Forum

  • If you are new to these Forums, please take a moment to register using the fields above.

Announcement

Announcement Module
Collapse
No announcement yet.

Help! Filofax, Covey, Treo, around and around, $$$ too

Page Title Module
Move Remove Collapse
X
Conversation Detail Module
Collapse
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Help! Filofax, Covey, Treo, around and around, $$$ too

    I go from system to system in my implementation of GTD. I mean in a week too. Sometimes I last a month w a planner, but something "goes wrong" and something seems it could be better and I get inspired and go to another Planner, notebook, Moleskin, 69 cent notebook, something I find online, research, dig up. I am going nuts with this and if you could see my office right now, there are stacks of these things that cost me a lot around me. Inserts, rulers, calendars, lizard looking binders, leather Binders, my TREO sits here looking at me, I am typing on my Mac outfitted with all sorts of stuff.

    Anyway whatever I am using, soon enough, such as after a trip like Katherine just took--I realize the Planner is too big, or heavy, or isn't with me and suddenly I want to be stripped down, facile, fast (that's the answer) and I go to the Palm--and soon enough, man, I can't think on that thing and I can't see it in the sunlight and it's too hard to type everything in and I have lost my download cord to my Mac and then I settle into a nice Desk sized planner and ahhhhhhhhhh, space to write, to think, oh! this is sooo sensible and comfy, until--I see someone whizzing on their Blackberry and I'm off (I don't have one of those yet).

    Take KATHERINE and her new system---it sounds fine BUT, say the Vertical Calendar ((I have that in my desk Filofax) and then she uses Levenger--I have that too--well where does she keep the Vertical Calender pages if not IN A PLANNER? She never mentions where she keeps the things--hey Katherine, where?

    I feel very fragmented and the only thing that settles me down is reading David again and coming back home. Anyway whatever I am doing is about the biggest waste of time, money, energy, resources, anxiety--- Is there always going to be a problem with ANY SYSTEM? Has anyone else faced this problem and what did they do?? And does it really come down to just what works for you? I do like the way David has left it open, that the deal is with the system, not the paper or Palm, but even you guys seem to always be looking for a better way... but me, I am really out of control.
    Trish in Chicago

  • #2
    Trish:

    I have felt overwhelmed at times with systems, too, but have had to measure the cost of my time, resources, and lost productivity switching around all the time.

    What seems best to you generally? What works best for you most of the time? Make a committment with yourself (and ask a friend to help you, if need be) to not use anythng else for 3 months. Give yourself permission to change/tweek then, if need be, but use something for at least this long and let go of the "itch" to keep switching.

    Also make a list of reasons why it is best for you NOT to keep switchng and review it when you're tempted to change things up again.

    Comment


    • #3
      My two cents

      Trish,
      I feel your pain, I recognize a lot of myself in your posting, so I apologize in advance for the length of my response.

      I too kept searching for the one "magic app". After much searching, and lots of wasted time and money, I came to the realization. There is no magic app!

      For me, I found the best thing to do is:
      (1) Pick a setup and work with it for at least three months.
      (2) Resist the temptation to keep looking for "the next big thing, you might not ever find it.
      (3) Have a system for both home and away. However, that systems should compliment each other, not attempt to replace the other.
      (4) If you a becoming a slave to new technology or planners, than they are not helping you, only hindering you.

      I went through about five programs on my Mac, thinking that the next big thing was around the corner. When I really became nuts one weekend, I decided to take a step make and simplify:

      - Apple's Address Book, iCal and Mail.app for my contacts, calendar (appointments and meetings) and mail.

      - Franklin Covey Classic size Planner (for static events such as anniversaries and birthdays), to do list, and notes while away from my Mac. Sometimes, you just have to put pen to paper.

      - Palm Treo 650 for cellphone, synced with Missing Sync.

      - Devonthink for anything else. Information can be clipped, typed or scanned into it.

      I always have my phone with me and always bring the Planner to the office. While at the office, I can make notes, etc, and update my Mac when i get home. When I am out, I have my phone, with my schedule and contacts, and can always enter a quick note in the event I do not have my planner. I sync when i get home and all is well.

      I realize that this might note be the coolest of systems, but it has brought me something than all the others have not: piece of mind. I know where to find what information and I am covered, whether at home, at the office or out in about.

      The biggest benefit is the system is now a tool to assist me, not something that runs my life.

      Note: I can not take credit for this system. Its parents are a composite of Franklin Covey, GTD, this board and some Google groups.

      I wish you luck with whatever you chose. Stick with it for no less than three months before moving on! Please post back your results. It helps me to remember that sometimes you just have to live life

      Regards,
      Rob

      Comment


      • #4
        What I do

        My vertical calendar pages are indeed in a (junior-size) planner. I already had the binder, leftover from my Jurassic era DayTimer days, so all I bought was the calendar pages.

        My Project list and NA lists are in a (letter-size) Levenger Circa notebook. I already had one of these, too, leftover from a previous notetaking system.

        My ubiquitous capture tool is a custom-made (junior-size) spiral bound notebook, ordered from The Book Factory after I figured out what my ideal notebook looks like.

        The planner vendors tell you that you should keep everything in one place, ideally one of their systems. I've found, though, that different tasks require different tools. For example, I'm a writer. It's normal for me to take 5-10 pages of notes in a day -- interviews, research, conferences with clients -- and sometimes much more than that. So it makes sense for me to have a notebook with me whenever I'm working. At the same time, balancing a complete planner on my knee in an auditorium at a conference just isn't going to work. Hence, a dedicated "journal" notebook, which also works as a capture tool because it's with me all the time.

        A loose leaf notebook of some kind is the obvious choice for project and NA lists, since those are fairly transient information. I want to add and subtract pages randomly, and I might want to pull out a single page -- such as an @Errands list -- and take it with me. I like the Levenger rings over something like a three-ring binder because they let me use several different paper sizes in one notebook.

        As noted in my earlier post, I'm still not entirely happy with my calendar. The ideal solution for trips is electronic, but that's not my preferred answer for day to day use. So that's a work in progress.

        Katherine

        Comment


        • #5
          Hi Trish, please excuse my long post but I hope it help based on my own GTD Experience.

          I started playing with GTD in November 2003, jobless and in a new city... talk about time to play and try new things...

          My system change almost daily, or at least weekly. Later I learn that you should keep the system intact for a given period of time (in my own opinion at least 6 weeks)

          I think Eric Mac has make a great point, that applies to GTD like a glove
          "Methodology + Technology = Productivity"

          People that is starting in GTD is always looking for the holly grail, the silver bullet, the magic trick, we love to play with the technology part. GTD it is a new technology, so we bought palm, planners, moleskins, and many other technology toys expecting a magic thing to makes us more productive.

          With time you discover that is not only the technology but the combination of the technology and the right methodology that creates the boost in productivity.

          TIP 1: FOCUS ON THE GTD METHODOLOGY, LEARN THE WORKFLOW AND APPLY IT.

          In my opinion today, people should start GTD in Paper, (yes I try all the software available in 2003 and the beginning of 2004) you should try paper not because is better, not because is faster, just because the methodology is more strong than the technology, going from collect to process is easier to see in paper than in electronic versions.

          Learn the GTD Methodology takes time, and effort, and for that reason it is easier if you do not need to play with more technology that the GTD one.

          TIP 2: PLAY WITH THE GTD TECHNOLOGY AND FOCUS ONLY ON THAT ONE

          After you learn and become and expert in the GTD Methodology and Technology (if that it is possible... I am happy to do as David Allen said, peel the another layer of the onion) then start playing with other technology (Computer, Palm, etc)

          Where I am going with all this; lets analyze some of the 5 Stages of GTD.

          COLLECT: In my case, the collection process is all in Paper, nothing beats the paper, I carry a moleskin for all my annotations in and outside work, and goes into my In basket everyday, sometimes many times in the day.

          PROCESS & ORGANIZE: I process today in the Computer, I use outlook, because it is my email client and can have everything in one place. It is not perfect, it is not great, but for Processing Purposes it is the Best. This two phases tend to blend, but remember that they are two distinct ones, and make the distinction it is important.

          REVIEW: I review my list in the Treo, why, because it is mobile, and fast, I can have tons of information at hand with the same weight.

          TIP 3: DO NOT LOOK FOR THE MAGIC BULLET TO DO GTD, LOOK FOR THE BETTER TOOL FOR THE STAGE OF THE PROCESS.

          Finally I want to tell you, that systems change, life change. I have regular meetings with someone here in the forum, and we have seen our systems change, from High Tech to Paper, to Mid tech. We have change part of the Technology depending what it is happening around. But we try before any change to see if the new Technology will fit in the Methodology before jump...

          I hope this helps...

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Trish
            Anyway whatever I am doing is about the biggest waste of time, money, energy, resources, anxiety--- Is there always going to be a problem with ANY SYSTEM? Has anyone else faced this problem and what did they do?? And does it really come down to just what works for you? I do like the way David has left it open, that the deal is with the system, not the paper or Palm, but even you guys seem to always be looking for a better way... but me, I am really out of control.
            Yes, there will always be a problem with any system. Yes, it comes down to what works for you.

            My suggestion would be to get away from all that stuff and sit down with a clean sheet of paper. Figure out what your time management and organization needs actually are. Traveling four weeks out of the year (my average) is very different from traveling four days out of every week. A self-employed lawyer with 20 or 30 clients has very different needs from a software developer working for a single company. What kind of information do you need to manage? Can you mostly work from your contact database, or do you have lots of project-oriented materials? Do you do most of your other work on paper, or electronically? And so on.

            Once you've done that, you'll have some idea what a good system might look like. Not a perfect system, just a good one. Work with that system for at least a month (preferably three), and take notes on what you like and don't like about it. Modify as needed. Repeat until you come up with something more or less stable.

            As I write this, it occurs to me that you might be flitting from system to system as a reaction to some other source of stress. For instance, if you are avoiding your work for some reason, or if you are simply overwhelmed with the magnitude of it all, tweaking your system simply isn't going to change the underlying reality. That's why it's important to stick with a "good enough" system for several months, so you can figure out what is due to the system and what is due to other things.

            Hope this helps.

            Katherine

            Comment


            • #7
              Great Feedback

              Dear All,
              Thank you for all your great imput. I feel good just putting out there what my problem is, or what it feels like to be me inside of this circuitious behavior-----and here is what I am going to do:

              1. Go to bed.
              2. Stick with paper for now, my Filofax A5 because I think the papers are really beautiful and I like writing on them. It has the vertical week calendar which I like for planning too. It does lack a month at a view thing but I have one for 2007.
              3. Also, it has a fabulous pad of paper in the back and i can make notes on projects, rip the page off, and slap them where they are supposed to go in the binder.
              4. Stick with this pretty good system for 3 months...at least. I have gotten an amazing lot done with this book if I think about it.
              5. Also Katherine, most importantly, you are right---there is a point in the methodology where I get stuck---and bolt. Thinking about it, I think I know where it is: when my lists get messy (I highlight the NA's that are done), and they turn into pages upon pages with a mixture of done and undone, my brain just doesn't like to look at it--ok, I don't like to look at it--- and I start avoiding my lists, avoiding reviews, get behind, get overwhelmed, and get a new system and I am all happy for a time--until things get messy again. And they always do. Then the cycle repeats.
              6. So I will recopy and clean up my lists more often, I guess.
              7. I always carry a small spiral notebook around to capture. It's real junk but I hve used the same kind for years and years.
              8. BTW, I am a writer too, but write primarily fiction. Have written for the NYT's magazine section and have been thinking of doing an article on how people organize themselves. Show them with their implements. Now I think I won't.

              Thanks so much. What a wonderful and generous response. I will let you all know how I am doing. Any more feedback--hey I am open!
              Trish

              Comment


              • #8
                Something to keep in mind...often when we start focusing on imperfections in our system, we're really dealing with a form of Monkey Mind, a way of distracting ourselves from getting real work done. It's not procrastination, per se, but our inability to bring ourselves back to that still, calm, quiet place where "Mind Like Water" can happen.

                I've gone around with a variety of tools, and presently have a system and tool that work for me. It's not a perfect system. I'll freely admit that. There are things I'd like to be able to do that are perhaps not as laminar as I'd like. That will be so with any system, so I've reached a point with my tools and -- more importantly -- my process where good enough is good enough.

                Good tools can help you get your work done, and bad tools can impede your work. But no tools can help you -- and no tools can hinder you -- if, at the end of the day, you don't sit down and actually do the work.

                -- Tammy

                Comment


                • #9
                  Wow

                  I'm happy to see I'm not the only one with this issue. I too have at or in my desk a Treo 650, three leather binders (different sizes), my new Blackberry and I'm still searching for the "perfect" system. I have wasted hours of productive time looking at, researching, and considering differnt systems. I have wasted a lot of $$$ as well. It's almost a compulsive disorder! My problem is that I do love paper, and I would like to have a Blackberry / paper system that works. I'm in outside sales and I keep my contacts, errand lists, and calendar in my BB.I'm trying to figure out the best paper system for all the rest. My biggest issue is keeping track of my "prospecting" lists. If I want to "cold call" 10 new prospects per day, where should I put them in my system? Once a cold call turns into an active prospect with an appointment should that become a "project"? Should I track "all" cold calls on my @calls list or put them down on my daily calendar for easy reference? Very confused, and this is why I keep looking for a "better" system. If I traded all the time spent searching for "the system" with prospecting time, I'd be making a lot more $$$$.
                  Thanks

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Trish
                    5. Also Katherine, most importantly, you are right---there is a point in the methodology where I get stuck---and bolt. Thinking about it, I think I know where it is: when my lists get messy (I highlight the NA's that are done), and they turn into pages upon pages with a mixture of done and undone, my brain just doesn't like to look at it--ok, I don't like to look at it--- and I start avoiding my lists, avoiding reviews, get behind, get overwhelmed, and get a new system and I am all happy for a time--until things get messy again. And they always do. Then the cycle repeats.
                    6. So I will recopy and clean up my lists more often, I guess.
                    Yep. Been there! My solution is to limit each context list to one page. Everything else is Someday/Maybe. That forces me to rewrite the page on a regular basis to make room for more stuff.

                    Katherine

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Gator, hey

                      Hi Gator,
                      I hear you. Something goes wrong or doesn't support me right, and I bolt.

                      Right now I am busily re-setting up the best I have come across---which is my Filofax A5.

                      I am going to write down why I want to stick with this system for 3 months, journal how it is working for me, write down as Katherine says, what I need in a system, and most importantly put way up in the closet all my other "systems".

                      Why don't you just keep a section of your Planner for cold calls? Move them off to a file when you decide they are in-active, and then cull the file from time to time? The good ones, turn into projects immediately, and track?

                      I am sure you will get lots of ideas from your posting. Good luck. I am with you in this.

                      ------Trish

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by gator
                        I'm happy to see I'm not the only one with this issue. I too have at or in my desk a Treo 650, three leather binders (different sizes), my new Blackberry and I'm still searching for the "perfect" system. I have wasted hours of productive time looking at, researching, and considering differnt systems. I have wasted a lot of $$$ as well. It's almost a compulsive disorder! My problem is that I do love paper, and I would like to have a Blackberry / paper system that works. I'm in outside sales and I keep my contacts, errand lists, and calendar in my BB.I'm trying to figure out the best paper system for all the rest. My biggest issue is keeping track of my "prospecting" lists. If I want to "cold call" 10 new prospects per day, where should I put them in my system? Once a cold call turns into an active prospect with an appointment should that become a "project"? Should I track "all" cold calls on my @calls list or put them down on my daily calendar for easy reference? Very confused, and this is why I keep looking for a "better" system. If I traded all the time spent searching for "the system" with prospecting time, I'd be making a lot more $$$$.
                        Thanks
                        Gator, I work in sales too, so I have my fare share of Cold Calls to. In my case I have a new project everymonth that I call R&D New Opportunities for ________ (Fill in the Line with the month)

                        Usually by this time (Last week of the month) I create already the November Project and started Populating the note field, that way my cold calls do not fill with one project that can be only one call.

                        I also have an Hybrid System, I travel my a lot, so I need something mobile in the go (Thats my Treo, as you I have there contacts, general info, calendar, etc) but in the Office I use a lot of Paper in fact I walk the office with a Levenger Junior Folio so I can have a Paper pad with me as well as Index cards with a lot of information...

                        Good luck with the end of the month!
                        I hope this idea helps

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Hopefully Done...

                          I think I put an end to the constant changing of systems (palm to paper to very clumsy hybrid to palm to paper to hybrid, etc) when I heard the GTD fast cds and realized there is no magic tool. You can use any tool or combination of tools for your system.

                          I no longer feel I have to carry a planner to capture things in or try to capture in the palm. I can capture anywhere as long as I process into my systerm (my lists can be on my arm for all GTD cares). I now know that no palm or planner is my system (I do not carry either around constantly).

                          I do use the todo lists on my palm for my lists, but do not look at it much. I generally type into the palm desktop and sync. While at work I have the palm desktop up all of the time so I can adjust as needed anytime and sync at the end of the day. The lists are also at home on the palm desktop and I can sync and adjust there if I want to.

                          Palm has the calendar. However, I also carry around a pocket sized daytimer (which has my cards, cash and checkbook so it is also a wallet) with the calendar and that size notebook. During the weekly review I update the calendar in this so it is with me (even if the palm isn't) and I also always have a place to take notes or write ideas.

                          I also have a 2-page-per-day daytimer which I keep open at work (and at a 2nd contracting job). I do this because, though I no longer feel obligated to capture everything into it, I do like to have a daily record of events. These get processed into the palm lists/calendar about daily if needed as well. I also make journal/diary entries into when I want.

                          GTD seems to be about freedom - you do not have to carrying anything around with you all of the time, but you do want to be able to write ideas or notes anywhere, review consistently, and trust the ultimate resting place of your inbox-processing.

                          I now use paper and palm without trying to keep both equal - palm is calendar and lists, paper is a capture/journal tool (that I mostly keep around because I like having a record of what I do and am a packrat). But I do not have to caputer there, as long as whatever I capture on gets put into and inbox and is processed...

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Too much

                            I know how you feel Trish. Everyone’s response here is right; there isn’t any one “complete” app to use. Sounds like to me you are simply using too many things as capture tools. Make things simpler. I would get rid of them all except for your Treo, computer and some basic notepads. (But this is just me!) Here is my setup in order of importance,

                            1. Treo – The main app I use on my Treo 700p is Bonsai. It synchronizes beautifully with my home computer. And if I’m on my computer, I put stuff into Bonsai. If I’m on the road I put things into Bonsai from my Treo. All things easily synched up through Bonsai. Plus I get my outlook calendar and contacts on my Treo! An awesome setup! The best smartphone, Period.

                            2. 4 x 6 notepads – Mainly for home use when I have a thought, I write them down and put them in my inbox, sort later.

                            3. Straight Line Files –Just my filing cabinet. Very organized.

                            Those 3 are what I use, with the exception of a few notebooks for school but they have their place. My decks are completely clear. You might want to weed out the things you don’t use. Make it as SIMPLE as possible. You may be too attached to certain things. I also went through a period where I tried a bazillion different things where I came to my final setup. I love throwing things out that don’t work. Haha, it’s true. I threw out my Palm T3 when I got my new Treo 700p. To me, my Palm T3 was taking up precious psychic ram.

                            Remember, everything in your space is taking up psychic ram too. Prioritize, what do you really need to make it work -and only use that. Make it as simple as possible and your life will get easier. Remember David Allen, "you can do anything in your life but not everything". I'm off the soapbox now.

                            -art

                            P.S. It’s amazing what a good nights sleep can cure.
                            Last edited by arthur; 10-28-2006, 01:43 AM.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Dear Arthur,
                              Thanks for your thoughtful reply. But as of the first night of my post, I have committed to 3 months of a junky little notebook I carry around everywhere, a Precise V7 blue pen, and my Filofax A5. And my TREO! which I use for calls and text messaging--v. important. Have printed out my contact list and have it in the Filofax, and on the TREO. The TREO is pretty useless as an organizer since I have lost the sync cable and can't find another one--well I bought something off the Palm site and it didn't work. I will just wait until I am due for another TREO in February from Verizon.

                              All the responses to my thread i have most eagerly read. It's so interesting what people use to do this thing. And my head has been turned and turned again--this is my weakness--and I even found myself in a Staples store yesterday looking up Rollabind notebooks (they didn't have any but I can get them online) and new Palms...who knows why about that one except someone said they have a phone and a Palm separate from each other and they like it that way.

                              I liked your setup a lot but have a Mac, not a PC. But whatever, I am going back to the dark ages and using a Filofax and working my system that way for a while. I love the idea of the LIGHTNESS OF BEING that running my whole life out of a TREO would give me, but it didn't give it to me the first time or the 5th, so why would I think it would give it to me now? I can't see my calendar and can't plan and when I get a call, I have to put whoever I am talking to on speakerphone to retrieve info etc. Maybe I just never got good enough at the thing. And I can't see the screen in the sunlight or in the car---great in the movies though before the show starts. Just text msg away the time, play a few games, snap some photos, etc.

                              Once again, I think I will go to bed ---- with my little notebook and Filofax beside me.

                              I will let you all know how I am doing. But I do have to stick with something long enough to see. That seems to be unanimous.

                              -----Trish

                              Comment

                              Working...
                              X