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Integrating paper and electronic formats

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  • Integrating paper and electronic formats

    Dear All,

    I am a scientists working in academia who has been tinkering with GTD for a few months now. All in all, I like it.
    At present, I am using a circa notebook to keep track of on-the-fly ideas, NA's, calendar, project lists and brainstorming. I love the flexibility and versatility of paper for these aspects (especially w/ circa). Following from previous forum member advice, I now use a scaffold of pre-determined NA's for most of my experiments (i.e. a checklist), which I print out and throw in my circa when triggered by my calendar.
    However, being a scientist, for a given project I also have many computer files for each project, e.g. DNA sequences, .doc weekly report, excel file, images etc. Currently, for each project, I have a directory on my laptop named by the project title, which contains the required files, as well as a central directory that contains all the original data files as a kind of central storage or back-up, in case I modify a file in a project directory beyond original recognition.
    I have two blurry issues:

    i) somehow this doesn't seem well integrated with my paper system to me. For example, will a new idea for a project go into my notebook project planning page or in a report on the laptop?
    ii) what happens if I loose my beloved notebook? All my ideas and stuff is gone.

    So, I'm toying with the idea of using OneNote to essentially copy each project plan electronically, then I can link to all the files I need within the same page in OneNote. I can still use my circa for rough planning and NA's for flexibility.

    Any thoughts or suggestions?
    Gavin.

  • #2
    Your system looks fine to me.

    In my view, your computer files are all project support materials.

    will a new idea for a project go into my notebook project planning page or in a report on the laptop?
    If this is an idea that you plan to start work on immediately, it becomes a project. If it's an idea that you may not start work on immediately, it goes on your Someday/Maybe list.

    what happens if I loose my beloved notebook?
    Always back up all your files. At least weekly. If nothing else, buy an external hard drive, and once a week plug it in and drag-and-drop all your project files to it.

    Heck, if nothing else your notebook will die at some point.

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    • #3
      Thanks Brent,

      Thinking of the files as project support instead of planning materials makes more sense.
      Do GTD'ers photocopy their (paper) notebooks regularly for back-up purposes, or is this abit OTT?

      Gavin.

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      • #4
        I've been playing around with OneNote lately and I think it's an excellent resource. I think of it as my system. Everything goes into it and actions come out.

        Everything includes reference material, thoughts, ideas, meeting notes, and on and on. Everything goes in there. It's very cool how you can go through your OneNote notebooks and tag actions, phone calls, etc. and pull them all out into a nice list. You can even modify the tags and set up your own. I would definitely give it a try. I work at a university too and they got it for me really cheap.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by gjwilliams2 View Post
          Do GTD'ers photocopy their (paper) notebooks regularly for back-up purposes, or is this abit OTT?
          Gah! By "notebook," I thought you meant a laptop computer. Sorry. That's what my "backup" comment referred to.

          I don't back up my physical files, no. As to whether it's necessary...I don't think so. As I see it, if all my physical papers went up in smoke, I could reconstruct what I need in a certain amount of time. I would spend far more time than that over the course of years backing up those papers (and storing them!), given the once-in-a-lifetime likelihood of that kind of situation.

          I did lose my Hipster PDA once, and I reconstructed what I needed in about an hour. No problem.

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