Hipster PDA


Over the years, I have been a big fan of pro­duc­tiv­ity tools.  Back in the day, I would drool over the vari­ety of dayrun­ner fold­ers and their page inserts.  Later, it was pro­duc­tiv­ity soft­ware.  After that, sys­tems and frame­works and gim­micks and what­not.  I kind of stopped when I hit the “Hipster PDA.”  Admittedly, I did not imme­di­ately stop there.  I played with all the tem­plates, espe­cially the D*I*Y Planner tem­plates.  There is so much poten­tial, so much hope, in those tem­plates.  I fell in love with the idea of those tem­plates, but dis­cov­ered most of them were just not as use­ful or flex­i­ble as a blank index card.  As cool as they are, I had to give up most of those tem­plates.

I dis­cov­ered that, for me, there are two main types of Hipster PDA index cards that are use­ful.  Your mileage may vary, but for me, there are two:

  1. The blank card.  Okay, tech­ni­cally, I pre­fer the graph paper index cards from Levenger because I’m a nerdy engi­neer, but most peo­ple would con­sider these “blank.”
  2. The pre-printed ref­er­ence card.  There are times when I want to have some­thing on-hand to look up at a moment’s notice.  And I really do mean a moment’s notice — not take out the iPhone, turn it on, enter the lock code, launch Evernote, search for the note I’m look­ing for, then open it.

The blank card is just that.  There is no sys­tem or tem­plate that can help there.  The pre-printed ref­er­ence card is mainly cus­tomized to me and my life, but might be use­ful to oth­ers — or at the very least, may serve as inspi­ra­tion.  For instance, I have one for work as a ref­er­ence for things like model num­bers and pro­gram­ming con­stants that is of lit­tle inter­est out­side the work­place.  I have a pre-printed shop­ping list where I can just tick off the things I need; the items are spe­cific to me and my life but oth­ers may find them use­ful.  The style, with dif­fer­ent items, could work for oth­ers.

My Hipster PDA Index Card Templates

Click through to a given card’s page to see more detail, view a sam­ple, and down­load a PDF.  I designed most, if not all, of the tem­plates for print­ing double-sided on 8–1/2″ x 11″ card­stock.  The lay­out and align­ment then lets you cut them apart into four double-sided cards per page.


thumbnailThe blank Sudoku grid was one of my first tem­plates.  It has gone through sev­eral revi­sions, both with and with­out light “guess num­bers” in each square.

Shopping List

thumbnailThe shop­ping list has gone through sev­eral revi­sions.  I always have one clipped to the fridge and can load it into the Hipster PDA when it is time to go to the mar­ket.  Although I expect you may not find them use­ful as-is, it should serve as an inspi­ra­tion for your own list.

ARG/Programming Tools

thumbnailThe ARG and Programming Tools tem­plates are read-only ref­er­ence for com­mon data used in pro­gram­ming and ARG puz­zle solv­ing.  This includes an ASCII table, decimal-to-hex con­ver­sion and vice-versa, sev­eral cod­ing schemes (Morse code, braille, ROT13), a list of primes, and a list of English let­ter fre­quen­cies.

Scrabble Cheat Sheet

thumbnailThe Scrabble Cheat Sheet is a ref­er­ence of high-scoring and unique words in Scrabble.  This includes Q-without-U, words with large num­bers of con­so­nants, and large num­bers of vow­els.

Portland Map

thumbnailThis is the first revi­sion of a not-quite-to-scale down­town Portland map with the bus routes and stops that I am pri­mar­ily inter­ested in.  It served well over Christmas, in that I could mark down the loca­tions of stores I rarely fre­quent.  I know the loca­tions I typ­i­cally go to and their prox­im­ity to bus stops, but needed a good memory-jog for those rarely-visited loca­tions.

Exercise Cards

thumbnail This is a set of four exer­cise tracker cards for use in the hundred-situps and two-hundred push-ups pro­gram.  You can mark off your progress as you com­plete each set, so as not to lose count.

Title Page

thumbnailThe Title Page is a quick ref­er­ence of my con­tact infor­ma­tion as well as a phone list for impor­tant num­bers.  It serves three pur­poses.  First, I never remem­ber my own phone num­ber, so it’s nice to have it avail­able at a glance.  Second, if my phone (where I keep all of my phone num­bers) breaks and I need to call some­one for help from another phone, I have impor­tant num­bers.  Third, if I’m found uncon­scious in a ditch, the author­i­ties can see who to call.

Hanging Envelopes

thumbnailThese are tech­ni­cally not Hipster PDA cards, but a tem­plate for a “hang­ing folder” that you can stick to a wall or other sur­face.  I use a cou­ple at work for quick access to a few cards.