GTD Cafe: Capturing Thoughts (And Why the Moleskine Might be Overrated)

J0399231Each Wednesday The Daily Saint hosts the GTD Cafe, focusing on David Allen's Getting Things Done methodology.

One of the key weapons in the GTD arsenal is the habit of consistently capturing thoughts on paper so that you can clear your head and work at one thing at a time.  What follow are some tips and tricks for repeatedly practicing this habit:

When Listening to Messages: I always have a pen and paper in hand when I'm listening to voice messages, whether at home or at work.  For follow-through, be sure to delete messages after you listen to them, rather than competing in the "Voicemail Tally Challenge" contest.  My mother in law recently had 23 messages saved on her machine!

In the Car: Thoughts do come at us when driving or as a passenger.  Keep a small notepad handy so that you can safely get that thought on paper (when at a light or at a stop).  A voice recorder might also do the trick.

On Your PDA: I use a Palm Treo with a keyboard and this is especially handy.  No need to invest in expensive notetaking software, the standard "notes" feature is probably sufficient.

In a Meeting: It's a good idea to have a pen and paper with you for any meeting that you attend.  Whether it's PTA or Parish Council or something for work, thoughts will arrive and you'll want to be prepared for them.  If the meeting is boring, you'll especially want to get some productive work done while those around you are rambling on.

When Waiting: There are more times of waiting than we might be aware so be sure to have pen and paper available for those "dead times" in the day when you might be waiting around. 

What about the Moleskine? I know that many have fallen madly in love with the Moleskine notebooks.  I got swept up in this and purchased a Reporter Notebook and it's just too darn big!  I can't fit it in my pocket without looking like a thief and I've found it to be somewhat of a let down.  Overrated?  Probably not but for me it's just another notebook and I've assigned it to "car duty" for those times when a thought turns up during my commute.