Make your own jotter in 30 minutes or less

I was in Staples the other day picking up some record-keeping items when I happened across a $10 leather index card holder. It had a sort of photo-holder configuration on one face such that a single 3x5 card can be held in place like a note pad, and then it had a utility pocket behind that which would hold about 10 cards or so. I guess this type of accessory is called a "jotter". In keeping with my newfound respect for the GTD system, I thought it would be a good idea to have something small enough to fit into a pocket, yet sufficient for quick recording and possibly a limited PIM reference. But somehow I couldn't persuade myself to spend that $10, what with Christmas nearing and my presently slim budget.

So being the experimenter and cheapskate that I am (I literally am a cheapskate - I once tried to make a pair of skates out of two sets of rollerblade wheels and some old ski boots) I decided to go home and make my own handy dandy card holder. I had a slim file holder made from some fairly stout plastic, and since I had no further use for it in that form I used a sheetrock knife to cut out several pieces: one piece big enough to fold over a stack of cards, one piece with a big rectangular hole cut out, and a little piece to use as a ledge. I found that a soldering iron works very well for heat-sealing the pieces together; just put them where you want them, push the soldering iron in deep enough to go through the top layer, pull it out and smooth the hole over with a hobby knife or (in my case) the back of your finger nail.

Using this method, I attached the piece of plastic with the hole in it to the front of the "folder", leaving one end unsealed so that I can slip index cards in and out. The small piece of plastic serves as a retainer ledge for the cards held inside the folder, rather like the ledge on an easel. It can also be augmented with a mini-clip. I currently use a large clip to hold the whole thing closed, though I'll probably modify it with some kind of latch over time. As it is, the result is just what I was hoping to achieve: a tough cover that doubles as a (somewhat large) pocket-sized jotter. All from something I already had but wasn't using. (Unfortunately, I have no camera, so pictures will not be forthcoming.)

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I am in awe of your use of a soldering iron. My DH is similarly talented with one but I have no experience whatsoever. Being able to make anything 'smooth' that had been touched by a soldering iron is a feat.

There is a bit of DIY inventiveness for sure. :)


Soldering irons

Melting plastic together is tricky, but it helps when the plastic is just the right hardness and consistency. This stuff lent itself marvelously to the job. And now I've got a new skill that no one will ever find useful except me! (I have all sorts of skills in that category: being able to flip a pen cleverly around my thumb is another one, as is making a very convincing "moo" sound. Oddly enough, cows respond when they hear a foreign moo--or at least the ones in Burke's Garden do. :)

Knives, Soldering Irons & a Box of Bandaids

I was in awe when I read your post on making your own jotter in 30 minutes or less, for many reasons. First of all, being an "unhandy Andy" myself, it would take me roughly 30 minutes just to find any kind of knife on my "workbench" (pronounced - big pile of junk on a wooden table). Secondly, it would require either a large box of bandaids to mend my sliced fingers, or the soldering iron to cauterize my wounds inflicted from said "sheetrock knife". Not to mention the additional expenditure of time required to practice DIY reparative surgery. 30 minutes? Not for me. 30 days of cussing might get the job done.....or simply calling Levenger.