Part 4 – The reality of the myth of the paperless tools
Planning using electronic devices only DOES NOT WORK for three reasons :
Planning is a slow and deep thinking.
Two years of using an app to plan. Or rather try to plan using an application.
Planning requires :
- an overview of the situation ;
- detailed knowledge of the projects ;
- an understanding of the consequences of doing/not doing “stuff » ;
- visual support to rapidly confirm and verify détails ;
- a time scale to see what’s coming daily, weekly, monthly and even yearly !
Taken altogether, planning requires contact and expertise with the necessary information.
CONTACT and EXPERTISE !
Malcom Gladwell estimates that experts will spend 10 000 hours on their field of interest or craft, whether it is sport, music or science before they become experts or Outliers. It has been demonstrated that new neuronal pathways form in the brain to accommodate the new learning. Actual protein synthesis has been demonstrated in fruit fly when learning occurs. New connections….
But this takes time…. 10 000 hours in some cases !
Time required for the neurons to connect and make new links and associations. The more links, the more information gets processed. Slowly. Repeatedly.
Which brings us back to pen & paper planning !!
A slow thinking process that allows neurons to connect !
In her excellent book on the role of paper vs computer, Abigail Sellen splits the uses of information in tree parts and associates the preferred media to each :
1- Accessing, collecting, organizing : COMPUTER
2- Planning, problem solving, making judgment, thinking : PAPER
3- Revising, editing, polishing, finishing : COMPUTER
So, yes, we need computers to do a part of the job. But then, the important part, as far as priority management is concerned, should be slow and anachronistic…on paper !
I CONFIRM !!
Two years planning on applications from the digital realm and then I dropped it !
FOR GOOD !
I started using my own planning tool, the chronograf, the same one I was selling to my clients.
No more item pushing since I had to retranscribe them …I either did it or, even better, really decided NOT to do it.
The monthly planning ritual became aligned with the weekly planning.
The daily planning is a breeze and always focused. A quick visual reminder tells me all there is to see for the whole week. Choosing one priority over another is done by glancing at the whole picture.
And I reclaimed control over my projects, my priorities, my life.
I have been disciplined about time and priority management since 1998.
I have been writing a monthly chronicle on the topic for seven years, published four books, created 90 video capsules, edited a six hour course on DVD, delivered training coached on time and priority management for the last 15 years.
But I am by no mean perfect.
I have read at least one book a year on the topic for the last 15 years and listened to audio programs by Stevens Covey, David Allen, Bill Jensen, Carl Honor, Ken Blanchard, Jim Rohn, Zig Ziglar, Timothy Ferris, Antony Robbins and more.
I have integrated their techniques, tips and tricks into my routine and my time management course and DVD programs.
I have tried the traditional paper & pen tools from Franklin Covey, Day Time, Time Design, Harvard Planner and A. Robbins.
I also tried the most technologically oriented tools from the electronic agenda of the 90’s to the sophisticated and synchronized tool on the tablets and smart phones.
I still use electronic reminder and calendar alarms.
But I ended up developing my own pen & paper tool in 2012 to help my clients and myself stay in contact with my priorities and all the information pertaining to them.
It works for me and my clients.
The important lesson in all this is to find THE tool that works for you. Keep looking, keep trying but do not ever let other people priorities become yours.
It’s YOUR life.
And, I as like to quote André Gide : To choose is to renounce.
I choose the pen & paper tool, I choose the chronograf.
More importantly, I choose to control my priories and my life.
Slowly and repeatedly.
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