Digital, Analog, or Hybrid

Digital, Analog, or Hybrid
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(Jonathan Ball) #1

Greetings! I am a restaurant manager and this means a fun and chaotic environment. I enjoy using Things 3 but I am also prone to a analog productivity system. I think there is value in writing things down as I think it helps the mind. I would like to use my planner at work but it seems inconvenient so I rely on my digital task manager which is ok but my phone creates distraction. Any advice?


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(Ed M) #2

What makes it “inconvenient”? You might consider using a smaller form factor for your “carry around” planner. I frequently put a small Moleskine pocket notebook and pocketable Fisher Space Pen in a pocket and use it for notes, actions, etc. Having some quiet time during the day to transfer notes from my pocket notebooks to my permanent record (analog or digital or both) is useful time for reflection and focus.

An advantage of using a pocket notebook is it doesn’t ring, beep, or invite me to browse the internet :slight_smile:


(Jonathan Ball) #3

There are 3 Managers, a chef, and a sous chef. We all share a very small office and none of us really spend any time in it. My planner remains in my bags most days because of the limited space.
I do like the idea of using a pocket notebook as I have used them in the past. Here is what I don’t like about them:
Moleskines and Field Notes paper is not very thick and in bleeds through
I sweat a lot (sorry that’s gross) and the front cover usually tears
I would love to find a notebook with thicker paper and sturdier covers. Any suggestions?


(Hugo Castellanos) #4

My 2 cents: A possible solution is getting a journalist notebook. It can be a $3 one from CVS or a sleeker one like this one from Amazon

I used to do something similar. I keep my projects and next actions list in digital form(Omnifocus) and Flag all the stuff that I want to do this week. I also have a digital planner where I write down my Top 3 things for today + take notes during meetings.

During the day, I work from my digital task manager. I usually flag 7-15 things depending on how busy the day is. Whenever I need to “recenter” myself. i.e. after lunch or a long meeting, I just look at my analog agenda and look at the Top 3 Things that I’ve done/Will do during the day.

A way to ensure your Analog agenda is up to date is planning the day the night before by reviewing the projects that are relevant to your day and also capturing ad-hoc tasks in your notebook. It also feels REALLY good to scratch off todos. :slight_smile:

A way to document progress is to take a picture of your paper agenda for your Things/OF inbox and then process it like any other item.


(Ed M) #5

A site like JetPens has a variety of notebook options. It’s probably best though to find a stationer or bookstore that sells notebooks and check out the paper in person. You might also be interested in bullet journaling. I enjoy the technique but mainly use my own riff on bullet journaling that fits my needs – experimenting on the bullet journal theme I think is the best approach.


(Jonathan Ball) #6

I have a bullet journal too! While I enjoy the idea, I can’t seem to make it stick. I’m currently using Michael Hyatt’s Full Focus Planner. Very pleased with it and how it flows. I definitely recommend it! I now wish it came in pocket size! :thinking::thinking:


(Ed M) #7

If your Full Focus Planner is your main system of record, then it might be simple (and cheap) to pick up some 3 x 2.5 index cards to jot your notes during the day. I buy these at the super market and stick a few in my wallet to have handy.


(Justin DiRose) #8

Great question, @jondavid82.

I run a hybrid system myself. Here’s how it works:

  • I use OmniFocus as a database for all my tasks. It’s just easier that way as I can organize and managed them better on paper.
  • Most days, I pull out my notebook (set up in a pseudo-Bullet Journal style) and plan my day out. This looks like how I’m using blocks of time as well as priority tasks for the day. Unless days are moving very quickly (which is rare), the 3-5 tasks I write down in my journal keep me focused without having to dive into OmniFocus.
  • I have a second page free I use to capture any stray tasks or thoughts that come by. Sometimes I’ll capture directly into OmniFocus if it makes sense as well.
  • At the end of the day, I’ll process that page and add those tasks to OmniFocus where they belong.

However, whatever you do, experiment and find what works for you. It sounds like you’re going down that path right now, so that’s awesome!

This is a great suggestion if carrying a notebook doesn’t work for you. The other option you could do is something like Field Notes pocket notebooks. They hold up well and are high quality.


(Wilson Ng) #9

I’ve got a messenger bag that goes with me everywhere. So, I’m ok with an A5 sized notebook. But, yes, wished there was a pocket version.

I do remember a pocket edition of the Franklin-Covey Day Planner with refillable packs. Sized at 3.5" x 6".

https://shop.franklinplanner.com/store/buy/All-Planners/cat1850016/?size=Pocket


(Joe Preiser) #10

Omnifocus is my primary task manager and an online calendar is used as my main appointment repository. For note taking, it’s a combination of Drafts on iOS and a Field Notes notebook.

I also have a Full Focus Planner that I am working to make a bigger part of my routine. I am finding I like having a paper view of things at times. I am also a pen & paper fan (even though, or perhaps because, I work in the tech industry) so like having some analog tools in my workflow.


(Justin DiRose) #11

I think this is starting to become more and more commonplace in the tech world. We can’t live digitally for everything, or at least it feels like it!


(Wilson Ng) #12

It’s an interesting experiment to go all-digital and then scale back. See what parts can stay digitally and what can go analog.

You won’t know until you’ve tried it.