Last week I used #RootsTech to attempt the start of what may become a radical change to the way I work.
It started with an experiment. I had said in an earlier blog post what items I would be carrying with me. At RootsTech 2012 the list included my digital camera, my cellphone, my laptop, a pen, a binder with my notes for the conference, and extra looseleaf in the binder to take notes during the talks. This year, I replaced all that with my Windows Phone. I also debated about the pen, and ended up taking it with the goal of seeing how long I could go without using it.
When I posted on Google plus about doing this, one response was that I was very brave to leave my laptop at home. But since I was giving a talk about Windows Phone for Genealogists, I thought doing this would add to the experiment.
The number one best thing about this experiment was the freedom I found I had. I no longer needed to carry a bag with a binder and/or laptop. Both my hands were always free. I could whip my phone out of my front pocket whenever I needed to take a picture, record some notes, check the schedule, do some live tweeting or check my email or the #Rootstech Twitter feed. As it turned out, I never used my pen, and instead opened OneNote to take down short notes and took a picture for anything more.
During the Conference, the phone was perfect for all my needs. But I do admit there were a few tasks where I missed my laptop. At night, I would go to my hotel’s business center and use their computer to do my blog posts and update my websites. Those tasks are possible on my phone, but the tools aren’t as good, multiple windows can’t be viewed side by side, and my 60 word per minute touch typing speed gets slowed down considerably. Maybe in a few years these problems will be solved and the smartphone can be used for everything.
This may just be the beginning of a bigger experiment - to see if I can start going paperless at home as well. It’s a different way of thinking for a guy who has for years kept shelves of binders and books full of organized written material.