exploring the beauty of hybrid programs

Hi Everyone: It's been a while since I have been able to log on here but my husband helped me get back on today. I am trying to combine programs for my own personal organization system.

Using GTD I tried using the 3x5 for capture, (great to put in pocket) but then discovered it was easier to use a small notebook for car, home and work desks and house.

THEN, using the notes, I put individual ideas (using my best handwriting !!!) on the individual cards for filing according to category (borrowing from Hawk's wonderful system). I have a FC classic soft leather binder with that system which I want to tweak for my personal life.

Both work and home go into the same system. I like having one place to go and keeping things together. Does anyone have any suggestions or additions to these ideas?

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Hybrid can be the best...

Hi Circac,
Hybrid systems reflect what suits your personality and the way you work. You're in good company for GTD started as a hybrid system, which became GTD as David Allen developed it.

I've found the main thing with developing my own system was finding the balance between doing what worked well for me and forcing myself to do what I had to do. The hardest part for me was avoiding lazy habits and avoiding over-planning, or planneritis. :) I needed to have my system working for me and not me working for it.

It sounds like you've avoided that had have found a system that suits you.

My only suggestion is to make tiny changes if you find something isn't quite working right. Like the little nudges when straightening a picture on a wall. Then you'll have your system working well.

Remember, off the shelf planning systems are like off the rack clothes. One size rarely fits all. :)


Hi Katrina: Thanks so much for your helpful comments. I did not know that David Allen's GTD was a hybrid system....interesting. I originally thought that you picked a planner and had to conform to it ! That may not have been conscious but the DIY idea and GTD was alien to me at that time. As you said, it's important to make small changes. Do you have an example of "working for the system" instead of making it work for you? I think that's a good point.

Working for the system

Hi Circac,

Ah yes, I was very guilty of letting my planning system run me rather than me running it. I tried using GTD and ended up spending so much time organising things that I didn't get anything done. My files looked very pretty and I had an next action for just about everything - if I could have had a next action for breathing I might have done so. :) Unfortunately, I wasn't doing any work ... just organising.

After that I decided I needed to extract the parts of GTD that I liked and use them with things that had worked for me in the past. I found the parts of GTD that suited my personality and also found the behaviour I had to avoid in my planning process.

So, for example, I don't use 31 folders or next actions (in their pure GTD form). Instead I have a set fobster cards (business cards) with routine household tasks for a month (divided by weeks) and I use a cheap student diary to put together a combined task and next actions list for work.

By the way, when I said that GTD was a hybrid system I meant that it was developed from planning ideas that David Allen had experienced and his own ideas. GTD in it's final form is a single planning system.

Hybrid Systems

Hi Katrina: I went to Hawk's Poic site and love his system but don't quite understand the chronological filing. I do better filing in categories. My gut thought was that somehow I needed to do it just as he does for it to work. I really have to work on giving myself freedom to tweak a given system any way needed for it to work according to what is best for my life. I get stuck otherwise.

Just a word of thanks for working with me on this. I see you as an advanced planner who has been good enough to "go back" in order to help someone like me who is still on shaky ground planning-wise. Thanks very much. I love your ideas.

Chronological filing

Hi Circac:
Chronological filing works if you are working on a number of projects and you want know "what things did I do in April?" However, if you are using your planner to find the time to do things or working on projects by topic, then chronological filing won't help you.

If you're using GTD then I suggest filing by project or category. It depends upon what you may need to know from your records and how it's best and easiest for you to find that information.

In my case, I don't have a fancy filing system as I did a mini-audit of how often I looked back at my planner information. And I discovered I looked back once in 3 months! So, all my filing in fancy ways was a complete waste of time - it's more sensible for me to have to hunt for something a few times a year than set up a detailed filing system.

P.S. You're welcome. I like helping, even though sometimes my experiences might be very different to your own and a bit irrelevant to you. K

Tools used in your system

Hi Katrina: Would you tell me what your total system is comprised of at this time? I have a planner, 3x5 pocket briefcase by Levenger and several stacks of 3x5s that need to be dealt with that have a wide variety of subjects on them. I also have 2 or 3 notebooks that I use in addition to my 3x5s for capturing. Thanks for your help. I have enjoyed all your comments.

My reactionary system

Hi Circac:
The tools in my system reflect the reactionary nature of it. By that I mean, I work in a large bureaucratic organisation where there is a rule and a form and a process for everything. I have found that since I've had this job I've become more free-spirited and unconventional in how I organise my private life. (A bit of unconscious work-life balance perhaps.)

Anyway, these are the tools in my system.

The design of this is based around the idea that it doesn't leave the building and my task list is not dependent on the IT systems. The only thing to leave work is a print-out of the current week's diary

Tool 1. Work's outlook calendar

Tool 2. Week-to-an-opening A5 sized diary for time dependant tasks. Used essentially as a tasklist and a reminder of due dates for work. (essentially @computer)

Home and Personal Life
The design of this is based on the idea that the whole 'planner' will fit into a smallish handbag (purse) or my jacket pocket

Tool 3. Moleskine week-to-an-opening pocket sized financial year diary, with a print-out of work's outlook calendar to avoid clashes for personal appointment in work hours

Tool 4. Fobster - consisting of business card sized lists of: things to do (essentially @housework), contact phone numbers, DVDs & books to buy, etc

Tool 5. Hipster Journal/Notebook - consisting of about 10 3x5 cards and a hair elastic

Tool 6. Filing device - an old shoebox for the journal and obsolete fobster entries

Tool 7. Syncing device - a wall calendar for capturing family birthdays, appointments etc for my husband and I

Beautiful !

Hi Katrina: What a comprehensive system ! With your Moleskin financial diary do you save your receipts and compare them with your charges? I think the fact that you have 7 different facets of organization shows that you have things pretty much in the bag. Good for you. Yet, I know we need to keep our minds open to those tiny tweaks of the system that we talked about earlier. Thanks. Very nice.


Thanks Circac.
Excuse me for replying directly to your first message but our thread was getting a little long. :)

Thanks for the compliment on my system.

I realised that I left a word out of my last post ... it's a 'financial year diary'. Silly me. Sorry for leading you astray.

I must admit when it comes to receipts I'm quite lazy. I just pop them all into a kitchen drawer and sort through them when the bank statements come in.