Switch from a notepad to an iPad?


I’ve been working for six years now, and have used notepads/agendas religiously. Whether it’s taking notes for meetings, jotting down points for objectives, or writing out notes on strategy – 90% of the time it’s been with a physical pen and notepad.

I dabbled with a Galaxy Tab S2 as a primary notetaking device but would use the built-in keyboard to take notes (there was no stylus support for that model). I got by, but my notes were very basic.

Earlier this year, I picked up a 2018 Apple iPad and the Apple Pencil to replace my notepad indefinitely. What did I learn from this experience and is it the best idea for you?

Battery life won’t last longer than ink life

On top of all your meetings, deliverables, classes, and deadlines, you’ll need to add in time to charge your tablet/stylus. This may be a none-issue if you invest in accessories to place on your desk to charge all your items, but if you’re like me and use one universal cable, you’ll be flustered by all the switches. Not only that, accessories will begin to add up for you – so be prepared to make that investment.

On the other hand, pens and ink will last forever. And if your pen does run out, you probably have a drawer full of other pens to bail you out. Keep in mind that you’ll have to constantly charge your devices.

Get a tablet if you’re an accessory fiend

One wonderful thing about going with a tablet for work or school is the number of accessories you can choose from. If you love standing out and do so by choosing the best accessories from Amazon, you won’t be disappointed going the tablet route. Cases for your tablet, protectors for your Apple Pencil, and even a bag to carry it all – it’ll satisfy your needs. If you can’t be bothered by accessories, the notepad route is still your best bet.

You get more games on a tablet than on a notepad

That may be oversimplifying it, but you get a lot more things to do with a tablet: games, web browsing, music, productivity apps. With the notepad, you can play tic tac toe and hangman – that’s really it in terms of doing more than writing notes.

There’s an interesting learning curve

If you’re thinking of switching to a tablet from a notepad, keep in mind that you’ll likely need to battle with years of notetaking-motor skills comfort. Meaning, at the beginning of a class or meeting, you’ll be fussed with getting your Apple Pencil/stylus, making sure it’s juiced, opening the right writing app, setting up the notes, and then taking notes. There are far less steps with the traditional notepad. Of course, over time you’ll get used to the new method of writing with a tablet, but if you’re in an environment where time is of the utmost importance, you’ll miss out on some valuable information while you’re getting set up.

If you have the money to spare, or if you work in an industry that already has access to a stylus-ready tablet, it’s definitely a no-brainer – do it. But in my use so far, it hasn’t revolutionized how I take notes or how I work. Maybe it’s just me, but I haven’t fully transitioned to a digital-only worker. I’m still working on it.

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