Saturday, April 21, 2007

GTD with OneNote: Out and About

This will be my final post on GTD with OneNote.

For the full series follow the links

1. GTD with OneNote: Set up
2. GTD with OneNote: Collection
3. GTD with OneNote: Processing
4. GTD with OneNote: Organise
5. GTD with OneNote: Screen shots
6. GTD with OneNote: Deferred Items
7. GTD with OneNote: Email and Outlook

So far I have described by GTD with OneNote set up on my main computer. In this post I will explain what I do when away from home to keep on top of GTD.

I have various tools I use when away from base. These are:

1. Ultra Portable laptop
2. Windows Mobile 5 Phone
3. A paper notebook
4. A hipster PDA

What I take with me and what I use all depend on where I am going and what I am planning to do. In this post I'll just describe my electronic set up.

Ultra portable:

For any real work I take the ultra portable laptop - I keep copies of all my OneNote notebooks on this and sync over wireless with my main computer before leaving home. I then have access to the full range of my GTD set up and any other OneNote notes I may need.

Windows Mobile Phone:

I always have my phone with me. If I'm popping out to run errands or just socialise I will quickly create a summary page of my @Out contexts and drag this to sync with my OneNote Mobile on my phone (a more lo-fi way of doing this would be just to print out the summary page and take it with you).
I keep my schedule in outlook and this too is synced with my mobile.
I can take notes into OneNote Mobile - this also allows me to take photographs and make voice recordings so I always have a collection device with me.


Tony said...

What are you using as the ultra portable? I am currently thinking of going to a UMPC or tablet and doing my GTD system based on Outlook and OneNote 2007. It would be my future direction on the new hardware platform.

Currently, I am looking to do tweaks to my system based on Thinking Rock and EverNote - and also support as much as possible the use of my WM5 PDA/phone as the Ubiquitous Collection Device.

Nice work! I like it.

Rob said...


My "ultra portable" is a Sharp MV1214 - its years old and when i purchased it it was classed as an Ultra-portable 1.9kg and 4.5hrs battery life. Still serves its purpose just running onenote when i am away from my base. I too am looking at a more up to date solution but as I only use it for OneNote I can't really justify the expense at the moment. If money was not an issue I would going for a tablet I think - more screen real estate etc..

James said...


I'm following your system for OneNote & GTD and as a GTD newbie it seems to be working very well. I do have a couple questions about the process though when you have a moment:

1.) When I'm processing tasks, am I marking all by their context, or just the first one from every project/day?

2.) When I've completed a task, do I just use the 'check' version of the task to mark it complete or should it be moved elsewhere?

3)If I'm entering a new task and I already know that its something I'll do at work, is it OK to add that tag then, or is the formal processing step the only time you should be adding context?

Finally, I am going to (any day now) dig into the OneNote API and see if I can't work on some Outlook<->OneNote functions to assist in the process. Any requests?



Rob said...


Thanks for the questions.

1.When I'm processing tasks I tend to just add a context tab if it is a next action. A project can have several next actions in different contexts. I don't add context tags to items that are not ready or able to be done at present.
2. I just check off tasks when completed and keep them on the project page for future reference as needed.
3. I don't think there is any problem tagging a task as you enter it if you already know what context you will be doing it in.

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to say I have been trying to figure out how to put this stuff all together on my own for about a month now and you cleared it all up in 7 posts. I am going on to your outlook 2007 posts now but really appreciate all your help. Thanks so much.

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