I bought a new Macbook Pro three days ago because the motherboard in my old Macbook died. A year ago, I would have been fidgeting with excitement all the way to Fry's Electronics. But yesterday, I think I would have been far more excited about buying a new high-end pen.
So, what are some of the other signs over the last year that pen and paper are gaining more influence in my life at the expense of digital devices? Here's a partial list:
Then: iCal, synced to iPhone.
Now: Junior size Circa, in a Circa Master Zip Folio, using templates downloaded from DIY Planner. The office uses Amicus Attorney practice management software, so I just check my paper calendar against the office's electronic master calendar. For a helpful view of upcoming events, Amicus can't hold a candle to a monthly layout in my planner.
Then: Pretty much driven off my calendar. Then, I tried implementing Getting Things Done (GTD). First, in Things. A trial run on Omnifocus. Then, when I had to use a PC at work and my Mac at home, I tried assorted web apps so I could keep things synchronized. I tried around a dozen different online task management tools, each for anywhere from a few minutes to a few weeks to a few months. The ones that didn't have too many bells and whistles did not have enough, and few satisfied me that their security was stringent enough for legal work.
Now: Junior size Circa notebook, with an on-again, off-again GTD-Booker hybrid system, without the overwhelming options presented by most online or installed applications. Definitely a work in progress, but easier to maintain than the digital applications and less prone to induce endless tinkering with the system. (I must confess that I keep toying with Remember the Milk. Like the theory that a monkey at a typewriter for an infinite amount of time will someday peck out the Great American Novel by accident, I keep thinking I'll stumble across the perfect task management setup in RTM. But the fact that I'm just playing around with it rather than trying to actually use it takes away a lot of the pressure.)
Then: Address Book on Mac and iPhone.
Now: Address Book on Mac and iPhone. I'm not about to copy hundreds of contacts into a paper notebook when they're already in my phone. Score one for digital.
Most of my email is business. In fact, I almost never initiate personal emails, unless its for something akin to something I would make a phone call for, but want to be less intrusive.
To keep family up to speed, I've been writing letters. Mom loves the letters, but she still likes me to call on the phone. Moms are moms.
Then: Political blogs. Lots of 'em. Even had one myself. I could spend hours on those things. Sad, isn't it?
Now: Pen, paper, and stationery blogs. Lots of 'em. Even have one myself. I could spend hours on those things. Cool, isn't it?
Then: hours every day on the computer, juggling emails, etc. left me fried, especially with several more "leisure" hours on the computer at home. Made me jumpy. Stayed up late.
Now: I was just kidding about all the hours on pen and paper blogs. I actually spend much less time on the computer when I am at home (and even less at work these days, too). That, and the fact that I find my letter-writing therapeutic, are two big reasons why I seem to sleep a lot better these days. I get to bed at least an hour or so earlier than I used to, on average. Then again, maybe I'm just getting old. Turned 50 this year.
Am I anti-digital? No. How anti-digital can you be if you have a blog? And I still have an iPhone capable of all sorts of things (but I mostly use it as a phone). Also, my dad gave me an Amazon Kindle for my birthday, and I use it all the time. I'm doing much more pleasure reading than I used to, with the e-books being so accessible and inexpensive. (All that reading is probably helping my sleep, too.)
I suppose it's always possible that I could still stumble across that magic software application someday, the one that will make everything come together. But that's unlikely . . . if it's out there, it will be hard to run across it, and if I do, I may not recognize it . . . because I'm not even looking for it any more.