About to move back to GTD on paper - what folder/paper-binding system to use?

Ship69

Registered
Hello

I am about to move back to having GTD on paper. I need advice about what sort of folder or paper-binding system to use.

HARDWARE:
My thinking so far - I want something:
- with replaceable sheets of paper (so that I can insert new sheets when space runs out)
- that takes up as little physical space a possible. So:
- it should fold back on itself i.e. opens up to 180degrees and lies flat on the desk
- be tall and thin (so that I can get lots of tasks visible at once)
- if it has ring-binder this needs to have fairly small actual rings (to make it pocket sized, or nearly that)

Each list I would have a tab that sticks out that I write on, with the name of the list, so that I can flick back and forward between these lists.

The problem I have is that although spiral bound folders fold nicely back on themselves completely flat, after a while you start to run out of space in certain areas first and it's a mighty paint to move the whole system onto a new folder by re-writing the whole thing.

Ring binders offer powerful way of inserting new sheets and even of moving the order of sections around if necessary, however none of them seem to fold back on themselves flat, so that it saves space and allows you to write on them in this position.

Any advice?

J


PS Filofax has a new thing called a Clipbook that they claim can be folded back, but when this happens it doesn't lie anything like flat, and this makes it quite hard to write on.
http://www.filofax.co.uk/notebooks?range_filter=1766
 
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mcogilvie

Registered
I use Circa for my lecture notes and other things. It's good but pricy. Fortunately, there are compatible products at the big box office supply stores of much less. If I were using paper for GTD, it's what I would use.
 

Ship69

Registered
I don't mind it being expensive because I won't be using fast numbers of pages at a vast rate.

Thanks. It does look like the paper would either tear too easily during removal and replacement, and/or that would fall out too easily and/or that it might be quite high friction (compared to a spiral bound note book) when turning the pages... but I shall investigate further.

To me the ideal thing would be an open+shut ring binder that allows you to fold pages right back on themselves. But maybe that doesn't exist...

Thanx
 

Ship69

Registered
Fwiw, I have discovered (and just ordered) the "Twist Ring Notebook" made by Lihit Labs, which looks very promising as it allows sheets to be removed and inserted without damaging them AND it looks like it will lie flat when folded back on itself, which is great for taking up less space on a desk (and/or being more firm when writing on your lap etc)

I've ordered the 30 sheet A5 version but I note that there is a 100 sheet version.
http://www.cultpens.com/i/q/LL44724/lihit-lab-aqua-drops-30-sheet-twist-ring-notebook-a5

I'll let you know how I get on. :)
 

Ship69

Registered
Does it mean that no software application has met a long list of your requirements so you've decided to test paper against them?
You are getting to know me too well! ;)

In truth yes, this is partly true. However I was inspired by certain users on this forum who talk about going back to paper in order to improve their GTD habits.

I know my GTD habits are weak. Of particular painfulness is use of Contexts. I don't seem to be very good at A) putting things into Contexts and B) working from Contexts. But if I have a paper sheet for each Context and just write each action onto the relevant page... job done. Plus flicking between contexts simply by having good dedicated tabs on my folder should help too.

I may use digital technology to hold either my Someday Maybe stuff and/or to do some mind map of my (whole) life in order to see the big picture/higher level of flight better.

But yes, I do keep finding the technology seriously getting in the way, in stupid, deeply irritating ways. Paper will avoid many of them and also be vastly faster in certain other ways. Yes, it will be annoying not to have things searchable, and not to have Next Actions actually connected to the project in question, but maybe I can live with that. (I may use colour to help speed me up, not sure yet!) Crossing stuff out and eventually copying things over will be irritating too, but at least all these irritations will be NEW irritations! :)

Furthermore, the most busy and efficient person and successful I know uses paper - just paper. Rather than do anything particularly clever she just take time to re-write her lists of projects from scratch every month or so. Interstingly she says she loves doing it because it gives her time to think strategically....
 
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chirmer

Registered
Please keep us posted on your endeavors with paper! I am always fighting a civil war within myself, because I adore paper/stationery and collect fountain pens as a hobby, but also love technology, apps, and trying to squeeze out the most efficient system (often at the expense of getting actual tasks done). I currently do a hybrid system and it's really taxing some days. I wish I had the courage to move fully back to paper. At least for now, I can live vicariously through you all who do make the plunge :)
 

sesteph6

Registered
Please keep us posted on your endeavors with paper! I am always fighting a civil war within myself, because I adore paper/stationery and collect fountain pens as a hobby, but also love technology, apps, and trying to squeeze out the most efficient system (often at the expense of getting actual tasks done). I currently do a hybrid system and it's really taxing some days. I wish I had the courage to move fully back to paper. At least for now, I can live vicariously through you all who do make the plunge :)
I am surprised that you struggle with this, I was under the impression you are 100% evernote! Interesting... I am in a constant state of change with my system. I finally committed to Wunderlist a few years ago, its incredible. naturally, its going away. Im also thinking about paper.... at least it never will vanish, lose my data, etc.
 

chirmer

Registered
I am surprised that you struggle with this, I was under the impression you are 100% evernote! Interesting... I am in a constant state of change with my system. I finally committed to Wunderlist a few years ago, its incredible. naturally, its going away. Im also thinking about paper.... at least it never will vanish, lose my data, etc.
Ha! Oh, how I wish I were 100% committed to anything ;) I gave up on Evernote a while ago because I just have too many deadlines that I can't miss (I work in marketing). Evernote has bugs and glitches when it comes to manually ordering reminders in my notebook views so I had to dump it. I still use Evernote as my file repository, but actually use Trello for all task management. It works really well, surprisingly, but lately I've felt too spread out. I sometimes forget to check team boards and things, and getting stuff into the inbox isn't as easy as I would hope. Now I'm dangerously floating with the idea of all paper again...
 

sesteph6

Registered
Ha! Oh, how I wish I were 100% committed to anything ;) I gave up on Evernote a while ago because I just have too many deadlines that I can't miss (I work in marketing). Evernote has bugs and glitches when it comes to manually ordering reminders in my notebook views so I had to dump it. I still use Evernote as my file repository, but actually use Trello for all task management. It works really well, surprisingly, but lately I've felt too spread out. I sometimes forget to check team boards and things, and getting stuff into the inbox isn't as easy as I would hope. Now I'm dangerously floating with the idea of all paper again...
I'm also in marketing... so I know what you mean about deadlines.... I introduced my sister to GTD a few years ago, she stuck with wunderlist for a while then moved to Asana and couldn't be happier.
 

sesteph6

Registered
Actually, fear of losing my notebook is one of the reasons my system is digital.
My phone is always with me. My purse/notebook, not so much.
ahhhh! stop! get out of my head Jodie! darn that's a really good point.... your happy with todoist? I saw they really tried to capitalize on the Wunderlist mess advertising that they will always remain independent...
 

Ship69

Registered
Some important lessons I have learned for doing GTD on from paper:

1. Get a really bright colour for the covers. This makes your book really easy to find, particularly when you are on the move.

2. Get small-ish (e.g. A5 rather than A4) that isn't a pain to carry around

3. Get something something the folds back on itself, so that it has a small footprint on desk

4. Make sure you can insert extra sheet, so that went sections full up you can just add extra sheets.

5. Keep a pen attached to the notebook - e.g inserted inside the spiral binding.
 

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Jodie E. Francis

GTD Novice
ahhhh! stop! get out of my head Jodie! darn that's a really good point.... your happy with todoist? I saw they really tried to capitalize on the Wunderlist mess advertising that they will always remain independent...
Yes, Todoist has been solid for me on iOS and web, and they've just announced full 2-way integration with Google Calendar!
 

Ship69

Registered
I tried ToDoIst about 18 months ago. I found it too slow to enter data, plus there was no Area of Life (Area of Responsibility) which I found annoying. Maybe things have improved since?
 

Jodie E. Francis

GTD Novice
@Ship69 - Were you using the full featured version? The free Todoist is pretty basic and I didn't find it useful. I use the paid version because I don't mind paying a few dollars a month for something I rely upon. Ability to filter (and create custom filters) is a paid feature, and essential for me.

I don't find data entry cumbersome, it's actually pretty slick with on the fly tagging (@label #project) and natural language dates. I track my higher horizons including Areas of Focus / Responsibility as a hierarchy of lists.

I'm not advocating Todoist for you, I was responding to sesteph6's question - sorry, I didn't mean to hijack your thread!
 

John Forrister

GTD Connect
Staff member
Some important lessons I have learned for doing GTD on from paper:

1. Get a really bright colour for the covers. This makes your book really easy to find, particularly when you are on the move.

2. Get small-ish (e.g. A5 rather than A4) that isn't a pain to carry around

3. Get something something the folds back on itself, so that it has a small footprint on desk

4. Make sure you can insert extra sheet, so that went sections full up you can just add extra sheets.

5. Keep a pen attached to the notebook - e.g inserted inside the spiral binding.
In case you haven't already checked it out, you might want to have a look at the Time/system planner. I have not used it in 20 years, since I switched from paper to digital. But even back then it fulfilled 4 of 5 your items. The only one it misses is the bright cover. But you could add a decal or contact paper to transform the cover.

http://www.timesystem.us/default.asp

Since I haven't used it in a long time, I can't speak for the value. Used to be very high quality paper, printing, and binder.

The ability to have pages fold over, enabling a three-panel view of projects, actions, and calendar, was thrilling.
 

Tay Boon Siang

Registered
I'm also looking for a planner/calendar/diary for 2018. Didn't want to buy those expensive ones at Franklin Covey so maybe I'll just buy anything that has ruled lines without any forced planning structure.
 
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