The Quadrant system allows you to set up a paper notebook so that you can record random-ish bits of unrelated information, and find it quickly, later.
This is useful for notebooks where you’re keeping a lot of small, unconnected jots that you want to be able to look up again, fast.
I do this for two kinds of notebooks:
It’s a little work beforehand to set up this system, but wow, it’s so easy to find stuff later.
Here’s how to do this:
Set aside 8-10 pages for an index section (or table of contents, whatever you want to call it). I usually set mine up in the back, but some people like to use the first few pages for this. Whatever floats your boat.
For the rest of the pages, just number each two-page spread. In other words, if you have your notebook open, with a blank page on the left and another blank page on the right, put a number in the upper left corner of the left page. Every two-page spread gets one number.
If you skip a number, don’t worry - it’s not important that the numbers be in perfect sequence, it IS important that you don’t have two of the same number. (It’s fine to have 35 followed by 37; it will be confusing to have two spreads numbered 35.)
We’re not book publishers here — we just want to find our stuff quickly later on.
Once you’ve numbered each spread, draw a horizontal line across the middle. Then label each quadrant with letters: A, B, C, D.
Sheesh! That was a lot of work. Here’s the pay-off: After you write one of these random bits of information in your notebook, go to the index and list it.
For a meetings and appointments book, it might look something like this:
For a tips and tricks book:
The first time I set up a notebook like this, I wondered if it was a waste of time. Au contraire, mon frère!
This has saved me a ton of time. I do not have to rely on my memory for what happened at meetings, or which of our dozens of cookbooks has the best note about roasting red peppers.
And I sure don’t have to jump on the distraction machine that is my phone.
I hope this quadrant system is useful for others as well.