Tuesday, October 25 at 12:09 p.m.
I almost always have a stack of index cards sitting on my desk.

I usually use them to jot down quick reminders or messages I might have to relay on to other members of the family. But that's pretty much it. I've rarely used them to make flash cards, or address cards, or recipe cards or any such thing. At least, that was pretty much it until about a year ago, when I discovered the Hipster PDA.

But a little history first...

For the past year or so, I've been trying to reduce the amount of stuff that I carry around with me. I'm trying to declutterise. And the number one thing on my list was my PowerBook.

Now, don't get me wrong. I love my PowerBook. It's a 12-inch, so it is about as portable as a computer can get. But as I soon discovered after I bought it, it's a major source of disctraction: there's always something to do, something to tweak, some new peice of software to try out. And since I found myself unable to stop myself from wasting time with it, I decided the best course of action would be to leave it home when I went to school.

The second object of distraction was my PDA. I don't have a cellphone, so my PDA was what I used to keep my schedule and contacts on me.1 But a PDA can also do a number of other things. Like play games. So that too was left behind.

But this left me wishing for ways to keep doing the necessary things that I did with PowerBook and PDA without the distractions. The solutions proved to be quite simple, but very effective: pen and paper/notebook for class notes and the like, and the HPDA for my ToDos and such.

The HPDA, in its simplest form (and the way I use it), is a few (10-12) index cards held together with a clip. That's it. I've added a few tape flags to divide things up, but they're not necessary. The result is an easy to use notepad of sorts that can be slipped into a pocket without producing unslightly bulges and never runs out of batteries. At the end of the day, I leaf through the cards, write down/type what I need to keep, and trash recycle 'em.

Again, like my previous Moleskine post, I realise this may sound a little silly and perhaps even counterintuitive. But it really works. And I've found that it helps to keep things as simple as possible.

As for my PowerBook and PDA, I still bring the former with me on occasion (like today), and the latter has been assigned the role of my portable media player.

But that's a whole other post.

  • 1For a while, I very much wanted a cellphone. But then it hit me: if I have phone with me all the time, I can be reached anywhere. And I really, really don't want that.

The site that I linked to, 43folders, is a great place to get info on "lifehacks", little tips to make life easier. Also related is Lifehacker. Finally, check out DIYPlanner.com if you'd like a more traditional planner, but are tired of spending (a lot) to get one.

I'll post a song in a bit if one comes to mind.