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So following on from Equipment for computer-printing, into a notebook I eventually found what I was looking for and now have a notebook that I use in meetings/trains and anywhere a pen is more natural that a keyboard.

Here it is: enter image description here

It's full of lists of tasks, meeting notes, spider diagrams and is generally messy. Like so:

enter image description here

At the moment I process the pages once or twice a week like it's any other inbox, but the notebook itself is pretty unoranised. Can people give examples of stratergies for organising this sort of 'capture device', either their own or established methods?

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Do you have occassional access to a scanner? – JeffO Mar 18 '13 at 17:20
Hi - generally I take photos of things with my phone and that goes straight to evernote... – Joe Mar 18 '13 at 18:11

I carry a notebook and pen that looks much like yours, all the time. I treat the notebook as a capture device / inbox, and don't consider the pages of the notebook worth preserving, once I've processed the data on the pages.

I regularly (at least every couple of days) take any text and process it into my GTD system, adding to my Project or Next Actions lists or reference material as appropriate. Sketches, mindmaps, and other graphic information might be entered in a software package (for example, software design drawings I might enter in a UML drawing program) or I might scan or photograph it to create a document or add to Evernote.

Once I have processed a page, I tear it out of the notebook and get rid of it.

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Interesting. I generally don't use static capture for lists anymore - at least not low-level lists, preferring the ease of copy/paste to move and organize. Having said that, when I first finished Getting Things Done, and a few other books, I did start low-tech and inexpensive.

What I found was I needed to organize/group list items either by separation or by naming convention. So, all my phone calls were grouped together, and/or started with the word "call". Then there was scheduling time to "organize" the list - usually once a week. Which was usually when all my disjointed tasks, of a similar nature, were put into groups. One might also use a 5 subject notebook instead of a single to accomplish something similar.

Something else to consider would be the concept of "promotion". In my low-tech days, I kept one big ol' notebook for all my one-time actions, ideas, process improvement notes, et al. If I found myself going back to a particular topic often enough, I promoted this vein of thinking to its own notebook. Then, if I felt the ideas were evolved enough I would take the time to translate them to a digital format - be it a graphic in a graphics editor, or text in a word processor.

I still have "notebooks" I write in by hand, but they are digital on a tablet now. I still promote ideas and thoughts to different media.

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Date and timestamp every entry.

My capture book looks a little more orderly. I use grid paper and for the first entry on a day, I skip a line, write the date on a line and then the time on the next line. Subsequent entries, I skip a line and write the time. On an unlined notebook, I'd just eyeball equivalent separation.

I also keep my capture notebooks and only ever remove final pages if I really need to hand someone a handwritten note. I number my notebooks.

When I process a page, I draw a '\' through the bottom lefthand square. The material that makes it into my electronic system (the much loved Emacs orgmode) will often have a back-reference to the notebook number and page from where it started. Occasionally, this has helped me figure out needed context after the fact. Not often, but often enough that the easy to do step seems worth it to me.

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