Planner versus note taking

I'm interested in the thoughts others have about how much convergence of planner and journal is reasonable and where is a good place to draw the line. Like most, my planner has a contacts and calendar section (Junior size) as well as several tabbed sections for various projects (large work projects, not the GTD definition). I take notes in these sections during meetings and such, and like to have them available in later meetings as reference material.

I guess one approach would be to take those pages out after each meeting and file them in the appropriate folders. I think this is probably how a pure GTD implementation would suggest, keeping everything strictly filed with nice sharp lines. I could grab the appropriate folder(s) before a meeting, but this more often would result in carrying too much stuff around.

I read Dave Terry's article here about a work journal, and I think that's a good idea. I used to have something similar but not as organized years ago. I can see this having its drawbacks, as it could tend to disperse project information between the journal and various folders.

An electronic solution is not possible, as I can't take electronics into most places I work (we can't even use thumb drives at work anymore...). So paper it is, and I'm looking for thoughts on how to keep enough reference material in the planner without making it four inches thick. How do YOU determine how much is enough (or too much)?


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No electronics at all? No laptop?

When it comes to meeting notes, I usually find that keeping them in a place for 'meeting notes' is the most handy. Like you, I like to have the notes from the previous meeting in the next meeting. Gives me a leg up on 'old business', etc. I only have one project, but multiple subprojects. I stuff the meeting notes for each subproject in electronic folders designated for that subproject--in the spot for meeting notes so they don't get mixed up with other things about that subproject.

Unlike you, my life is entirely electronic. I usually take a copy of the old notes (my boiled-down bullet list, not the original cryptic scratchings) and add new scratchings to them to cover the 'old business' then below them I add the 'new business', discussions, decisions, etc.

Having a copy of the old notes to hand is part of my meeting prep. I find the old notes and make sure they are ready when I arrive at the meeting.

Because my life is electronic, I send out my bullet list after the meeting so everyone has it and can add anything I may have forgotten. If I have to schedule each meeting individually, I include the bullet list in the meeting invite so hunting down the old list is easy.

Personally, I would keep your reference materials (your original scratchings) at your desk and just take boiled-down information to the meetings. It's smaller and easier to find stuff when you need it. If you need something from the larger set and don't have it with you, well, that's a point to follow up on after the meeting and gets noted in the meeting notes.