Index Cards Rule

Index cards are such a simple, versatile tool that they are often overlooked. I used them (with mixed results) in college and later in the Navy as homemade flash cards. When I left the Navy, I adopted a co-workers system of folding an 8 1/2 X 11 sheet of paper in half three times in alternating directions so that one is left with a 2.75 inch X 4.25 inch pad with 16 sections — about the same form factor as a 3X5. Then I purchased a Palm and tried implementing David Allen’s “Getting Things Done” system. What I found, however, was that the Palm is a lousy capture tool. Practice as I might, I simply could not capture information as quickly on a Palm as I could using the old-school tools of a pen and paper (or 3X5). So I purchased a set of Levenger index cards and one of their shirt pocket briefcase. The problem was that it was still too bulky. Index cards seemed to be the right form factor, but a loose stack of cards was an invitation to chaos — something was needed to hold things in place. Something a little better than a rubber band, but not as bulky as the Levenger shirt pocket briefcase. Then came the hipster PDA. Of course, why didn’t I think of that?
The index card phenomena seems to have reached critical mass. Since the introduction of the hipster PDA, a wealth of creative energy has been focused on holding, using and organizing index cards. Here is a sample:

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