Paperless Versus ‘Getting Things Done’

By far the strongest and most divided reactions I’ve gotten to Paperless have been over the fact that there’s no way to assign dates to list items.

Paperless was never intended to be a time based task manager like one of the many “getting things done” clones. I’ve tried a few of those and always felt like I was wasting a lot of time assigning and changing due dates as my priorities changed. It interfered with staying focused and actually getting things done.

With the types of projects I typically work on, I can’t often tell ahead of time how long something will take – and trying to predict an exact date/time when something will be completed is difficult at best. I’ll often also think of new things I need to work on for a project – which, if I were using a date-based solution would require all the other tasks to be shifted back in time.

So, in Paperless I took advantage of the iPhones built in method for reordering items in a table, and turned it into a simple way to re-prioritize items in a checklist. If something is important, I place it at the top of the list… and other less important tasks are pushed down. It’s quick and easy, and keeps me focused on finishing tasks rather than managing tasks.

Of course, I think there’s room for both ways of managing ones time. A date based solution is definitely better for keeping track of appointments and scheduling meetings… but for keeping track of tasks in a project where your priorities can suddenly change, I think Paperless is tremendously useful.

I like the way these app store reviews summed it up:

“Perfect as it is – After having tried a good deal of apps to get myself more organised – both free and paid – it is clear that this tops them all. Other apps presented a kind of novelty; I could fool myself into thinking that I was more organised, but it was never long before I abandoned them because it was obvious that they consumed unnecessary time. Paperless, however, has truly helped. It is streamlined, it is simple, it is sumptuous. I, for one, hope that you DON’T add clutter such as due dates and priorities because those frills can be bought and fought with elsewhere.”

“Simple, flexible, easy to use, and a real bargain – I buy a lot of task and notes apps. Most of them. And I try most of the free ones too. But few are as well designed, as simple, and as useful as Paperless. This application looks great, is perfect for making lists of all kinds, is flexible enough for tracking downs, can optionally display check boxes. And once you’ve worked through a list and have checked all the items, you can easily delete them. In short, if you have need for lightweight task and notes app, Paperless is for you. But you can also use in the app in conjunction with a full featured app, the one that tends to take longer to load and use.”