Paper: Peeves and Pleasures

No doubt about it, with all the electronic wizardry now at our fingertips, we love paper.

Read the comments at these postings over at Web Worker Daily and see how many times you nod your head thinking, “Oh yeah, me too.”

Five Reasons to Use a Paper To Do List: (click in for the full write-ups)

  1. Using pen on paper just feels good.
  2. You can’t beat pen and paper’s mobility and accessibility.
  3. Never hassle over synchronizing your to do list across multiple devices again.
  4. No application lock-in.
  5. Pen on paper gets you away from the computer.

Six More Reasons to Use a Paper To Do List:

  1. Gives you a reason to buy and try cool pens and notebooks.
  2. You can doodle pictures or mind maps on your to do lists.
  3. Paper and pen don’t set off the anti-electronics alarms of family and friends.
  4. It’s so convenient to write stuff down.
  5. You can change your to do list “data model” at any time.
  6. Forces you to limit your list and eliminate what’s unimportant.

I can so relate!

My love-hate relationship with paper is basically the love with the tactile pleasures of writing on exquisite papers (and all the toys that come with it), and the hate of filing.

Love the creative stuff, hate the professional, official, documentation, cya stuff. Love notebooks of every kind, even steno pads; hate the thought that I have to find places for them when they get filled in. Love blank journals and annotating books, and obsessively keep buying them; hate the pile-ups of old magazines, newspapers, and the junk mail that never stops (I definitely do not have the marketing appreciation Dave does).

Adore the magic of my laptop, and I grin from ear to ear when I have digitized a slip of paper and can feed it to the hungry jaws of my Fellowes shredder. Hate what my printer creates in spite of my best intentions; cannot possibly imagine being without it.

Would LOVE to be paperless; will NEVER be without something to write on. You should see this way-cute Paperchase journal I got on sale at Barnes and Noble …

Such long-standing habits and obsessions! From the archives:


  1. says

    I can so relate too Rosa!
    Two of my ongoing journals are Pen-Tab notebooks with 20lb stock. Two others are by Cambridge City. They have a black and maroon cover of either leather or simulated leather.
    I use a notebook where the spirals are on top like a reporters notepad. It’s called Gold Fibre. Ruled pages on one side and quad ruled on the back. It also uses 20lb paper.
    I use two Moleskine notebooks, one is a meditation journal and the other is a books-to-buy-journal.
    I recently picked up a Moleskine ripoff at Staples. It has a harder cover but is the same size as Moleskine’s small notepad. These are easily identified with one single word on the cover. Ideas, Thoughts, Plans etc.
    My latest find is really cool. It is in book form and titled The Book of Independence. It is published by a German company and distro’d here in the US at Scheufelen is the German company and the first words you read on their website is, We make paper.
    The book, which is a journal, is a way to showcase their art. It is the single most unusual book / journal that I’ve ever seen.
    I also keep a Cambridge graph pad right next to my computer for jotting quick notes.

  2. says

    I know we coaches are taught to throw away to-do lists and the postmodern world teaches us to keep it digital. But I am tactile (I like pens and paper), kinesthic (the movement of writing feels more productive than typing), visual (I can sketch flow-charts a lot faster than I can arrange them on-screen) and I like the feeling of organisation and progress and To-Do list gives me.
    Hence: I loved this post!

  3. says

    Wow Dave, I clicked in to Mark Batty Publisher, and that is a dangerous place to land and shop! I am drooling!
    I used to be a very linear, words only, Catholic-school regimented neat-freak of a journaler, but no more. One of the best gifts I ever got was a home-made version of your Book of Independence: A very good friend had taken a hardy but high-quality, glue-worthy Japanese spiral notebook, and done their own cut-and-paste within it, from magazine phrases and pictures they knew would appeal to me. Joanie wrote in quotations about babies (this was a maternity-leave gift for me), and she completely doodled it up with these quirky stick-figures and fingerprint people. On a few pages she simply stuck those lined-pad type of post-its with the stick strip at the very bottom, folding it up into the journal, so that when you folded it down it extended the page extra long: She wrote things like, “Keep going, you’re on a roll!” and “Don’t lose that thought!”
    Thanks to Joanie, my journals today are the happiest, most joyful mess (by someone who CANNOT draw) ever, and they are quite out of character for me.

  4. says

    Pete, you need to educate me on this; why are coaches taught to throw away to do lists?
    As I’ve just written up on the next posting, I love ’em!

  5. says

    To be honest, I don’t know. It’s an idea that’s cropped up several times in literature I’ve read and training I’ve attended. It may be about simplifying life, but I didn’t get it.
    I love em too.

  6. says

    I still love a real live weekly planner vs. an electronic one. I still love receiving a card in the mail over an e-card. I find my early am resolutions and intentions carry more power when I write them in my journal vs. just thinking about them.
    And like you, Rosa, Ilove writing on paper and using purple ink pens, but hate filing with a passion. Thanks for a great post!

  7. says

    Aloha Deb, thank you for stopping by! It took me a long time to make the break from my paper planner too, however once I did there was no going back. All the bells and whistles that came with the Franklin-Covey system I’d been using became just to much clutter to deal with – and more to file (or shred) when the year was over!

  8. says

    Hello ,
    Paper sure does have a higher fan following compared to electronic to-do lists. Here are some of the reasons that we came across when researching – writing on paper feels more romantic, striking out a job well done gives more pleasure on paper than on a electronic version , it is easier to find paper that is handy etc. No doubt all of these are valid reasons in-favor of managing personal to-do lists the traditional, paper-based, way.
    We also discovered that managing your own personal tasks is one thing, while managing your tasks in a group environment is something else altogether. When sharing tasks with a group there are lots of issues to work through. For example: viewing other group members task lists and letting them view yours, assigning tasks to someone else in your group, checking progress of a task, adding notes, allow others to add tasks and notes to your list, sending reminders…etc. In addition, we are increasingly living in a world where groups are distributed across cities and continents and we need to work together.
    We were struggling with this issue of managing day to day tasks between various team members in different locations at our company, MangoSpring ( We decided to build a tool (called TaskBin) that allowed us to share our task lists with others in the company in a very simple and transparent way. As we started using it internally, we thought others may benefit from it as well, so we decided to launch TaskBin as an hosted version (
    As you have spent some time thinking about task management, I was hoping you could give it a try and let us know your thoughts on it – the good, the bad and the ugly! We are in the early stages of beta and your feedback could help TaskBin become useful and relevant.
    Registration is super easy. However, if you do not want to register at this time and just want to play with it to see how it works, you can you can use the demo login at
    We sure hope that you will find TaskBin very useful and TaskBin will become the way you manage your tasks! Please do let us know what you think when you have some time.
    Thank you very much!
    My tasks are at – where are yours?