As promised the last time I discussed GTD, I’m going to describe my various inboxes that I’ve defined for my system and how I use them to boost my productivity. For the seven of you still with me, let me refresh your memories. My defined inboxes are:
- Things (iPhone application)
- Microsoft Outlook inbox
- Balance (iPhone application)
- Google Chrome bookmarks
- Voice Memos (iPhone application)
- Post-it notes
- Paper tray (for letters and bills)
- File folders
Of all of these, my Moleskine is probably the most flexible, so I’ll discuss that first.
First thing I must say about Moleskine notebooks is that I ♥ them! I go for the hardcover with blank pages because it allows me to draw and take notes all over the page without being restricted by lines or grids. Of all my inboxes, my Moleskine is the most flexible (I just said that, no?). With pen in hand, I just empty my mind right on to the page, without worrying about structure or form. The main purpose of the Moleskine in my implementation is the get the thoughts out of my mind as easily as possible. It also lets me write or draw directly in the margins, so that I can enhance my lists or flesh out ideas more.
Important stuff gets a highlight, so that I can find the tasks that need immediate attention easily. At the end of each day, around five-ish, I start a new page, with a to-do list of the next day’s work that is due. When I complete a task, I cross it off the list and give myself a well deserved pat on the back. If I leave a task incomplete, I transfer it to the next day’s tasks, and cross it off the list. When all the tasks on a page are complete, I write an “x” on the corner of the page so I know there’s nothing else on the page that needs my attention. Here’s a few pics of some of my lists:
As you can see from the images above, my Moleskine is much more than a task manager. It’s a place for notes of the day’s events, ideas, phone numbers, and random thoughts that pop into my head. In essence it’s my first stage inbox, where I empty all the raw data that I have floating around in my head, so that I have it all in one place to process later. Then, at around five-ish everyday, I sit down and process the raw data that I’ve written so that I can decide what to do with them. Everything is then either put in a reorganized list for the next day, transfered to other inboxes, such as my iPhone or Outlook, or put away to be referenced at some later point in time.
Processing the raw data from my Moleskine is the single most important step in my system, because it’s the only step that actually brings order to all the chaos.