Why I made the move to pen and paper.

I have married myself to a black notebook and a couple pens. You see, I have been dating “To Do” apps for a couple years. If I were to list them here, I would lose you at “Hello.” The point is, I have tried them all. Many of them are very good. They are well thought out and super powerful. Trello is cool, Evernote is mighty, and Wunderlist is wunderful. However, what are they missing? For me, that is…

Basically, they are not lovely. They don’t feel like anything. They are ghosts of sorts. They can drag, they can drop. But a notebook and a pen can pop. How is that? I guess I’m just a fan of touch. I know, “Any.do” can be used on a touch screen, but it feels like a glass screen. After I write some thoughts down in my notebook (people are calling them bullet journals these days), I can actually feel what I wrote. I can remember better, and I can experience it again. And Pens? Don’t get me started on pens. No stylus has anything as worthy as a pen to paper feel. It feels like travel to me. Driving down the highway (welp, there goes Doobie Brothers in my head) feels and smells like progress and the achievement of making it from here to there (like that) is a luxury experienced only in the last 75 years of all human history. Ball point pens are pretty recent too.

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Did you know that in 1948, a ball point pen cost about $250? I could go back in time and sell a pen, and come back and buy a big screen TV. Man, I have got to get back to work on my time machine.

My marriage mentioned before is an actual oath (aleph, tov) with myself to download zero planning apps. I have my Moleskine professional notebook and a couple Pentel Ener-Gel needle tip pens. I will continue to use Evernote to scan pages and archive. And, yes, these are non-paid endorsements. I have tried more pens than there are planning apps. I hope your 2017 is a powerfully blessed year. We are looking forward to all that Elohim has in store for us.

What’s your favorite planning system? Why did you choose that?



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  • Felicia Alvarez

    April 5, 2017

    Hey, Paul. Just watched a vlog post ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aSskW5xiLiQ) by Neville Medhorra about his system of goal setting and it reminded me of this post. (He’s a pen and paper guy, too.) Wondered if you’d share any tips on *how* you use your notebooks: journaling, goal setting/to do lists, or mind mapping? What works best for you and why?

    • pbassnet

      April 12, 2017

      I really like the hardback 5×8 moleskine type notebooks. BAM sells a nice one for $5.98. The pages are already bound and can be looked at for refernce. I do a similar page. Where Medhorra places the column on the right, I place mine on the left.
      I need to start these type of videos. Thanks for the idea.
      I also use a page for idea mapping.
      Have you seen any of the bullet journal videos. Some people spend a lot of time decorating.
      Have you been using pen and paper?

      • Felicia Alvarez

        April 13, 2017

        Hubs and the oldest unit are into moleskins, too. Note: they have a version now that integrates with Evernote. It has a grid that renders the words you wrote on the paper as searchable. Cal 1 is very organized and detailed: mind maps, what to do organized by project, what got done…. Cal 2 uses hers for mostly art with story ideas scattered throughout and mixed with the occasional “things to do”.

        As for me, I usually jot a list on a scrap piece of paper and promptly lose it! ? That’s why I was researching organization and planning techniques. Thanks for the tips. And yeah, make a vid on it; show us what you got!


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