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Setting Up My GTD Moleskine 2009

Moleskine I'm going on my fourth moleskine as my primary David Allen Getting Things Done (GTD) capture device.  The first one covered 2005, for some reason 2006-2007 was captured in one, and last year (2008) went into a single moleskine.

Here are some of the steps I've refined in setting up my 2009 moleskine:

  • Use my Dymo labler to print up my labels (see below) and contact information in case I loose my moleskine.
  • Contact information is taped right up front and includes cellphone, email addresses, home phone & address; and $20 reward notice if returned.
  • Labels: References - Information [start on page 1]; Inbox - Notes - Tasks [starts on page 9]; Calendar [page 192]; Contacts [page 190]; Roles & Responsibilites [page 188]; and Projects [page 174].
  • Print out a small 2009 year calendar via Pocketmod (tape on front inside cover)
  • Print out a small DIY Planner Hipster PDA GTD Reference Card (tape on back inside cover)

Some things I've learned over the last couple of years:

  • Form-factor and ease of pen & paper has been very beneficial to me.
  • Thinking of the "notes" section as an Inbox has really made it more appealing to capture everything in the moleskine.  I start each day with a new line and keep things in chronological order.  Once I process something, I mark it done using a yellow highlighter.
  • I rarely capture items in the Calendar section except for personal items.  Work items seem to end up in Outlook without making it to pen & paper.
  • I do capture more Contacts than Calendar items using the moleskine.  It happens mostly when I'm on travel, and capturing some new information away from my computer or cellphone.
  • Previous years I have not had a Projects section, but after attending a David Allen Roadmap Seminar this past summer I started doing this, and it has paid off as a good Weekly Review resource.  It also turns out that at times I only have my moleskine, and I can do some productive brainstorming during downtime with just the Projects list in the moleskine.
  • Another item added after the Roadmap Seminar was the Roles & Responsbilities section.  This is great to review from time to time during downtime, and it helps to keep perspective on what is important to me at 30,000-ft and higher levels.

Do you have any good GTD moleskine tips that I might consider?  Leave a comment or drop me an email.



I go through one moleskine a quarter.
- Business card is glued on the inside front cover. $50 reward, so I must be more valuable than you. :-)
- Project list at the back
- Pocket holds GTD Next Action lists, updated in Word and printed out once a week (1 page for work, 1 page for personal)
- Company phone list in back
- Also in back is 9 months worth of calendar pages
The bulk of the planner is for daily to-do lists (only things that need to be done that day, of course), and notes. The moleskine and my blackberry is all I carry around.

Mad Marv

I've been keeping a notepad in every bag I carry around with me. I had thought about using one of them as my main organizer but I just can't bring the same one with me everywhere I go. I either forget to bring it or lose it somewhere.

Now I just use notepads for capturing inbox items and tear strips or pages out and stick them in my pocket. I can and do carry my phone w/ me everywhere. I use Nozbe as the organizer of my mess. Most of the time, I DM a tweet to Nozbe to add notes or tasks. Sometimes I forward e-mails to Nozbe for filing at a later date.

How well does searching work with the Moleskine and other paper based systems? I've been using wikis and Basecamp/Nozbe for documenting my work and personal items because searching is easier when a computer does it.

Steve Holden

Rich ... wow you go through Moleskines much faster that I do ... I like the idea of the business card.

How does your spine hold up with all the material you put in the back pocket? I've found that after 12 months my Moleskine (used daily) needs replacement. - Steve



I have a lot of pages in the back (calendar takes 2 facing pages per month), and I take a lot of notes. In some cases I could conserve paper, and go for 3-1/2 or 4 months, but a fresh book at the end of every quarter feels cleaner.

I typically only have 2 pieces of paper in the back pocket. I like to drop my moleskines on the floor so that the spine breaks and I need to tape it together. This looks as professional as it sounds, and I would love to find something Rich-proof. In any case, the back pocket is not the weakest link.

Mad Marv, I have an index at the front of each book. It lists major entries, the dates, and the page numbers. Search is much slower than on a computer, but not too bad for something I don't do all that often. In aggregate, I spend less time searching than you spend waiting for your computer to turn on to enter information. :-)


Steve Holden

MadMarv - I understand the need to be able to write whenever ... my wallet is from Levenger and it has a small pin and note paper to use just in case I don't have my moleskine.

When I get a note - not matter where - even the moleskine - I consider that an item to be processed and I process all my work stuff into my TabletPC and my personal stuff into my Mac. On the Mac, my main tool is MindManager & Evernote, and on the PC my main tools are Outlook, MindManager, & Evernote.

I usually don't search with the moleskine ... it is just my main capture device. All my doing is actually via computer (PC if work / Mac if personal).

Talk to you soon - Steve


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.

Steve Holden

Dan thanks for the pointer to GTD Agenda. I'll check it out soon.

Rich ... I really like the idea of an index. I've always thought that the pages could be printed with numbering and make referencing faster.

social bookmarking

good job

this is appreciated


I would love to attend one of his seminars. Anyhow, I am on my second iteration of the GTD Moleskine and have borrowed a little from everywhere. But I think the calendar being included is crucial.

Thanks for the post.


Hi there,
Just wanted to let you know that there is a site that scans/digitizes Moleskine notebooks for you. The address is

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