How I’m Workin’ The Circa -or- GTD, Baby, and Levenger Makes Three

As many a reader of this journal knows, I am a big fan of Levenger’s products. I love them. Covet may even be a more apt word. I recently noticed, while placing yet another order with them, that they are celebrating their 20th anniversary. It was then that I realized I have been a customer for almost 18 of those. My first order from them was a Lap Desk which I still own to this day. They happened to be running a promotion at the time that gave me a free pack of their Cornell ruled pads with my order. While I was more than happy with the Lap Desk, the Paper Pads were a revelation to me. I was a young man of 22 years old who had never even thought about the satisfaction that could come from writing on nice paper. Let’s just say, I never looked back and have been hooked ever since.

In addition, I have been on paternity leave from my main job since the birth of my daughter last Month. As anyone with children knows, at this stage, your to-do list mainly consists of “Feed baby”, “Change Baby” and, perhaps the hardest item “Baby is sleeping. Now what?”. It is that “Now What?” where the methods espoused in Getting Things Done really come into play. You see, you have about one hour, maybe two, before she wakes up. When she does, you will really be unable to pay attention to anything else. The house may be a wreck. There may be calls to return or errands to run or doctors appointments to be made. It is in these moments that having been capturing these items into a trusted system and organizing them by context gives you the best insight into how to use that “free” time.

How do these two things relate? Well, since I am not “working”, the number of things I have to track has become more simple. That being said, there are still many things I have to stay on top of, and some brainstorming for my consulting business I have been trying to take the time to do. Also, these days I often only have use of one hand (since the other has a baby in it). This makes using the computer for capture, notes and project tracking difficult. Paper on the other hand is faster, only requires one hand for writing and therefore is just plain better. One Levenger product has really helped me stay on top of my Org-fu in the last few weeks is my Junior Sized Circa Notebook. The Circa Notebook system is designed so that it is highly customizable and pages can be moved around and mixed and matched with a ton of add ons and such. I wont go into a long detail about that here. Levenger has plenty of that information on their site.  Here is how I have mine organized…

I have the notebook divided into three sections using some of the plain white dividers available from Levenger.

* Action: The front section is for Action Items and Capture. I keep things open to this page most of the time while on my desk and a pen at the ready.

* Notes: The notes section is for notes and where I flesh out projects. I also have a page marker for my Circa that gets used here. Active projects and notes go in front of the marker, non-active go behind. This way, I know that anything between the section divider and the page marker in the notes section is in play.

* Archive: When my Action items pages get mostly complete, I start a new one free of completes items. I move the old pages to the Archive.

* Back Section: In the rear of the book I have a clear pocket to hold loose items and ephemera such as stamps. I also have a 3×5 dock that I, in all honesty, have not really sussed a good use for yet. Finally, in the built in pockets of the leather cover, I keep a stencil and some extra 3×5 cards (will cover my use of these in a future post).

So, is there anyone else out there reading this using a Circa? I would love to hear in the comments about how you have yours set up and what you use it for. Share it people!

Click here for more pictures of my setup.

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