April 28, 2009

Getting Things Done with Moleskine

About a month ago, I purchased a Moleskine notebook. It has been the subject of some critcism (jokingly I'm sure) but I really like it and have made part of my daily struggle to get things done.

I have always been a great note-taker. Even though I don't know shorthand, I can transcribe a content filled lecture pretty easily. I even have a notebook dedicated to each class, and most of the time they get filled about 3/4ths of the way through the class. This system works great on a day where I am 100% focused on the task at hand - but that rarely is the case.

Whenever I have a thought that I can develop in my head for longer than 30 seconds, I try to put it in writing in the Moleskine to see if it still makes sense. If it passes that test, then I look into the idea later when I can do additional research. The Moleskine book has become the starting point for all of my recent ideas and acts as a good pad for taking notes at a meeting without an agenda.

I separate ideas and things to do in the notebook by date. This makes it easier to remember when I had a meeting or came up with an idea. It also forces me to address all of the day's items before I lay my head (a phrase I commonly write in the book). I have taken a liking to this approach of decompressing (like a daily retrospective) information, it keeps me up to date and keeps due dates at the front of my mind.

Even though they seem a bit hipster, I would suggest that everyone carry a page-per-day notebook (and a pen of course). It is the first step in my GTD strategy - more steps will be detailed in near future posts. Please, post comments related to the first step of your Getting Things Done process/strategy. I would love to hear a few different perspectives on how an initial thought is developed into an idea.


  1. Three-quartersth.

    My biggest problem would be that I would leave he notebook somewhere and not be able to find it. My iPod is always on me, fits in my pocket, and too expensive to lose. I wish it had a more physical interface, but its good for strange things that I want to do.

    Otherwise, random ideas I have I treat like feedback. The good ideas will keep coming up.

    I plan on getting a moleskin for Utah. We'll see how that works out.

  2. One thing I've been thinking of is how to store this information (maybe knowledge). I think you said you put the important stuff in Google Docs.

    Whenever I hear a talk, think of something, or take notes, I'm going to try and put them somewhere electronically. I want this mainly for search and storage. I love retelling stories, so I want to remember them somehow.

    For GTD, I'm currently trying zoho's Planner. We'll see how that works out.

  3. Alex - I lose my notebook probably about once a week. I think you'll like the Moleskine better because you can doodle and add emphasis easier than with an iPod. I would highly recommend you get one for Utah.

    Matt - Quoted in article.

    Nate - I'll post about the electronic conversion in a few days.