Thursday, 31 December 2009

Dear diary...

Is it me, or are people getting just a little bit tired of technology, the further it travels along the road to apparent progress?

This may sound like a very blasé question to pose, but it seems that a great deal of individuals I speak with all-too-often find themselves the victim of newfangled ways of carrying out tasks, where their traditional methods never caused such problems. As you might guess, it was my own experiences that brought me to write this post, and one in particular which has to do with organisation and data loss.

In previous years, I have always used a typical, long-established form of diary - a paper-based affair - as I am quite traditional at heart and like the combination of reliability and the strangely-comforting tactility of its pages. But 2009 saw a switch to a more hi-tech solution. Or so I thought.

The rationale was simple enough: As I am often out and about, it made sense to have my diary sync'd up to my BlackBerry device so that, in combination with my online diary, I would be able to view/update my schedule in real-time. Simply put: short of losing a connection, everything would be to hand and I would be able to easily stay on top of my commitments day-in, day-out.

But what is it they say about the best-laid plans? I forget now. What I do remember, however, is that by week 2 of November, my online diary only had entries for the last week of October; by the end of the month, October's records had disappeared completely. And on 16th November, it was already beginning to remove that month's earliest entries. Strangely, January-September and December onwards remained intact throughout.

Now, I'm sure the boffins out there would be able to offer many suggestions about how to recover the missing data and so forth but, frankly, I am no longer interested. At the end of the day, I need my workflow systems to be reliable and dependable (in this respect, a diary is no different to, say, my cameras) and so it is time to seek alternatives for the new year.

With this in mind, then, 2010 will see a return to what I know works best for me - a traditional pocket diary. As I type, there are already scribblings in a nice new, highly portable, soft-cover Moleskine - which allows for much pimpage (probably not an actual word) and considerable peace of mind. By way of backup, I will also resurrect my whiteboard planner in the office, so that activities are always noted in multiple locations.

Granted, a return to 'old technology' would not be everybody's answer to the above dilemma, but it certainly suits me. In talking over this issue with a number of people, a variety of alternative options have been suggested - each not without its own merits.

Even though I have now found my solution, I'd still be keen to hear what you have considered useful in terms for boosting your workflow and/or productivity - so please, as ever, drop me your thoughts in the comments section or via the usual channels.


Roued said...

Very refreshing to see that it is not just me who has a problem with modern technology. As much as I love all the things that I am able to do on my computer I must admit that when it comes to writing I just find it so hard to concentrate. So about a month ago I went back to writing by hand in a series of notebooks. Whether it is blog posts for Historic Crafts (you might have guessed it - Inny is the connection) or just writing for my thesis I feel inspired and strangely creative when I sit with my notebook instead of staring into the void of the computer screen.
As for the diary I still prefer Google's Calender for it's sharing abilities.
- Eddie

Giles said...

Hi Eddie,

Thanks for the comment...

You're quite right, there is essentially something really nice and creative about putting one's thoughts down in a note book, as apposed to on a computer screen.

I also have an 'ideas book' which goes everywhere with me, and that contains everything from blog ideas to pre-shoot lighting sketches and workshop notes; ideal for making the most of my time such as in between meetings or whilst sat on train journeys.

Sometimes, you just can't beat the traditional ;)