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Use Google Desktop’s Scratch Pad for GTD Inbox

Scratch Pad

Do you struggle with implementing GTD (“getting things done“)? Do you have a digital “inbox” where you can throw all your notes and thoughts for later processing? Install Google Desktop and you’ll be set.

The Scratch Pad

One of the default “gadgets” that comes pre-installed with Google Desktop is a nifty Scratch Pad. Think of it like a handy post-it note always at the ready on your monitor. You can quickly type anything in there, and it is always saved for later.

One of the problems with the Scratch Pad is that it can become a receptacle for junk. If you type too much in there, it will likely become overwhelming to even look at.

Into the inbox

To fix this problem, think of your Scratch Pad as a digital inbox. Any time someone comes up and tells you something, you get a phone call, you remember something to do later, stick it in the Scratch Pad.

Since the Scratch Pad automatically saves, you never have to worry about losing this virtual post-it note. You can just throw stuff in and trust that it will be there late.

Empty daily

The key to utilizing the Scratch Pad effectively is to empty it out every day. The space is small, so a few notes will quickly clutter it and make it unusable. Emptying it daily will ensure that you have fresh, clean space for the next day’s notes.

The other benefit of emptying daily is that you faithfully process things and put them where they need to be. Does it need to go on a task list? Is it a note to be filed away? Process it, and put it where it belongs in your GTD system.

Do you use the Scratch Pad? How does it fit into your productivity system? Please post a comment or drop me a line.

[tags]legal andrew, google desktop, scratch pad, gtd[/tags]

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4 Responses to “Use Google Desktop’s Scratch Pad for GTD Inbox”

  1. [...] Yet another area where having a place to record your thoughts does the trick. When I’m at the computer, the Scratch Pad gadget for Google Desktop and the Google Notebook (can you tell that I’m a Google freak?) are great tools for getting stuff out of my head so I can focus on what I’m working on. Away from the computer, a small notepad is more than enough (but I still want my Hipster). [...]

  2. Charles Booth
    June 5th, 2007

    Have been using Google’s “Scratch Pad” for about a year. Recently upgraded to Firefox’s latest update. Also on the same day I installed Java’s latest version. I then discovered that all my notes in “Scratch Pad” disappeared. Also the list of items in my “Todo” list also disappeared – both programs kept in Google’s Sidebar.

    Are the items in each of these ‘programs’ stored on my harddisk, or off site at Google? I would very much like to retrieve them!!!

    Thanks for your help.

  3. Andrew Flusche
    June 5th, 2007

    Hi Charles,

    Sorry to hear that you’re having such trouble with this. I’m not using Google Desktop any longer, but I’ll try to help out from memory.

    I think Desktop stores your data on your hard drive, unless you tell Google otherwise. I think there’s a setting in the Sidebar options to allow access from other computers, at which point Google stores your data online.

    I could be making all this up. My memory’s not that great a lot of times.

    Honestly, it sounds like your data might be lost for good. I’ve never really thought about backups for the Sidebar. I’m not sure what you could do at this point.

    Sorry I couldn’t be of more help,

  4. Andy
    September 25th, 2007

    I find this very usefull. I switch between a desktop PC and a laptop and it’s great that the notes are there whichever machine I’m on. I’d like to see an equivalent for iGoogle though.

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