Capture & then Organize?

So, while reading the different posts throughout the past few months, I have found that many people have a notebook where they "capture" all of the info throughout the day and then they set aside time to "move" all of those captured items into the correct pages of their planner... I think this might work for me, but wouldn't mind hearing from those of you that plan in this manner. Maybe help me get started thinking "this way."
nay nay

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comp book

I have a 3 subject composition notebook that is red and I adore it... I pretty much just date teh bottom of the page and then write anything and everything down. website urls, phone numbers, important info, dates, random useless facts about junk, etc.

I never really planned on it but... it just kind of happened. so that is now my "inbox". I'm in the midst of deciding what other things I should have for my system... the hPDA is great for out and about... but I feel like I need a central station.
my artwork

I do the opposite:

I use index cards for capture, and then move 'long term' stuff to the appropriate home -- appointments to my calendar, urls to my 'check out' list on my computer, quotes to my journal, on and on.

me, too

And I never realized it until now. Huh.

Years ago, I bought a case of blank 4x6 cards (that was the smallest lot I could find them in; I really don't like lines!). I wanted something that held up better than a piece of notepaper in my pocket. These days, I use them for just about everything, and then transfer them wherever needed, just as SusanBeth does.

I just switched over to a Circa planner, so I'm going to try punching some 4x6 cards and keeping them in there. (I suspect I may go more the other way now that it will be easier for me to write in my planner and move the entire page to another noteobook later, instead of copying something from an index card into a spiral notebook.)


I just had an insight like

I just had an insight like this too! Glad I'm not the only one.

I wrote a blog post about it if you're interested.

not the only one!

Jennifer - Great blog post! Thank you for sharing it. You are definitely not the only who didn't quite understand the concept of the Inbox and the Review. I am just starting to put this together and your blog helped a great deal! I will be revamping my system over the next few days!
Thanks again for sharing!
nay nay

Great blog!

And, no, you're not alone! I started reading Julie Morgenstern's Organizing from the Outside In and pretty quickly realized that I had the wrong book--- I should have been reading Time Management from the Outside In. Clutter was symptom of the real problem-- lousy time management!

I'm not really a Covey person, but I'm starting to think that improving my habits is the secret to most of the issues that plague me. Of course, saying that is easy, it's *changing* them that's hard!


Some people hear voices in their heads.
Writers take dictation.

Very interesting post. I'm

Very interesting post. I'm glad it works for you. No matter how much I try, GTD is simply not compatible with my brain. Too much atomization of tasks for me. I'm too much of a linear thinker. I see the goal and get there. I simple need to set the goal. The getting there needs to be continuous. If I atomize it, I loose track of the final goal.

This said, that you have found a system that works for you is great.

"It's better to be a pirate than to join the Navy." -- Steve Jobs

Rolla hPDA as a capture device

Hi, nay nay --

I use my hPDA as a capture device. It, and all my "file folders," are punched for rolla/circa rings. That way, instead of rewriting stuff I just transfer the index card into the appropriate folder/notebook. Very quick.

To compensate for my terrible sense of direction, I have a stack of pre-printed map cards for various common destinations (client sites, relatives houses, etc.) and when I'm getting ready to go, I pull the appropriate map out of the "map library" binder and put it in my hPDA.

The hPDA is where I keep my master to-do list (template available here). When I'm at the office, I pull it out of the hPDA and perch it on a homemade docking station.

I also keep a quick-reference-only calendar in the hPDA. My master calendar is in my main notebook (Levenger Circa Foldover), and as events get added to it, I just make a tick mark on the hPDA calendar to indicate something planned for a morning, afternoon, or all day.

That way, if something comes up when I don't have my master calendar, at least I have a way to quickly confirm whether a given chunk of time is open. It works well for me, but YMMV of course.

Hope these give you some ideas and inspiration!


Thanks Paul!

I love the templates you have made and will see how I can fit them into my "new" process (which I am currently dreaming up!). Once complete I will share all of the info. I appreciate hearing how each person has set up their system. I tend to take a bit from each person!
Thanks again!
nay nay

Paul - Questions

do you somewhere explain how you use each of your templates? For example, the one that goes on the bottom of a page and have a bunch of different pictures... What does each picture stand for? On the client template, what are the three dots for? etc... Just looking for more info on your system!
thanks! nay nay

Template Runes

Hi, nay nay --

Let me know how the templates work in practice. I'm always looking for ways to improve them. I recently made a custom footer template for someone that incorporated their personal icons into my basic design, and I'd be happy to do that for you too if you'd like...

Re: the footer "runes" (as I call them) and other mystery elements -- my idea was to leave their meaning up to the user so that they could ascribe their own meaning. But I do have my own uses, which I'm happy to share (as long as it doesn't prevent you from making up your own uses :-D ).

For example, on the to-do list I use the three dots to indicate "hi, mid, low priority," but they can also be used for "today, soon, eventually," or "do first, second, and third."

The squares I cross out to signal a completed task, but you could also put a number in there to signal priority or sequence, or fill them using a color-code system. The smaller rectangular box I usually use for a due date, contact name, url, etc.

On the footers, I tried to use activity-oriented icons that specify (from L to R) fun note, web, mail, note to file, phone contact, and reminder. I'm thinking of rearranging them and sticking one in for a calendar too.

BTW, all the symbols in the footer are standard special characters from MS Word. I insert them into a Word doc, set the size and color there, then do a screen-grab and convert them into a graphic. Quick and dirty shortcut because I am "Photoshop challenged."

Hope this helps! All ideas and suggestions are welcome...



Thanks for the insight Paul! I love the Web picture - cute! And when you started listing what the pics stood for I went DUH NAY NAY! :) You have given me some ideas to work with now, though. I promise you have not hindered the possiblity of personalizing to fit my needs by sharing how you use them. Again, I appreciate the help and if I come up with any ideas, I will let you know!

Things fly at me pretty fast

Things fly at me pretty fast because I work in a public reference area in an academic library. I use the Levenger AmbiFolio to capture and as the day goes and I have a spare moment, I transfer all the scribbles into the correct places in my agenda or on my "Next Actions" card in my Lewvenger Junior-size agenda. I find I stay neater nd more organized, plus I have reviewed items after the dust clears.

"To fly, we must have resistance."

Notebook & more

I have a bound notebook which works as a capture device in the way you suggest. I implement a GTD system in fairly orthodox detail (except I have too many inboxes). The notebook holds my info, actions, voice message notes, and other inbox items plus use it for all meeting notes, thoughts, ideas, preliminary lists etc. in that one notebook. I then use it to go over the day or week in GTD style review. To help speed that review I use post-it flags to highlight calendar and action items. However, I don't carry the notebook everywhere, so I have multiple capture devices, e.g. I almost always carry index cards, and I may capture things on notebook paper or bits of paper. Those go into the planner which also has an inbox (a pocket for loose paper). Also, I have a box for mail and loose paper which is the third inbox, then email would count as the fourth. It works pretty well for me, but would be better to simplify the inbox system. The notebook, however, is something I've used for many years in this way, before there even was a GTD system per se.