“You will find that it is necessary to let things go; simply for the reason that they are heavy. So let them go, let go of them. I tie no weights to my ankles.” ― C. JoyBell C.
I am addicted to lists. I love making them, re-writing them, and especially crossing things off of them. If you are not familiar with the hipster, I have written an overview post here. The hipster series will be a series of posts going more in-depth into the categories of lists that I keep in my hipster. First, I wanted to talk about my thoughts on paper-based vs. digitized planners.
Back in the Days of Paper
I loved my paper-based planners over the years. I resisted converting to a completely digital system for a long time, arguing that I needed the endorphin I would get from striking a pen line through a handwritten item. I made the personal decision to convert everything to digital once and for all when I realized that it was really going to simplify my life, which is what ultimately matters to me. And, I still get the endorphin with the swipe of a finger on my iPhone to delete an item once completed.
The beauty of the hipster concept is that it can be done any way that fits a person’s unique needs. Anyone could create any categories that fit their personal needs and use paper or an app that would work for them. I am going to be talking about how I created my hipster in Evernote, since that is the program that works for me to manage not only my tasks but also pretty much all of the other information I could ever want to refer back to. My hipster started with a stack of paper (3 by 5 note cards, to be exact), so if converting from digital to paper doesn’t feel right, that is fine. The concept can be applied to paper as well.
For me, the transition to leaving paper behind was a gradual process. I first started letting go of filing cabinet files, scanning and saving them into Evernote over time. My hipster became the place that I would stick sticky notes if I jotted something down, which further simplified the scattering of information I had strewn about on various papers. I eventually had to admit that I was spending more time on my hobby of continually re-writing my lists when they got raggedy to make them pretty again than I was on actually getting things done. I did this for years, and finally realized that I wasn’t really getting anywhere in my productivity.
Other Digital Planning Systems
Before I go into how I use Evernote, I think it would be worth mentioning the other systems I have visited over the years in my attempts at personal organization that did not work out. For a while I would switch back and forth between different task management systems, and from paper to digital, and then back to paper again. I would cross everything off my handwritten to-do list and then add the items into a new list in Outlook or Google Tasks, only to come to the eventual realization that these programs did not fit my needs.
I guess to go through the cons of the other systems I have come across would be to address the reasons I find Evernote so user friendly. When I tried to use Outlook tasks, it was only for my work-related tasks, because I don’t use Outlook outside of my job. That was the first problem. If you use a task management system that isn’t 100% portable, you will likely find yourself coming up with an idea when it is not handy, and either run the risk of having to record it into another system until you can get back to your designated list, or forgetting the idea altogether.
Google Tasks was portable enough to go with me everywhere, but it didn’t have the full integration that Evernote offers. For example, if I get an article to read in my email, I can save it directly in a note called “Read Article” in my hipster in Evernote, so it is right there, handy with me where ever I go.
My Thoughts on Paper
I love office supplies. I love going to the office supply store to look at them, ordering them online from Levenger, and having them snuggled up next to me. Earlier today for inspiration I brought out my old friend hipster (which I still keep because I loved it so much). I was never a person that was going to let go of my paper planner, or transition to reading things in their digital format rather than on paper. When iPads and Kindles started coming out, I was one of the people who thought it was a terrible idea to read a book on a screen. What about holding a book in your hands, having books on a shelf, underlining and putting 3 stars next to the really, really good ideas?
But then I slowly came to realize that just because I read books on a screen doesn’t mean I can’t still keep my favorites on a shelf. And there are times when carrying a book makes sense, such as for takeoff and landing on a plane or at the beach. And so it is with paper. Paper now has a very limited role in my life, primarily because it came to be such a heavy burden.
I still keep one small notebook with a pen in case I want to jot something down. I have broken the habit of writing by hand and taking handwritten notes because then I am just presented with the burden of deciding whether to digitize them, which would take the extra effort of having to either retype or scan them in. So instead I keep my phone, with my hipster now happily digitized into the Evernote app, handy for this purpose. I can still hand write heartfelt notes when I am in the mood to use a pen and paper.
I say these things not because I think everyone should go digital with their planners, but because I want to convey that I was never one of these digital diehard people, so I don’t want to come across that way. As much as I thought it would not be enjoyable to leave my cozy paper and pens and office supplies behind, I am so glad that I did, because letting go allowed me to find something new and better that allows me to be a happier, more well-adjusted human being. I have come to find that having everything in one single place makes me feel more in control of how I spend my time, less scattered and chaotic, and more at peace. And that is all! Namaste!
image credit: Eat Local. Love Art.