Digital vs. Paper – What is Best for Productivity?

Digital vs. Paper – What is Best for Productivity?

Are you struggling with how to work with digital or paper products?  With the digital revolution we now have many different tools, apps, etc.. to help with productivity.

There are project management apps, task tracking apps, productivity tools, many different email options, social networks, calendars, paper products such as journals, bullet journaling, productivity planners, social media planners, digital notebooks and the list goes on.

So amongst all this technology and noise how do we know what tools to use when? When do we use paper-based products vs. digital products?

I have been struggling with this very dilemma for some time now. I have found having all this technology available can hinder my productivity rather than improve it.

When it comes down to it, it is all about trying different things and then working out a system that works for you. Don’t worry if it takes you a while and you don’t get it right the first time. You will find things that work and some that don’t. You will add and subtract tools and processes until you get comfortable and in a groove where you see real improvements in productivity.

It has taken me months to come up with the right system and to find the right tools that work for me. Since going into business for myself, I have bought plugins for my WordPress site and then abandoned them. The same with different productivity apps that I thought would make me more organised but instead I wasted money and ended up unsubscribing to services soon after joining simply because they didn’t work for me.

It can be so easy to get caught up in the hype of certain products recommended by successful bloggers. I sometimes wonder if they use these tools extensively or just recommend them as they have an affiliate agreement.

One lesson I have learnt in this journey is not to jump straight in and purchase the next shiny new thing or tool promising to increase automation or productivity as you need to test them out and define your processes along the way. Even importantly we are all individuals and need to find what works for us.

Now that I have been blogging and running a services and training based business, I have a bunch of tools that I am happy with and have streamlined my processes. What is interesting is that they are a combination of digital and paper-based products, and sometimes I swap between the two for the same task depending on how I am feeling and where I am working.

For example, for this blog post, I am using my iPad Pro on the train and writing with the Apple Pencil using the Evernote app Penultimate. This is an app that syncs with Evernote, so this note will end up in my Evernote notebook where I put all my blog posts. I then will finish the post in Evernote by using the keyboard.

As you can see by this example, when it comes to writing, I can write by hand or type, but the information comes together in the end.

So, when it comes to digital or paper-based products, you need to work out a system that works for you. To give you some ideas, below are the products I currently use to manage my goals, time and tasks for the day.

Paper-Based Products

1. Yearly Goals diary – I have a goals diary that I map out all my goals for the year. I like to see all my goals written somewhere so that I don’t lose track of the big picture of things that I want to achieve. I use a pencil in case the goals change throughout the year.

2. Get to Workbook Diary – I have a diary that is specifically for writing out all my tasks and is used daily. I enter the goals from the yearly goals diary somewhere within my workbook and then break them down into tasks over the days, weeks and months.

3. Social Media Planner – I have a social media planner that I use to write down and map out my plan for each week. I work out a theme and then sub-themes and then which social media channels I am going to use to promote each blog post, video, training course and product.

The reasons I use paper-based products for these is that I like to see everything mapped out and cross everything off as I complete it. I also can go back and visually refer to everything when I need to.

I know that there are electronic versions of all these, but I have found that I end up writing these things on paper, so it is best that I stick to paper then I am not wasting time writing things out as well as entering them on lists on my computer.

Digital Products

1. G-Suite – I use the Google G-Suite for email and my calendar. I found that my internet providers email was not stable enough and Gmail over the many years I have been using it has never let me down. Therefore I went with G-Suite so that I could use the power of Gmail but with my domain name.

2. Evernote – Evernote is used for all my writing. What I love about Evernote is that it is so easy to use and always available on all my devices. It is great for long form writing as well as taking quick notes.

3. Penultimate – This is one of Evernote’s apps where you can hand write with your Apple Pencil, and then the notes go straight to Evernote. I love to handwrite some of my posts depending on where I am so this app works perfectly for me. It has also improved my handwriting which at times can be atrocious 🙂

4. Teleprompter – I use Teleprompter to create all my videos. You just drop your text into the prompter and then it scrolls next to the camera, and you just record. It is then saved to your camera app so you then just send it via your document cloud service ready to be added to whatever editing app you are using.

5. Camtasia – I use Camtasia for all the editing of my videos. It is a bit pricey, but it is a very professional application that you can pretty much do anything with. I have used this application professionally for all my learning and development materials, and it has never let me down. Once you have a licence, you can use it forever.

6. Feedly – Feedly is used for research and saving articles from the web. I need to keep up to date with the latest technology and Feedly provides me with all the articles from the internet in one place that I need to read. I can also send these to my social media channels as well as to Evernote for reference later.

7. OneNote – I use OneNote to research and keep all the information bout my projects together in the one place. I use OneNote to take notes in meetings and then send the meeting notes directly to participants afterwards. I also create notebooks for each of the conferences I attend, record audio and save PowerPoint presentations.

8. HootSuite – HootSuite is used to manage all my social media channels in the one place. I like to write posts specific to each channel I am using as well as seeing everything in the one place. I also use this for scheduling posts in advance.

So, that is a peak inside how I work and what tools and paper-based products I use to be productive.

Do you have any other tools that you use that you would like to share? Please comment below.

Note: I am not an affiliate of any of the products listed above. These are my personal opinions of what I have found to be the best products I use to help run my business.

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2 Comments

  1. Oscar
    December 6, 2016 / 8:59 am

    Great post! I love Evernote too. I use Good Notes 4 on a 9.7 iPad Pro to sync my notes to Google Drive. I love Feedly too! I used feedly within the “Reeder” app on MacOS/iOS. Plus, Gmail is the king! I agree! I’ve been using Newton recently which lets me generate Asana tasks or Evernote notes within my Gmail accounts!

    • Liza
      December 8, 2016 / 6:48 am

      Thanks Oscar. Yes, I’m a big fan of Evernote due to its ease of use. I’ll have to check out Newton and I also plan to start using Asana more.

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