Friday, April 15, 2011

Reader needs help: notes on the go?

Reader TerriKnits emailed me recently because she had trouble posting a comment here on Plannerisms. Sorry Terri! She is looking for suggestions on how to manage notes and lists on the go without hauling around too much stuff. Here is her email:

I was reading one of the "suggested" posts at the bottom of this one - from November "My Ideal Planner". I suddenly realized that my experiment with the vertical weekly planner has actually been going pretty well. (I got this one about six weeks ago? It has things I want/need (monthly 2-page spread with tab; vertical untimed day spaces, enough 'real estate' per day to write down what I need to).

The only problem I'm still grappling with is my extra or satellite notes. The weekly planner has space enough for my work info and household chores, reminders, etc. but I always have assorted notes throughout the day. (books I want to read, things to buy, things to google, knitting projects, etc.) I tried a couple of different format/sizes of books. Right now I just have a little 4x6 coil notebook. Not very sophisticated, but will do until I figure it out.

Ideally I'd like a smaller notebook to tote along. I've got a small Moleskine I might try next. I'm a fan of the wire/coil bound notebook, though, so I can fold it over to write.

Still looking and open to suggestions on how to incorporate my need for extra note space but still not carting around a ton of books/binders.

My recommendations to her included a Filofax, or a pocket size notebook to capture info during the day and then transferring it to designated notebooks or Filofax sections later.

I know many of us grapple with where to put notes and lists when they don't fit into our planner. Do you have any suggestions?


  1. May I suggest the use of a small digital voice recorder. It is impossible to make notes of items you want to remember when driving or doing other things that require undivided attention. Mine is small and I keep it in a shirt pocket, then when stopped or at the end of the day, I transfer those to wherever they need to go. That eliminates a lot of extra "baggage" I have to haul around. Most phones have a recorder in them now, but aren't as handy, with mine, I just have to push one button to record, most phones are much more complicated.

  2. For all the notes to be in the same place, I'd say that a small, bound notebook would work.

    I just got an Ecosystem ruled essay book (about 3.5 X 5.5 inches) that's cute and recycled. There are other really cute bound ones at places like Target for $1.99. I keep these in my purse all the time. As a matter of fact, I think I have a couple in the car, too.

    Of course,there's always the fall-back: Post-It notes! Love 'em!

    (BTW - the only reason I don't use a spiral-bound notebook is that everything I own gets tangled in the darn spiral! Somehow it always finds a way to attach itself to me!)

  3. This is an area where I've been trying a lot of different notebooks / methods.

    I like the GTD Notetaker wallet from David Allen, right now I think it is on sale. However, I like to change my wallet every few months or so - I've used this wallet some, switched to another (sometimes a smaller one based on purse size) and then come back to it.

    I also really like the Quo Vadis Textagenda which Laurie has mentioned - it is great for keeping notes on the daily pages and very portable. At end of day, or week, I'd go through them and transfer ones I needed to keep. I used it all through marching band season and worked great.

    Then I discovered Filofax - first I carried a pocket size, then went to a Slimline. Right now I'm using a Personal size but only temporarily until my Slimline is fixed. I do take a Personal Domino with me when I travel because I have all my "frequent" cards already loaded in it. I just transfer any travel or calendar pages I need into it for the trip. I like Filofax because of the flexibility to add / take out pages as needed.

  4. It's funny that there's so many "planner format not working" blog posts about now! I've read through several and am giving a great deal of thought to my ideal format. I've even dug out my long unused DayTimer binder (thought it was an FC, but it's not).

    Thanks for the suggestions!

  5. Addition to Crofter's comment: some phones let you setup "immediate access" for up to 4 items/apps. I have a not very sophisticated (3 yr-old!) phone, and I have to press one button to do voice recording! Unfortunately, I cannot use it as effectively as I'd like, b/c I always forget to transcribe the recordings into my planner. It has become a neat collection of meanwhile worthless "one-liners" LOL

  6. I use my BlackBerry for "on the go" calendar entries and consultation. I think it has a voice recording setting, too. Interesting.