Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Old School............

As many of you know, I was an ace bookkeeper on my way to becoming a first rate accountant, when I discovered photography. (Funny how it is so much easier to flaunt my accounting skills than it is to even say "I am an artist.") Back then there was no such thing as Excel spreadsheets or computer accounting programs. It was all done manually. The satisfaction felt after adding up each ledger page (on a ten key adding machine), and seeing a zero balance at the bottom of the tape, can only be understood by a bookkeeper nerd like me. 

But times have changed and there are many tools available now that are designed to make our lives easier - right?

Last week I decided that in order to effectively handle my new responsibilities, I should get automated. I already use my iPhone calendar which is synced to my computer, and I love that, but I still enter appointments and events on my white erase monthly calendar that hangs in my office.

The first thing I did was install Evernote on my computer, and then synch it with my iPad and my phone. Digital "notebooks" were created and task lists made. I thought I would feel great about all this, but I feared I was missing something.

Keep in mind, the "system" I had been using for years enabled me to be organized and fairly productive. This system was simple. Every Sunday, I would list (on paper) what I wanted to accomplish during the week with a few "probably won't happen but I don't want to forget" items at the bottom of the page. I also had a daily calendar that listed my appointments and any due dates. 

Now, not only was I feeling a little overwhelmed and unorganized with this so-called "digital productivity" system, it was also in direct conflict with my recent attempts to stay off of my phone as much as possible. I had begun to notice that every morning while I was waiting for my quad Americano (please don't judge me....) I would look around and almost every person standing there was looking at their phone. You also see this behavior at restaurants, sporting events and most other public spaces. It makes me sad..... so I have been making a very strong effort to keep my phone in my pocket when in those types of situations.

After only a few days of putting these automated systems in place, I bailed on it and pulled out a couple of my favorite things - a binder and ledger paper (I have had this pad for probably 20 years!).

Manual spreadsheet!!

After I did this, I felt myself relax a little and go back to feeling somewhat in control of what I need to do and when I need to do it!  

More important, it feels good to stick to my commitment to stay present and engage with people instead of checking my phone!


  1. Beth and I were talking about this earlier today. It becomes a meditative practice to turn to these "old school" tools--and they help to keep us in the present. Hooray for your ledger!

    1. Thanks Hannah! Yes - it's funny, because I just saw Beth's post "Please Put Down Your Phones!". Great minds think alike!!