Question For GTDers

When I was using the calenar-based organizers from D-T and then F-C, I used to "journal" on the daily pages so that I could look back through the months and see what went on, and how I'd changed (and hopefully, grown).

Now that I'm embracing the GTD non-calendar based approach, I just wonder, do any of you other GTDers keep a daily journal and how do you integrate it into your system? Or do you incorporate it into your GTD system? Looking to find an elegant "best practice", if there is one?

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Ubiquitous Capture Device


Even though GTD is not calendar-based, it doesn't mean you can't date the stuff you write down. Example, the 'ubiquitous capture device'. Since the idea is to capture first and process later, you can write the date on the UCD and file the stuff after you've processed it so you retain that information. What you use makes a difference to how you file it, of course.. If you use 3x5 cards and you use a bunch on the same day, you might want a date stamp you can just stamp the card with as you process it, and file it in a super-size 3x5 box. If you use a ring-bound notebook, you would just date the page, draw a line at the end of that day's inputs, and keep the notebook going til it's full, then file it on a shelf or something with the start and end dates on the cover.

I am not practicing GTD at this moment, but I did in the past. Right now I have a notebook and 3x5 cards and outlook and my android phone. The 3x5 cards are more for stuff I need to keep with me, usually temporarily. The notebook is for stuff I need to jot down in the moment and process later, or for notes I write down as I'm figuring something out. I flip to a new page as needed, but most of the time I don't bother to date stuff as I rarely refer back more than two pages. Calendar stuff goes into outlook and syncs to the phone. The phone also has the grocery list which syncs to DH's phone. At one point I had a little paperblanks planner book I was using for journaling events related to my kids. I would write a couple of sentences each day, since it was a week-on-a-page. That was a special purpose book and I kept it up for a year. It was completely separate from all my other planning stuff, because I would sit down deliberately just to write in that book.

Anyway, all you really have to do is date your captures and keep them after they're processed. If you want to do something more careful and elaborate of course you can. Me, I've decided to be a low-maintenance person. :)


Capture is Key

Shris covered it well. The key is to have a good capture device, and archive/retrieval system. About a year ago I bought a large Moleskine because I'd always been intrigued with them, but never pulled the purchase trigger. First I had to find the right pen / ink combo that would behave on the paper. I found it in the Hero 330 fountain pen with J. Herbin's Cafe des Iles ink. The brown ink on cream paper is beautiful.

How I use it is simple. Each day I write down the day of week, followed by the date. For aesthetic purposes, I also draw a box around it. For notes I know I'll need later, I write them in my Moleskine. Those that will have a short shelf life get written on notecards and tossed when they've served their purpose. Learning the difference between important and disposable notes isn't all that hard.

I've been using the Moleskine since July 1st and still have half the pages left. Many weeks I can fit multiple days on each page. Sometimes one day fills multiple pages.

I haven't figured out a good retrieval system, but then again, I don't really need one.