Thursday, April 14, 2011

Staying Organized by Writing Things Down

pocket note-taking device

Chris Guillebeau blogs at The Art of Non-Conformity and has written a book by the same name — while traveling constantly. ... Guillebeau’s favorite tool is a paper notebook. “I try to avoid keeping things in my head… so I carry the notebook everywhere.” [from Favorite Tools from 9 Exceptionally Productive People, at Distracted Enterprise]

I've long been a fan of what the Getting Things Done community calls the "ubiquitous capture tool" - whatever it is you carry with you, all the time, to capture those random ideas that pop into your head, or commitments you've made, or anything else you need to remember. This tool could be a voice recorder, an app on your smartphone - or some sort of paper note-taking device.

For years I've been happily using Levenger's pocket briefcase, as I've noted before. There are many different styles; some come with pens, and others (like mine) do not.

small note-taking pad with iPhone

But at the organizer's conference I just attended, I saw another interesting option - the NotableXchange from KC Streamline Concepts. You can see I chose one that matches my iPhone case; the bright color makes it easy to find in my purse. It had a bad off-gassing odor when I first removed it from its packaging, but the odor went away within a day.

small note-taking pad

Another similar option, available in leather or cloth, is the GTD NoteTaker Wallet from the David Allen Company.

For an extremely small note-taking device, there's the PicoPad - available through Bas Bleu and other sources.

And of course you could simply carry some sort of notebook, as Chris does; there are many great choices if you want to go that route.


Lynn said...

For capturing ideas when in the shower or tub, I keep a wet-erase marker to write on the tiles. I write in an area where the moisture does not hit it. I used to use dry-erase markers, but it was sometimes hard to get off if moisture reached it, whereas the wet-erase markers wipe off with a damp cloth.

After my shower, I re-write the notes onto paper and get them into my organizing system.

I try to remember to erase my notes, so I don't scare my husband with cryptic messages. For instance, one time I was writing a story that involved a murder and was trying to determine what weapon to use. I wrote on the tiles words like... gun? knife? burn the house down?

Jeri Dansky said...

Lynn, I'm glad to know the wet erase markers work well for you. Someone else suggested them the last time I wrote about taking notes in the shower.

And yes, seeing your notes could be a bit disconcerting...

Anonymous said...

I am always writing things down, but I have a problem organizing all the different subjects. For example, I may have lists of groceries to buy, lists of names of foods, sundries or other things that I will look for if I'm in a particular store, lists of measurements for the house, etc. In other words, I write things down as a memory tool, but many of the notes are for reference in the future rather than immediately.

Do you have suggestions for a single (or two) small notebooks that would keep the disparate lists organized?

Thanks! (And thanks for your blog; it's fun to read your helpful tips and see all the fun images of various organizers you find on the web.)