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"Engineering" notebook? Your thoughts or experience?

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  • "Engineering" notebook? Your thoughts or experience?

    Anybody in our GTD universe have any experience or thoughts about using an
    engineering-style notebook of continuous journaling of one's activites and thoughts? In the original tradition, I believe on each page there is one wide column for the substantive entry and,, running parallel a narrow column for noting the project name or other key words, to which the entry is related, At some point, such as when all the pages are filled, an index is made in the front pages or on a separate paper and pasted in.

    My thinking is that a lot happens in the course of the day that is moving projects along or impeding them, or that I just need to track, later reflect on, enter into another document and that much of this just drains through my memory like water in a sieve. Many of the steps forward or back are even shaping SDMB projects.

    So my thinking is to continue with the n/a lists in my Palm Centro (for as long is it lives its blessed life), print out my Active and SDMB Project lists and tuck this into the back of the note book, and use the notebook as a tool in weekly review.In the tradition of the enginerring notebook, a sewn notebook is used, but I am thinking of using a sprial notebook and migrating my Palm list of next actions to pages that I would mark with a removable tab for the next actions. So I would have in one item my N/as, my project lists, and a running journal.

  • #2
    Before GTD, I used a sewn numbered engineering notebook for years. The upside of this is that you have everything in one place, organized sequentially. And yes, I kept a running index that I pasted in, giving me two approaches to finding info. The index listed both which notebook and which page the topic was on.

    I got a laptop and moved to GTD about the same time, and moved to separate files for everything -- for each project, for each meeting, for the key people in my worklife. Finding things is more difficult than it used to be with that paper notebook.

    The same fix may work for both approaches -- take info from those notes and move them into next action lists on a daily basis. If this processing step is done religiously, it may not matter what system you use because you may not ever refer to it. However, I have not reached that stage yet, and for the past two months, have moved back to a single journal -- online this time. This online journal even includes the key action items for today and, as I close my day, for the next day. Now I have duplication between my journal and my next action list (not good).

    I am still looking for the optimum balance

    Rob

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    • #3
      Use Windows Explorer search function!

      Originally posted by ArcCaster View Post
      I got a laptop and moved to GTD about the same time, and moved to separate files for everything -- for each project, for each meeting, for the key people in my worklife. Finding things is more difficult than it used to be with that paper notebook.
      Why is it more difficult?

      Just use the Windows Explorer search function and all files containing a given keyword are found immediately!

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      • #4
        Originally posted by TesTeq View Post
        Why is it more difficult?

        Just use the Windows Explorer search function and all files containing a given keyword are found immediately!
        If a really unique keyword returns a few dozen hits, and a less unique keyword returns hundreds, it can make you wish for a single file organized in a predictable manner.

        Maybe I should go through my current files and deliberately embed very unique phrases in those files so that the search engine returns exactly what I want?

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        • #5
          My experience with this

          Hi Jamie!

          Anybody in our GTD universe have any experience or thoughts about using an
          engineering-style notebook of continuous journaling of one's activites and thoughts?
          Yes. I've done lots of GTD classes for engineering groups in particular, where many of them used a notebook to log their activities. I did something similar myself, where I was required to track all of my completions--whether they were on a list or not. I would still recommend having a clean-edged place apart from journaling for Next Actions list. Journaling to me is like a form of collection/notetaking. Not to be mistaken for things you've already processed and organized in discreet buckets.

          Does that help?

          Kelly

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          • #6
            spiral notebook

            I use a spiral notebook as a collection device, and keep everything - thoughts, minutes, record of activities, injuries. At the back I put an index, which is a list of my projects and regular meetings, so if I need to refer to the original notes it is easy, I just look up the index, and check all pages for that project. However I don't keep actions in it, I process the notebook info into a separate list manager (my iPhone).

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            • #7
              My Experiences with Engineering Notebooks

              I've gone back and forth from a spiral to a bound. Ultimately I've stuck with a bound notebook as it's more robust (our company gets custom engineering notebooks made with brands, years and guidelines). Throughout my day I'm running here and there, collecting samples and have found that a notebook works best to collect samples, take notes, document milestones and deliverables etc. It's a catch all that is quick and easy.
              Last edited by kelstarrising; 01-25-2011, 10:01 AM.

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              • #8
                Notebooks

                I, too, have used an Engineering notebook, as well as spiral notebooks. They are incredibly handy as a running resource, though I agree that discrete lists are often necessary as well.

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