Paper or Plastic

I often find myself in meetings at work looking around and noticing I’m the only person with a laptop. There may be a conference room full of people with their notebooks, planners, and pieces of paper everywhere but I come in and plop down my laptop. Maybe this is due to the fact my background is in technology. I started out as a developer many many years ago and continue in the technology industry today as a solutions architect. Maybe I just feel more comfortable with a big piece of plastic positioned in front of me all the time.

Paper or plastic?  Which do you prefer?
Paper or plastic? Which do you prefer?

So, the question for all you dads out there, which do you prefer?  Paper (pen and paper) or plastic (laptop)?

For me, plastic rules for taking notes at meetings. I’ve been working with computers so long that I have a hard time writing with a pencil or pen for longer than a paragraph. In fact, that may be pushing it. My hand gets fatigued and the letters fall apart half way through a sentence. It turns out illegible and I’m left guessing what I wrote. I also think I’m much faster, and more thorough, with a keyboard than I am with writing. When I was in high school I took a class for typing and think it was one of the better choices to make back then. Learning how to properly type instead of hunting and pecking is a great skill to have. I am finding myself questioning that concept though as more devices and systems move to onscreen keyboards. That is the subject for a post at another time though.

There are some drawbacks to using the laptop though. You find yourself wondering if you are typing ‘too loud’ with constant clicking annoying those around you. There are also times you find yourself looking at something other than what you are supposed to be paying attention to. Whether that is looking at your email, researching a question that was just asked, or checking your fantasy football scores, it can be distracting and put you in a spot when they suddenly ask you what you think about the topic being discussed.

For sketching systems, or visually representing data or tasks, I do find myself using pencil and paper though. There are plenty of times where I’ll want to capture a concept visually and look around for paper and pen. I guess the meeting itself ultimately dictates the tools I bring. If it’s a generic weekly status meeting or something to that effect, I’ll bring the laptop and crank out notes. If it’s a technical deep dive, and we need to model systems and process flows, I’ll bring the pen and pad, or use the whiteboard and capture the end result with the phone camera.

What do you guys think?  What do you use in your daily lives to track and document your corporate meetings? Or, what do you use around the house when documenting your notes or tasks? I personally use Evernote for most of my note taking for personal pursuits.

Sound off in the comments or discuss with the group on my Facebook page.


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