• When Bill Westerman's day starts to get away from him he creates a quick diagram like this.
  • Task completed
  • Task deferred
  • Decided not to do it
  • Important
  • Not started yet
  • For "work stuff" Bill starts at the top of the page and works his way down.
  • For "personal stuff" Bill starts the list at the bottom of the page and works his way up.
  • "Here's where the day went to crap"

    -- Bill Westerman
  • I'll do breakouts like this when I need to add info to a to-do - billwesterman
  • Post-It Note tabs. One for today (this one), and one farther back in the notebook for my master list (Home to-do, Technology to-do) - billwesterman
  • Whenever you see this mark, it's because I deferred it - and moved it to a page farther down into the book. - billwesterman

Time-management software -- offline version

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Bill Westerman has joined the back-to-paper movement. Here are a couple of Bill's ingenous methods for managing his time and to-do lists in his notebook.

Bill prefers the Miquelrius notebook (shown here).

Roll over the photo to see how it works.

View 20 more comments

  1. ml19723 80 months ago | reply

    Great way to manage time. It is hard to beat pen and paper.

  2. penchoang 80 months ago | reply

    This system is very intriguing to me.
    I've always been a pen & paper kind of person.
    I just recently found GTD, but have not taken the leap yet... maybe it's a little to detailed for me.

    Here's my question (call for ideas):
    I feel the need to see my projects and my next actions together.

    For example, I could write a project in outline form with the next action steps falling in line under the project title.
    This seems odd, because the GTD system is to look at one next action at a time, and breaking the project down into an outline doesn't allow room for edits.

    So then I get stuck in wondering how much free space to leave between one project & the next... room for edits & additions.

    I hope this makes sense. It's kind of trying to merge a project list and a to-do list together. I just have a feeling that I'd be more productive if I saw them together.

    Please help with ideas & suggestions!

  3. DanGTD 76 months ago | reply

    For implementing GTD you can use this web-based application:


    You can use it to manage your goals, projects and tasks, set next actions and contexts, use checklists, schedules and a calendar.
    A mobile version is available too.

  4. Lucile_Yann 75 months ago | reply

    Looks really nice, really inspiring!


  5. billwesterman 71 months ago | reply

    Hey everyone, there's a growing Facebook group around GSD ... www.facebook.com/pages/Getting-Sh-t-Done/31316336794

  6. Mike Rohde 65 months ago | reply

    Bill, just wanted to let you know I've reverted to this system at work last week and am really enjoying pen and paper again. :-)

  7. swimmor 64 months ago | reply

    Hi, I'm an admin for a group called Productivity, Kanban, GTD, Lean, and we'd love to have this added to the group!

  8. Hucksgirl44 63 months ago | reply

    Quick question, my 15yr old son has add and I am finding that the regular school planners do not work for him. Has anyone tried this system for their high school students? If so how does it work, or have you used something else? HELP !!!!!

  9. mimiywan 61 months ago | reply

    I see that no one has mentioned the Claire Fontaine notebooks. I love them! They are 90g so much better paper quality than the ones referenced and the page sizes are a bit bigger than moleskine. I just wish there were more pages, the graph paper notebook is only 192 pages (not sure why that count).

  10. cirklagirl 59 months ago | reply

    Wow... I never realized that we could do little image maps on Flickr. This is so cool, Bill. Thanks for sharing this!

  11. captcreate 58 months ago | reply

    Hi, I'm an admin for a group called Open notebooks, and we'd love to have this added to the group!

  12. Ashley Spurlin 40 months ago | reply

    I'm so happy to see someone else using the Miquelrius notebooks. I ADORE them.

  13. DrToothygrin 20 months ago | reply

    How do you deal with checking items off your master list? Do you check them off as you complete tasks or do a mass update of the master list every few weeks for example?

  14. billwesterman 19 months ago | reply

    @DrToothygrin, I definitely check them off one-by-one as they are completed. Gives a sense of accomplishment.

  15. short term effect 12 months ago | reply

    What are the scribbles to the left of some of the items? Do they mean anything?

  16. a2jc4life 9 months ago | reply

    I really like the idea of this, but am apparently too stupid to figure out the image map that folks are talking about. I see an image, and only an image If I hover over it - nothing. If I click on it, I just get the next picture. What am I doing wrong?

  17. lesa.stewart@att.net 8 months ago | reply

    @a2jc4life, you have to position the cursor over the outline boxes and a little narrative box should appear with information or instructions.

  18. billwesterman 4 weeks ago | reply

    @robcollier @a2jc4life i don't see the pop-ups any more either. i do have a small description on my website, though, at blog.utilware.com/gsd ... also, the little squiggles to the left were from a previous method i used to highlight important items

  19. dgray_xplane 4 weeks ago | reply

    The image maps are working for me.

  20. dgray_xplane 4 weeks ago | reply

    Yeah Bill, I think you've shared that link already at least once in this thread, thanks again.

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