Ever since coming across the original HipsterPDA idea several months ago, I've been experimenting with integration of analog and digital methods of idea capture, task management and information storage. While I've not quite settled all of the details of the system, I thought it might be interesting to record my thoughts and share details — in case it might be helpful to others.
I still use and love my Moleskines, mainly for capturing sketches and more permanent, thought-through ideas. I use a pocket sketchbook for sketches, pocket grid book for recording fleshed out ideas, and a pocket lined book for book notes.
For a few weeks I even played with a pocket 2005 daily diary, but the combination of size (it's 3/4“ thick) and worries about data loss of personal and work info leaned me back toward my Palm Zire. However, I am again pondering a pocket 2006 weekly diary just for managing my personal appointments, which are really quite simple.
As for 3x5 cards and the HipsterPDA, I've been slowly using this method for personal use and am enjoying the experience immensely. I find myself capturing more ideas and tasks with pen and cards than ever with the Palm — maybe this is due to my long history with pen and paper before integrating a PalmPilot into my life.
I happened across an old Day-Timer pocket leather case that fits 3x5 cards perfectly, and have taken to carrying 2 3x5 stacks and a G2 pen inside of it (see the detailed pics below). I keep a stack of blank cards on the right, for capturing ideas and my ordered stack of cards on the left (to-dos, notes, etc.). The tiny pen holder fits the clip of a G2 perfectly!
While this setup works for personal info, I do occasionally capture ideas for work — those are integrated into the Mac-based system I have going which uses OmniOutliner Pro for tasks and iCal for tracking my billable time.
Palm Zire 72
What about the Palm? Well, I still use and like my Zire 72 — but it has become much less of a critical tool lately. The main uses of my Zire are as an contact list, mobile secured info manager (SplashID) e-book, iSilo-ed website and Bible reading, a little WiFi surfing and email, MP3 music playing, recipe storage and occasional photo and movie captures. For these tasks it works well, but as these are not critical, it's sometimes left at home in favor of the HipsterPDA or even just my pre-pay phone.
I've found that I rarely managed work data with the Palm, because I can do so directly on the Mac (which I am at 98% of the time). I've even reduced my personal PIM use of the Zire to the address book and keeping a few recipes handy. Most of my other Palm uses are reading, listening, reference or photo/movie capture activities.
Obviously paper and pen can't replace many of these features, so I do intend to keep using the Palm — just not as fully as I once had. I'm just finding the maintenance of the sync and backup more of a burden than they are worth for personal use... hence my thought to move to a Moleskine weekly journal for my basic activity management.
I've not fully adapted the system just yet — it's still in flux as I figure it out. I'm not giving up digital tools — just being realistic about the places where analog and digital options fit best. If I come to a more settled point I may post about that and share additional ideas that I've noted along the way.
What I am finding is a craving for simplicity, and the Palm has lost a little of this for me. I can write pretty quickly in Graffiti classic, but it's still no match for pen on paper. There is just the slightest mental drag involved in Palm data entry, which I don't feel with pen and paper. Maybe that's the reason for my decreased use of the Palm for data entry.
Whatever it is, I can look back and see a definite reduction in my use and interest in digital PDAs. I do still like these devices, and use them, but am coming to the point where their required care and feeding seems more a burden than ever before.
If you have suggestions, ideas, thoughts or want to share your own experiences blending analog and digital tools into your own life, please leave a comment. It's always great to learn from the readers and visitors to this blog. :-)