Organize data optimally: Electronic planning and paper do not have to be enemies


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Who doesn't dream of a paperless office? But many people still use paper for their notes or to collect addresses (business cards). A reason to again compare the two systems with their advantages and disadvantages.

Organize data optimally: Electronic planning and paper do not have to be enemies

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Simone Janson Simone JansonSimone Janson is publisherGerman Top20 blogger and Consultant for HR communication.

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Will the dream of a paperless office remain a dream?

The dream of paperless work is probably as old as the personal computer: According to a study, almost half of managers consider the classic office printer to be obsolete. And yet it still exists.

But why actually? The paperless office sounds very tempting: Finally no more mountains of files, no wild phone numbers in address books and no more confused paper notes. The maximum amount of work would still be scanning business cards.

What approaches are there to replace paper tools electronically?

There are enough approaches to make the vision a reality: note functions on tablet PCs and smartphones, project management tools, and lots of calendar and contact functions. Still, I haven't personally found a viable replacement for my business cards.

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Personally, I only have analogue notes and business cards. When it comes to addresses and appointments, I would be lost without electronic organization tools and the ability to automatically synchronize all data.

Working with paper - promoting concentration or haptic enjoyment?

And just last week I got a real moleskin notebook as a gift, something for those who love haptic handling.

In fact, most people still take their notes on paper. Because, as the friends of the mostly white wood product argue: Paper should encourage concentration and make you creative. But a certain love for haptics cannot be denied to its users.

Checklist: paper or electronic - which system is better?

The following applies: Traditional planning systems do not have to be old-fashioned! You can make a useful addition to electronic planning. Because where one system has its weaknesses, the other has its strengths. So if you are looking for the perfect system for sorting your information and data, you should go through the following two checklists:

Checklist: The advantages of planning on paper are

  • Independence: Even without batteries or a socket, paper can be used anytime and anywhere.
  • Safety: The data is usually not lost - unlike with the electronic solution, where data can be lost in the event of a system crash. The only disadvantage with paper: The perforated sheets can tear, which is annoying with data that should be kept for longer (e.g. addresses). It is recommended to use hole reinforcement.
  • Notice: They can be scribbled down quickly and transferred later. Therefore, the paper version is better suited for taking notes, even if there is now quite a decent character recognition for iPads.
  • Storage space: You can take plastic cards with you in the schedule book, use it as a wallet, etc. Such books are also available in pocket size.
  • Price: Notebooks are cheaper than electronic organizers, smartphones or iPads - and more secure against theft, dust, scratches and moisture.

Checklist: The advantages of electronic planning are

  • Dates: The appointments can also be coordinated with the PC or with colleagues in the company via the network. Recurring appointments can only be entered once with very little effort. In addition, the appointments can be easily moved and edited.
  • Automatic reminder: You no longer have to look at the calendar yourself; instead, a signal tone sounds when an appointment or a task is imminent (if you have set it accordingly). This allows personal goal planning to be followed and controlled more consistently. Unfinished tasks are automatically carried over to the next day.
  • Contacts: Contacts can also be maintained cleanly and data can be transferred faster: For example, if someone sends an address via eMail the changed data can be copied quickly and easily into the software. Notes with each contact help you to remember who this person is or what their special features are - this simplifies the later orientation enormously.
  • Topicality: Gerade eMail-Addresses and phone numbers, but also dates change constantly. These changes can be maintained more cleanly and clearly in an electronic solution than in one Zeitplan book in which you have to erase or cross out over and over again.
  • Search function: If you no longer know exactly whether an address was stored under the company name or the name of the contact person or when a certain appointment was, the search function can help.
  • Convert: Data from various electronic systems, such as Palm, Lotus and Outlook, can be synchronized with one another. However, minor problems are not uncommon as each program manages data a little differently. It is therefore advisable to save important data outside of the program or to print it out.

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