Digital -> paper -> digital -> paper – what will it be?  I’ve been down both paths with my “time” management systems.  I was initially indoctrinated into the FranklinCovey world in the early 90s. I started with a large portfolio binder.  I then tried to transition to a Toshiba TabletPC with the FranklinCovey software integrated into my MS Outlook. Then moved to a SmartPhone and then..well about 2 years ago I came upon David Allen’s book. At this point I had come to the realization that a mostly paper-based system was best for me.The reviews for the book were enthusiastic and the text easy to digest.  It made sense to me. That was one of the keys. It was a flexible system with a logical foundation. Ooh..that word – flexible. That’s a good one. That was prime for me.  I then started scouring the web to see how other GTD enthusiasts were implementing the system to try and identify something that appealed to me.  Here’s what I ended up with and have been using (and tweaking) since:Collection system:

  • Cheap 3×5 cards – I have these everywhere. In my pocket, in my car, by my bed, on my desk, in my kitchen. I buy them cheap at the office store. I use cheap ones because I am constantly throwing them out after I’ve processed them.
  • Pocket note taker – This doubles as my wallet and notetaker. I use a Levenger Walletini pen given to me as a gift. The wallet was purchased from Staples for $10USD.
  • Levenger Circa Notebook – Levenger appealed to me because of the variety of solutions and flexibility allowed with the paper system. I use a Junior notebook with a black cloth cover (got the cover for my birthday recently.) I first purchased the starter kit (only $15USD) and some dividers\pockets. The size is right for me – not too big or too small.  [link]
  • Pen – I use Pilot G2 gel ink pens. These were highly recommended and are the best disposable pen I’ve ever used. I tend to lose pens and didn’t want to invest in an expensive permanent one.
  • Mobile – I use my mobile to leave voicemail for myself when I can’t write something down.
  • Lotus Notes – This is my “automatic”work based email inbox. For email and calendar.
  • Gmail – This is my “automatic” personal based email inbox. Just for email collection.
  • Google Reader – This is my “automatic” inbox for RSS feeds from my favourite blogs, websites, etc.

Organization:

  • Tabs in Notebook – I’ve divided my Levenger notebook with the following tabs: Calendar, Notes, @Work, Projects (use colored tabs to separate project docs), Wait4, @Home, Agenda (things I want to talk to people about), @Ref (includes books to read, someday projects, travel packing list.)
  • Folders in Lotus Notes – @blog (topics for my blogs), @Reading (email that I need to read but not to “do” anything with), @Waiting (email I’ve sent which requires a response), @Work (things I need to do that came through email), A-Z folders for filing emails that I keep for “reference.”
  • Reference Folders – A-Z filing system.
  • Lotus Notes Calendar – for actions that take place on a certain date (meetings, bills due, appointments)- that’s all.

Other tools:

  • Levenger Circa desk punch – I made the decision to invest in this instead of buying the pre-punched paper from Levenger. I use a heavier weight paper cut in half to fit my Junior notebook. This works great. [link]
  • DIYPlanner.com – This is where I get templates for my Circa notebook. They have a great assortment of templates to fit a whole bunch of needs. [link]
  • Google Docs– Great tool, great portability and compatibility.
  • Label Maker – I use labels for my files to keep things clean. My handwriting is pretty bad. I use a Brother P-Touch PT-80. [link]
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