I stumbled on a new blog recently that talks about time management.  Today the author posted an article critical of people who don’t use technology, such as a Palm, as part of their productivity system.  I responded there, but want to get into it more here.

I vehemently disagree with the idea that NOT using technology means giving up productivity.  Lifestyle and the nature of a persons work will guide whether they need technology and the nature of that technology.

As my earlier My Graduate Student Planner post indicated, I have gone back to paper.  I use gcal extensively but the fact is that my schedule is pretty static.  Class at the same times each week, work at the same times, etc.  It doesn’t change very often and I don’t need to look it up.  I also have BIG projects and few simple to-do’s.  I need my project information when I work on most of them because I can’t make progress with without all the references or notes.  It isn’t efficient to look at that on a 3×4 inch screen.

A person whose schedule has a lot of variety, lots of different appointments, shifting schedules, etc., needs to have an electronic version with them all the time.  Printing the schedule each day is lost time.  A person who has lots of stand-alone (reference/notes not required) to-do items can get away with having their list in their palm.

But I really resent the implication that because a person chooses not to use a productivity tool that they are somehow giving up some efficiency.  Efficient is using the right tools for the job, whatever those tools are, and knowing how to use them well.  But efficiency is also knowing which tools are NOT the right ones or are unnecessary.  For my life a palm is unnecessary.  For someone else paper wouldn’t work.  Productivity is knowing the difference.

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