18 January 2011

Greg's question: where do you write your notes?

Our good friend Greg emailed me with a question that many Filofax users (myself definitely included) have struggled with: where do you write notes?  Here's his question with specifics:

"If people use a personal size or smaller Filo, what do they write all their notes in?
The Filo? or do they carry index cards, Field Notes, Moleskine, scraps of paper?
I can't imagine not having something besides the Filo.
I have been carrying a "reporters" notepad and it seems to work.
Just wondering?"

I replied that in my case, it depends.  Basically, I write anything I need to keep with me or want to handle on a daily basis in my Personal Filofax.  Anything that stays at home only goes in my A5 home Filo.  And when I was working, I had to have separate notebooks and folders for work projects. I kept work stuff completely out of my Filo.

Where do you write your notes?


  1. my personal filo has a back pocket on the inside that fits a filed notes size notebook easily. random things that i should write down that dont already have a specified section would go in there. then once a week or so, i would go through whatever is in the field notebook and file it from there....wherever that maybe.

    i also tend to write everything as a bullet-point so that makes it easier for me to file the bit of info away, and add bits together when need be.

  2. I carry a little Rhodia notepad. Its pages fit inside my pocket and personal filofaxes fine.

  3. I have a few sheets in my filofax for odd notes (for example noting down something in a shop).

    For work related things, I generally work and go to meetings with what I call my 'day book'. I also keep this on my desk. Anything I need to write down, for example phonen numbers, notes from phone calls etc etc. It's all in one place so I know where to look. I use an A4 snopake noteguard book, spiral bound with hard cover and ruler. Nice paper - you can use a fountain pen with it with no problems. Trouble is they are hard to find now!

  4. My Filofax is set up for GTD and section 1 is the 'Notes/In' section - so anything I need to note down does in there. That way its all captured, in the Filofax, ready for me to sort out the projects/next actions phase. A second notebook would cause the system to break down - the whole point of GTD is that it all gets captured in one place, and for me that's the Filofax

  5. David - what about meeting notes etc? Do you capture those in the same place?

  6. yay first comment...

    I use a small mead notebook currently. I need to pick up some Moleskine Cahiers to put in the back of my Domino.

    Also for quick small notes, I tend to write them on the Filo Jot pads.

  7. I put things on blank pages (in pretty colors) that I leave in the "notes" tab of my Filo. That is for personal only and I check that each night when I get home for things I need to do or bring for work the next day. If I am at work, I just keep notes on a legal pad.

  8. Now carrying a Pocket Filo, I have a "Notes" tab that captures all my notes on the go. This could be a cool quote, someones phone number (preferably someone hot and single...) or whatever. Then later on I disseminate the information to where it needs to go. Quotes to the Commonplace Book that stays at home, phone numbers into my phone, etc.

    So far its working and I have a Filo small enough to carry with me no matter what.

  9. I use note cards (index cards) that slot into my back pocket of my personal Malden. I always have a couple of blank ones in there when I need to jot things down.

  10. My pocket filo has a blank piece of paper between each week (week on two pages format). On one side I write a to do list, and on the other all my notes for the week.

  11. Just on lined paper behind the Notes tab!

  12. I use Filofax's leather-made jot pad so that I can file all my notes in my organiser. I used to use a small notebook separately but only found it inconvenient if my notes scattered around.

  13. Hi Alison

    Yes - exactly the same for meeting notes.....random ideas, things I need to 'place' within the overall GTD system, etc etc etc. They *all* go in the small 'notes/in' section of the Filofax and then get processed afterwards. I commonly go to London on business and have 6 or 7, maybe 8 meetings in two days. When I get back I have 8 siddes of notes, all in one place, which I can then sort into 'next actions' or 'projects' a la GTD - then I can either set aside an hour the next morning following my return, or include them in my weekly review. For further information I would recommend David Allen's excellent article at https://secure.davidco.com/store/catalog/ORGANIZING-A-PAPER-PLANNER-p-16162.php. The article is free (along with a bunhc of other stiff) but I think you have to sign up to get it.

  14. Love the fact we got so many great comments on this subject.
    I have a notes page. I happen to get into deep heavy notes meetings and the small pages just aren't enough. I like the spiral bound notebook idea just for the meeting purpose.
    One of Donald Trumps executives was at a seminar I attended a couple of years ago and he swore by the spiral bound notebook he writes in everyday. He puts all thoughts, phone conversations, and scribbles in this notebook and buys them thin enough that they are onloy used for one month and then a new one is started. He dates the front cover with the month and year and then files them. I actually had forgotten about this seminar until recently I stumbled upon the handout he gave us all. Great points from all though.
    Thanks You!!

  15. hi Gregory

    That's a great idea....although I'd still be nervous of 'splintering' my system....at the moment the old Filofax adage 'Everything in hand' applies! Any memory of that exec's name? Maybe he has a blog somewhere.....would be worth reading!


  16. Found it!
    George Ross at a "Get Motivated" conference held in Baltimore, Maryland. This is a "Zig" Ziglar" conference I have attended for a couple of years. I usually invite my store managers to attend, it's amazing and a lot of fun. Zig and George both have websites.

  17. I use a Filo Mini.. or a Rhodia pad ... or a seed/feed company notebook
    (I pick these up on Ebay in quantity and love them for the novelty, and they're being as anti-Moleskine as one can get).

  18. Hi Gregory - thanks so much, I'll check him out! Zig Ziglar I am familiar with and I have his audio series on goal setting. Great stuff - thanks again. David

  19. I find a separate filo holding only plain and/or lined paper is the perfect thing to keep by the desk for notes.
    I also use one of the small jotter pads mounted in a leather credit card holder.


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