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GTD + EN: Notebook Setup

Notebook Setup in Evernote

In my last post I indicated that I am using notebooks to sort out the "What" context.


By using notebook stacks, you can quickly organize your notebooks into meaningful categories.  

If you don't know how to create a notebook stack, here is a short video.  

Keep in mind that I only create a notebook when I need a place to put a note.  I would advise against creating a whole bunch of notebooks that you think you might need someday.  You will end up with a bunch of empty notebooks that keep nagging you to put something in them.  This same advice goes for tags.  Build your tags and your notebooks when you have a need for them.  If you use this method, your entire system will feel more useful.


I number my notebook stack in order to keep them organized.    


1-Inbox
This is a notebook and not a stack.  Everything goes through this notebook.  This is my electronic in-box.  I forward e-mails that need action into this box.  The web clipper dumps into this box.  Photos come through this box.  And all my random thoughts and ideas will pass through here.  The key to making GTD work with EN is having the discipline to dump the stuff out of your brain into this box.  If you can get it in here, then the system will take care of the rest.  

2-Work

In this stack I have one notebook for every project I am working on at work.  I have a separate project management software at work, so project planning and execution is handled in that software.  This contains My work and My actions.  I also added a Tasks notebook to dump random tasks in that don't seem to have a place to land.  

3-Home and Family

I put things like vacations, major house projects, finances and other miscellaneous things related to my family.  

4-My Projects

Anything I am currently working on goes in this stack.  Books I'm writing.  Ideas about cool stuff I could do.  Major purchase research.  Personal improvement.  

5-Personal

You might ask yourself why I need this stack.  This one is more of a personal reference stack.  It has notebooks for my goals, passions, hobbies, and personal reference material.  

6-Church

This stack contains notebooks for my church work.  A notebook to capture inspirational thoughts.  And notebooks for any talks, lessons, or presentations that I give.  

7-Contacts

Right now this is just a single notebook and not a stack.  I keep my contact list on my phone.  This notebook contains scanned business cards and phone lists that I may need some day, but don't wan to take the time to enter every one of them into my contact list.  

8-Archive

This is where notebooks go after I am done with them, but before I send them to the trash.  I may keep the notebook for a couple of months, or a couple of years before I move it.  Reviewing what is in this stack is part of my annual review.  

Trash

This is the system trash folder.  I only empty this folder every few months.  If space ever gets to be a premium, I guess I'll empty it more often. 


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