I used to go through more reporter’s notebooks than should be legal. Why? Because I need to write things down. Now, being a writer, you may think that’s a given. But I’m not referring to copywriting in this case, but rather keeping weekly and daily task lists, writing self-reminders and recording ideas when they come to me. Trying to recall something even 30 minutes later on a typical busy day, for all the best intentions, just doesn’t happen unless I’ve written it down.

This practice of constant jotting fits into one of the steps of Access President Mark Johnston’s Four Principles of Getting Things Done Well – namely, organization. I am not a naturally organized person – just ask my long-suffering good lady wife! But I have learned that if I write down ideas and to-dos (and remember to cross the latter off as they’re completed) then I‘m far more productive in business and my family life.

However, it got to the stage where I had too many notebooks spread around my house – one in my home office (we’re a predominantly virtual company at Access), one in the kitchen and another on the nightstand, not to mention the couple in my laptop bag.

Keeping track of all this paper was starting to become counterproductive, so I invested in an HTC Flyer tablet and shelled out the extra it’s-embarrassing-to-say-how-many-dollars for an optional stylus (you’re killing me, Best Buy!). Now my digital ‘notepad’ goes wherever I go, and I can jot down my musings on the fly so I don’t lose them into the abyss of “I’m sure I’ll remember it later.” The 7-inch form factor is a lot easier to wield than an iPad, Xoom or Galaxy Tab 10.1 (for those of us who don’t have Dr. J-size hands, anyway), and it can actually fit in a decent-sized pocket. If you’re looking for a solid case so you don’t lose the ‘Magic Pen’ or scratch the nice aluminum back, check out this one from Sprint (which it offers for the Evo View, its 3G version of the Flyer).

Now my notes are logically organized on the Flyer, and also synched with my Evernote account. More than just an electronic file cabinet, this software does whizzo handwriting recognition so I can perform full content searches on all my notes to find a specific word using the Evernote web client. If you’d seen my excuse for handwriting, you’d know how impressive this technology truly is! I can also add tags to make searching even easier.

Another perfect use case for the Flyer is customer interviews. A large part of my time is spent arranging, conducting and writing up case studies and press releases, so I’m on the phone with customers a lot. Instead of writing in a paper notebook or on a tablet PC that weighs about 97 pounds and is as portable as one of those cell phones from the mid-1980s, I use the Flyer. It’s simple & convenient: put the phone on speaker, hold the Flyer in my left hand, the stylus in my right and scribble away. Then I do the write up directly from the tablet or web client – no more searching through dozens of pages. Another bonus is that using the Flyer fits in with Access’s goal of removing paper from processes – we practice what we preach, folks.

And if I’m not done looking at a screen when I finish work, I can use the Kobo e-reader app to peruse my small but growing digital library, and can write notes that I can search later. If I click the stylus on a web page it takes a photo of it, which I can then annotate and share as a jpeg via e-mail, Twitter or Facebook. It’s brilliant.

So if you’re into writing ideas down but are fed up with managing umpteen notebooks, check out the Flyer. Even if you’re not a writer by trade, this intentional practice plus this user-friendly gadget will help you get more out of your day.

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