View Full Version : The simplest system for getting things done
03-31-2008, 03:27 AM
Has anyone heard of our organizing tool The Daybook? I was astounded when I recently saw a newspaper feature on GTD and found that our humble Daybook allows you to follow David Allen's advice in such an elegant manner. It's a book you keep open on your desk and take with you to meetings etc, where you keep all your written information in. Write lists, prioritize, check who you've delegated an action to and who has delegated to you, take notes in meetings and during phone conversations, and have a beautifully simple cross-checking system which makes sure nothing slips through the cracks. Daybooks are so simple you won't even realize you're using an organizer. Check out our website http://www.qapublishing.com.au
03-31-2008, 08:09 AM
I would love to see more about your product, are there screen shots of the pages ?
03-31-2008, 08:44 AM
I'd love to see more pictures too. Is it just the white page and the yellow page that appear on your Web site?
03-31-2008, 07:15 PM
ggoldman and jennifergoerge, thanks for your interest. The pages on our web site (www.qapublishing.com.au) are just about it. It really is that simple.
The white pages form the majority of the book. All you do is keep your Daybook open on your desk and write everything on those pages (no more sticky notes to misplace, no more notepads, loose bits of paper etc). You can use as many pages each day as you need - simply date the pages as you go. (Some days you will need to write down more than on other days.) In meetings you can take notes quickly - this is much easier than transferring information from notepads or trying to key things into a laptop or electronic organiser while trying to concentrate on what is being said.
The yellow pages are part of the cross-checking system which makes sure you don't forget to deal with something. How this works: Every 14 white pages you are prompted by a yellow 'Outstanding Action Summary' page to review any unfinished items in the previous 14 pages. You then bring forward any unfinished items and they become your priority before you move on to the next lot of white pages.
But there is no need to read over absolutely everything when you get to a yellow page, because as you finish everything on a particular white page, you colour in the triangle in the top corner of the page. So when you go back to check for unfinished actions, you only need to check those pages on which you haven't coloured in the triangle. No other organiser has a system like this, which is the simplest system we have been able to find.
There is one other page, which is on the back of each yellow page, and this is a time line task planner. Some people use this, others don't. It seems to depend on the type of work you do. It's there if you want to get an overview of any upcoming projects, and it can help to organise your thoughts on what needs doing.
The Daybook's size (210mm x 295mm) and each book has 126 general work pages (the white pages you use on a day-to-day basis) plus 9 outstanding action summary pages, which are part of the simple cross-checking system.
When you finish with a Daybook, you keep it for future reference, and you start a new one. At the front of each book is a space to put the start date and the finish date of that book.
Hope this helps.
04-01-2008, 04:54 AM
Why is this not an advertisement?
04-01-2008, 06:39 AM
Why is this not an advertisement?
It is an advertisement of sorts, but it is relevant, informative, and not very aggressive. I was not offended by it, but at $30 a book, the daybook is pricey.
04-01-2008, 09:20 AM
Just to clarify...the term "day book" is also used for a "tickler" book. Often at radio or TV stations or in the office part of a hospital ward, the tickler is used to put anything in that needs to be acted upon on a certain day, especially press releases where the announcer might want to sort through and decide what fits in that day. In the hospital ward, it might be announcements that everyone should read who is coming in for the various shifts. I know this from working in these places.
04-01-2008, 10:56 AM
Hi, Where is the newspaper article talking about GTD and the Daybook? I would like to read it. Thanks, Trish
04-01-2008, 12:32 PM
Hi, Where is the newspaper article talking about GTD and the Daybook? I would like to read it. Thanks, TrishThey don't actually say it was an article about GTD and the Daybook. They only said they read an article and realised how the two would work together.
Having so far defended them I'd just like to point out that the Daybook system they use could easily be adopted in any notebook. The spiral bound ones would be best, but all you need to do is review what's happened every few days - that'd be the weekly review then - and write up the outstanding actions. You could even colour the corner of pages where all the actions have been completed. Total cost for the system - no more than you'd usually pay for a note book.:cool:
04-01-2008, 04:57 PM
I appreciate all your comments. I suppose my original post was an ad of sorts, but we are not a huge stationery company, just a husband and wife team who ended up producing these books because we needed something like them for our work (architect and editor) and couldn't find anything already in existence. When I saw the article on GTD (in Australia's Sydney Morning Herald's Good Weekend section, on Sat March 29) I looked up GTD, and you know the rest.
Yes, Daybooks are pricey if you're not in Australia because depending on where you are, half or more of that price is the postage cost, and then there's the package too. In Oz we've priced the book at $15 (AUD) ex tax (with tax 16.95). We don't actually make all that much on them at all.
The most expensive part of producing them is inserting the yellow pages. Every printer I've spoken to says there is no machine that will do this and so those pages need to be inserted manually.
And yes, you could just use a notepad and format it yourself, but then you could do the same instead of buying a diary or calendar. You could even buy blank paper and rule the lines too and make your own notepad. It's all about adding value.
Would love to hear any other questions or even suggestions for better production techniques.
04-02-2008, 01:05 AM
I also wanted to add that I find the GTD philosophy interesting as we've been stressing for years (since 1992 and the start of the whole Total Quality Management and QM movement) how important it is to get things out of your head and written down, whether that's in an electronic or paper-based organiser. So many of the problems that arose in our own work places were the result of people not communicating well with each other, or rather not being clear about what they asked someone else to to and then in turn the person being delegated to would interpret the instruction incorrectly. One of the key reasons for Daybooks was to clarify communication between staff and between staff and management. When you have to write something down, and when you realise someone is writing down what you are saying, it gets you to clarify a little better.
Also, so many people would just work and keep all their information in their head. Then if they left or were absent for a while it became difficult to get that information back into the organisation. Writing it all down in a Daybook was meant to keep any work-related information at work, and easily accessible by anyone. So when a person left, they would leave their Daybooks behind too and others could see where everything was at.
Sorry about the length of this post but we're actually interested if any of these issues are of concern to anyone. There's been a huge push towards electronic organisers and we're not sure if there is much of a future for paper-based ones. But in our own experience, people don't record as much information electronically as they would in a book.
04-02-2008, 02:31 AM
I'm not knocking your Daybook system - indeed I ordered one so I can get a better feel for it, just waiting for it to arrive. It's efficacy depends on people using it, and that's the same for any system be it your Daybook, Time Manager, a PDA, or even GTD. What it boils down to is discipline. So if you have the discipline you can do time management using any tools that you choose.
I've tried various time management and work processing systems in the past thirty years or so. Looking at the latest ideas, changing my system, looking for "the system" that gives me the ultimate answer. I'm still looking...
I've realised that there probably isn't an ultimate answer to my quest - I can do it using the tools I already have. I just need to add discipline and that's where it gets hard! ;)
What it boils down to is what GTD is all about, and this is where your Daybook fits in so neatly, is having a place to capture everything and a place to store what you need, and JFDI! Nothing magical.
JFDI - is a bit like RTFM - Just F****** Do it (replace the stars with whatever seems appropriate). :shock:
04-02-2008, 02:46 AM
I ordered one too and was feeling like a dork until I saw that Robert ordered one. R, what is RTFM? I have to see this thing even if I am paying $15 in postage. It sounds like a sort of uber capture. You still need a calendar however but that could be anything I guess. I am all for anything simple and anything that streamlines and anything that makes it easier to Just Do The System.:D
04-02-2008, 03:13 AM
R, what is RTFM?
Read the Friendly Manual. Although the word Friendly can be replaced with some other suitable word ;)
04-02-2008, 09:36 AM
I probably will order one too at some point. I am always looking for simple effective paper based tools. I agree with the comment that the electronic stuff can be distracting. Are people typing notes, or checking their email, with paper chances are they are writing notes. I have been most effective when I stick to a a few simple rules; paper, one thing, use it.
04-22-2008, 07:55 PM
I haven't ordered one of these, but I did find the idea to be a very good hack. I am overloaded with captured thoughts, ideas, etc... that I can't get to and that are backing up my system and blocking mental energy.
I am trying an experiment with a bound notebook that my office provides and highlighting the right edge of every 8-10 pages to use to sort out the useful stuff I right down as opposed to all of the stuff which seems interesting when I first think of it, but proves pretty useless later on.
I am also trying think through how to implement a similar system electronically using my Palm TX. Maybe a recurring task to review unfiled memos or some such.
04-29-2008, 12:26 AM
I'm wondering if any of you who bought a Daybook has used it yet and, if so, what you think?
05-02-2008, 03:09 PM
Thanks for the link.
This seems to produce a very basic system. How exactly does the daybook handle multiple contexts and project plans?
That said, I should say that I do something very similar with yellow legal pads. Every new item that comes in I add to a master list on a cheap (read, free) pad. I tag each item with a context and/or due date. If I defer the task, I put it in parentheses. If decide not to do it, I simply cross it out.
Each day, I make a daily todo list from my master list.
I found that a single, catch-all list with easy-to-skim tags was much easier to manage than multiple context lists. It also helps me to see which tasks I'm procrastinating on.
05-03-2008, 06:06 AM
Madalu - it depends on how you use it. You could easily use your system in a Daybook (but it would not be free :grin:) and you would have the benefit of the cross-checking system which prompts you to sign off that everything has been dealt with every 14 pages. Your context and deadline tags can be written in and next to the columns provided on the pages.
Some people who work on multiple projects use a Daybook for each project. This tends to work where the projects are self-contained such as an architect working on a number of jobs. My preference is to use just one Daybook at a time and record everything in it - that works well for my type of work. Sometimes I write multiple titles in the title bar at the top of each page if there are a few very specific items I know I'll need to refer to again on a particular page.
We've found that people use Daybooks in their own unique way - I think it really depends on the type of work you do, how much information you need or want to write, how you want to reference that information, and personal preference and style. They really are not complicated and nor do they provide a profound solution - the essential idea is simply to have one place to record all relevant (whatever that means to you) information. You can then access it easily when you need to and you can feel confident that everything you need to have recorded, has actually been recorded. This does depend on actually writing everything down, but most people tend to do this anyway, but in a more complex way (time managers, electronic organisers) or in many places (diaries, post-it notes, notepads, backs of hands) instead of in one place.
Re your system, I do something similar to the parentheses when I defer an action - I draw an arrow after it, which indicates to me I will deal with it sometime later, and if I know when I will deal with it, I put the date on the arrow. Then when I get to the next yellow outstanding action summary page in my Daybook, if I find any arrows in the previous lot of pages, I bring thsoe actions forward to the yellow page and try to set a deadline for the action or cross it off if it's no longer relevant.
05-13-2008, 11:38 PM
How about releasing that daybook as an epaper/ pdf so anyone could print own books. Just purchasing a master-copy in electronic form and then, all paper-costs etc. should be on customers shoulders.
How about that? Would this be a way thinking about?
Regards from Germany, I am very interested in your product, but shipping costs are too high to fit.
05-25-2008, 07:01 PM
Thanks for your interest and suggestion Thorsten. We've already thought about making a pdf file of The Daybook available but I'm not sure people would go to the trouble to get the pages spiral bound and also print the cover on a thicker paper stock or board. Would you actually do that if you could purchase the books this way? I'd be interested to know if anyone on this forum would go to that trouble.
There's also the issue of pricing - if the customer can print endless copies of the book, how do you price it?
05-29-2008, 12:47 PM
I think printing would not be the problem.
Okay, the "endless use" of one pdf is something to think about. Do you think everyone is purchasing books every year? Maybe a doubled-price could be the right one. Maybe 20 or 30 USD.
You have to rethink for that, for sure, but believe me, like OpenSource in the software-market, maybe you could benefit from that model as a support-advertiser. Set the product "as free as you are able to" and get value from supporting, add-ons etc.
Maybe an idea?
Regards from Germany,
06-05-2008, 04:25 PM
Looks like a really good idea. I'm going to give it a try when I get back from my travels.