And now for the last part of the hypothesis….at last !!

Planning using electronic devices only DOES NOT WORK  for 3 reasons :

Reason #3- Planning requires fast access to information and slow processing time.

Weirdly enough, our fast computers and tablet are both too fast and not fast enough for our brain to process the information correctly.

Hey ?

Not fast enough ?

Our brain processes information at an incredible rate. We can absorb the information on a calendar, take a look at a long list of project and things to complete, briefly scan a project map of a flip chart or a extensive mind-map on a white board and while looking at a wall full of post-it and talking to a colleague and decide that, in the end, the priorities must be re-aligned.  The brain is a wonderful integrating machine that coalesce multiple inputs into one clear outcome.

But try to do this on one or two computer screens and there is no easy way for you to click and point fast enough to encompass all this. And I can tell you this while my 27″ iMac is standing next to my iPad and iPhone both standing open in front of me with my macBookAir standing close by.

Something just does not click (no pun intended!). And it gets much worse on a multi-tasking tablet where you need to switch between one app and back to the first one with a brief delay each time…….but ah yes...wearable devices will probably save the day…bien sûr !

Soooo…. Our fast computers are fast, but one task at a time, whereas our brain can and need to take multiple inputs to combine it into useful thoughts.

How fast can you go through some documents on your desk and find just the right information and compare it to yet another piece of information somewhere else (another app, another document, another folder) ?

If (and it is a big IF) your filing system is built adequately and IF (another big IF) you know how to do a respectable search on your computer, you might be faster with your computer.

How quickly can you find the specific sentence that inspired you in a book (you know at the top of the page, next to this nice picture) and compare this to a book mark on your tablet. …

At the same time, computers force us to go fast. Too fast for good planning to take place. A subtle alarm lights up, a new email bell, your phone rings, multiple softwares running at the same time, garbage input just coming your way constantly….. multitasking is also a myth !


Your fast integrating machine works best in a relaxed environment. And it never stops. Your glucose consumption is the same while you sleep or when you attend a meeting (which can be the same in some instances…) or give a presentation. But it thinks better when it is in the “zone”, or as Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls it , “Flow” (a great summary of this concept is here , compliment of Paul Bonea who generously offered it to my readers). It works best when it can compare and assemble various informations easily and smoothly.

A desk covered in information, maps, graphs, charts, a calendar and a planner comes to mind. All at the same time.

But in a relaxed fashion….with a cup of coffee (the exact type so dreadfully feared by IT guys!!!).

CONCLUSION : Planning is a slow and deep thinking.

So slow that I am going to use another cliff hanger and let you panting for another few days….

Do you agree with the arguments so far ?

Did you also drop your electronic tools ?

Did you stop planning altogether or go back to the dinosauresque paper planner ?


The whole series is here , part 1-4

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