16 March 2011

Behind your tabs: chronological order or priority first?

While pondering the nearly-infinite flexibility of Filofax, I thought of different ways to set up my pages behind my tabbed dividers.

Normally I arrange pages behind my tabbed dividers in order of priority. When I turn my tabbed page, the first page I see is the highest priority in that section. Subsequent pages are in order of decreasing priority. This works for my lists, my reference information, my personal goals section, and most other things.

But I realized that a different way of doing things would be to put things in chronological order to be able to flip through and see a progression over time.

A combination of the two methods above would be to put pages in reverse-chronological order, with the most recent page seen first, and working back in time as you turn the pages.

Do you use one of the three methods above to organize your pages behind your tabbed dividers? Or do you use a different method altogether?


  1. Chronological is the only way for me. Anything else would only confuse me and mess up my entire system. I have 3 rulers in my filo, plus various sticky tabs to show me the priority (or just the current page) in each section. No chance of missing anything! ;-)

  2. I don´t prioritise things at all.
    I use the GTD-approach of making various actionlist and thereby keeping projects and just "next- actions" moving along and getting done.

    I think making list according to contexts instead of priority works better for me as my priorities always changes, something which any system won´t be able to take into account.

    For instance, if I really really really need to write someone an email, but I´m not at my computer, there is really no need for me to be alerted of my need to write a certain email unless I´m at my computer. This goes for everything - phone-calls, errands etc. etc. etc.

    Having a list of ten-fifteen emails I should write whenever I have the time - some of them with due-dates in my calendar - makes me much more effective because I can enter email-mode and crank away in stead of having to follow a priority-list of say three errands, one call, review a note, two emails, one call and another email.

  3. I agree with Danish about context lists rather than priority lists, although I do it a bit differently -- I have to do lists for work, shopping, financial, creativity, and have them separated by color-coded top tabs. I do think, though, that a priority list would be helpful in telling you to go to your computer to write those e-mails! I can see how the deadlines would be enough though.

  4. I have to do priorities because I don't normally sit at a desk, so if there is an important email or phone call I have to do, my list tells me to go to my desk and get it done by a certain time.

  5. My own method is somewhat psychotic, but it's been working for me well enough.

    The object is to have the pages that are changed out the most towards the middle of the binder, with the stuff that changes the least are at the front and back.

    Checkbook, dairy pages (about three months of week+notes), and the numbered tabs are all in the middle. Numbered hold are Dumb-Things-I-Gotta-Do lists. (My life is too simple for Covey or GTD systems to be applicable.)

    Contacts, which change little are split: A-N are in front and O-Z are in back.

    A little hard to explain why, but it works well enough and means I can change a page without reworking half the binder.

  6. JJ, I most say that your life don´t have to be complicated to get use out of GTD.
    I implemented the system into my life when I had a slow and rather calm term at university (only studying and no working). It greatly helped me as the initial process of collecting and organising didn´t take forever (as there weren´t that many things to do).
    Since I found my way of using the system I can now slowly increase the complexity of the system to account for my increasing obligations and tasks.

    Just a recommendation...

  7. DanishGTD: I've read David Allen's first two books, and the third is on my reading list. I've enjoyed them and picked up some decent tips. But the whole full blown system just isn't for me.

    Maybe I'm just jealous that I dont have anyone I can delegate stuff to.

  8. @JJ
    Have you ever read the Zen to Done guide? It incorporates a lot of GTD but in a simpler way...

    And to keep this FF (and not GTD)-related, the ZTD system works brilliantly in a FF!


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