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28 Apr

Instead of a smartphone and numerous little notes

Date: 2010-04-28 09:50 Comments: 0 st

Some of us are fond of electronic gadgets, such as an iPhone or a smartphone with calendar- and task-functions which can be synchronized with the desktop computer or the mail server.

There are many advantages with digital systems. One can easily sort and filter out the to-do lists, you’ve got better opportunities for back-ups, etc.

But there are also some disadvantages. Some gadgets need a while to boot, or you may have to scroll through several menus before you find the program you’re looking for, or perhaps the keyboard (if there is one at all) it tiny, or the batteries run out when you least need and want them too.

Perhaps this is why some of us still prefer paper and pencil as the tools to create our to-do lists.

The HipsterPDA

In September 2004, a man from San Francisco named Merlin Mann got tired of his PDA from Palm, and created what he called a HipsterPDA instead.

The HipsterPDA physically consists of a deck of cards the size of a playing-card, made out of stiff paper, and which are held together by a spring clip. On these cards you’ll write down your to-do-tasks, and - done! - now you have a portable to-do-list system which doesn’t need any time to boot, whose batteries won’t run out of power and which doesn’t have any tiny buttons you have to fidget with.

Besides this, you now also have all your notes of what to do gathered in one place and you won’t have to have your handbag full of loose to-do-notes.

Once again, consistency is key

But, actually the magic is not in the cards, it’s in the habit. If you let the HipsterPDA be your one and only system for your to-do-lists and if you make sure you’ll write down everything that takes longer than two minutes and which you won’t do right away (this to make sure that you can rely on and trust the system), the HipsterPDA will work perfectly. But if you only occasionally write up to-do-tasks in the HipsterPDA when not finding another piece of paper, or if you continue to try to keep the important things in your head, it’ll be worthless.

Use the HipsterPDA as a consistent part of your structured way of working and it will become your best friend.

Go the extra mile

If you want to be an advanced user you can extend your usage of the HipsterPDA by letting each card represent a client, a project or one of your actionplans. On the card you one by one write down the information or task concerned with the client, project or plan in question. That way, you will easily be able to determine and see what the next step is in all the areas you are engaged in, simply by flipping through the deck.

In addition to that, if you tag them by in what context, meaning situation, you’ll be able to work with the task, you can be even more efficient and use the spare moments of time when they suddenly appear. Let’s say, for example, that you’re in town between two meetings and have half an hour to kill. Then you’ll just flip through the deck in search for the tag “errands downtown” and there you’ll find the task telling you that you need to buy a set of new blank stickers. When you’ve got some time over anyway, you’ll get your errand done and you didn’t have to try to remember what you needed to buy, you just easily consulted your HipsterPDA.

A voluntary opportunity to fine-tune

If you feel like it, now consider whether you already have some form of tool or software that you’ve acquired thinking it would make things a whole lot easier and make operations run smoother, but which you don’t think is working. Is it possible that you by changing your habits could have more use for it? Would this change of habits mean you are doing something you are still comfortable doing?

What’s your way?

Do you have any tips or tools which may seem simple, but which have done wonders for you? I would love to hear of your experiences.

You are most welcome to leave a comment below

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