Monday, March 21, 2011

My GTD-Set-up:

Hello everyone

Finally I got the time to sit dow, photograph and post my current Filofax-GTD-system.

I will show you how I´ve set up my Filofax and how I´ve implemented GTD into my use of the planner.

Hope you find it useful.

First of all, my Hamilton Filofax Personal Planner.
I got it for something like 10 pounds on the web (a lot of good cheep stuff out there to find).

I have labeled the 7 different panes of the regular Filofax-indexes with a Dymo-labeler to include my various uses. This will probably change quite a lot...

I have the top tab for indicating where the calendar-part starts, but I don´t really use it that much. I use the daily-ruler for flipping to today 99% of the time.

The month-tab:

Works nicely for overview, but I find that I don´t fill in all the data from my weekly calendar, so it´s mostly used for quick reference which is ok.

The job-tab:

I work parttime as an assistant editor and I have dedicated a tab for this particular job as it is very much on and off. It allmost becomes sort of context/agenda-type collection of notes all related to this particular job. (My main job is part of my general system i.e. next actions, errands etc.

Actions-tab: Include Next Actions and Errands

Next actions (GTD-Style): All my very next actions - things to get done as soon as possible - go in here.

Errands - stuff to get or do whenever I´m out and about

Waiting for-tab:

Waiting for-list of all the things out of my hands. People borrowing things from me, having to get back to me right now etc. etc.


Divided into Things to do soon and Things to do someday/maybe which makes to sort of wish-lists. Works great during the weekly review to promote things from the someday/maybe-list to the things to do soon-list.

Is blank right now. My next project!


Projects all listed alphabetically. Don´t know if it´s the way to go, but it works (sort of) for now.
Problem is that some reference-type lists makes their way into the register, which I don´t really need to review every week.
Solution could be to use one of the other tabs to projects only and keeping reference in the alphabeth-register...


Not much explaination needed - it´s a calendar! Will probably go for the week-per-two-pages next, maybe this summer. Great advice I got from the comments to one of my earlier posts of putting the calendar further towards the back. It made it much easier to write on the left side of the Filofax.

In addition to these tabs, I have credit-cards, membershipcards, etc in the front pockets, some index-cards in the back-pocket and the labels in the inside pocket.

I switch between using the great Pilot G2 Limited Pen (basically a fancy-made pen using the same G2 Gel refills as the cheep Pilot pens) and a pencil (I´m probably going to buy a Kuru Toga Pencil soon).

That´s my system for you. Pretty basic GTD, but with some future tweeking I think I´m pretty well off to settle on something good.


  1. Nice post, thanks! That box you have on your calendar, are you printing something out and sticking it on somehow?

  2. The box is just a print-out of our schedule from the course I´m taking at the university this semester. It allmost fits with the time-indications of the filofax-page, but only allmost.
    The problem is that having one on every day of the week makes it get rather thick and bulky, so it´s not something I´m going to do again... But it works for this semester...

  3. Great post - very instructive!

  4. Now we are going somewhere...!

    As to the projects, I suggest you try just a plain list of projects (only their brief description) in one section and for those projects that merit it an extra page with detailed information. The a-z bit is probably best left to various reference pages.

    Keep up the good work,


  5. Klaus, how do you use your projects-section? You have an index/list of all the projects and then separate sheets for each project with various actions for each project.
    Do you then "transfer" these action (one at the time) to your next actions-lists?
    I find I have a little trouble making my project-thinking work properly...
    Please describe how you do it.

  6. With pleasure:

    I am keeping strictly with the recommendations of the David Allen Co. meaning that I keep a simple list of projects. No particular order, only I initiate those that have an additional piece of paper attached to them in the info section with an arrow -> instead of a dash -.

    A project in my case is something with more than one step to complete. My change of winter to summer tires is a good example and coming up soon. I have to call my tire service company and arrange an appointment with them to get the tires changed and then I actually have to go and do it. This sequence is (for me) simple and therefore I will not add any further information other than that one line on the project list.

    The more complex ones will get an additional page or several in the project support section. Here I will write down any information that I deem necessary. Mostly these are things like milestones, outcomes, dangers and rewards of a project and only sometimes single step actions. I just need the broad outline as a reminder and not the details unless these are very important. Mostly you will find that things are more globally phrased and then covered by next actions on my other lists.

    Hope this helps.


  7. Klaus: Thank you so much. I get that totally. But is your project "Change tires on car" defined with its next actions (call servicecenter for appointment, deliver car, pick up car) which you then transfer to your repective acions-list? Or is it just a "headline"-sort of thing with "Change tires on car" being what you want to achieve but you know that it takes more than one action-step and therefore it is a project?
    I get the whole project-support type of thinking, which is great. Loved the indication on the projects-list with an arrow or a dash... Do you keep those in a seperate tab or along with the project-list.

  8. The tire change project was of course meant as an example. I would write "change winter tires" in my project list. Nothing else, since the project is simple enough not to require any further information.
    The corresponding next action would be "call tire shop for appointment" in the next actions list.
    After that action is done, the next step would be an entry in my calendar with the date and time of the appointment. After that is taken care of, during the following review, the project is marked as complete.

    Actually this example is so simple that I would probably not bother with a project entry at all. I would just put the phone call on the next actions list and then the appointment in the calendar. Everything else will happen automatically anyway, for example the tire shop will send me a bill and I will receive and pay that immediately and file it afterwards. These are of course all steps related to the winter tire project, but writing them down would actually take up more of my time than just doing them and they are not that difficult to begin with.

    The important lesson from this example is that not every project and next action warrants writing it down on paper. While with most of the electronic systems you have an automatic link between project and action, on paper some smart choices need to be made.

    Finally my project support lists get their own tab.

  9. Klaus-Otto: Thank you again. I just listened to the webinar on GTD Connect about paper-based planners. Great stuff. Really recommend it! I´ll set up my system again - probably in an A5 this time...

  10. FYI: I signed in with the wrong account just before. Sorry about that!

  11. Thanks for sharing your setup! I like how you've split your Someday/maybe list.

    I'm using David Allen's paper planner layout in my Malden & it's working pretty well for me so far.

  12. I found this to be very helpful. I really want to work on organizing my life and work. This post is very informative.