mad in pursuit journal


Index Card Organization

Read an article about "Getting Things Done" by David Allen, the newest ex-junkie hero of the gotta-get-organized crowd. In one of my just-do-it shopkeeping moods this week, my usual organization aids weren't working. The old notebook I scribble to-dos in keeps getting lost under things and it's scrambled with today-tasks and longer projects. Post-Its all over...

They say that highly productive geeks use only one organizing tool: everything thrown into an Excel spreadsheet or into a Powerpoint presentation, no matter how "inappropriate."

index cardsOk, this week I've reverted to an all-time favorite low-tech organizer: the index card.

Personal dilemma: must have my reminders visual and visible BUT too visible, too cluttered gives me ADD and anxiety attacks.

Options: I can't hide tasks, projects, nags, errands, ideas in an electronic device that must be turned on and off or in a software program that takes 30 seconds to open. My jobs must be visible or they drift out of mind. But not too visible because then they drive me crazy and take up too much space. Post-Its are, well, sticky -- can't shuffle them in a deck. But they aren't sticky enough -- they wind up on the floor. A few weeks ago I tried resurrecting my old Filofax notebooks, but they are better if you are moving from meeting to meeting all day.

I happen to have about a thousand personalized 3x5 cards, leftover from a 1990s ego trip, so all I needed to invest in was a $3 set of plain manila dividers for categories: desk-now, pending [waiting for something], errands, journal entries [ideas], projects, and self-nagging. Categories written in pencil. Cards, either disposable or reusable depending on my state of mind.

Holy Cow. Apparently there's a whole cult built around index cards: Hipster PDAs... everything old is new again.

Question: do I have spurts of productivity because I get organized OR do I get organized when I'm on a productivity high?




Getting Started with "Getting Things Done"

Hipster PDA -- aha! index cards!

Instructables. Playing with your index cards, when you're more interested in fooling around than seriously Getting Things Done.

Ultimate Pocket Notebook at Full Contact Geek