A few moments ago, a magazine I used to subscribe to announced to me that their digital newsletter was no longer going to be produced as the printed magazine is so popular that they’re no longer going to bother with creating the digital format. Another magazine I subscribe to gives free digital editions when you purchase the print edition (it actually does cost more to get both) and I find that I do sometimes use those digital editions when I want to print something out to mark it up, rather than putting Post-It Brand Notes all over the magazine, but the print edition remains popular because it’s the kind of thing where readers like to flip back-and-forth.
Also, some people are surprised when they find out that I take all my notes on big pads of paper. I used to use my laptop but sometimes it didn’t boot-up quickly-enough. Other times, I got distracted by formatting. And on top of that, just found other distractions on there. And, so, have long since gone back to paper. It’s immediate, I get what I need, and research finds we remember things better when we write it out. I actually do find I remember project details better for doing that PLUS I then remember it even better because I type it into my PC.
But it leads me to wonder whether paper is ever better for the lab? Normally, I would say that it is not. However, a good paper system that is organized and where you can find everything is better than a poor digital system that was not designed well and which doesn’t add value to your process.
Here’s the key – a system has to add value. Don’t get a system for the sake of getting a system. Think carefully about what you want and need out of it before you purchase something.