Getting Things Done – Part 5 (Moleskine Miscellanies)

This is the concluding post in my Getting Things Done series. See also Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4. In this part, I’ll be expanding on my Moleskine Setup by writing on a few miscellanies that didn’t make it into the setup post.

Linking Entries

I mentioned before that I use my Moleskine notebook for just about everything. A quick scan back through the one I recently completed revealed the following different uses: random journaling, sermon notes (sermons I listened to), prayer lists, meeting notes, project notes, teaching preparation, sketches of ideas, notes from studying, and life admin journaling. This is all in addition to the uses of keeping track of action lists (“to do” lists), new contacts, book lists, music lists, important dates etc. One of the difficulties of keeping all of this information in a single notebook is organizing it and being able to quickly track back through all of my notes on a certain project, or to quickly track back through all of my journal entries.

In order to do so, I’ve deployed a simple method of linking entries using. Linking entries basically means that if you opened up my notebook to the middle and found yourself reading a journal entry, you’d easily be able to find the previous journal entry and the following journal entry (expand this definition for all of the different projects, etc that are being captured in the notebook). In order to do this, each entry in my notebook concludes with a little linking box that looks like this:

[ X / Y]

Where X is the page number that the previous related entry starts on and Y is the page number that the next related entry starts on. So when I start a new journal entry, for example, the first thing I do is turn backwards in my notebook until I find the previous journal entry. I then fill out the previous journal entries Y link. When I finish with the current journal entry (i.e. the new one that I’m getting ready to write), I fill out its X link. This process could easily be expanded to span multiple books, but I haven’t really deployed that yet.

Handling Section Overflow

Another difficulty with keeping everything in a single notebook is the possibility for overflow. By overflow, I mean that I’ve allocated (for example) a certain number of pages towards the rear of the notebook for say, my Schmorgous Board action list (i.e. random list of stuff I need to do that doesn’t fit in any other category) and as I use the notebook, I realize that I did not pre-allocate enough pages for that Schmorgous Board action list. The solution is to simply add a link at the bottom of the last page that I did allocate of the structure [ – / Y ] where Y is the page number where I’ve continued the list.

The way I set up my Moleskine allows for me to easily continue any overflowed pre-allocated space to the rear of my notebook, immediately before my ListMania section starts.

Task Prioritization

Another miscellany that I use is task prioritization. By task prioritization, I mean a method for arranging the priorities of certain tasks on any particular action list. This is important because for the most part, as I scribble out tasks on each of my action lists, they are in no way prioritized – and I don’t want to spend the effort and time to re-write them as prioritized. In order to mitigate this, I make use of the graph paper structure of the Moleskine Large Squared Notebook. Any time I add a new task to one of my action lists I draw an empty box (tracing one square of the graph paper) immediately prior to the written out task. I then shade in that box according to the task’s priority. If the task has a low priority, I don’t shade it in at all. If the task needs to be completed very soon (like that day), I’ll shade it in completely. Everything in between gets shaded somewhere in between.

This implementation allows me to quickly scan through any of my action lists and determine what tasks I need to attribute priority to.

Weekly GTD Lists

On occasion, I’ve had really busy weeks. On these weeks, I find it helpful to take a page in the body of my notebook (outside of the action lists) and create a specific GTD list for that specific day or that specific week. This typically consists of me scanning through all of my action lists from the rear of the notebook and re-writing the high priority tasks on the page I’ve set aside for that day or week. This prevents me from having to continually scan through the full-up action lists for each category in the midst of a busy week. I simply can refer to a single page containing a list of everything I need to do that day/week. Often I’ll employ the prioritization system on this list too – prioritizing my highest priority tasks, if you will.

Transferring to a New Moleskine

The last miscellany I’ll make note of is the transferring to a new Moleskine. When I fill a Moleskine and have to move on to a new one, I work through the following process:

  1. Go through my Particular Index and add all items referenced in my Particular Index to my Master Index (again, I’ll post more on this “Master Index” later in which I use Google Notebook as a master index into my life).
  2. Transfer any new contacts and dates into my PDA and Outlook system that I have not already done so.
  3. Transfer any new books from my book list to my Master Book List stored as a Google Doc spreadsheet and thus accessible to me anywhere I have web access.
  4. Work back through all of my main-body entries and ensure that I have properly linked them all. For ones that will be linked in the following Moleskine, I’ll fill in their Y link with “Book Z, p X”. Where Z is the number of the next book and X is the page number in that next book.
  5. Transfer any/all uncompleted tasks from the action lists to the next book. This provides an opportunity for me to scratch those old, lingering tasks that I’m never going to complete but keep on my list because I don’t really want to admit that I’ll never complete them.


There you have it. Welcome to the anality that is my GTD system. I’d love to hear from you regarding how you keep track of things to get done, etc. I’d also love to hear any recommended improvements or questions you have with regard to what I’ve laid out in this part and Part 4.


~ by toddbumgarner on August 25, 2008 12:04 pm.

One Response to “Getting Things Done – Part 5 (Moleskine Miscellanies)”

  1. […] public links >> tasks Getting Things Done – Part 5 (Moleskine Miscellanies) Saved by drthomasho on Fri 03-10-2008 Another Life Lesson to Learn Saved by chaoyangzhu on Fri […]

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