Starting with paper

My very first task lists lived on spare sheets of notebook paper in my English binder for school. There’s something oddly satisfying about physically crossing off a task, and being able to write notes, add sketches, and explain the task as little or as much as I needed was an added bonus.


For tasks, I’ve moved to a quick capture system, partially inspired by Thomas Frank. I use a Moleskin notebook (gift from the grandparents, but any collection of paper will work here), and every thought that pops into my head goes in here. There’s no real structure, unless I created one for a specific series of notes. This notebook is just for getting thoughts and ideas out of my head.

No notebook? No problem. I use Google Keep on all of my devices, since it syncs nicely, has some killer tie ins with the rest of the Google apps, and is all around just easy to use. Evernote is another popular option here.


The goal with the notebook, paper or not, is getting those ideas captured and saved somewhere. In my Calendar (which we’ll be exploring in parts this week), I schedule time at the end of the day to process everything in those notebooks/apps and assign them as tasks, events, or general ideas for the future.

Capturing those random thoughts,  tasks, and questions throughout the day helps me remove distractions; I’m not trying to remember small reminders or ideas. By getting everything out of my head ASAP, I give myself more headspace to focus on the specific tasks I have for that day.

Do you use a notebook, or maybe a notes app? Let me know what your process looks like down below or on Twitter.