A new 'collection' tool

I've switched to a new collection tool: CVS pharmacies (and no doubt other stores) sell mini "Composition" notebooks, 80 sheets of 4.5 X 3.25 paper, glue (perfect) bound. I think the usual price is something like 79 cents, but tjey are often on sale for two for a buck.

What I like is that the pages are bound (so no more dropping of a whole stack of index cards and having them scatter in the wind) and yet can be tugged out cleanly for disposal after the note has been 'done' or the info moved to the more appropriate place (my home calendar, my address book, my 'to do someday' list, whatever. Best of all, none of those miserable spiral wire bindings that snag on my clothes and stab me when I'm groping for the notebook.

I use a couple of modifications to make the notebook even more useful.

First, I make a colored stripe down the open edge of a few pages near the back of the book -- yes, just the way I made striper index cards. Green to record money matters, blue for To Buy lists, purple for urgent matters, etc.

Second, I cut an envelope down to size and glued it inside the back cover -- this holds a few postage stamps, some return address labels, and a twenty dollar bill.

Third, I've created a chart in Word that is seven boxes wide by ten rows that is just a hair smaller than the size of the notebook. I print this chart on a sheet of paper, cut it out, fold it in half (so there are five rows of boxes on each side, then paste one half to the back inside cover. (Yes, on top of the envelope -- The flap of the envelope is still free to fold down over the envelop, the envelop just has another couple of layers of paper thickness.) Once I handwrite in some numbers I have a flip open calendar for this month and the next. The squares aren't big, but I don't have that many appointments to keep track of. If I need more info than will fit, I circle the date-number and then write the rest of the info onto a page at the very end of the book with a matching circled date.

Fourth, I made another Word document that just fits the page. This one has my name/contact info at the top and then the names & telephone numbers of my most common contacts. This page gets glued onto the front inside cover.

My current day's TO DO list is still written on an index card. I tuck the card into the notebook in front of the next unused page. Since the card is slightly longer than the notebook it sticks out both top and bottom so it is easy to find and lets me locate a fresh page instantly when I need to make a note. Of course, the part of the index card that sticks out takes a beating and ends up all creased and crumpled, but so what? I make a new To Do list every day anyway.

Anyway, it's cheap and easy to set up, and meets my minimal 'on the run' organization needs.

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