New and Confused


I am somewhat new to this site, well i been browsing it for two weeks, trying to figure out what systems is right etc. And I am so lost and confused. I have Read Several Books on getting Organized, and Have a general Idea of what I need. But there are to many choices and none seem to be what I need.

I have read the Articles, and it seems to complex to have so many sections.
What I really want is one pages with everything on it. LOL

Or like a Daily Log, which has the Time but also enough writing area to track my daily work.

How do you figure out which method is the right method?

Greetings from Sunny California.

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Start with a blank

First, welcome.

Next, my suggestion is to start with a blank notebook of whatever style or size you want. Print out some monthly calendar pages and past them in the back. Then put all your set appointments there. Then go to the front of the notebook and date the page with today’s date. Now, write down whatever you want. Start with the stuff you need to do today, then expand to goals and long term stuff. Make an index near the back to record anything you may need to see later. The next day, date a new page, and just keep going. This way you can see what you need and want to record. You can get a feel for how you want to use a planner. And you have plenty of space for ideas, doodles, and randomness. Then you can start printing out forms based on how you use the notebook. I’d suggest just pasting in a couple of pages and see what you like/don’t like. As time goes you can figure out what works as far as planner size, notebook style, and forms (or lack thereof).

My biggest suggestion is to just have fun with it and don’t be afraid to experiment. And, of course, let us know here what you come up with.

I second that!


A blank piece of paper--and I mean truly blank with no lines--can do wonders. I started using blank paper when I just couldn't find the right planner set-up. That did the trick. I now have a page with just horizontal and vertical lines to separate the sections (Cornell note style), and the rest is blank. For me, lines are too limiting and not fat Canadian writing friendly.

I am officially a blank page convert! It's good when you see the light.

Not to worry. You'll find your groove, and most probably when and where you least expect it.


I support this advice too. Once you know the kind on info you generally need to put in your notebook, or the info you naturally put into it, in short how you use your notebook, then you'll be able to determine what forms you need, if you need forms, and for sure the forms you do not need.

And as thall says, you'll have a lightbulb moment when you least expect it. That much, I can predict too.

There is no "right method." Sorry.

There is no "right method" just the method that works for you. It will take some experimenting to figure out which method that is. If your main purpose is tracking your daily work, I'd suggest a notebook and just put your name & date on the first page.

Every day, turn to the next blank page, write the date, and start writing whatever you feel like you need to write to keep track of your work.

Once you figure out how you actually use your notebook, you can consider upgrading to a planner, if needed.

I find more me, the ideal solution is the one that is least complicated & still does what I want.

I have a "Classic" size planner that is the size of half a sheet of printer paper. There's a calendar up front, address book in back, and note pages in the middle. The note pages are divided into sections with Postit durable tabs. Current sections are: work, info (important info to track), Goals, Todo List, and Notes (general writings & ideas that don't fit into any other section). I use a Levenger Circa notebook as my planner so I can add or remove pages as needed and then move old pages I still need to archive notebooks.


Tks for the advice

I read over everyones comments and thank you for the advice. I have been using a plain notebook for tracking meetings and daily work task. But then I was always also using a Cheap Monthly Planner on my desk (tracking work appointments and coming events), and Daily To-do Task Book also on my desk that i jot things down as at they get requested constantly through out the day, and also a Weekly Planner in Purse for jotting down random appointments and happenings with the children that come up when I am on the go and not at my desk.

The problem I was running into was when these items become separated and then i
1. Forget to add an important date
2. For get a to do task until it comes up again
3. Lose track of meeting notes and my own action items that come out of that meeting, which means i forget to put those items on my to do list.

I need to keep all these things together and looking organized. My desk is the first thing someone sees when they walk into our office.

But I also want the flexibility of not having to take everything with me and just having a small thing envelope planner in my purse when I am not working.

As I am typing this message i think i might have an idea of a solution. Hmm

notebook with tabbed sections

It sounds like you'd be well-served by keeping all your most important & most used stuff together. Maybe take your notebook & divide it into 3 sections with postit notes: dates, todo list, and notes.


That reminds me.

You may want to try the planner set called LifeTracker by DayRunner or one called C.OVER.

See the discussion in the following thread:

Routine, highlighters and the photocopier

It seems that you have a system that suits you. It just needs some 'tweaking'.

Routine tasks
The way I would do it is... flick to the back of the to do task book and write down all my known routine tasks with the week of the month they occur (adding to the list as I remember or recieve routine work). Including 'check action items from last week's meetings' and 'check all calendars are up to day' as tasks.
Grab a pencil and my work planner and on the first day of each week add "prepare for routine tasks", as a pencilled in upcoming event.
When that day comes up, I'd flip to the back of the to do book and find the tasks I need to add to this week's to do list. Then I could erase this week's reminder from the work calendar.

Meeting Notes
There are lots of different ways to deal with this. Here are some options
1. Keep all meeting notes in a large spiral notebook. Highlight all action items and dates for you. (it could be the same notebook as your to do list if you want, like Kenny suggests).
2. Take looseleaf notes at the meeting. Also take a pad of sticky-notes. Copy any action items and meeting dates onto the sticky-notes and then put the sticky-note into your to do book.
3. Create or print out a meeting template with a box for action items and a box for meeting dates. Write down the info and keep the paper in a central folder until you have copied the details into your work calendar and to do book. Then file the papers under the appropriate project etc.

Taking stuff with you
I suggest that you keep a photocopy of your current month from your work planner folded up inside your pocket diary. You will probably know by now if there's a pattern to when you get your most appointments (eg. after a certain project meeting etc) so I suggest you wait until you've updated your work planner with all those lovely new dates before photocopying it.

In my work calendar I block out personal appointments from my pocket diary that occur close to or during work time with a light highlighter. Then I know which dates I need to check my pocket diary before I make any work commitments for late meetings etc.


Here is a nice Meeting/Agenda page that has a special section for the tasks or actions that come from the meeting...

Re: Good Advice from Others Here


I'll add a bit to what others have said but the advice they give is really the best.

I've read just about every time management book available and what it boils down to is a few basic actions that have to be adapted to whatever method you choose. Those actions are:



Do (The hardest part!)

Here's a post I wrote on my blog as part of a series that describes these actions:

I've used all the "methods" from GTD, ZTD, to Covey and the "Action Plan". All boil down to the three essential elements listed above. The fun of this is to find what works for you, share with others here, and then continue to explore and improve your personal "system".

Don't be scared off by the myriad of information out there. Let it work FOR you instead of AGAINST you.