Hack Your Moleskine GTD Style

Updated: You can now see my step-by-step process for turning a Moleskine into a Student-based GTD system.

I just found this amazing post on HylineSkies that shows you how to set up your moleskine to help in “Getting Things Done.” I love using my Moleskine and have had one since we first moved to California (August 2003). A friend of mine bought me my first one while we were visiting the Crystal Cathedral. Quite a memorable beginning with these things!

Moleskine I am the kind of person that likes to write stuff down, so I really liked learning about how to use my notebook for even more things. I use my Moleskine to journal, write songs, poetry, take notes, catalogue ideas for research, blogging and articles, draw pictures, brainstorms diagrams, even sketch website designs. Very few of those ideas ever get used but I find that in jotting stuff down I am better able to process things.

I’ve found that carrying around a small little notebook is conducive for all this. Another useful function of the notebook is it’s handy pocket in the back. Currently in the pocket of my large-ruled Moleskine I’ve got a picture of George Fox’s tombstone (I kid you not), so next time you bump into me be sure to ask to see it.

I am going to consider using my Moleskine for more of a project planner (like this GTD thing), it migh make be very useful during all this reading and research.

If you liked this – bookmark it at delicious.

Follow up post on HylineSkies
Jerry Brito
PigPog Introduction of GTD
PigPog Method

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11 responses to “Hack Your Moleskine GTD Style”

  1. Wess…this is a godsend. I’ve been trying to figure out how to best utilize my moleskine (I too prefer the large ruled), incorporating both tasks and projects. Thanks for pointing to this. It’s looks like a great system.


  2. Thanks Drew. If you end up using it you should let us know, or send some pictures and how you go about categorizing it. I think there is room for a GTD system customized for theologians!

    Part of my problem is I have a hard time committing to using either only paper objects for calendar, todo’s, project or only computer stuff. I kind of use a little of both – but then it gets confusing. So I am trying to think of a way to incorporate both options in a manageable way.

  3. Wess, I use a Moleskine and a Moleskine weekly planner (which is aweseome)–I’m not a big fan of the GTD system (too much work for me), but I find the Moleskine is a great place to dump ideas. I write down all of my tasks and action items in the weekly planner, then transfer them to my Google task list and calendar.

    That way I have copies in both places–whether I’m out or at a computer. It seems like extra work to duplicate them, but I need to have it in both a physical and portable format–I tried PDAs, but they’re just not as fun as blank books.

    Anyway, regardless, I really enjoyed the post and am glad to see other people as retentive about their organizational systems as me:)

  4. Hi Wess,
    I’ve read of similar moleskin hacks (see this and this) and have had a “hacked” Moleskin for about four months now. I don’t go too overboard, it’s more of a low-fi hack.

    I use it whenever I need to take written notes–phone conversations, interviews, thoughts while leading a workshop session. Once done I edit what needs follow-up into Backpack, which works much better for my project management and to-do lists (you can share project pages, plus I like being able to keep it clean and pared down). My Backpack method is influenced by GTD but I think the system can get a little over-wrought and try to hold to greater simplicity.

    I number and date my Moleskin pages. Each page is devoted to only one subject (typically one conversation/interview). Near the back I have an index page marked off by a day-glo post-it note. There I have each topic listed with corresponding page numbers.

    Once I’ve tranferred my notes to the computer I generally don’t look at the Moleskin pages, but it’s nice to have the raw notes available in an organized fashion if I need to refer to them.

    I don’t have any tombstone pictures, alas. Maybe I need to find one, if it’s the new hip thing to have…

  5. Hey Martin,
    Thanks for the tips on your Moleskine. You should take some pictures of it and do a walk through if you have some time. I was just talking to my housemate about this today and we were saying we like the idea, if it would be pretty simplistic and work well with an only calendar and todo list – yours sounds like that.

    Plus I’d want to work into it some kind of book list (to buy, to find and read, those ones read) and a blogging section.

    I like how you’ve got an index in yours too – that sounds helpful.

    I would definitely try to find some cool picture to keep in the back just in case you’re at a really boring meeting and need something to help distract the person sitting beside you…

  6. glad to see ppl are catching on to using pens/paper instead of digital devices for everything. one comment i’d like to make about gtd and the moleskin is that the structure is a little rigid for my taste. maybe this i because my moleskin (im on my 9th or 10th btw) is about 50% drawings/sketches and 50% information/note taking etc. has anyone else noticed this at all?