I need it to be. But I always know where my iPad is. Plus my iPad is smaller and lighter than my pad of paper was.

    Long live paper.

  • http://www.profiletree.com/ ProfileTree

    A list of paper is more handy than all these electronic devices but I favor more on the use of gadgets as it is more advance in use and its the new trend now. :)

    • http://michaelschechter.me/ MSchechter

      I’m finding paper (specifically David Seah’s ETP) handy for in the moment planning and tech for long term.