How To GTD a Moleskine Notebook: Step-By Step

How To GTD a Moleskine Notebook: Step-By-Step

Implementing the Getting Things Done (GTD) method in a Moleskine notebook can revolutionize your productivity and organization. The iconic Moleskine is a timeless companion for journaling, note-taking, and planning, but with the GTD approach, it becomes a powerful tool for getting things done.

To successfully GTD a Moleskine notebook, follow these steps:

1. Set up your notebook for GTD: Reserve the first few pages for an index and create sections for different categories like projects, next actions, and waiting for.

2. Collect: Regularly capture all your thoughts, ideas, and tasks in your notebook, ensuring nothing slips through the cracks.

3. Process: Review your notes, determine the next actions required, and categorize them accordingly.

4. Organize: Assign each task to a project or context, prioritize them, and schedule them if necessary.

5. Reflect: Regularly review your progress, update your lists, and make adjustments as needed.

By incorporating the GTD method into your Moleskine notebook, you’ll experience a profound improvement in your ability to manage tasks, stay organized, and increase overall productivity. Embrace the power of GTD and watch your productivity soar!

Step 1. Buy Your Tools For this GTD Hack

To successfully GTD (Get Things Done) a Moleskine Notebook, you’ll need a few essential tools. Here’s what you’ll need to get started:

1. Moleskine Notebook: Choose a notebook that suits your needs and preferences. Moleskine offers various options, including different sizes and paper types. Select one that feels comfortable to write in and fits well with your organizational style.

2. Pens and Markers: Opt for high-quality pens or markers that won’t bleed through the paper. Fine-tipped pens like the Pilot G2 or Micron pens are ideal for writing with precision. Experiment with different colors to categorize and highlight tasks effectively.

3. Sticky Notes: These come in handy for jotting down quick notes or reminders that you can easily transfer to your Moleskine later. Choose sticky notes in different sizes and colors to differentiate between types of tasks or ideas.

4. Dividers or Tabs: To keep your Moleskine organized, use dividers or tabs to separate different sections. This will enable you to quickly navigate through your notebook and find specific information.

Step 2. Establish a Layout and Structure

Before diving into using your Moleskine notebook, determine how you want to structure it. Consider the following suggestions for an efficient layout:

1. Index Page: Create an index page at the beginning of your notebook to keep track of important sections and their corresponding page numbers. This will make it easier to find specific information later on.

2. Monthly or Weekly Spreads: Allocate a section in your notebook for monthly or weekly spreads, depending on your preference. Here, you can record upcoming events, deadlines, or appointments. Use tables or bullet point lists to organize your schedule.

3. Project Pages: Dedicate specific pages for each project you’re working on. Include project details, timelines, and action steps. Use headings and subheadings to make the information easily scannable.

4. To-Do Lists: Create dedicated pages or sections for to-do lists. Prioritize tasks using bullet points or checkboxes. Consider using different colors or symbols to categorize tasks based on urgency or importance.

Step 3. Implement the GTD System

Now that you’ve set up your Moleskine notebook, it’s time to implement the GTD system. Here’s how:

1. Capture: Whenever you have a new task, idea, or reminder, quickly jot it down in your Moleskine. Use sticky notes if you’re on the go and transfer them to the appropriate sections later. The goal is to capture everything that comes to mind to prevent anything from slipping through the cracks.

2. Clarify: Regularly review the items you’ve captured in your Moleskine. Determine what each task is and decide if it’s actionable or not. If a task requires action, provide a clear description and set a deadline or reminder if necessary. If it’s not actionable, consider deleting it or transferring it to a reference section for future reference.

3. Organize: Take the tasks that require action and categorize them into appropriate sections or projects. Use dividers or tabs to separate different areas of focus. Cross-reference tasks with your index page to quickly find the relevant information when needed.

4. Review: Dedicate regular time to review your Moleskine and ensure that all tasks and projects are up to date. Check off completed tasks, update timelines, and assess priorities. Use this time to declutter and reorganize if needed.

5. Engage: Finally, take action. Work through your to-do lists and focus on the tasks that align with your goals and priorities. Use your Moleskine as a guide and refer back to it often to stay on track.

By following these steps and embracing the GTD system with your Moleskine notebook, you’ll enhance your productivity and stay organized in your personal and professional life. Experiment with different formats and adapt the system to your individual needs, making it a valuable tool for achieving your goals.

Step 2. Set Up the Moleskine Notebook for GTD

Once you have your Moleskine notebook ready, it’s time to set it up specifically for the Getting Things Done (GTD) method. This will help you stay organized and streamline your productivity. Here are some key steps to follow:

1. Divide your notebook into sections: Start by dividing your Moleskine notebook into different sections for different purposes. You can use sticky tabs or simply mark pages with headings to easily locate different sections.

2. Capture ideas and tasks: Create a dedicated section in your notebook to capture all your thoughts, ideas, and tasks. This will serve as your “inbox” and help you get everything out of your head and onto paper. Use bullet points or numbering to list these items for clarity.

3. Create project pages: For every project you have on your plate, create specific pages in your Moleskine notebook. These project pages will contain all the relevant information, including goals, action steps, deadlines, and any additional notes. Use headers and subheads to organize the information effectively.

4. Use a calendar for time-sensitive tasks: Dedicate a section of your Moleskine notebook for a calendar or monthly planner. Use it to record time-sensitive tasks, appointments, and deadlines. This will help you stay on top of your schedule and ensure you don’t miss any important dates.

5. Set up a “waiting for” list: In GTD, it’s crucial to have a list of tasks or projects that are awaiting someone else’s response or action. Create a designated “waiting for” list in your notebook, where you can jot down these items and keep track of them.

6. Create reference pages: Alongside your project pages, consider setting up reference pages for frequently used information or resources. This can include contact lists, important reference material, or detailed instructions. Having these pages readily available will save you time and keep you organized.

7. Customize and personalize: Make your Moleskine notebook uniquely yours by adding personal touches. You can use different colored pens or highlighters to categorize tasks or add inspirational quotes and stickers to keep yourself motivated. Personalization can enhance your overall GTD experience.

Remember, the key to successfully using a Moleskine notebook for GTD is to keep it simple and organized. Regularly review and update your notebook to ensure nothing falls through the cracks. With the right setup and consistent implementation, your Moleskine notebook can become a powerful tool for managing tasks and achieving your goals.

Step 3. Divide Your Moleskine Up With Labels

Dividing your Moleskine notebook into sections with labels is a great way to stay organized and ensure that you can quickly access different types of information. Here are some steps to help you effectively divide your Moleskine notebook:

1. Create a Table of Contents: Before you start labeling your notebook, it’s helpful to create a table of contents at the beginning. This will serve as a roadmap for your different sections and make it easier to find specific information later on.

2. Identify Your Categories: Think about the different categories or topics that you anticipate needing in your notebook. These could be work-related projects, personal goals, or any other areas that require organization. Write down these categories as headings in your table of contents.

3. Assign Labels to Sections: Once you’ve identified your categories, assign labels to each section in your Moleskine notebook. You can use sticky tabs, washi tape, or even just write the labels directly on the page. Make sure to place these labels at the edge of the page, so they are easily visible even when the notebook is closed.

4. Add Subsections: If you have more detailed topics within each category, consider creating subsections. You can use smaller sticky tabs or write the subsection labels directly on the page under the main category label. This will further enhance the organization of your notebook and make it easier to find specific information within larger categories.

5. Use Color Coding: To make your labels even more visually distinct, consider using different colors for each category. Color coding can help you quickly identify sections and navigate your notebook with ease.

6. Leave Space for Flexibility: It’s essential to leave some blank pages between sections or at the end of your notebook for unexpected topics or ideas that may arise later. This will give you the flexibility to add new sections as needed without disrupting the existing organization.

By dividing your Moleskine notebook with labels and creating distinct sections, you’ll be able to easily navigate through your notes and find information quickly. This organization system can significantly increase your productivity and efficiency when using your Moleskine notebook. Remember to update your table of contents as you add new sections or topics to ensure your roadmap remains up to date.

Step 4. Date Every Page

In order to effectively GTD (Get Things Done) with your Moleskine Notebook, it is important to date every page. Dating each page allows for better organization and helps you easily track your tasks and ideas over time. Here are the key reasons why dating every page is crucial:

1. Easy Reference: By dating every page, you can quickly locate and refer back to specific entries or tasks. This is especially useful when you need to find information from a previous date or want to review your progress over time.

2. Chronological Order: When you date every page, your notebook becomes a chronological record of your thoughts, tasks, and ideas. This helps you understand the flow of your work and provides a clear timeline of your activities.

3. Track Progress: Dating every page allows you to track your progress on various tasks and projects. You can easily see how much you have accomplished over a certain period and identify areas where you may need to allocate more time or resources.

To date every page, simply write the date at the top or bottom corner of each page. You can choose to write the full date (e.g., “April 1, 2022”) or use a shorter format (e.g., “04/01/22” or “1/4/22”). Whichever format you prefer, consistency is key.

Consider using a consistent format for your dates to make it easier to locate specific entries when flipping through your notebook. For example, if you prefer the shorter format, always write the day before the month or vice versa. This will ensure your entries are in a logical sequence.

If you have a particularly busy day or need to further prioritize your tasks, you can use symbols or indicators to highlight the urgency or importance of certain entries. For example, you can use an exclamation mark (!) for critical tasks or a star (*) for high-priority items.

By dating every page, you create a structured system that helps you stay organized and focused. It saves you time and effort in searching for information, enables you to track your progress effectively, and provides a valuable historical record of your work. So, don’t forget to date every page in your Moleskine Notebook and unleash the full potential of GTD.

Step 4. Create a Project Support Section

Once you’ve captured your project ideas and organized them into actionable tasks, it’s time to create a dedicated project support section in your Moleskine notebook. This section will serve as a central hub for all the information and resources related to each project.

1. Start by reserving a few pages specifically for the project support section. You can label these pages as “Project Support” or use a unique heading for each project.

2. Within each project support page, consider using bullet points or tables to list key project details such as the project’s objective, timeline, and stakeholders. This will provide a quick overview of the project whenever you need to reference it.

3. Include any relevant notes, meeting minutes, or brainstorming sessions in this section. For instance, if you have a meeting related to a specific project, jot down important discussions or decisions made during the meeting. This will help you stay organized and have all the essential information at your fingertips when working on the project.

4. Consider including a dedicated space within the project support section to track project milestones and progress. You can create a table with columns like “Milestone,” “Target Date,” and “Actual Date” to keep track of your progress. This will give you a visual representation of your project’s timeline and help you stay on track.

5. Additionally, you can use this section to store any reference materials, such as research papers, articles, or templates, that are relevant to the project. Having all these resources in one place will streamline your workflow and save you time searching for them later.

Remember, the project support section is meant to be a dynamic and evolving part of your Moleskine notebook. As the project progresses, continue updating and adding new information to this section. By keeping all project-related materials organized in one place, you’ll enhance your productivity and ensure nothing slips through the cracks.

– “The Project Support Methodology” by Michel Thiry
– “Project Management for Humans” by Brett Harned

Step 5. Create a Calendar Section

Once you have organized your tasks and to-dos in your Moleskine notebook using the GTD method, it’s time to create a calendar section to help you stay on top of your schedule. Having a dedicated calendar section will allow you to easily plan and manage your appointments, meetings, and deadlines.

To create a calendar section, divide a few pages in your notebook into a grid-like format for each month. Start by labeling each page with the name of the month and the year at the top.

Next, create a grid with seven columns, representing the days of the week, and enough rows to cover the entire month. On the top row of the grid, write the days of the week (e.g., Sunday, Monday, Tuesday) and leave enough space in each cell to jot down your scheduled events.

Example Calendar Layout:


Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Having a dedicated calendar section in your notebook allows you to have a visual representation of your schedule. You can easily glance at your calendar and see what appointments or tasks you have for any given day.

To effectively use the calendar section, make it a habit to review and update it regularly. As you go through your day, add any new appointments or events to the corresponding date in the calendar. This way, you will never miss an important deadline or meeting.

Additionally, consider color-coding your calendar to further enhance its organization. Assign a specific color to different types of events or activities. For example, use red for important deadlines, blue for meetings, and green for personal events. This quick visual reference will make it easier for you to identify and prioritize your commitments.

Remember, the calendar section in your Moleskine notebook should work in conjunction with the other sections, such as your projects or next actions lists. By having a clear overview of both your tasks and schedule, you can effectively manage your time and ensure you stay on track with your goals.

Step 6. Keep Customizing Your Notebook

Once you have set up your Moleskine notebook according to the previous steps, it’s time to personalize it and make it truly your own. Customizing your notebook not only adds a touch of creativity but also ensures that it fits your unique needs and preferences. Here are a few ideas on how you can customize your Moleskine notebook:

1. Cover Art: Consider adding personalized cover art to your notebook. You can either draw your own design or print and paste an image that resonates with you. This not only adds a personal touch but also makes it easier to identify your notebook among others.

2. Dividers: If you use different sections in your notebook for different purposes, consider using dividers to separate them. You can create dividers by using colored paper or cardstock, or by using sticky notes tabs.

3. Index Pages: Designate a few pages at the beginning of your notebook as index pages. Use these pages to create an index or table of contents, where you can list the contents of each section or important pages. This will help you quickly find specific information when needed.

4. Page Markers: Use page markers or sticky tabs to mark important pages or sections in your notebook. This will allow you to easily access frequently referenced information.

5. Pocket Inserts: Many Moleskine notebooks come with a pocket on the inside back cover. Use this pocket to store small loose papers, business cards, or other important documents. You can also purchase additional adhesive pockets to add more storage options.

6. Stickers and Washi Tape: Add decorative stickers or washi tape to your notebook to make it visually appealing. These can be used to mark pages, create borders, or simply add some color to your notebook.

Remember, the goal of customizing your Moleskine notebook is to make it user-friendly, visually pleasing, and tailored to your unique needs. Experiment with different customization ideas and find what works best for you. Customizing your notebook will not only enhance your overall GTD system but also make the whole experience more enjoyable.

Step 7. Embrace Restrictions

Embracing restrictions is a key aspect of getting things done (GTD) with a Moleskine notebook. While it may initially seem counterintuitive to limit yourself, it can actually increase your productivity and focus. Here are some ways to embrace restrictions and optimize your use of a Moleskine notebook:

1. Set Boundaries: When using a Moleskine notebook, it’s important to define the scope of what you’ll use it for. Decide whether it will be exclusively for work-related tasks, personal goals, or a combination of both. This helps to prevent overwhelm and keeps you focused on the specific tasks at hand.

2. Use One Notebook for One Purpose: Instead of using multiple notebooks for different tasks, consider using one Moleskine notebook for each main area of your life. For example, have one notebook for work, another for personal goals, and another for creative ideas. This ensures that everything is organized and easily accessible within one notebook.

3. Prioritize Tasks: A Moleskine notebook has limited space, so it’s important to prioritize your tasks. Start each day by listing the most important tasks that need to be completed. Focus on these tasks first, and only move on to less important ones once these are done. This helps you stay on track and avoid overwhelm.

4. Use Symbols and Icons: Incorporating symbols and icons can be an effective way to visually represent tasks, deadlines, and priorities within your Moleskine notebook. You can use checkboxes to indicate completed tasks, exclamation marks for urgent tasks, and stars for high-priority items. These symbols help you quickly scan your notes and identify key action items.

5. Employ Time Blocking: Time blocking involves scheduling specific time slots for different activities in your Moleskine notebook. This technique helps you allocate dedicated time for important tasks and ensures that you make progress on them. Consider using a table format to visually block out your day and allocate time for various activities.

6. Experiment with Page Layouts: Moleskine notebooks come in various formats, including lined, dotted, and blank pages. Experiment with different page layouts to find what works best for you. Some people prefer the structure of lined pages, while others find freedom in the blank pages. The dotted pages can provide a balance between structure and flexibility.

7. Avoid Multitasking: Multitasking can lead to decreased productivity, so it’s important to avoid it when using a Moleskine notebook. Instead of trying to do multiple tasks simultaneously, focus on one task at a time. This allows you to give your full attention to each task, resulting in better quality work and faster completion times.

By embracing restrictions and optimizing your use of a Moleskine notebook, you can enhance your productivity and effectively get things done. Experiment with different techniques and find a system that works best for you, ensuring that your Moleskine notebook becomes a valuable tool in achieving your goals.

Why Didn’t I Use an App For My GTD System?

When it comes to organizing your tasks and staying productive, many people turn to digital apps and tools. However, there are still some who prefer the old-fashioned pen and paper approach. In this article, we will explore why some individuals choose to use a physical notebook, specifically a Moleskine, for their Getting Things Done (GTD) system.

The Benefits of a Moleskine Notebook

1. Tangibility: One of the primary reasons for using a physical notebook is the ability to physically interact with your tasks. Writing down your to-dos and crossing them off can provide a satisfying feeling of accomplishment that you may not experience with digital alternatives.

2. Minimal Distractions: Unlike digital apps, a Moleskine notebook doesn’t have distracting notifications or tempting internet browsing options. This can help you stay focused and avoid the urge to multitask, ultimately enhancing your productivity.

3. Creative Freedom: With a notebook, you have the flexibility to customize and organize your system to fit your specific needs. You can create different sections, add sketches or doodles if it helps your thought process, and design layouts that resonate with you. This personal touch can make your GTD system more enjoyable and engaging.

4. No Technology Dependence: Using an app for your GTD system requires a reliable internet connection and a charged device. On the other hand, a notebook is always accessible, regardless of battery life or network connectivity. This reliability can be crucial, especially when you need to jot down important tasks or reference your list in a time-sensitive situation.

5. Eye Comfort: Constantly staring at screens can strain your eyes and potentially cause ailments like digital eye strain or headaches. By using a Moleskine notebook, you can give your eyes a break from digital screens, promoting better eye health.

Moleskine GTD System Setup

Now that we’ve discussed the advantages of using a Moleskine notebook for your GTD system, let’s dive into the step-by-step process of setting it up.

1. Choose the Right Moleskine: There are various Moleskine notebook models available, so select one that suits your preferences and needs. Consider factors like size, layout (e.g., blank, ruled, or dot grid), and any special features you may require, such as a built-in pocket or an elastic closure.

2. Design Your Layout: Determine how you want your GTD system to appear physically. Create sections for different elements of GTD, such as inbox, projects, next actions, and reference materials. Use dividers, tabs, or dedicated pages for each section, ensuring easy navigation.

3. Set Up an Inbox: Designate a specific section or page as your inbox, where you can quickly jot down tasks and ideas as they come to you. This will help you capture everything without worrying about organizing it immediately.

4. Create Project Pages: For each project you have, create a dedicated page where you can outline the project’s purpose, goals, and tasks. Use bullet points or numbered lists to break down the steps needed to complete the project.

5. Establish Next Action Lists: Next action lists are crucial for GTD. Create a separate section or page where you can list all the actionable tasks you need to complete. Organize these tasks by context, such as work-related, home-related, or errands.

6. Schedule Regular Reviews: Regularly review your Moleskine GTD system to ensure tasks are up to date and organized correctly. Set aside dedicated time to review your inbox, project pages, and next action lists. This will help you stay on top of your tasks and make any necessary adjustments.

By following these steps and utilizing a Moleskine notebook for your GTD system, you can effectively manage your tasks, increase productivity, and enjoy the process.

Remember, the choice between a digital app and a physical notebook ultimately depends on your personal preferences and work style. Experiment with both and find the system that works best for you.

GTD a Moleskine: The Final Word

GTD, which stands for “Getting Things Done,” is a popular productivity system that helps individuals better manage their tasks and projects. Many people find Moleskine notebooks to be the perfect tool for implementing GTD, thanks to their high-quality paper, durable binding, and compact size. In this guide, we provide a step-by-step approach to GTD-ing a Moleskine notebook, so you can enhance your productivity and stay organized.

Step 1: Set Up Your Moleskine Notebook

Before diving into the GTD system, it’s important to set up your Moleskine notebook in a way that suits your needs. Start by labeling the first few pages as an index or table of contents. This will allow you to easily reference specific sections or projects later on. Next, divide your notebook into sections such as “Projects,” “Next Actions,” “Waiting For,” and “Someday/Maybe” using tabs or sticky notes. This way, you can categorize your tasks accordingly and find them quickly.

Step 2: Capture Everything

The key principle of GTD is to capture all tasks, ideas, and commitments in a reliable system. Use your Moleskine notebook as a central hub for recording everything that comes to mind. Make sure to jot down any thoughts, tasks, or ideas that pop up throughout the day. By capturing everything, you free up your mind from trying to remember them, allowing you to focus on the task at hand.

Step 3: Clarify and Organize

After capturing all your tasks and ideas, it’s time to clarify and organize them. Review your notes regularly and determine what needs to be done. For each task, ask yourself if it’s actionable. If yes, determine the next physical action required to move it forward and write it down under the appropriate project or section in your Moleskine notebook. If a task isn’t actionable or doesn’t have a specific action, consider moving it to the “Someday/Maybe” section for future reference.

Step 4: Prioritize and Execute

Once you have clarified and organized your tasks, it’s time to prioritize and execute them. Review your list of next actions and determine which tasks are most important or time-sensitive. Use the Eisenhower Matrix or any other prioritization technique that resonates with you. Prioritizing tasks allows you to focus on what matters most and ensures that important deadlines are met. As you complete each task, mark it as done and celebrate your progress.

Step 5: Review Regularly

To maintain an effective GTD system, it’s crucial to regularly review your Moleskine notebook. Set aside dedicated time, preferably weekly, to review your projects, next actions, and waiting for lists. This ensures that you stay on top of your commitments, update any changes, and identify any tasks that need attention. Regular reviews also help you maintain a clear overview of your workload and prevent tasks from falling through the cracks.

GTD a Moleskine: The Final Word

Implementing GTD with a Moleskine notebook can significantly enhance your productivity and organization. By setting up your notebook effectively, capturing everything, clarifying and organizing tasks, prioritizing, executing, and regularly reviewing, you can stay on top of your commitments and accomplish more. Remember, GTD is a flexible system, so feel free to adapt it to suit your preferences and work style. With practice and consistency, your Moleskine notebook can become a powerful tool for productivity and success.