Moving past paper

Among certain people I’m known for being anti-paper. This happens mostly in meetings, where I’ll ask for digital versions of agendas, documents, etc. rather than paper copies. If I’m given something only in paper that has lasting value, I’ll use my iPhone to create a PDF version.

It’s a lot more efficient for how I process things, particularly taking notes during a meeting. It’s also important to me to have digital versions because everything of even potential worth gets put into the cloud and it’s important to me that I can pull open an app and search for and find exactly what I’m looking for within seconds.

I grew up with paper. I breathed paper in many ways, living in the home of a history teacher. I ran the high school newspaper and later worked briefly in news and had plenty of experience with the physicality of paper and ink. 

But I’ve firmly moved past it, and other than exceptional books that I want in my personal library, I find having paper attracts more paper.

The tipping point for me was finding an excellent app for note taking. Not an app where notes accumulate like paper notes do. But an app where I can jot things down and routinely sort those notes into their proper digital homes in the cloud. Board meeting notes, project ideas, conference talks, etc.

Simplenote is that excellent note app for me. I can’t pin-point exactly what makes it better suited than others for me, but it does.

Between Simplenote, iPhone, and iPad, I probably haven’t handled more than a dozen sheets of paper this year. A small thing maybe, but it feels a bit less stressful this way.

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