Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Getting organized . . . part 4

Here's an alternative to paper-based organizing: use a Palm.

A Palm gadget can be a tremendously useful tool. (I take the superiority of the Palm to the Pocket PC for granted; if you want some arguments one way or the other, you can easily find them on-line.)

The great advantage of a Palm gadget over paper is depth. That little slab of metal and plastic holds a datebook that stretches for years into the past and future, an address book that can be organized into multiple categories of your design, to-do lists (also in multiple categories of your design), a notepad, and so on. There are countless add-on programs, many of them free, almost all of them tiny and almost instantly downloadable. And the Palm syncs its content with your computer, so you always have a backup. If you use Outlook, a Palm will sync with that, or you can use the Palm Desktop (which comes with the Palm). You can, of course, also work with Outlook or the Palm Desktop and sync its content to the Palm.

To me a Palm is really a digital Swiss Army knife. I've used my Palm to write Microsoft Word documents, tune my guitar, store web pages and photos, store Adobe files, keep syllabi and course schedules, and keep track of books and records and movies to look for. The only real disadvantage of the Palm is that putting stuff in and taking stuff out is not as immediate as it is with paper. You know what I mean if you've ever seen someone "jot down" a phone number in a Palm--paper is a lot quicker. And you can't quite thumb through Palm pages in the way that you can thumb through pages in a datebook. But writing with a Palm stylus or the on-screen keyboard is not very difficult, and the tradeoff in speed might be far outweighed by the many ways in which a Palm can be useful.

Links » Getting organized with simple tools: Part 1, 2, 3, 5

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