I didn't realize until 3 days ago when I put these 3 things together (which contain a whole lot more of other things inside each), that this bunch of tools are actually EVERYTHING I need wherever I go, and it is quite compact IMHO. Powerful isn't it? In a moment I'm gonna share with you the details but first, let's contemplate on the pattern behind, which is beyond objects and tools, but of planting seeds which someday all coagulate and become something more.
Today I have a dream job most of you envy and I myself enjoy tremendously, but this dream job is just one of the things I surrounded myself with. My core has always been planting seeds, finding tools, connecting unrelated stuffs and sit back to look at all of these actions once in a while. Sitting back is most important of all, it is one of the happiest moments when you can most certainly find and reap innovations and insights.
Back to objects and tools. This so called "Perfect System" which I assume is valid at least until the end of 2012, is a result of me continuously simplifying my daily needs, finding tools that fit and beautifying them along the road. Somehow it all made sense when I put them together.
(customized Traveler's Notebook refill cover)
It is not a perfect notebook but you have a choice to carry only what you need and I customized it to fulfill my needs for: travel, GTD, scheduling, mind mapping and drawing. It is basically holding all my plans and thoughts.
(all travel essentials can be put inside my Traveler's Notebook)
(zip pocket to hold tickets, receipts, anything even coins)
(a journal page I made during my stay in Phuket)
Travel: card pockets to hold business cards, hotel access cards, mileage cards, medical card. Zip pocket to hold receipts, post cards, stickers, paper clips. Elastic band to hold my flight itinerary, boarding pass and passport.
GTD: I carry two refills inside Traveler's Notebook. One is used for GTD, drawing and mind mapping. Instead of carrying extra deck of GTD index cards like before, I use my Leather GTD Tabs to clip on specific pages for various purposes (Next Actions, Projects, Waiting For, Someday). In addition, I created some custom inserts to facilitate my mind mapping needs. It is a PDF in A4 size which you can download, print double sided, cut into the right size, fold in half and insert into a refill notebook very easily. Here's the file! Try it out and let me know your feedback. On blank page of the refill, I enjoy drawing things randomly or sketching my next leather project ideas.
Scheduling: The second refill I use for scheduling. I've decided that no commercially available diaries fulfill my needs and most of them too rigid. So I created a way I temporarily called Chronodex, which you may already had a glimpse in some of my previous photos. I'm still adding and modifying things but here's a version you can download and try: CHRONODEX VERSION 6. It is a PDF in A4 size, you can process it the same way I mentioned above and use it as a free weekly diary. The main advantage of it for me is that I can use the space freely but still referring to the correct time slice/pie, it is visually more pleasing and less rigid to me. Again, I'm happy to hear your comments, good and bad.
(priority based mindmapping, more important things appear earlier in the clock face)
(my GTD leather tabs)
(mindmapping ideas, book darts seen)
(meeting notes in the form of mindmapping)
(hang tag + masking tape + clips, helpful to locate pages quick)
(my typical week schedule using Chronodex concept in weekly format I made for Traveler's Notebook)
(detail view of a typical day in my free weekly planner)
(fun to use rubber stamps to start my week)
Well, I also stitched a leather loop onto the back cover of the Traveler's Notebook to carry an extra pen the way I like it. Other customization is just aesthetic, like the bookmark charm and the camera charm.
Twelve South BookBook and iPhone
This BookBook leather case for iPhone is super popular and we are always out of stock. I found it perfect to be my wallet and communicator all-in-one.
Wallet: I use Twelve South's BookBook to hold my credit cards, staff access card, transport card and occasionally paper money.
Communicator: I customized the BookBook to allow better experience photo shooting with iPhone. For work, using iPhone for photos is good enough most of the time. Besides, my iPhone is, like many people, for: Instagram to have fun with photos and image loving communities, email, music player, phone calls, Facebook, whatsapp, audiobooks (I now "read" books mostly in audiobook format, at least I won't fall asleep), meditation (I use binaural beats to achieve mind states), alarm, address book, teamviewer (to connect remotely to my work or home computer), tethering, calculator, etc. Thanks to Charles Kao and Steve Jobs, never been so powerful connecting to the world.
Pen Holder on Neck Strap
It seems trivial nowadays to many people but it is so useful for me.
Pens: I carry 3 pens close to me (I want to carry one more, a mechanical pencil either by Rotring or Kaweco, but that's just too much to carry sometimes). A Pilot Capless Matt Black: it is efficient like a roller ball, just click and write, but produces elegant strokes as a fountain pen even at fine nib, I use it mostly for scheduling and mind mapping. A Kaweco Sports ball point pen: I hate ball pens but sometimes you need to use them on laminated name cards or coated papers, very good price and small to carry. A Graf Von Faber Castell Classics Platinum fountain pen: thanks to a dear friend who bought me this, I now use it for important signature (not much actually), its medium nib allows me to generate beautiful calligraphy and heavier strokes for sketches, I love the classic shape a lot and …err it is also something I can brag about :)
Leather Pen Holder on Neck Strap: I made this pen holder modeling after one made by 4GATS, a talented Japanese leather-craft company made of 4 staffs. If you like the look of this, all credit goes to 4GATS, I made it because I couldn't get one myself and I love to DIMyself. Having pens readily accessible but with style is satisfying, how? I get more than 30 people staring at my chest every single day, anyway I hate putting pen and especially more than one of them on my shirt pocket. One additional function I like to have this on my neck is that I can clip my visitor's pass onto it whenever I go to trade shows, no more ugly event straps hanging on my neck!
The leather pen holder is usually hanged from my neck or in my shirt pocket, BookBook in my pant pocket, while I carry by hand the Traveler's Notebook. Well, the "Perfect System" may sound like a clumsy organizer to you, but it is my constant (remember Faraday's "constant" in LOST?) and I invite you to think more about the constant concept if you will.
Finally, if I had the luxury to carry one more thing I would carry an analog camera: Voigtlander R4A 35mm f1.4 or Canon F1N 50mm f1.2 or Polaroid 110A converted to use Fujifilm peel apart.