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28 Apr

Instead of a smartphone and numerous little notes

Datum: 2010-04-28 09:50

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. 

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