Integrating ubiquitous capture with a larger planner

Hi, long time listener, first time caller...

I've been reading these forums for a while, downloaded some templates, and think I have an idea where I'm headed with all this. I gave up my PDA a while back, because there are too many places I couldn't take it, so I'm trying to adjust to paper (and liking it).

My question today concerns integrating ubiquitous capture with a larger planner. I like the idea of the Hipster, and have made one using the Circa system that I'm pretty happy with. Being a guy, my requirement for my UC device is that it fit in my pants pocket. I want to be able to get up from my desk, be in the lab or shop or a different building, and be able to capture information that needs to go into my planner.

So far, so good.

I also like the idea of carrying my calendar and lists around, but I'm not sure I can go full over to the hipster format. I like to be able to take a lot of notes, sketch stuff, etc, and I really need a bigger platform than 3x5 (currently a typical 5x8.5" planner). It was so easy to sync my PDA with my work and home computers, and I guess I'm looking for ideas how to do that here. If I can't trust myself to keep the information synced between the 3x5 and the planner, then things are destined to fall through the cracks. I'm not sure I can just pick one, because I feel I need the portability of the hipster but the larger information capacity and bigger calendar squares of the planner. I'm also not sure I can get to carrying the planner everywhere - so often I think I'm only going to the room next door, then things pile on from there and next thing you know I'm somewhere completely different doing something I hadn't planned.

For the UC transfer to the planner, I was thinking about going to the Circa system with the planner as well, so the notes captured on the hipster could just be removed by the page and plopped in the appropriate project section of the planner (then maybe get processed further or not). For trying to keep some sort of sync between them, though, I'm at a loss.

I could ramble further, but I think you get the idea. There is much I like about both formats, and I really don't want to choose one over the other. However, if I keep two systems, I need to know I can trust them to be current with each other.

Your thoughts would be quite welcome.


Syndicate content

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

quick ideas

I've punched index card to fit in three ring binders (two holes in the index card on the 5 inch side). You didn't say what kind of planner you have, but if you have a punch, you could add the cards that way. Another idea is to simply glue the cards into the planner. I've done this and it is far better than writing the info again. If either of these ideas work then a less messy approach might be to go 100% circa, but I'd suggest trying the same type of thing with what you have and see if it works for you.

Currently, my capture device is a blank journal (I use a different type every time I fill one up). I paste in a couple of forms at the beginning of the day and move important stuff from my main planner (a circa junior) into the journal. I only take the journal everywhere with me, but my planner is generally nearby. I write, or sketch, or paste, everything into the journal over the course of the day. When I plan the next day, I go through the pervious and move to-dos to my main planner and bookmark ideas/writing stuff to be typed into my computer at another time (which never happens BTW). It is kind of a messy system and isn't as efficient as using just one planner, but I like writing in blank books so much that it works for me.

Larger formats


If you like larger format papers for various purposes, use foldover pages in your hipster to carry the larger sizes with you.

If you like the large planner and enforced processing of having a separate capture from your planner, keep it and develop a habit of processing often.

The point of capture is to 'capture' not to 'reference'. If your 3x5 device is only for capture, then only blank sheets go in it. If you're out and you need to reference a calendar before you commit to something, then explain to the person that you'll write down what they're proposing and check your calendar later and confirm. This goes with the 'process often' concept, since you don't want to let things stack up before you find out one conflicts with another.

I had better luck with two formats when I wasn't trying to keep them in synch--when the small one was specifically for capture or notes and the big one held reference. YMMV, of course. I still keep a capture device in my back pocket. I don't even punch the cards because if I need it, I transfer the info to the planner (or software as the case may be) and then toss the card.


Just what I was going to say...

If the point of the more-portable capture tool is capture, then there's no need to sync. Capture, process, organize into the larger planner.

I keep 3x5 cards around for capture, too, and I either process info directly from the cards or (more rarely) re-write the info into my planner so it's handy when I process planner pages.

I recently switched from a 3-ring classic-size binder to a Circa Junior notebook, and in my experience the Circa feels less bulky. Even though I'm using the bookcloth Circa notebook rather than the plain plastic, the smaller spine just feels better in my hand as I walk around with the book. (I did get larger discs for my planner, so I'm basically comparing 1" Circa with 1" 3-ring.) Circa would be good for just dropping your cards into your planner.

Do you procrastinate?

The key

to having a capture device is in reviewing and processing the data into the larger planner. That's where my mis-steps always occur. For instance, it's not unheard of at my company to be called after hours or on the weekend for an urgent project or request to have completed by Monday morning. While I may have taken down the information in my capture device during my son's football game, I have a hard time remembering to take that index card out and put it in my Circa planner when I get home to begin the project. It's the habit of review and process between home and work life which I have not been able to master.

I had this exact same dilemma

I wrote a post a few weeks ago how I couldn't pick between my Circa junior planner with my customized diy calendar and the wonderfully portable hipster PDA (also Circa). I finally had to break down what I really wanted out of each and I think you have already nailed it. The PDA size is the best UC tool due to its portability. The junior is the best for everything else you need to do due to its larger size and space.

Because I was using Circa for both, and thanks to everyone who posted to my dilemma, I finally got it. I take my cPDA everywhere and jot anything and everything down and then I "sync" it with my junior size by throwing the smurfed 3x5 card directly into my planner. Depending on what it is, I will sometimes re-write what's on the card, especially if it's a task or appointment. A lot of times I only need the card for a short time so I pull the card out of my planner when I'm through. It's very satisfying to yank a page out of the planner, crumple it and toss it. (Try it.) I find it's more economical to satisfy my urge to rip with 3x5's than with junior sized papers.

The whole beauty of Circa is the ability to use different sized pages, right? You can have your cake and eat it too!

Franklin Covey has a

Franklin Covey has a notebook that's ideal for capture. The paper is lined on one side and gridded on the other. It's compact size--about 4.75 x 6.75, with holes. The holes fit 3-ring and 6-ring binders and the pages detach easily. I carry mine around in my purse and tear out the pages and put them into my binder if needed. I got a bunch of these notebooks at the Franklin Covey store at the mall.



I think the notebook you're referring to is called the "Satellite", which has some funky holes to allow one book to fit all the page sizes they offer.


That's a satellite. I had an

That's a satellite. I had an FC planner in college, and ended up using the satellite the most. I mean, my schedule was extremely consistent, most things were organized by "project" i.e. class, or written on computer, so all I really needed was a running list to track readings and assignments, outside of each class syllabus which worked for keeping track of larger papers.
So now I have a hipster. Basically a running notebook with a references section. If I needed to start a full planner, it would be very easy to integrate, just scaling up from the simple.

Small enough and also big enough

Yes, Satellite. I bought some and didn't use them for years, and then earlier this year decided I needed something like that and was glad to find my stash. Was afraid they didn't still sell them. 3.25 x 6.5, per the website. It's really a handy little notebook.

Calendar reference

I use a fobster (business card size hipster) for reference.

For a while I experimented with a calendar reference card. The idea was to be able to leave my calendar behind and just take a fobster calendar card with me.

But instead of taking details of when I was busy, I took details of when I was free. The idea was that usually if I meet someone in passing they don't ask me when I'm doing something, they ask for a time we can catch up.

So, I wrote the times I was free during the week on a card. Then if someone asked me for a time I could quickly tell them when I was free. Then I could scrawl the details on a spare capture card and cross out the time on the calendar reference.

For example -
(The dots represent spaces).

I only stopped using the card because I rearranged my planning process.