Daybook – My GTD Someday Maybe List
I started using a Daybook after I read Barbara Sher’s “Refuse to Choose.” She talks about the scanner personality. “Intense curiosity about numerous unrelated subjects is one of the most basic characteristics of a Scanner.” And to help scanners she introduces the concept of a Daybook which I have incorporated into My GTD Planning System. I’m going to explain my definition of a Daybook and how I format mine. I’m also going to explain what a GTD Someday Maybe List is and how I use my Daybook for that purpose.
A Daybook is another term for a diary, commonplace book or journal. It’s a place to store and keep ideas and thoughts. It’s a space where you can spill your idea onto the page using as many pages as you like. You can keep all of your reference notes and sketches together. It’s a place to brainstorm your idea or project before you make a plan. It’s a fun place to play with an idea without the pressure of making it a project that you have to work on. It’s a place where you can capture the birth of your idea. According to Barbara Sher “…the very act of considering your explorations worth keeping track of begins to change everything you ever thought about yourself.” Stop feeling bad about having all of these ideas you never do anything with. Give birth to them in your Daybook and then come back to them if the time is right and they have matured. Even if you never develop the idea further you have given your idea the respect it deserves and captured it for future consideration.
The Daybook is different from my idea notebook. The idea notebook is a place where I capture ideas, tasks and thoughts quickly and then go through those during my weekly review. I keep my idea notebook on me almost all of the time. The Daybook lives at home where I can pull it out and devote some time to new ideas.
How to Format a Daybook
Ideally a Daybook will start out as a blank unlined book. I use a 5.00 black hardbound Artist’s Loft sketchbook from Michael’s. You can use any blank journal, sketchbook or composition book. You can also set up your Daybook in your planner or a three ring binder. You just need one place to keep all of your ideas together. This needs to be easy to access so you will actually use it. The simpler the better.
Skip the first 3 pages. Leave this space to create an index so that you can find your ideas. Although just flipping through your Daybook occasionally to see what you find is quite fun, you need to be able to find what your ideas. Number the pages after the index pages. Numbering only the right hand side works great. You don’t have to do it all at once. You can number them as you go. After you complete an entry make a note in the index. This is very similar to a bullet journal index.
Each entry should be given at least two pages. Start on the left hand page. Add a title for your idea or project. On the upper left corner of the left page write the day of the week. On the upper right corner of the left page write the date and time. This will help you remember when you captured your idea.
After you date and title the page get started writing your idea down. It’s fun and exciting to capture ideas when you know they don’t have to go straight on to your to-do or project list. They can marinate and season. I often find myself combining a couple of the ideas I have written down and creating something new. The marinating often makes my original ideas better.
This formatting follows the instructions Barbara Sher gives in her book “Refuse to Choose.”
What is a GTD Someday Maybe List?
In David Allen’s “Getting Things Done” if you have a project that you aren’t going to be doing anything about for some time then it goes on your Someday Maybe List. This list is of projects that you maybe want to do someday. Once the project becomes “active”, meaning that you want to work on it, you move it onto your current or master project list so that you can focus on it. Having too many projects on your project list just makes for a cluttered mess. It’s hard for you get be anything done because there is too much competition.
How to use a Daybook as a GTD Someday Maybe List
My Daybook holds all of my Someday Maybe items that are creative projects, ideas, bucket list plans and big scary dreams. Things I need to create and plan. These are ideas for the future that aren’t currently on my horizon. It’s a place to park my ideas with an index so that I can find them again. When I have finished a project I can go through my Daybook and see if there is another project that I can add to my current projects list. This keeps me from trying to work on too many projects at one time. Two to four projects is really all you can juggle efficiently. And ideally the fewer projects you are working on at one time the better. It’s better to give your attention to a project and complete it and then move on to another. But I get bored easily. Working on two to four projects let’s me rotate between them and keep myself fresh and sharp.
So if you’re struggling with your Someday Maybe as a list or you have too many ideas that are on your project list maybe you should give using a Daybook a try. It’s a great place to flesh out any ideas you have without putting pressure on yourself to actually do anything with those ideas, unless you decide you want to move them to your project list and work on them. If you are like me you have so many ideas that you will never get to them all even if they are on a someday maybe list, then a Daybook will give you a place to interact with and play with all those lovely ideas. Because for me that’s the fun part, thinking of and playing with ideas. What about you? Let me know in the comments below or on the YouTube comments.
Thanks for reading!
This blog post is not affiliated with, approved, or endorsed by David Allen or the David Allen Company, which is the creator of the Getting Things Done® system for personal productivity. GTD® and Getting Things Done® are registered trademarks of the David Allen Company.
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