Digital v Analogue (2006) JCSC 1 234

Sorry about the title – I told you I was a law student! Anyway, this is something I struggle with every few weeks. After enjoying writing everything down on paper, using pens and being able to touch what I write for a little while I suddenly start craving the flexibility, fonts and searchability that my computer offers me. I start to feel a sense of frustration when looking at my index cards, hatred when I look at my horribly messy lecture notes with their additions and cross outs and with longing at my nice shiny PowerBook sitting just centimetres away. So I switch. I start taking notes from books and lectures on the computer, planning out my life using iCal and text documents and
downloading and reading about miracle software like kGTD.
Then, sure enough, a few weeks later when I’m missing the sense of achievement I used to get from crossing out a finished task, missing the wonderful feeling of making and keeping lists and carrying them with me (what was that book I wanted to read again?) and the wonderful and varied arrows I use copiously around my lecture notes… so back I go again.

I tried out a PDA for a while after my dad too couldn’t tear himself away from his big A4 planner yet that too left me yearning. While it had some of the flexibility of paper and the benefits of the computer the mix just wasn’t satisfying and while I could see it’s utility for contacts and meetings and the like, being a student means that all the
people I really need to know are stored on my phone, in my address book or in my head. I just don’t have 500 contacts I can store into categories like “clients” and “colleagues”.

This dance between analogue and digital can, I admit, get a bit tiring, but it’s slowing down now and I think I’ve almost chosen between my two tormentors. Paper, very slowly, is becoming more and more appealing to me. Perhaps it’s because of the touch or of the writing or of the convenience or all of the three but they’re very attractive features and, as wonderful as my laptop is, I just can’t keep away from paper. This has drifted into my study-system as well. I’ve just started using loose-leaf paper (I’ll post more about my systems at a later date) and while I do miss the convenience of a
spiral-bound notebook I’m learning to love my loose sheets of paper able to be easily filed and reorganised.

So this is as it stands at the moment but there’s always time for a last-effort appeal.

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