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3 Ring Binder Love

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  • 3 Ring Binder Love

    After a brief hiatus away from GTD, I came back and began implementing using a letter size 3 ring binder and lined notebook paper. I have the system set up with printed tabs, exactly as David suggests in his article on creating a paper organizer. I am really surprised at home simple this system is, as well as the super low cost!

    Before this, I had been using a Windows Mobile phone synced with Outlook. Since moving to the 3 ring I have been really enjoying taking my time with processing. The way the notebook is broken up, it really forces you to focus on which phase of the workflow you are on- I love it since I need all the help I can get.

    I just wanted to throw this out there to see if anyone else is using a homemade 3 ring binder system like David suggests (or other paper binders set up with tabs) and any tips or hacks you use for this type of organizer.


  • #2
    I too just came back to GTD. Right now I'm using a Circa-type notebook (from Staples) to get started, plus travel folders. I find this is very portable for me. I really liked my 3-ring binder system initially, but found it somewhat bulky to carry. I have a full-time job, go to school, have step-kids part-time, and I'm trying to get a business off the ground. In addition (!) I have an addiction to crafts and we are planning to buy a new home/sell the old one in the spring. I have ALOT to keep track of The 3 ring binder system worked GREAT until I just kept adding to my life. I ended up needing a 3" binder, and I just couldn't manage.

    I hope it works great for you. I love writing my notes and not relying on technology. It's very therapeutic for me.


    • #3
      I couldn't agree more. GTD lends itsself to a variety of planning tools including very simple, basic ones and the 3-ring binder is efficient and powerful. It also benefits from being dirt cheap and having almost no learning curve.

      The way I make the calendar section work is to set up my recurring events in the Google calendar online application, then print out the monthly pages (and/or weekly and daily as desired) and punch them for the binder. This eliminates a lot of re-writing of recurring events and provides free refills on demand. For appointment reminders, I set my cell phone alarm. Or Gcal can send me an SMS message if desired.

      My contacts are just a typed list, printed out, punched, and inserted into the binder. Updated when necessary and reprinted. I keep the document on Google documents.

      If I ever lost the planner, I could at least regenerate most of the calendar data and the contacts list pretty quickly and easily from any computer.

      Definitely bulkier than a PDA, but well worth it for me.


      • #4
        I recently created a three ring binder to move around with me during my day at work (I work out of an office and then 3 labs) as a project manager. The real push for this vice using manila folders was re-listening to the podcast interview with David and MAJOR GENERAL Randy Fullhart.

        My binder sections are: Calendar / Agendas, Projects, Action Lists, Contacts, Personal, and Reference.

        I still use my Moleskine as my Inbox (Capture) device.

        Everything usually gets processed into my computer on a daily basis and that is backed up, so I don't think I have any major data loss issues.

        It is a good tool for me and something I am recommending others consider.