A few years ago, I read a book called Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity. (Google it for one billion articles about it.) It is a small book and a fast read, but that's all I did -- read it. I didn't get anything done. It was probably another year before I picked it up again, prompted by a mention of GTD (what organization nerds call it) on a web site. I slowly started to put the principles into practice. I went through a few paper-based implementations before I arrived at the one shown here.
This is a junior size Circa notebook from Levenger. The pages are removable. The tabs I use correspond to the "contexts" I have (a GTD term). They are: to do at work, to do at home, to do online, to do on the phone, and to do someday. Anything that I am actually going to accomplish gets categorized onto a list within one of the first four tabs. Anything that I want to do but might not actually get done, is put on a list on the last tab. I used to track dates of entry and completion, but those ended up being unnecessary. Now, I just use a check box. When a page is all checked off, I take it out and recycle it.
I tried various paperless solutions but none ever worked as well for me as the paper-based solution. The problem with my paper-based solution is that I only looked at my notebook when I was at work, even if I carried it around in my purse. It meant that I stayed productive at work, but not so much at home. (By the way, I credit using the GTD system with a promotion to Director, and a couple of fat raises, even though I took two maternity leaves two years apart.) With my recent switch from a BlackBerry Curve to the iPhone 4, I thought it was time to give it another shot. I asked the magic Twitter if it knew a good GTD app for the iPhone and girlvaughn said that she uses ToodleDo.
I instantly liked ToodleDo. It is a perfect electronic representation of my paper-based system. I can now attend meetings with only my iPhone and, more importantly, I use it all the time, not just at work. I have been much more productive in my personal life since downloading the app. Once I really get used to being paperless, I may give Evernote a try. It seems so daunting to me, though.