My wife and I were trying to explain some organization strategies to my daughter. It boiled down to “write down things you need to do.” For me, it devolved into quoting Getting Things Done. Not necessarily a bad thing, but it felt a bit heavy for explaining to my daughter. The phrase GTD uses is “ubiquitous capture.” The basic concept is when something you need to do occurs to you, you write it down. Don’t rely on your brain to hold on to something you need to do; let the paper do the work for you.
At work the next day, it occurred to me just how many pads I had for such things. For work, I carry a notebook where general notes go: meeting notes, what I capture as I research things, etc. It is a hybrid of Levenger Circa, Staples Arc, and Rhodia paper harvested from various pads. I also have a few pads from the office supply closet. These are used for keeping lists–as something occurs to me, it gets added. Topics include:
- Things I need to talk to my boss about
- Running agenda for the next meeting with my data center vendor
- Projects my team is working on
Then I realized I do the same thing at home. I keep a journal–mostly running commentary on my day, but some other notes go in there. There are two or three lists of possible topics for blog posts in it. I have a smaller notebook for lists I want to hang on to. In my camera bag lives a notebook for capturing the animals I photograph at the zoo.
On top of this are various pads I have: a couple A5 Rhodia pads I use when I don’t want to lug the big notebook (such as to a client meeting or in the data center). There is an A6 pad that is in my pocket, mostly for fleeting things (like grocery lists or dimensions of a space). Everywhere, ideas are being written down.
Granted, many of these feed into a computer-based solution, but the paper is often the easiest thing to grab, especially for some of the running lists.
Ultimately, these pads are a symbol of ubiquitous capture. They ensure things I need to get done, or reference items I want to hold on to, are kept. It is a habit that I think is worth keeping, and, even though I feel a bit odd, it is something I hope I can pass along.