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  • GTD and planner questions

    Hello-

    I am thinking of purchasing a new planner for next year to implement GTD concepts. So my questions are as follows:

    1) Are there any planners that people recommend? I've been using Franklin Covey but don't think that it has the flexibility that I need. I am considering Circa or maybe just a nice looking three ring binder but old habits die hard.
    2) How do folks organize their meeting notes? Strictly by date, by standing meeting, by project, or some hybrid? I currently use a hybrid approach (by date and by standing meeting) but then it makes it hard to find meeting notes sometimes.
    3) Does anyone use an indexing approach for their meeting notes? One of the folks that I work with numbers pages in his notebook with an index of meetings up front as reference.
    4) What sections do people set up in their planners? I was thinking of the following sections: daily calendar (list of "to do's" that must get done that day plus my schedule in case I need to write it out), projects, and next actions (with a page by category), agenda items (list of things to discuss with people when you meet with them)?

    Any feedback welcome!

    Thanks.

  • #2
    Originally posted by kcmestre View Post
    1) Are there any planners that people recommend? I've been using Franklin Covey but don't think that it has the flexibility that I need. I am considering Circa or maybe just a nice looking three ring binder but old habits die hard.
    None in particular.

    2) How do folks organize their meeting notes? Strictly by date, by standing meeting, by project, or some hybrid? I currently use a hybrid approach (by date and by standing meeting) but then it makes it hard to find meeting notes sometimes.
    I write all my meeting notes in the paper notepad in the back of my planner. After the meeting, I tear out the paper and put it into my inbox for processing. If I stored any meeting notes long-term, I'd put them into my filing system, into the file folder that made most sense for that meeting.

    3) Does anyone use an indexing approach for their meeting notes? One of the folks that I work with numbers pages in his notebook with an index of meetings up front as reference.
    Nope. Meeting notes need to be processed, and once processed, I don't need to keep them. If I needed to keep them, I'd drop them in my filing cabinet.

    4) What sections do people set up in their planners? I was thinking of the following sections: daily calendar (list of "to do's" that must get done that day plus my schedule in case I need to write it out), projects, and next actions (with a page by category), agenda items (list of things to discuss with people when you meet with them)?
    My paper planner at work has two sections: One for NAs and projects, and one for my log of what I've done each day. That's it.

    The NA/project section has NAs by context in the front, and a list of projects on the last page.

    Comment


    • #3
      GTD and planner questions

      Thx much for the pointers. The big shift in thinking would be that the meeting notes are not really needed (except for reference purposes) since you keep track of all of the NAs once the meeting ends.

      Comment


      • #4
        Build your own

        Have you looked at diyplanner.com? They have some great templates for GTD and other systems.

        Comment


        • #5
          Hi kcmestre,

          Re: planners, I use a plain DayRunner/DayTimer, with tabs for next action contexts. Gives me everything I need - calendar, actions (including an agendas section), plus addresses and capture. More at Fare thee well Hipster PDA, if you're interested.

          Re: meeting notes, I do the same as Brent. More at Dealing with Meeting Notes - GTD to the Rescue!

          Cheers!

          matt

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by kcmestre View Post
            1) Are there any planners that people recommend? I've been using Franklin Covey but don't think that it has the flexibility that I need. I am considering Circa or maybe just a nice looking three ring binder but old habits die hard.
            My preference is for the FC - classic size. I bought a nice leather one on E-bay. I tried the circa but the novelty seemed to wear out quickly. I also got the 7-hole punch and a small paper trimmer.

            Also the reason the seven rings...physics. the thin papers tend to rip less when placed in a 7-ring binder rather than a 3-ring binder.

            2) How do folks organize their meeting notes? Strictly by date, by standing meeting, by project, or some hybrid? I currently use a hybrid approach (by date and by standing meeting) but then it makes it hard to find meeting notes sometimes.
            Date. With basic info as to the project name type of meeting within the first couple of lines, oh yeah and the attendee list. With the date stamped on each page I'll know how "fresh" the notes are so I make sure I process the "oldest" ones first. After processing the notes. If I need to keep them as reference, I just chuck them into the corresponding project support folder. I use the calendar (outlook) to quickly scan where (the project) and when the meeting took place, should I ever need to retrieve the notes


            3) Does anyone use an indexing approach for their meeting notes? One of the folks that I work with numbers pages in his notebook with an index of meetings up front as reference.
            I use the planner as an inbox. My meetings are part of my Hard landscape and thus are entered as events in the calendar, even the impromptu ones.

            4) What sections do people set up in their planners? I was thinking of the following sections: daily calendar (list of "to do's" that must get done that day plus my schedule in case I need to write it out), projects, and next actions (with a page by category), agenda items (list of things to discuss with people when you meet with them)?
            I have a pretty plain GTD implementation. Lots of blank paper for input, this week's calendar, a current projects list and context dependent lists such as @home, @work, @calls, @errands & @agenda-name, and @WaitingFor-name.

            If an action had to be done on a certain day, it was on the calendar. I drank the kool aid and used DA's model for choosing a task to do based on time, context and my energy. I spend less time rewriting next actions into the next day's list, and reserve that time for other parts of the workflow.

            For me the planner is more of an inbox and current/mini reference list. I found that the ring binders allowed for the addition and removal of pages much more easily for me. I really try to do a review of the entire book every few days to make sure the notes get processed and so I keep each project I committed to moving along. I purposely bought a "thin" binder 1-1/2 inches so I'd be forced to process and review what I've put in the binder. Also the classic size is great for printing docs on 2 pages per side. Though I'm reaching for the reading glasses more often!


            FWIW find a system that is portable, searchable and lets you move and process your stuff quickly. Stick with it for at least 30 days then start tweaking as needed.

            good luck

            Comment


            • #7
              Oh yeah, I didn't even try to go totally digital or analog...

              I still have a PDA for storing mucho lists and reference material, (Mapopolis, Bible, Various Word Docs, Excel Spreadsheets).

              again good luck,

              Comment


              • #8
                I use the Franklin Covey Simplicity style because I have a family and sometimes we have more than one thing in a time slot so I hate having hourly formats.

                Then behind that I have the FC dividers - I think there are ten sections. My sections change from time to time but here is a run-down of the main ones:

                Long-term goals and objectives

                Projects - I have a page for each project

                Next Actions - a page for each context.

                Errands - I have this separate because I sort my errands by the part of town they're in and I like them to be very easily accessible when I'm out and about. I also keep shopping lists in this section.

                Agendas - This is where I have my vacation plans coordinated, gift lists, plans for special events such as parties/birthdays, things to ask the pediatrician next time we see him, etc.

                Someday/Maybe - I have an entire section devoted to this with pages for various items that go together...places I want to go, wish lists for various areas of my house, etc.

                General notes section - here is where I keep my blank paper.


                Here are some of my more odd sections:

                Idea file - Could also be called a problem file - this is where I have pages for various topics where I'm brainstorming, like how to potty-train my toddler, things dh and I might do on date-night, tentative daily routines I want to try, etc. Any resulting actions go into the appropriate place (next action list, etc.). I like to be able to mull things over before taking action and this allows me a safe place to record ideas for these types of things on my mind.

                Hobby file - I have various sewing and knitting projects going on and I like to track the projects I have planned, especially the ones I have purchased materials for, so I make sure I do them and do not commit to more than I can handle. I don't really keep NA's for these things unless I need to buy something in town

                Writing - I have a blog and I also write knitting patterns. At the front of this section I list various projects (articles/patterns) I am in the process of writing and then behind that page I keep my notes for each topic. I capture ideas here and then when I sit down to write, I have a place to start from on each piece.


                I don't label the tabs - I simply use the different colored labels and remember the main ones (yellow for next actions, green immediately behind that for errands, blue for hobbies because blue is my favorite color, etc.)

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by kcmestre View Post
                  1) Are there any planners that people recommend? I've been using Franklin Covey but don't think that it has the flexibility that I need. I am considering Circa or maybe just a nice looking three ring binder but old habits die hard.
                  Buy something you love, you like and apeal to you. The internals of the planner can be made, created or transformed...

                  Originally posted by kcmestre View Post
                  2) How do folks organize their meeting notes? Strictly by date, by standing meeting, by project, or some hybrid? I currently use a hybrid approach (by date and by standing meeting) but then it makes it hard to find meeting notes sometimes.
                  Meeting Notes goes in 2 ways for me, if they are project oriented, goes in the Project folder, if they are recurrent meetings goes in the Folder of the Meeting.

                  Originally posted by kcmestre View Post
                  3) Does anyone use an indexing approach for their meeting notes? One of the folks that I work with numbers pages in his notebook with an index of meetings up front as reference.
                  Information that will be relevant will tend to be indexed, some of the meetings should go to the trash after actions, even that I tend to keep the copy of the clean meeting as explain in number 2.

                  Originally posted by kcmestre View Post
                  4) What sections do people set up in their planners? I was thinking of the following sections: daily calendar (list of "to do's" that must get done that day plus my schedule in case I need to write it out), projects, and next actions (with a page by category), agenda items (list of things to discuss with people when you meet with them)?
                  I used a paper planner in the past, and even today that I am mostly digital I keep the exercise. One of the things people struggle when they try to go digital is the fact that they miss the planner organization, I have a Virtual Paper planner that I keep in my cabinet for those times in doubt of how my palm is my Paper Planner.

                  Since I am a believer that it is not the medium is the system let me explain how mine looks.

                  1.- Calendar (Nothing Special Here)
                  2.- Phones and Contacts (Divided in 5 Address Books. Yes I did this when I use the planner it is easy and faster to update.)
                  2.1- Personal Phones
                  2.1- Work Phones
                  2.3- Quick Reference Work Phones
                  2.4- Restaurants and Hotels
                  I did this on my old paper plan, my lists where in the computer and printed in the paper calendar, look for a phone was super easy even in paper.
                  3.-Projects
                  4.- Next Actions
                  5.- Reference Lists
                  5.1.- Work Marketing
                  5.2.- Work Sales
                  5.3.- Lists
                  5.4.- Next time in...
                  5.5.- Personal Development
                  5.6.- Ref - Work
                  5.7.- Ref - General
                  5.8.- Ref - GTD
                  5.9.- Ref - Inspiration
                  5.10.-Ref - Personal
                  5.11.- Weekly Review

                  As you can imagine, I was glad to get the palm, my back do not hurt anymore and I do not need to print stuff in super small font that I can barely read in order to carry all that in my planner....

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    1) Are there any planners that people recommend? I've been using Franklin Covey but don't think that it has the flexibility that I need.

                    I use FranklinCovey--they have so many sizes and styles and forms and printable paper cut and punched for their binders that I don't think flexibility is too big an issue. I've always been able to make or modify it for whatever I need.

                    2) How do folks organize their meeting notes? Strictly by date, by standing meeting, by project, or some hybrid? I currently use a hybrid approach (by date and by standing meeting) but then it makes it hard to find meeting notes sometimes.

                    Meeting notes tend to get filed either in a handful of "Active Projects" folders in a stand on the shelf above my desk or in an appropriate general reference file (after I've liberated tasks and projects from them). For one particular group that I've had a long-term, high-level relationship with, I type up my meeting notes for fast searching and easy backing-up. Also, the last thing I do before filing meeting notes anywhere is to think hard if I'm going to need to see them again at a specific time (i.e., before the next meeting), and if so I put a note on my calendar to dig them up the day or or day before that meeting, as appropriate.

                    3) Does anyone use an indexing approach for their meeting notes?

                    In my planner, I also make a note of whether there were notes from a particular meeting on the journal page for that day. FranklinCovey always has a "monthly index" page, which gets a shorthand entry about any meeting that happened a given day.

                    4) What sections do people set up in their planners? I was thinking of the following sections: daily calendar (list of "to do's" that must get done that day plus my schedule in case I need to write it out), projects, and next actions (with a page by category), agenda items (list of things to discuss with people when you meet with them)?

                    That seems like a very reasonable and workable set-up!

                    My current one is a little more elaborate--I have month-at-a-glace calendar tabs (12-15 months, for longer-range planning), two-page-per-day daily calendar (I carry only the past and current month with me so I can refer back to recent journal entries), and twelve customizable tabs that are currently labelled Projects, Next Actions, @Computer, @Phone, @Home, @Family (not agendas, refers to my parent's home), @Office, @Campus, @Errands, @Anwhere, Waiting For..., and Agendas. The tab that reads "Next Action" contains actions in rare or temporary contexts, such as a travel destination. I also have a plastic divider between the calendars and the action tabs, behind which I have an "Input" form (glorified notepaper I made) for taking notes on the go--this is my "Inbox" area for most ideas and data that doesn't already have a hardcopy.

                    My biggest hang-up had been resisting looking at my lists; I decided it was partly because it was a pain to flip through the pages (I had one context per sheet, and generally 8-10 contexts, with some contexts growing to two or three sheets every couple of weeks). The tabs seem to have helped with that.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Use Anything BUT the David Allen Calendar and Coordinator

                      I've just gotten GTD planner and coordinator, and they are of the cheapest quality imaginable. My plan was to see how they are set up and translate that into Rollabind/Circa notebooks, but I really did think the quality would be better. The inner edges of both books are raggedly cut, the coordinator has a rip in the cover. Considering how many beautiful nonleather (and that's all that I use) products are out there, I was truly shocked to see something of this poor quality. It's especially surprising considering how much David Allen talks about the pleasure of using good tools in GTD. I got the calendar straight from David Allen Co. and the coordinator from At-A-Glance, so it's not as though somebody was selling seconds. I'm not returning them because they will still suit my purpose of getting ideas from them, but if anybody is thinking of buying these things to actually use, save your money.
                      Additionally, there is a rip in the coordinator cover, and the pages in the coordinator are all crushed on one corner. The tabs are crushed. And At-A-Glance shipped it in extremely poor packaging. Both products are MAJOR quality disappointments.
                      Last edited by dcande01; 06-13-2009, 06:03 AM. Reason: To Add Explanation.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        This has not been my experience with Davidco at all!

                        This is not consistent with their policy to provide quality products. I would guess that your Coordinator was damaged in shipping.

                        My wife and I both use the Coordinator and are very pleased with the quality, although a better planner cover would be a welcome addition to the planner pages.

                        Send your planner back and ask for a replacement as I think your trouble has come as a result of the shipping process.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          The Calendar was not damaged in shipping

                          and the interior raw edge is also very ratty looking. And, the space for putting a business card is too small for a standard-size card. The cheap lining is also certainly not from damage in shipping.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I think we'll see a better planner cover coming in the next iteration of the GTD Coordinator.

                            I love the inner pages and use an old Day-Timer cover to house all my stuff as I like a zipper planner compared to the open style of the present cover.

                            I just checked my wife's cover and the interior lining is perfect on hers, as it is on mine. Not sure what happened to yours, decande01.
                            Last edited by GTDWorks; 06-13-2009, 07:26 PM. Reason: Add to post

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Not Damaged

                              The lining is incredibly cheap.
                              And, it's the same cheap lining in both the calendar and the coordinator.
                              Last edited by dcande01; 06-13-2009, 07:48 PM. Reason: To add explanation.

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