Paper vs. Pixels: Do I have to choose?

Paper Pixels

Long before I got serious about digital, I fell hard for all things paper.  Notebooks, calendars, buckslips… to this day, my heart races when I run my hands over the letterpressed surface of extra-thick card stock (yes, we’re still talking about paper).

Pictured: Wacom Inkling

These days, pen-to-paper isn’t the only way to take notes, make lists, or doodle.  My daytimer has given way to calendar and task management apps, since they offer invaluable features that my notebook can’t compete with (sorry notebooks, but you’re not searchable, or backed up in the cloud).   Yet, I’m still faster and more likely to retain information when I write it with a Ultra Fine Sharpie on something made from a tree.

Just this morning I was in a meeting and two people apologized to me for bringing notebooks to the table— I guess cause I’m a digital lifestyle expert people think I’ve deemed all paper archaic and I only doodle with a stylus. Nothing could be further from the truth: I believe there’s a time and a place for both paper and pixels, and no one should apologize for loving their notebook.

Thankfully, there are so many new mash-ups of my two loves, combining the effectiveness of handwriting with the resourcefulness of technology. Maybe I won’t have to choose after all! Read about some of my favorites on the Manilla Blog, and let me know how YOU straddle the divide between paper and pixels in the comments.


21 comments on “Paper vs. Pixels: Do I have to choose?”

  1. Evernote and Moleskin. I wrote an ebook on using Evernote (for Moms) and I still LOVE paper to pen. Sometimes the best way to brainstorm is taking away everything digital.

  2. Evernote, Moleskin & LiveScribe. Eventually everything winds-up in Evernote but it’s “point of entry may be paper.

  3. use springpad app for all ‘notes’ and lists these days. syncs computers, tablet and phone, just like evernote but i never comfortable with evernote.
    i don’t use any paper notebooks any longer. i occasionally write a list on a piece of paper just to organize thoughts or remind myself of what i have in the queue.
    when at clients i use the ipad for notes, and if i can’t type info someone is showing me i just take a picture and attach to the client notes.
    i’ve scanned hundreds of documents and thrown out thousands in recent months. i’ve still got a way to go! the apple ibook ‘paperless’ was very helpful.

  4. I feel technologically inept most days… I tried keeping “notes” on my iPhone only to have them disappear… and then miraculously REdiscovered them yesterday… in a folder… online in my Yahoo! mail account. As such, they were all deleted and I am now learning to explore Evernote. I am a lover of lists… and am still battling CONSTANTLY with the idea of either going ALL digital or ALL paper but I can’t seem to find a happy place between the two. –Discouraged, I am!

  5. I just recently discovered the boogie board. It has the feel of writing on paper but it’s an electronic board that saves what you write and converts to pdf. The sync version is coming out by Christmas.

  6. Carley – I have been following your videos since you started and love them – you have a wonderful way of explaining technology. I am using evernote, was using catch but now springpad and good old paper. Would like to make them all digital but am having a hard time.

    1. Karen— If you give me an idea of where you get stuck, I would love to help. One thing to try is to take a photo of your pen & paper notes and store in Evernote, which is great at “reading” them and finding notes you need later. Hope that’s helpful!

  7. would be great to hear your view of pros/cons of evernote vs. springpad. i’ve considered moving from springpad to evernote because springpad is trying to be some kind of pinterest which i think is dumb, but moving would be hard (no good export/import?)

  8. Hey, Bitkahuna— Yeah, it can seem overwhelming to move from one to the other. Springpad is definitely moving in a different direction— more curating stuff around themes, projects, and less about data storage.

    Here is a thread on Evernote’s site about how to convert springpad files to Evernote files. Warning: The conversation gets a bit “unsavory”, but I have heard people have success with this method… maybe give it a try with one or two notebooks to test? Let me know if you get stuck and I can reach out to Evernote friends and get extra help.

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