On this page:
  • PIM love
  • Hipster PDA
  • Hipster PDA: Month view
  • How I use my Hipster PDA
  • Colored index cards
  • Hipster PDA: GTD Tiddly Wiki

PIM love

I am completely in love with my latest indispensable personal
information management tool:

A 3×5 deck of plain (unruled) index cards.

Seriously. A 3×5 deck of plain index cards and a writing implement
like a black gel pen, a black 0.5 Pilot Hi-Techpoint (which just gives
me a great feeling) or a Mongol #2 pencil is my geek survival kit.


I can write temporary notes on index cards. It’s random-access, so I
can flip through things. The plastic neatly holds business cards and
folded pieces of paper. If I need to give people information, I can
write on new 3×5 cards and give the cards to them—they’re tougher
than paper, so they won’t get lost or crumpled as easily.

I lurv my index cards.

E-Mail to plug’s chit-chat list

その猫はもう少しでトラックにひかれそうになった。 The cat came near being run over by a truck.

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Hipster PDA

3×5 index cards totally rock.

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あなたは黒い猫が好きですか。 Do you like a black cat?

Hipster PDA: Month view

Being able to quickly see my schedule for two months totally, totally
rocks. My iPAQ didn’t have the screenspace for something like that,
but my 3×5″ pack of index cards with some inserts from an organizer.
In particular, aforementioned monthly templates make planning
get-togethers so much easier. I can print index cards for these too,
but then it’d be a hassle to design the template and print it
back-to-back. Anyway, this totally rocks.

(I also had another epiphany earlier: we’re actually planning
gimmicks! We have a social life! We have a barkada! Nifty. Now I just
need to make sure I keep in touch with other people I know, too…)

問題はどうして難局に当たるかである。 The question is how we will bell the cat.

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How I use my Hipster PDA

After all my experiments with wearable computing
using a one-handed chording keyboard and a speech synthesizer,
I’ve found that the most portable device for me is still a 3×5 pack of index cards bound with a fold-back clip.
Jokingly dubbed the “Hipster PDA” elsewhere on the Net, this low-tech device is surprisingly flexible and easy to use.
I use mine to keep track of tasks and random notes for later entry into my online planner.

My Hipster PDA is composed of:

  • a colored index card with my contact information
  • my inbox: cards with notes on them that haven’t been entered into the computer
  • two pages of month templates from a 3×5 day planner
  • a year calendar for 2005 and 2006
  • my archive: index cards that have already been entered but might still be useful
  • a colored index card with yellow sticky notes
  • a stack of blank index cards
  • a fold-back clip holding all of these things together
  • a black signpen or a mechanical pencil tucked into the fold-back clip

One of the things I’ve found much easier to do with my 3×5 pack of
cards than with a PDA or a Franklin-Covey planner is to keep track of
get-togethers. When my friends and I schedule our next get-together, I
lay the month templates out so that I can see the next 30 days at a
glance. This is difficult to do with a PDA because PDA screens are
small. A Franklin-Covey planner would probably be more organized, but
I like being able to lay things out side-by-side instead of flipping
through pages.

When I need to jot something down, I flip the deck and write on the
last card. After I finish one side of the card, I turn it over, clip
it, and write on the other side. When the whole card is full, I move
it into my inbox.

Index cards are handy because it’s easy to give information away to
other people. Paper gets crumpled and business cards can disappear
into the chaos of a purse or a bag. An index card is big and bright.
I’m thinking of replacing half of my white cards with brightly-colored
cards so that people can easily find information I give them.

I’m planning to do other things with my pack of 3×5 index cards. For
example, I can write my projects on the cards. Reviewing these cards
will reinforce these goals in my mind and remind me to keep making

Index cards totally rock.

新しいコンピューターは旧型よりも10倍速い。 The new computer is ten times as fast as the old one.

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Colored index cards

I love posting my productivity ideas because every time I do so, I get
comments suggesting even better ways to do things. Today’s tip comes
from Christopher Allan Webber, whose
colored index cards are leaps and bounds ahead of my deck of
plain white index cards. He has some cool ideas here!

He uses colored notecards to separate his notes into categories.

Yellow schedule & project cards
Red todo cards (or just stuff I should copy to planner-mode)
Blue idea cards
Green expenses (writing down stuff to copy to my ledger file later)

He also uses cards that are lined on just one side. On the lined side of schedule & project cards, he
writes down:


Mon 5/9 Lab
Wed 5/11 Critique of Assignment II & I (pics don’t have to be dry – must by Wednesday)
Mon 5/16 Field trip
. . Assignment #2 dry-mounted

On the back, he keeps a TODO list. When a task needs to be done
multiple times—for example, preparing a print of a picture—he adds
extra checkboxes before the task.

I think he writes down non-project-related TODOs and random notes on
red cards, which are easy to pick out in the pack. Right now, I jumble
them all together on white index cards. I’ll try keeping the front
half of the deck for tasks and the back half for notes.

Green cards help him keep track of his expenses. I keep receipts in
front of my index cards using the handy fold-back clip, although an
organized table view would be pretty cool.

I don’t know where he managed to find lined-on-one-side 3×5 colored
index cards. I guess bookstores in other countries are better stocked.
On the other hand, I found 3×5 organizer refills, so I’m not
absolutely deprived.

He was bemused by my mention of “two pages of month templates from a
3×5 day planner”. If you crack open a pack of 3×5 organizer refills,
you’ll get year, month, and day views. Normally a single month would
span two pages, but if you’re using a planner where month views
haven’t been labeled “January”, “February”—in short, blank ones—then
you can use one page to represent one month. If you don’t have
organizer refills handy, simply print the numbers 1 to 15 down one
side of an index card and 16 to 31 on the other. Leave space at the
top for the month name, and space beside the numbers for appointments.

He also had this interesting anecdote to relate about a friend’s way
of planning.

“Oh, I gave up keeping track of to do lists,” she sighed. “These days
I just write everything on my mirror with a dry-erase marker, so when
I groggily stumble into my bathroom in the morning I go, ‘OH SHIT! I

I should do that with a random Japanese quote of the day. I’ll write
it down the day before, then groggily try to read it in the morning.
Or I can scribble my Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals (superb teaching and
quality assurance for computer science education, and strategy
coaching for life planning (must find better way to summarize these
things!)) on my ceiling at home. Ooooh. My ceiling is low enough for
me to do that…

Check out Christopher Allan Webber’s website at http://dustycloud.org/ . =)

I love swapping ideas with people, so feel free to send in more suggestions!

コンピューターは単なる計算機だと考えられている。 Computers are thought of as mere calculating machines.

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Hipster PDA: GTD Tiddly Wiki

Miguel Javier said:

GTD Tiddly Wiki is a GettingThingsDone adaptation of JeremyRuston’s
Open Source TiddlyWiki. The purpose of GTD Tiddly Wiki is to give
users a single repository for their GTD lists and support materials so
they can create/edit lists, and then print directly to 3×5 cards for
use with the HipsterPDA.


No kidding. I wonder what we should do to get Planner to support 3×5
index cards sanely…

E-Mail from Miguel Javier

彼女は娘にパソコンを買ってやった。 She got her daughter a personal computer.

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