When to go Digital

Awhile ago I wrote about when to write things or notes on paper. Sometimes analog and hard copy is better. Here are some times when it’s not:

  1. When you need a computer and/or internet connection to access the information you’re recording

    If you’re recording things like websites or html code or links then writing that stuff down is just adding an extra step. Keep it digital so all you have to do is copy and paste.

  2. When you don’t know what device you’ll be using to access the information

    Most digital note-taking programs offer some way to store your notes in the cloud so they’ll sync across devices. If you frequently jump from one computer or device to another then keeping the info digital will make your life easier, especially if occasionally use public computers to access the info.

  3. When you have a workflow that, well, works

    In my post about writing on paper I talked about how sometimes if I record something digitally I lose it because it lands in a folder that I forget about. On the flip side, once I create a system that works for me (a notebook in OneNote that I open first thing, a pin on my start screen that use daily, etc.) then inputting the info digitally into that workflow will likely save me some time, because it will be right there and I’ll access it regularly.

  4. When paper’s not available…

    .…but your digital device is… sorry, for being Captain Obvious

  5. When you need to save space (or a tree)

    If it’s a big manual or guide or magazine or any large amount of information that would cause you to print a bunch of pages that would just weigh your bag down (especially if you are flying), then if you can use a digital version instead you’ll be less likely to lose a page, feel flustered as you try to find the right page by hand, or mess it up by stuffing it in your pack.

If you want to know how I store most of my digital notes here are some posts that give you the basics on the programs and services I use: OneNote and SkyDrive.

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