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Super Simple GTD Approach For Traveler’s Notebook

How to get GTD functionality into the traveler’s notebook format? I could use an entire notebook, and many people have documented approaches to that. Patrick Ng has some really nuce lether tabs he uses in a notebook. Or, I could try something simpler.

In my former system I used a sheet of paper for each project and treated each sheet as a kind of log to keep notes and define the next action. Id then transfer those next actions to a single sheet organized by a few contexts. That sheet would be folded and kept in a pocket. The idea was that the project sheet forms a record of the project, while the next action list became an inbox as well.

I can’t recall ever using the project sheets for reference, so do I really need them? I decided to see if I could live with just a simple project list, which would be far easier to carry around me. I checked the book to see if Allen had anything to say about it, and indeed he mentions simple lists as an acceptable method.

So I took a piece of 100+ lb cover stock, folded it into thirds, and slipped it into the center of a notebook. Then did the same with a regular sheet of paper. The cover stock is the project list, and the second sheet is the next action list. I can add or cross off projects as I need to and replace the sheet when it gets too full or too beat up.

The next action has six sides which lend themselves to contexts, and so they were labeled.

I like:

  • Easy to find. The thing about traveler’s style notebooks is that the center of each book has an automatic bookmark.
  • Know where to find it.
  • Doesn’t get all beat up so easily.
  • Gives me an excuse to carry the notebook everywhere.
  • Cheap and easy to make.

I don’t like:

  • Too easy to ignore. While the center of a notebook is easy to find, it’s not usually where my focus is. When I use this kind of notebook I get used to ignoring the notebook’s tendancy to flop open to the center. Which is where the list is.
  • I hate feeling like I have to carry the notebook everywhere.
  • Slow to use. While standing in a store aisle, or wherever, a paper list is easy to pull out and add to. The notebook (particularly one loaded with stuff) is harder.

I used it for a while, and it worked ok but I don’t have as much confidence in it as my old system so I’ve actually gone back to my old system. However, for many I think this will be a good solution.

1 comment… add one

  • Dan February 4, 2013, 2:28 am

    I would recommend checking out http://www.Gtdagenda.com for an online GTD manager.

    You can use it to manage your goals, projects and tasks, set next actions and contexts, use checklists, and a calendar.
    Syncs with Evernote, and also comes with mobile-web version, and Android and iPhone apps.

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