So, I went a little crazy with my Hipster PDA. I have 7, count ’em, 7 different types and sizes of index cards, and I’ve experimented with all the different mods, color combinations, templates and tricks you can imagine. Below is a list of Hipster PDA resources as well as a summary of what I’ve learned.
Index card apparel:
The index card t-shirt
Summary of my time and obsession with the Hipster PDA:
When I get obsessed with something, I get REALLY obsessed with it. My girlfriend is usually blindsided by this, and in this instance she woke up one Saturday morning to find me setting up a new printer that would handle 3X5 cards, surrounded by scattered half-printed or screwed up DIY Planner: Hipster PDA edition templates.
I tried EVERY suggestion for templates, modifications, and additions that I’ve linked here, and more just from reading forum posts or seeing others’ ideas on Flikr. I put together about 4 different hpdas before I finally found one that I actually use consistently. Here’s what I learned.
“Hipster PDA Tips for People Obsessed With Productivity Pr0n But Bad At Actual Productivity”
1) Go out and buy all the cool pens that everyone mentions in relation to the Hipster PDA. No really, go ahead. You won’t feel right until you’ve test-driven them all. Then, when you realize that all the new pens are too big/too small/the cap falls off/are too pretty/made you afraid to remove them from your desk/whatever, use the pen you normally use. If you must make ANY change, go for a fine or extra fine point version of your usual pen preference.
2) Print out every template you can get your hands on. In fact, buy a spare pack of index cards just for this purpose. Check them all out. See how they look in 3X5 form. Then, when you realize that the lines are too small/the lines are too light/”this template just bugs me because…”/you have lists and ideas and notes that don’t fit into any available online template, you have two choices. These two choices are based solely on the kind of geek you are. Are you a Geek Who Craves Structure or a Geek Stifled By Structure? Craving geeks will need to make their own templates (or modify an available template) to exactly fit their ideal hpda structure. This is the only way you’ll ever be able to have a template for your prized People to Maim if I Ever Get the Chance or Rare Arachnids I’ve Spotted On My Balcony lists. The stifled geek needs to give up on templates all together. Trust me, the ruled lines (or grid, if you prefer) provide enough structure for you. “Tag” your cards with general topics and ideas so you understand what the hell you’re looking at when you flip through them later. Or don’t. No pressure.
3) Buy a large assortment of different types of index cards. I recommend the following:
Oxford® White Recycled Index Cards, Unruled, 3″ x 5″, Pack Of 500
Oxford® White Recycled Index Cards, Ruled, 3″ x 5″, Pack Of 500
Oxford® Tabbed Index Cards, 1/3 Cut, Ruled, 3″ x 5″, White, Pack Of 50
Oxford® Color Bar Ruled Index Cards, 3″ x 5″, Pack Of 100
Oxford® Color-Coded Index Cards, 3″ x 5″, Multicolor With Assorted Edges, Pack Of 100
I also recommend the following items for filing used cards:
Oxford® Blank Manila Guides, 1/5 Cut, 3″ x 5″, Box Of 100
Eldon® Card File, 3″ x 5″ x 3″, Black
4)Gather this stuff up and sort it around, mess with it, and organize it until it resembles something unique and crazy… but it just might work.
5) Recognize the differences between todo lists that are ongoing/longterm and daily. Do your best to keep these items on separate cards.
6) Get an idea/project/cluster of stuff that doesn’t seem to fit into any category or onto any template? Make a new card, and a new template, if necessary. These are index cards, and they’re cheap. With this system, it’s better to keep information encapsulated than to try and cram it all into one general category. For example, you have a grocery shopping list going. Instead of jotting an idea for an office supply you need to get onto your grocery list, make a new card. The grocery list is temporary and you’ll probably feel like tossing it once you’re done with your weekly shopping. You might not make it to the office supply store until later in the week, when you’ll still be carrying around your shopping list plus the one or two items you need from the office supply store.
7) Use the backs of cards for continuations, not new lists/ideas. Encapsulation is key.
8) Keep blank cards in the back. Don’t include too many spare templates. If you’ve been carrying them around for a week and haven’t needed them, take them out of your stack until you do.
9) Even though the hpda is supposed to be the ultimate in disposable portability, I can’t stand to cram it into my pocket, making my neat cards all bent, sweaty or smashed. To solve this obsessive compulsive dilemma, always carry at least one card with you. Think of this as your hpda “laptop” that you can use while out and then “sync” to your main hpda when you get home. Tuck it into your wallet, your money clip, or your pocket. You can always add it to the stack if you have to jot something down while you’re out. And besides, who ever needs to write more than one card worth of stuff while they’re at the store or the mall?
10) If you’re interested in the hpda, you’re probably one of those people (like me) who is intimidated by complex fancy organization solutions or fetishized planners like Moleskine notebooks and Day Runners. The cheaper and junkier your hpda is, the more likely you are to use it. Don’t fancy it up. Don’t order monogrammed 3X5 cardstock, no matter how tempting it may be. Don’t clip it with an expensive money clip… 3/4 inch binder clips are the hpda’s best friend. Most importantly, do whatever it takes to make your hpda usable to you.