Sometimes I miss not seeing what I would call the stereotypical 80’s businessman; I was a little too young to take note at the time but when I look back I always envisage a man with a long black ponytail, dressed in an expensive suit and carrying a briefcase.This briefcase would surely contain a Filofax, the size of which would be directly correlated to how important you wanted to be considered by those around you.

In the 00’s we appear to have lost the Filofax only to have it replaced by something equally pretentious; the PDA (Personal Digital Assistant).When I first went in to business I bought myself one of these but put it back in the box almost completely unused when I realised that I spent more of my time working on prioritised lists of things I needed to do than on the actual tasks in hand.

Even to this day my heart always sinks if I have lunch with someone and the time comes to make a note.Rather than just jotting it down or making a mental note they rummage through their bag, retrieve a PDA, turn it on, open notepad, write ‘Phone Chris tomorrow’, save the note, set an alarm, turn the machine off, put it back in its leather sleeve then place it carefully back in the bag.Don’t get me wrong, I can see how such a device can come in useful for those that do need to store a large amount of contact and schedule information however I do draw a line when an individual appears to become completely dependent on a machine to organise them.

For those aforementioned users who do happen to have a large amount of data and activity that needs organising in their life there is another option which doesn’t rely on an expensive device that has to be carried everywhere and can be easily lost or stolen.Since most people have access to a computer at any time, irrespective of time or location this information can be kept using software as opposed to hardware.

EssentialPIM is a free application which is available in both desktop and portable versions which can both be downloaded by way of a tiny 2.8MB file obtained by visiting includes all the standard features that you would expect from a Personal Information Manager including a calendar, contact database, to-do lists and notepad.Of course, it can be argued that most modern day mobile phones have the same functionality however unless you do happen to have a Smartphone these features are likely to be limited.

I personally would recommend downloading the portable version and then saving it to a USB Flash Drive which can then be attached to your keyring therefore minimising the possibility of leaving the house without it, or indeed losing it.To access your data simply insert the USB drive in to any computer and all your information will be readily accessible with none of your information ever being saved on to the machine itself eliminating any such security concerns.I would recommend setting up a password from within the application as if you were to lose your keys you wouldn’t want a potential finder to know which house they belonged to.

Whilst I have to admit that EssentialPIM isn’t for everybody, for those that constantly skip from office to office or have by other means regular access to a computer then it could certainly prove a worthwhile download.


About the Author – Chris Holgate works for Refresh Cartridges who supply a wide range of printer cartridges at the UK’s lowest prices.