Analog / Digital

Tabbed dividers

Divide and rule your information with the splendid hPDA V3 tabbed dividers. The OOo version allows you to place your own inspirational poems, Surah, even pictures of loved ones upon them.

Need inspiring? Interesting images can be found at:

Wikipedia: Featured Pictures

Astronomy Picture of the Day

NYPL Digital Gallery

Please check that you have permission to download and use your chosen work as copyright can and does vary.

D*I*Y Planner Hipster PDA Edition V3 (Under Review)

D*I*Y Planner Cards

The escape was carefully orchestrated. Congo made sure the coast was clear, Bonzo distracted me with his endearing rendition of Polonius' farewell speech to Laertes, Pierre engaged my wife with the latest Daniel Smith artists' catalogue, and Polly constructed the electromagnet that attracted the key to the cage from atop the bookshelf. They waited till after midnight, then opened the padlock and quietly crept to the Mac to get to work.

This morning I found the fruits of my little simians' labour, stacked neatly in a small pile atop the printer.

I'm hereby pleased to announce the release of the much-requested D*I*Y Planner Hipster PDA Edition v3, a series of [How many?] organisational and planning templates designed for printing onto index cards (a.k.a., the Hipster PDA). These are a subset of the regular D*I*Y Planner forms, re-designed for the smaller size, and may be used either in conjunction with the full kit or as a stand-alone system. Although chiefly inspired by David Allen's Getting Things Done, an emphasis has been placed upon tweakability and multiple methodologies. The package includes:

  • A cover, including an 'if lost, please return to' form
  • 'The Helpful Hipster PDA Reference Card', to share with friends.
  • A Getting Things Done Quick Reference Card, including a flow chart, a weekly review list, and a list of "Stuff" (TM, patent pending)
  • Yearly calendars for 2006 and 2007
  • Three variations on the monthly calendar, both horizontal and vertical
  • Weekly calendars
  • Day Keeper, a daily time management form, with timed and untimed versions
  • More Day Keeper forms, with areas for actions
  • A 'Combined Actions' with Actions, Waiting For and Notes areas
  • Separate full-size Actions and Waiting For templates
  • Agenda cards for people or meetings
  • Potential Project and Potentials Quicklist forms
  • Single- and double-line ToDo forms
  • Harmony and Priority Matrix, for the top-down fans
  • Basic Project and Checklist templates
  • Product Idea and Solutions forms
  • Shopping and Finances forms
  • Two types of Job Tracker
  • Notes templates in lined and grid versions
  • Matrix, a form for writing or tracking tabular data (exercise/fitness logs, calorie counting, grades, borrowed library books, budget items, etc.)
  • Two types of Contacts template, four to a sheet
  • Important Numbers forms
  • The new Book Note template
  • A Mind Map template
  • Forms for writers including; Story Idea, Story, Story Board, Plot Point and Character
  • An Item template
  • A Photographic Release
  • A Weekly Tracker
  • A six box Table
  • Instructions for printing, cutting, modifying, troubleshooting, etc.

This edition is available in three different packages. Please read the descriptions to determine which one you need. Click on the title to download it.

1-Up Version
This PDF package is for printing directly onto index cards. You will need the correct size and weight paper, as well as a printer that can handle 1/8 inch (3mm) margins. (Many printers only have 1/4 inch (6mm) margins, and will clip the edges of the forms.)
4-Up Version
This PDF package is for printing four adjacent cards onto regular letter-size (or A4) card stock, then cut using a guillotine or scissors. If you can't print onto regular index cards without clipping, this is probably your best option. (This is the package I personally use, and it works perfectly with a decent guillotine.)
Graphics Version
This package contains all 34 templates as graphic files (8-bit PNGs, to be exact). Choose this version if you want to use your own layout program, if you want to modify the forms in any way (including changing colours, margins or text), if you want to use your own preforated forms, or if you experience problems using the above PDF files with your printer. The graphics may be edited in any standard graphics application, like Photoshop or The Gimp (which is free), and layout can be done in OpenOffice Draw (free), Adobe InDesign, Microsoft Publisher, CorelDRAW or any number of other publishing programs. (See the accompanying instruction file for tips and license details.)

Please take the time to view the Hipster PDA Read Me, and see the Frequently Asked Questions if you experience any issues. You may also download other D*I*Y Planner Hipster PDA Add-On Templates.

Many thanks go out to all the D*I*Y Planner users who have provided valuable feedback over the past year, as well as to the uber-productivity mavens of the 43 Folders Google Group, whose advice --as always-- has been beyond compare.

DIYP3 Hipster supplement

Holding page for Hipster documents.


1/ Release notes. [Doug]

2/ New folding cover. [WIP]

3/ Tabbed dividers. [Need documenting]

4/ Forms. [Modify 'Classic' abstracts]

5/ Misc.

Using a Personal Analog Device

I use a bit of a hybrid between paper-based planning systems and their digital equivalents. One strong component of this system, however, is my personal analog device (my PAD). I learned long ago that a computer-based PDA was too restrictive, too clunky, and generally not as useful to me as a simple 85 cent pad of paper and a smooth flowing pen. You might recall the post about The Notebook. Consider this a follow-on.

Let me quickly sketch for you the infromation model that I'm working from, and then we can drill into the details. My personal model for accomplishing things in a given day requires the following: upstream planning and mechanisms, downstream execution and management, and ground-level data capture and transfer. This post will focus on capturing data in a useful way, but I'll spend another quick moment on the concepts I mentioned in my system.

Mindmapping Papers

My reading course paper is due at the end of the week, and I'm panicking. Somehow or another, I need to read some 200 research papers and digest them into a clear and coherent review of related literature.

There's no way I can do that on a computer. I just don't have enough screen space to keep everything visible, and I don't have enough brain space to see how everything's related to everything else.

Mind maps to the rescue.

On the Advantages of a Paper Planner

One of the advantages of a paper planner is that it allows you to procrastinate properly. Right, that's an advantage.

The only reason Doug lets me stay on D*I*Y Planner is that I occasionally use or make forms for my fridge. I have to confess that I spend most of my time on my computer, so I use a blog/wiki to keep track of my schedule and my task list. (Shh, heresy!) I publish my TODOs because people actually help me out from time to time, so it's been worth it.

Sharing my TODOs has its disadvantages, though. Sometimes I can't even procrastinate.

Let's Do Lunch!

Coordinate lunch time with this handy template for offices and laboratories.

Usage advice: 

Lunch time is one of the best times to chat about interesting ideas and get to know your colleagues. Interdisciplinary research is born when people rub elbows, and innovative ideas can emerge from lunch-time conversations and scribbled-on table napkins. Get together with your coworkers today!

Print out and laminate this lunch coordinator, then stick it on your refrigerator or whiteboard together with a dry-erase marker. Suggest some times and encourage people to write in their names and the time they plan to head out, heat up their lunch, or call for takeout.

Paper size: 
Creative Commons
Applications required: 
PDF Reader (Adobe Reader, Mac OS X Preview)

That Sync'ing Feeling

You know the situation. You might have a Classic-sized planner stuffed with D*I*Y Planner templates. You tote a Hipster PDA in your guidebag or purse. Somewhere, there's a Palm you sync with Outlook, online calendars or Palm Desktop. Then there's the array of Post-Its cluttering your monitor, the stack of index cards by the phone, a Moleskine yearning to be used, a notebook you tote to meetings, and so on. Slowly, as you come across neat ideas to boost your productivity, you take on more and more ways of doing things, your system begins to fracture, and your trusted system erodes. And the single most important plea, among all the lone voices crying in the night? -- "How do I make it all work together? How do I 'sync'?"

I've going to have a whirl here at addressing one of the most commonly asked questions posed of me in the past couple of years: how does one "synchronise" information between different sources, if you're going analog? In other words, how do you keep all your information up-to-date, whenever and wherever you need it, and still have it reliable enough to be trustworthy?

Writing at the Speed of Thought

I write. A lot. Sometimes I have to wonder why I don't actually call myself a professional writer and have done with it, seeing that almost everything I do for a living is tied into somehow stringing words together. And, as you've probably guessed by now, I spend a lot of my time navigating both digital and analog methods of doing things (as opposed to "getting things done," which lends a different perspective on matters), and I've formed some pretty strong opinions on the various ways of laying down these words into some sort of vaguely coherent and semi-articulate flow, and occasionally with some actual purpose in mind.