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GTD newbie, implementation not quite working

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  • GTD newbie, implementation not quite working

    Just wondering if some more knowledgeble people could help me tweak my GTD implementation as its not quite working comfortably for me at the moment.

    I work for myself from home and do alot of my work online, and get alot of emails. I've set up a GTD system for my emails and thats working fine. However im also out and about alot so need a mobile system to take around with me, not emails but other activities. I'm currently using a pocket moleskine (which i love) and at home i have stacks of index cards, seperated by context, inbox, waiting for etc. I've also started writing down seperate inbox items, next actions etc into my moleskine, as I can't fit that many index cards into my moleskine (15ish?). So I have the problem of not always have my list items to hand when im on the move and that some items are now in my moleskine, others in the index card stacks.

    I did try just using a hipster pda however the index cards don't last very long in my jeans pockets, unlike the moleskine.

    Any ideas how I can clean this mess up?


  • #2
    I use a Palm for the mobile part of my system.

    But not a good solution if you want to stay paper-based.


    • #3
      Trying to understand your system a little better...

      Do you have one card per next action? If so, have you considered using one card per context? This will significantly reduce the number of cards you have to carry around, though it will increase your rewriting as your lists evolve over the course of the week.

      If, on the other hand, your cards represent contexts (and each card is a list of next actions for that context), maybe you can leave some of the cards behind when you're out and about. For example, you can't really DO anything from your @home list when you're at the market, so why bother carrying it with you?

      As far as capture is concerned, I would suggest using only your moleskine for capture. Having this intermediate location for capture gives you a location that you can capture whatever you want without having to concern yourself with how to organize it (is it a project, a someday/maybe, a true next action, an idea, a phone number that you'll only need once). Just capture. During your daily/weekly reviews you can extract items to your lists.

      But as you are aware, a hard boundary between the inbox and your "system" is critical. You can probably get a way with bypassing the inbox and going straight into your lists, but you shouldn't be tracking your lists in your inbox.

      For what it's worth, this very issue (although for me, it was more about the calendar than the next actions) was the driving force behind my switching to an electronic PDA. I still carry a moleskine for capture/inbox purposes.


      • #4
        It sounds to me like you need to drop the notebook and get a container for your hipster. Moleskine makes a folder book that can carry a lot of notecards and there are other notecard wallets as well. I think Lavenger has some popular ones.

        The way I addressed this problem in my system is to type my lists on the computer and then print them out onto a sheet of paper. I print them 6 pages per sheet and fold it up and put it in my pocket. I reprint when it gets tattered or needs updating.


        • #5
          Thanks for everyones replies.

          KellySY thanks for the suggestion, I've messed around with pdas before and found they just don't work that well for me.

          jknecht yup thats right one card per action. Good idea about one card per context, and that would solve my issues with carrying lots of cards around, however I just have too many next actions and everything is moving so fast I just couldn't keep up with re-writing everything. I do leave all the cards whose contexts i dont need when out and about at home like you suggest, but the ones im left with are still quite alot!

          Barry are you referring to ? It looks like it could be a good solution. I think my problem is definately the fact im ending up with two systems, moleskine notebook acting as a ubiquitous capture device and GTD system and my index cards. Perhaps I could use both, moleskine as a ubiquitous capture device and moleskine memo pockets for my GTD system? I definatly want to stay away from any digital solution.


          • #6
            Yes, that Moleskine memo pocket is what I had in mind. I agree that your problem is having your system split up between the cards and the notebook now. If you go with an all card system, you could still use the notebook for capture as you suggest. However, you could also just carry a few extra blank cards for capture and eliminate the bulk of carrying the notebook.

            I agree with your comments on the PDA. I used one for 7 years and have finally gotten fed up with them and have switched to paper. No regrets so far.

            Best of luck.


            • #7
              I do what jknecht suggests, and it works fine for me, I just carry cards as needed, usually just my @places card, sometimes an agenda card. They go in a Moleskine Cahier. But I can understand the advantage of having all the cards with you, then you just write new items directly.

              Some possible ways to carry lots of index cards: Levenger leather rope for index cards. I got one at the Memphis outlet store, it can hold a *lot* of cards. A checkbook cover can hold index cards, and also fit in a back pocket. A small zip lock bag or a waterproof bag from an outdoor store (like REI) should do. You could also cut down a manila folder to slightly larger than 3x5. Or cut down a sheet protector to make a pocket, it would be sealed on two sides, don't know how long it would last though. There's also instructions available for the Ductster PDA at it's a cover made from duct tape.


              • #8
                kingfu, this is an interesting idea of one action per card. Do you write on the card what the context is? Do you stack the cards in any particular order?


                • #9
                  I use a paper planner (DayRunner, etc.) and it works great. Compact, portable, not too expensive (I can find $12 ones online), plus supports the four key action categories: Calendar, Projects, Actions, and Waiting For. Bonus: Capture pad built-in, plus address book. (More here, if interested.)


                  • #10
                    thanks for the suggestions Marcia. The one action per card idea, i write the date on teh top left of the card, the context on the top right along with any context. I got the idea from here

                    Cornell, does the day runner fit in your jeans pocket? as its a requirement that I have my system on me at all times


                    • #11
                      I use a metal business card holder with an attached pen.

                      It holds a 2" x 3" mini-notebook, and comes with a pen which is attached and is also 3" long. Inside, I replace the mini-notebook (it also comes with a mini address book that fits inside) with post-it notes that come in the 2" x 3" size (can buy them at any Staples or Office Depot).

                      This metal card holder is very small and thin, the external dimensions with pen attached: 3.4" (L) x 2.4" (W) x 0.2" (D) and costs $9.50 (I'm not affiliated with the company selling this, in any way).

                      When out and about, when needed, I take quick notes on a post it note, and when I come back, I throw the post it's with notes into the inbox.

                      That takes care of the note-taking.

                      I also carry a 4GB iPod Nano 2nd generation, for my lists when I'm out and about. Before I leave, I load up my Nano with an .rtf file or files which I export from the iGTD application. Then, when I'm out, I can quickly scan the right list (@ appropriate context) of Next Actions. Additionally, you can buy a microphone plug in, and record voice notes if you have more extensive things to capture. The nano is very small and thin.

                      And that takes care of the lists.

                      This way I'm covered both ways when away from home. I was hoping for a way to combine both lists and note-taking in one device, but I never found the right tool. I looked into the smalles PDA I could find (the Palm Z22) but all electronic devices suffer from one big problem: input. It just is not convenient to take quick notes on them. So, for note-taking, I found best pen and paper, and then I looked for the smallest most convenient tools (I hate big things in my pockets). Conversely, the problem with carrying around Next Action Lists on paper is that it's hard to generate them from the computer - you either have to write them by hand or print them - both very awkward. It's much faster to load up a file to my iPod Nano.