GTD ca. 1900-1930

Predigital techniques getting ideas and observations out of your head and out of the way somewhere safe until you have time to process them. The entry about the farmer is exactly like GTD/OmniFocus contexts.

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I carried a notebook everywhere for years…and as much as I love my iPad, it hasn’t been able to replace the tactile pleasure of writing on paper.


I hear what you’re saying about the feeling of writing on paper. I kept notes that way for decades - right up until the day that I started carrying an iPhone. I still miss having that paper in my pocket. I also still have many of those old paper notes. Don’t ask me to find anything in them. At least with the phone I know what it is that I’m not getting done (sigh).

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I do understand your point.

The Apple Pencil and PaperLike made it a bit more natural though.

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As a farmer I really loved the farming entry. FWIW even with my iPhone with me all the time I STILL carry a notebook and pen everywhere. I use them together, for example, see a leaking gate on the irrigation pipe, Pull out my phone to take a picture so I remember where it is and add a note to fix gate in pipe to my notebook.

I use LambTracker to enter in all new lambs but I also enter the vital data (date of birth, dam, ear tag number, sex and weight) into a pocket notebook in my lamb bag as a hard copy backup of vital information for every new lamb.

Notes in my regular pad get torn off and added to my inbox when I get back in and processed daily into my Omnifocus GTD system.

The salesman example reminded me of a Farley File application. I use that in my Contacts with a group that is called Farley File to which I add anyone I can.

I do have some more permanent notebooks, a diary, a sketchbook and one that tracks all the books I’ve read and any notes about them. I love to go back and peruse all of these but they are not usually carried with me all the time.

One of my favorite parts of that farmer entry was that he specifically wrote down things to do on a rainy day. That’s a straight-up GTD-style context that David Allen would recognize.

Do you have a Rainy Day context in OmniFocus?

A Farley File figures as a significant story point in one of my favorite novels, Robert A. Heinlein’s “Double Star.” I need to look into keeping one.

I tried contexts by weather but I live in Colorado where If you don’t like the weather wait five minutes. I found that I did better sorting by location sometimes by which barn or which field or which other building and then once there do stuff.

I use the weather and checking it every day to determine whether I want to start on an inside or an outside context though.

Heinlein is one of my favorite authors and yes, that is where I first learned about the Farley file concept. The process goes back much further than James Farley and Roosevelt though. There was a class of slave in Roman times called a nomenclator who kept track of who a Roman senator would meet on the street.

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I love that we have people like you on this forum - people who don’t just stare at screens all day.