In my constant attempt to be as organized as possible, I’ve found a system that is currently working well for me. I was on a quest to find the perfect planner this year, and honestly I couldn’t find it. A few were close, but none had everything I was looking for with the exterior I wanted.
I love the gorgeous leather planners from Graphic Image, but I don’t like how they are set up inside. This planner was close but I didn’t like that there was no where for notes during the week and I really wanted leather. Many others had similar things where if just one thing were different it would have been close to perfect. So I ended up going back to a planner I’ve used before which is working, but it’s not perfect — a Moleskine Planner.
Last year I went all digital and it just didn’t seem to work well enough for me. I still use Google calendar like it’s going out of style. I have 7 different calendars in Google calendar that I use for various things (another post coming up on that), and even though I liked Todoist and TeuxDeux for digital to-do lists, I feel in my attempt to not be so tied to electronics all the time, I didn’t check them and follow them like I needed to to be on the level of productivity I need to stay at to get all my shit done. So this year I decided to go back to a paper planner, devise a system, and see how it goes.
I bought one of these giant month calendar pads, which I like, but haven’t found the perfect use for yet. My current system includes three main items: the extra large Moleskine Planner, a mini binder with dividers & filler paper, and this notebook. I use all three for different reasons, which I’ll explain.
The planner I use to write down major things I need to do/remember that day in the day slots. I also have these on one of my Google calendars. I also try to write down a few of the major things I need to accomplish & focus on that day. Lately I’ll write down if I worked out that day, just so I can look back and remember how many days each week I made it to my workout.
On the right side, it’s a completely blank lined page. This is my to-do list each week. I divide it into categories that I typically have lists for. I will also list other things I don’t want to forget to check on, etc. If I haven’t highlighted it (meaning I’ve done it) by the end of the week, I transfer it over to the next week.
So this is my main planner that is used in combination with my main Google calendar, but the to-do list I write on the lined page is really the key for me. I keep all my projects listed there and it’s the main hub for anything I’m working on.
The mini binder I use for notes that I need to keep. Again, I tried to do this digitally, but I just didn’t like it as much. It’s much easier to trash a piece of paper for me and know that project is over. I find if I do it digitally I don’t clean it out as much and I end up with too many documents & digital folders.
I use each of the 5 sections in the binder for different businesses/projects I have. My blog, other projects, The B Bar, Consulting Clients, and my shop. These notes I take in here are to be kept to be referred to later. For example, Victoria and I have a call about the direction of The B Bar each month. To help me remember what we go over each month, I have a sheet that I take notes on during our call that I can easily refer back to for the next call, or during the course of the month I can remind myself of the objectives we agreed on. Once the notes aren’t necessary for a project anymore, I toss them. So I keep all detailed info on current projects in this binder.
Previously I’d had multiple notebooks going at once, all with important info in them and it just became crazy! Too many notebooks!
This large notebooks is for brainstorming or note taking that I intend to pitch quickly. Sometimes I’ll just jot down an outline for a long post, or if I’m taking notes that I’m going to type up immediately I’ll write them here, and then I just rip them out when I’m done with them. It’s basically my not-as-important/messy writing notebook. And the pages are bigger than the binder paper, which is good for certain things. I only need to take my little binder with me if I have a meeting and I need it. I never take the other notebook or planner. I have all important timed things in my Google calendar which I can refer to on my phone, so I don’t need my planner on the go.
So far this year, this system has worked really well for me in combination with my Google calendars.
Dish — what’s your organization system?
Do you have a paper & digital planner like me?
Do you have separate notebooks for different things, or put all in one?
How do you stay organized and GSD?
Need a lot of help in the GSD area? Really want to GSD and accomplish some of your goals this year? I’m giving a 7-hour GSD Workshop in March — details here.
GSD (get shit done): A weekly column featuring busy business owners, entrepreneurs, bloggers, and CEOs and how they get shit done. Meg also writes articles with helpful ways to get shit done. Tell us how you GSD on twitter by tagging #GSD and @megbiram.