Hipster PDA Nano

It’s been over a month since I’ve posted anything new.. This doesn’t meant to say that I don’t have a folder full of ideas and half started drafts.. It’s more that I’ve been working harder, and more flexibly, namely taking my evenings to catch up with clients

Part of this diligence requires an upper level of organization. I’m all about organizing myself, helping other with their own projects, and so forth.. I’ve tried using a digital device, going from phones to tablets to cloud synced solutions.. I’ll admit that I’ve spent money on subscriptions to services like Todoist, GTasks, and others, always turned away because I have to make allowances for the software.. it’s never flexible enough.


How a To-Do list looked at age 6. Pretty idyllic!

I’ve naturally done the gambit of paper organizers in my history as well, and usually the only ones with enough space for me to create my own system are too large or unwieldy.

Once I discovered the Hipster PDA from a post on 43Folders, I knew I’d finally found a way. Not necessarily “The Way”, but at least “My Way”.

Mine has undergone a handful of reiterations, redesigns.. I’ve tried adding colored tabs for different lists, alternate ways to secure it, and a plethora of other tweaks.. One direction that has definitely been consistent is the reduction in size.

The current construction has it down to the size of a business card. While it ends up being slightly on the smaller side than I prefer, the construction values afforded by its dimensions keep it from getting skewed, and keeps it organized. I call it the Hipster Nano to capitalize on the nomenclature hype that’s so popular with similarly sized technology, and because, well, hipster slang is hilarious.

Mine is constructed from re-sizing standard 8×5 cards down to the 3.5×2 that metric users are used to seeing as the size of a standard business card. I organize / stack it thus:

  • The top 12-16 cards are the cut/re-sized index cards, one for each type of list. I pretty much used stock cards that are lined on the front and blank on the rear. This gives me the flexibility to have text or images. See template below for how to measure and cut. A paper guillotine works best and makes short work of a package of index cards
  • Next up is 3-4 cards from each of my businesses. This keeps them always with me, and lets me carry a few from each venture. They help to provide some rigidity to the stack
  • At the back, I’ve created a small pocket from two taped together cards. This affords me the ability to fold up a receipt or note someone has given me, or to tuck in an emergency $20 bill

I secure the top left corner with the one of the smallest of the binder clips, the 3/4″, aka 19mm variety.

One of the “hacks” of my own invention was more of a solution for an ongoing issue.. the bottom edge of the stack would get caught on things, and would keep separating, folding up, essentially fanning out and quickly getting dog-eared.

What I did to solve this was to wrap a velcro cable tie around the bottom. This lets me un-clip the stack at the bottom and flip through the cards, reordering them on weekends when I move my work tasks to the rear and cycle my personal tasks to the front. I tighten it enough so make the fit snug, and I can re-cinch it if I add or remove a few cards. Note the puck I linked for you

Here’s a few photos of the parts, setup, and operation




Above photos show the assembled and disassembled PDA, below is a template to show how to cut an 8×5 card down into 4 identical business card ones

Business Card Template


Let me know in the comments if this is at all useful for you..I’ve wanted to give back to the GTD community for a few months now, hopefully this post fulfills this desire. I know there’s no pen attached to this stack design, but I have plenty of places to tuck a pen in my EDC.

Namaste, and perhaps next week I’ll finish something more meditation oriented and everything will slowly veer back to center.