Recently I posted my new twist on the excellent GTD system, Zen To Done (ZTD): The Ultimate Simple Productivity System. This is the first in a series of posts exploring each of the 10 Habits.
Habit: ubiquitous capture.
This habit is really straight from GTD with no variation. Carry a small notebook (or whatever capture tool works for you) and write down any tasks, ideas, projects, or other information that pop into your head. Get it out of your head and onto paper, so you don’t forget it.
ZTD asks you to pick a very simple, portable, easy-to-use tool for capture — a small notebook or small stack of index cards are preferred (but not mandated), simply because they are much easier to use and carry around than a PDA or notebook computer. When you get back to your home or office, empty your notes into your to-do list (a simple to-do list will work for now — context lists can come in a later habit).
I recommend analogue (paper) over digital for this habit, but if your PDA or smartphone works for you, go for it. The reason I think analogue works better is that it’s much faster — for digital, you not only have to pull it out, but you have to turn it on, go to the right program, click on an entry, and then enter through your entry system. With analogue, you just pull out the notebook and pen and write. Either way works, but I think that the simpler and easier the tools, the more likely you are to use them. Do what works for you, though.
The key with this capture habit is to write things down right away, before you forget, and to empty out your notebook as soon as you get home or to work. Don’t procrastinate with these two steps, or they will pile up and you will be less likely to do them. Stay on top of it!
Also, carry it around, everywhere. No matter what system you use, it should be very easy to carry around, and easy to jot down ideas quickly. You need to carry it wherever you go, including to bed, in stores, if you’re hospitalized, wherever.
Read about the method of creating these habits: ZTD: Forming the 10 Habits.