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The perfect notebook system for getting things done

I accidentally invented the single best system to keep a pocket notebook. It turns out it’s really not so difficult at all. In fact, it turns out that a system isn’t even necessary.

Recently many journal systems began popping up online. I know several people who picked one and tried it out. Eventually they grew tired and moved on. It didn’t take very long either. Why didn’t it stick?

These systems look beautiful. They aren’t difficult to understand. They’re easy to implement. They’re very, very tempting. But they don’t stick.

I’ve used a pocket notebook to keep track of tasks for a long time. I didn’t start by researching existing systems either. I simply started.

The single best system to keep a notebook is to eliminate the system. Define a loose set of rules, then let your mind wander.

My notebook looks like this.

Pocket GTD Notebook

It’s small and it fits in my pocket. I can carry it around and never feel burdened.

Pocket GTD Notebook

I tend to keep each day to two pages. I lay out my tasks on the left and do whatever else on the right.

I check off tasks when they’re complete. Sometimes I even prioritize tasks, as above.

Packing list

Other times it’s barely legible. But it’ll make sense in that day. Packing lists are perfectly suited.

Workout notes

I still haven’t found an app for my iPhone to track workouts with as much freedom as a notebook does.

Empty space is opportune for drawings…

Half-baked ideas

…and half-baked concept album ideas.

Do yourself a favor and pick up a pocket notebook. You can write and track anything you want without any cumbersome interface or system around it.

The perfect system is right there in your pocket, and it doesn’t need its battery charged.

Published on March 09, 2016 by Serge Nevsky.