Frequently Asked Questions: Hipster PDA Edition

Hipster PDAs, made popular by Merlin Mann and 43 Folders, are a great way to make your planning lifestyle lighter and more portable. However, the notion of a pack of planning cards is not entirely devoid of sources of bewilderment. This FAQ attempts to answer some of the more popular questions Doug and the D*I*Y crew have had about the Hipster PDA Edition templates.

  1. How do I use these cards?

    That's an excellent question, but it all comes down to a matter of personal taste and a process of experimentation to find out what works best for you. If you use these in conjunction with the 'regular' D*I*Y Planner, you can read the handbook for usage advice, tips and various pointers on implementing David Allen's Getting Things Done methodology, much of which also applies to these cards. Otherwise, you might want to check out the excellent 43 Folders and its Google Group for plenty of advice on how to use a Hipster PDA, implement GTD, or explore plenty of other ways of staying organised. You can also find a tonne of cool hacks in the 43 Folders Wiki.

  2. What's the best way to guillotine the 4-up versions?

    I like to do top, right, bottom, left, centre horizontal, then centre vertical for each pair. That's just the fastest way I've personally found to do it, since I just keep rotating the paper in the same direction, taking a quick chop each time. You do get very fast with a little practice. If you don't have a vertical cutting guide, it also helps if there's a light source bouncing up from under the edge of the cutting edge, so you can line up the edge with the printed border. Whatever you do, be sure to hold the top edge of the paper against the wall at the top of the board (this keeps all cuts perpendicular), and don't cut yourself. I shall not be held legally responsible for the loss of any body part, finger or otherwise. (See the Beginner's Guide to Making a D*I*Y Planner for plenty of handy instructions with photographs.)

  3. What are those weird symbols at the top of the Finances grid?

    Those are my symbols for cash (dollar sign), debit card (down arrow), credit card (up arrow), and cheque (check mark.). Make a little line, x or dot in the correct column for the transaction. There's not much room on an index card, I know....

  4. Matrix? Bwahahahaha! The blue pill! The blue pill!

    Ahem, yes. The *Matrix* template serves a number of purposes that aren't immediately evident to the hard-core sci-fi fan. Some examples: diet log, exercise/fitness log, text/assignment grades, homebrew tracker, number of cars passing in front of your house (by colour, of course), etc.. It's like *Notes*, but for tabular data -- an analog spreadsheet.

  5. How do you carry these around?

    Carry them in whatever fits. People's choices range from zip-lock baggies to office-supply card cases to Levenger International Pocket Briefcases. To see what other folks are using, you can check out our Kit Photographs Gallery or our Kits & Equipment Forum.

  6. I don't need no stinking expensive corporate wallet! I'm a *do-it-yourselfer*!

    Then try making the gtdductster.

  7. Can you make me some red/blue/teal/polka-dot versions of the templates?

    I'm afraid not. However, you can certainly load up the graphics version of the Hipster PDA Edition in your favourite bitmap graphics program and make colour changes yourself. Likewise, you can change text, spacing, and anything else that really bugs you. (If you don't already have a graphics program, and want to download one for free, I'd suggest grabbing (and learning) The Gimp.

  8. Why did you make these cards?

    I received plenty of requests from frustrated people who were trying to squeeze down and contort the regular D*I*Y Planner templates to fit onto index cards. In short, pity. ;-) I've actually started using them myself, so it worked out well in the end.

  9. Aren't I creating a derivative work if I modify your graphics files?

    Technically yes, but I will waive this for personal usage. If you would like to offer your own creation online for public consumption, I ask that you check with me first. (That would be the 'permission' part in the licence.) The other option, of course, would be to use the Widget Kit to create your own cards, which is under a different license that allows derivatives.

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