I am an app fanatic. When I do anything, I ask myself, 'is there an app for this?' Despite this, I always take a notebook and pen to all my meetings for taking notes. This means I have stacks of paper everywhere and it's getting difficult to maintain. So I decided to do a little test – I dumped paper for a week and used Evernote instead. Here's what happened.
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Going naked to meetings
My first meeting without paper was unusual, I didn't really anticipate the level of attention I received from not having paper. Most people thought I was irresponsible and had forgotten my notepad. They kept asking me why I didn't have a pen and if I need something to write on. I pointed to my Galaxy S5 Mini and told them I was taking notes on it and some colleagues were in disbelief.
The meeting began and Evernote and I started off well. I typed a few notes, took a picture of a diagram that someone drew on the whiteboard and set a reminder for an upcoming project. Information was being disseminated rapidly towards the end of the meeting. I couldn't type quickly enough, and pretty soon, I was behind. I was then asked to give my input. I was lost, I missed important elements of the meeting and I felt naked without my notepad.
Without paper, I was overwhelmed and unable to type fast enough
After the meeting, I compiled my notes into an Evernote folder, made appropriate changes to notes, shared a note with a colleague and set three reminders for future tasks. I was really happy with how much faster it was than my usual process of note taking by hand, transferring notes to my smartphone and then setting reminders for things I needed to do.
After a week, I missed paper
There are things I really like about using paper. I enjoy having more freedom to write anything I want. Despite all of the really great Evernote functions, I was unable to get the most out of my note taking. I found that I miss more meeting notes when I'm unable to use paper. I type on a smartphone far slower than when I write.
Using the Evernote camera function worked for capturing diagrams but it's a bit awkward. I needed to get a good view so sometimes I had to get the person presenting to move out of the way. Even with the Evernote drawing function, I wasn't able to make my own variations of the diagrams on the board.
Evernote couldn't satisfy my creativity. I wanted to draw a picture next to a serious note or make a bunch of arrows pointing to an important task. These little creative impulses are probably not efficient but they give me inspiration and sometimes get me through long meetings.
My new relationship with paper
I thought by this time I would have waved goodbye to paper and moved on to digital note taking. Instead, I find that I need paper but also love using Evernote. Because of this, I now have a different relationship with paper.
From now on, I'll use Evernote for quick notes, reminders and things I need to share. I'll continue to use paper when I'm falling behind or when I feel like it. I'm not willing to give up my creativity to eliminate paper, even if that means an extra step.
Have you gone paperless? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments.