The Evolution of Productivity: Paper to Digital

The invention of paper did wonders for mankind’s organizational skills. With the invention of papyrus, a thousand things became possible for the Egyptians: hieroglyphic shopping lists (goats, bread, and charcoal eyeliner), ‘Things-to-Avoid’ lists (asps, crocodiles, and King Tut on a bad day) and even ‘Things-to-Be-Buried-With’ lists (gold, wives, and servants for the afterlife).

Thanks to the modern digital age, our old pen-and-paper ways have become a thing of the past. Technology has made everything quicker, simpler and more streamlined. From smartphones to iPads, software to apps, we humans have upgraded our antiquated Post-It and notepad ways and upgraded to digital solutions like Metrofax online faxing services google calendar. Here are some of the best digital evolutions that surpass pen-and-paper solutions.

Post-It Notes


The Old Way: 30 yellow sticky notes with scribbled reminders stuck to your wall…not to mention the additional 20 fallen sticky notes on the floor.

The Digital Way: StickyNote

Take those sticky notes from your physical desktop and put them on your virtual one. StickyNote lets you create 3D virtual stickies, perfect for quick notes or information you want to keep easily accessible. You can also attach files or links and send your stickies in emails. Attach a note to one particular window or give your notes expiration dates to prevent clutter.

Filing Cabinet

The Old Way: Messy files crammed in a cabinet that you really, truly, honestly plan to alphabetize. One of these days.

The Digital Way: Evernote

Here’s the perfect digital way to store all your information. Type notes directly into Evernote or clip web pages to save for later. Take a picture of your handwritten notes or a boardroom whiteboard. Evernote can search through any text – even the handwritten text from your pictures.

Leave a voice memo or snap a photo of your confirmation numbers and boarding information. Then sort all your saved info for easy searching and categorization, so you can take your digital filing cabinet anywhere you go.

The Bulletin Board

The Old Way: You’ve got too many clippings – wine labels, upcoming movies, delivery takeout menus – and not enough thumb tacks.

The Digital Way: Springpad

Like Evernote, Springpad provides a way to sort through your information, only Springpad acts like an active organizer for all the things you’re interested in. Save a movie you want to see and Springpad will let you add it to your Netflix queue, buy it on Amazon, see its page on IMBD or buy movie tickets.

Add a favorite wine or a brand you’d like to try and you can see nearby prices, based on the web and your location. Search for a recipe and instantly add the ingredients to your Springpad shopping list.

The Calendar

The Old Way: You need one calendar. You receive four calendars for Christmas. You use none.

The Digital Way: Google Calendar

It’s hard to beat Google’s calendar offering. It’s easy to use, it lets you send emailed or text reminders and it syncs with something you use every day: your email. Easily share your calendar with your family so you and your spouse are always on the same page – or so you always know about your teen’s upcoming practices or rehearsals.

To-Do List


The Old Way: A never-ending list of scattered chores, errands, tasks and obligations…and you keep having to add “Find To-Do List” to the list.

The Digital Way: Zadachi

Zadachi lets you categorize your obligations with three easy time lines: incomplete, complete and overdue. Separate your tasks by folders or labels; for example, you can organize your list by type (chores, errands, work tasks) or by grouping (home, work, school etc.).

Got a whole list of tasks associated with one project? No problem: Zadachi lets you group tasks by project, so you can see how close you are to completion. Best of all, this app lets your phone do some of the work for you.

If one of your to-do items is ‘call Jill’, Zadachi searches your contacts for people named Jill. If you’ve got something like ‘find an office supply store’ on your list, you can use Yelp to find a local store via Zadachi.


The Old Way: Cover sheets, faxes gone missing and frustrating machines that seem to be eternally out of toner.

The Digital Way: Metrofax

Why do businesses still ask you to fax things? Does anyone even have a fax machine anymore? Well, with Metrofax, all you need is an email account and internet access. Just email your document to your intended fax number (with Metrofax’s @ extension) and you’re all set.


The Old Way: A bill box stuffed with bills you can’t remember if you’ve paid…until the late payment charge comes in.

The Digital Way:

This multi-award winning application is widely regarded as the best financial app out there. lets you access all of your accounts (both bank and loan) so you’ve got all your financial information in one place – no more trying to remember multiple login information.

Mint automatically updates and categorizes your spending history so you can see exactly what you’ve spent on things like fast food, clothes, coffee shop purchases or gas. Budgeting is a snap, since Mint averages your spending habits and breaks down how much you spend on each category. Easily track your spending and see how much you’ve got left in your budget – or how much you’ve gone over.

Digitized Productivity

It’s incredible how far we’ve come since the days of the hieroglyphics. The way technology’s moving, we’ll soon have an app for even menial tasks like organizing your underwear drawer. It’s too bad the digital age didn’t come sooner. Adam could’ve text Eve about that apple.


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