A four-part account of the last four years on priority management.

Two years.

Two years using an application to manage my priorities and my projects.

I had been looking for such an application or device for 20 years. Yes, 20 years.

In 1992, Texas Instrument had one of the first proto-PDA, Personal Digital Assistant…Five years before the Palm Pilot.

Not very sophisticated, they were still impressive for the time…(don’t laugh !!) as one could input basic appointments and to-do list.

No fancy alarms. No link with your computer. Well, computers were not even linked to the Internet!!! (remember when you had to fax your 20 page report to your boss ?).

Well…I tried then to use those prehistoric devices. Not very successfully but, oh, did I want to believe in technology. Only years later did I first see the amazing vision of the future that Apple had conceived…(you have to watch this….1988…UN-BE-LIE-VABLE!!) but in 1992, I was impressed enough with the device to….stop using it after a few trials.

Cumbersome. Slow. Plain stupid !!

Upon discovering ccmail and the amazing IBM Lotus SmartSuite and the fabulous Organizer in 1994, I felt we were really going somewhere…until I was gently but firmly kicked out of the company network in 1996 because I needed a state of the art software that was not supported by the IT department ….PowerPoint. The illegitimate Office Suite and the avant garde Windows 95 were way out of their leagues !

So….We were using email to schedule meetings (many of them). Looking at your electronic calendar at the beginning of the day was sure to help you plan everything…yeah right….everything around meetings !! Suffice to say that after being kicked out of the network, I had a lot less meetings…..

Not really… and at the very least I needed to know when those meetings where held so I could tell everyone with certainty that NO, I was not attending such and such meeting. I needed a tool to help me keep track of everything else.

I started using an agenda, the traditional Day Timer in 1998. Two months after the IT people kicked me out ….

And my life changed ! Not only did meetings were planned (or cancelled!) on time but I started to write to-do lists, plan projects and see my life unfold weeks in advance !! All that without going insane.

But still, the nagging feeling that it could be done more efficiently with a machine that would set alarms (just in case I forgot to look in the time-planner) and automatically add recurrent events (monthly meeting, monthly report, monthly planning, etc.) so I would NOT have to re-write those things every month.

I tried most forms of PDA when they came out. I hated the PALM Pilot, carried an electronic phone book for a long time, moved from the Lotus Calendar to Lotus Notes to Outlook to whatever but always carried my agenda/planner/day timer  until…

Until I got a cell phone in 2005.

First, synchronizing my address book with the phone was quite an achievement ! I added all the numbers I needed directly IN my phone. Quite a boost in productivity.

Then in the Spring of 2010, the first iPad. My life, no, the world changed !!! THAT was the way to go…and then I discovered OMNIFOCUS and THINGS, two amazing softwares that interacted between the computer, the iPad and the iPhone (I only got an iPhone in the Fall of 2010….yeah, I know, I am so passé !)

These softwares were so great and stupendous that I dropped my loyal paper & pen (P&P) planner.

I started using digital planning tools to become a better planner, person, father, entrepreneur.

I started using the paperless tools to become free and get rid of the cumbersome P&P tools. Hey, we are in the XXIst century where your phone dials vocally your next call and where you can synch your computer in the clouds !

And for two years, I became the hapless victim of those systems.

THAT is a cliff hanger dear readers…..more next week !

In the mean time, I am curious :

  • Who used a PALM pilot before ?

Did you like it ? Why did you stop using it ?

  • Who used a paper planner before ?

Did you like it ? Why did you stop using it ?

  • Who is using Outlook as a planning system ?

The whole series is here , part 1-4

  • Part 1
  • Part 2
  • Part 3
  • Part 4

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