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Paper systems--anyone use one sheet per task?

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  • Paper systems--anyone use one sheet per task?

    I was just rereading portions of GTD last night and came across this: "Although most people will wind up processing their notes into some sort of list organizer, a few will actually stick with the simpole piece-of-paper-per-thought system."

    Does anyone here use one full sheet of paper per item?

    Note that I do NOT mean in the Collection stage, where you might jot down a note to later allocate to lists. I mean once the tasks are already in the system.

    I envisioned having a file folder with many sheets of paper in it. One advantage is you don't have a list (and subsequent cross-out tasks), but this can be a disadvantage also.

    Anyway, I was just thinking about this and wondered if anyone actually does that.


  • #2
    One item per page - No

    I find that if it is something complex, one item on a page works. But that makes it a Project (with multiple steps).

    Having only one item on a page may work, but it seems like it would be harder to get an overview of the next actions that you have to choose from in day to day activities.

    I think GTD (at least for me) works well when I have a list of Next Actions and a separate list of Projects that are active. I guess that each one is different. It may also depend on where your inputs are coming from. For me, several inputs come from email requests and some come from requests from people (boss, customer, peers).

    I use a paper system (The GTD Coordinator). I really like the feel of paper and I enjoy crossing items off the list but having one item on a page for Next Actions seems like a lot of work and would be too cumbersome to manage.

    I will be interested to see responses from others.



    • #3
      How do you like the Coordinator?


      • #4
        I used a system with one item per index card for a while. It worked well during a transition between systems -- the intended purpose -- but shuffling cards around got to be a pain in the neck.



        • #5

          Originally posted by GTDWorks View Post
          How do you like the Coordinator?
          I really like it. It is set up well. It is simple, but not too simple. I have heard some complaints about the binder (fake leather). I imagine that I will probably upgrade the binder at some point. For around $50, I recommend it.



          • #6
            I do, to some extent

            I use single sheets of paper in my 43-folders file. For instance, I work for an IT company, and we do not get paper pay stubs. Every pay period, we must log on to the website and download a PDF of our paystub. (13th and 2nd from last day of the month). So, I take a piece of paper, write download paystub on it, and file in my 13 folder. Then that day it gets thrown in my inbox. When I process my inbox, I put the piece of paper back in 13, and go on. Anything that is done all electronic, I do like that.

            Furthermore, I have a couple benefit websites that will not allow you to change user ID or password info, so I write the hard-to-remember info down on the paper. So, when I need to check my FSA account, boom, there is the reminder with my 17 digit account number and password.

            I also find it useful when calling customer service, so I will use a single piece of paper to track my calls. For example, I recently bought a piece of electronic equipment and I have a single piece of paper that I track that whole ordeal on. It has the phone number, the codes to navigate through the phone menu (1-3-2-1), and then a list of all the calls I made, RMA #'s, etc. When I get my issue resolved, I will either throw it away, or file it in my file cabinet.

            One other cost savings, is at work next to the printer is a two slot inbox, the unlabeled top box, and the second box labeled recycle. BTW, this is a community printer with no one officially in charge of it. So, you go to the printer to pick up your job and find other jobs under yours. They get thrown in the top box. I would estimate about 25% of the jobs never get picked up. At some point, someone will dump the top box into the recycle box. But, no one is usually motivate enough to take the recycle paper to the bin down the hall, so it just accumulates. I grab that stack and use it as my scrap paper for my inbox, tickler file, etc.


            • #7
              Yes, in my tickler, I use one piece of paper per reminder.

              I have combined multiple items into one checklist before, but that's only after the same few items came up several times. To quote Donald Knuth, "We should forget about small efficiencies, say about 97% of the time: premature optimization is the root of all evil."


              • #8
                Thanks, crouse!


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Brent View Post
                  To quote Donald Knuth, "We should forget about small efficiencies, say about 97% of the time: premature optimization is the root of all evil."
                  Great quote! Thanks Brent.

                  - Don