Why I’m returning to a paper diary

MoleskineFor a few years I used a very nice black Moleskine diary, the kind with a week to a page, and lined page for notes on the other side – a week to a page is enough when you have only two or three appointments each day (i.e. rehearsals). However, when I finally joined the smartphone bandwagon almost 18 months ago, I decided to give google calendar a shot. It’s been OK, but I’ve decided to go back to the Moleskine.

Google-cal’s biggest selling point is that it’s accessible from my phone and my computer and always synced. I usually carry my phone around with me, so therefore, I almost always have access to my diary. The reminder function is also very helpful.

I’ve realised that the problem for me, and it’s a decisive one, is that I just don’t get any sense of time from google-cal, at least, not very easily. I’m a pretty visual-spacial person and I like to see how things relate. Having a week-to-a-page diary let’s me see not only my whole week in overview, but with a couple of page turns and I can physically ‘see’, for example, the time between now and when I need to have something learnt. I know that it’s possible to do this with digital devices, but it’s just not the same when it’s the screen changing (screen swiping is no match for comparing two pages). I notice this too when I read on the Kindle – it’s much more difficult to judge how much of the book is left; a figure of 65% is meaningless unless you’ve been paying attention to how quickly that number progresses.

I also prefer to write my to-do lists on paper (I don’t know why, but the to-do app on my phone just doesn’t seem to ‘do it’ for me) and Moleskines have nice paper. There’s something about nice paper which a screen just cannot replace.

I use google-cal as the basis for the schedule on my professional website, so I will keep that updated, and in the case of being asked a question sans-moleskine, I’ll be able to look at my phone and see if I’ve got a show that day, or not.

I’m not being a Luddite – I use my phone for many things, including reading the bible at Church and small-group, but there’s room in my life for the both of them.

Do you use a digital or paper diary (or both)?


2 responses to “Why I’m returning to a paper diary”

  1. Russell says:

    Given all the bugs in Google calendar – and the confusion caused by regular upgrades with features that I don’t want and, more importantly, the loss of all of my data (twice this has happened) I will never again waste time trying to maintain a digital calendar. If you look on Google forums you’ll see numerous people who have lost vital business information while using Google calendar and no reasonable assistance or explanation have been offered by Google staff. We are just canon fodder.

  2. I agree. I’ve been using my smart phone for the past 5 years. I’m an artist so I enjoy all visual things! Especially fancy hand writing.
    Paper is fantastic for those little doodles! & using coloured pens.
    Today, after all these years I’ve made the swap back to the good old fashioned paper diary.

What do you think?