Author Topic: Pile of Index Cards system  (Read 567 times)

Brad

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Pile of Index Cards system
« on: March 03, 2019, 02:28:23 PM »
Some people keep offline notebooks, journals, commonplace books, to do lists etc.  I'm kinda taken with the Pile of Index Cards (PoIC) system:

Quote
How it works
Hawk describes four types of cards in his system:

The Record Card. He describes it as “a diary, note, account, health, weather, cook, any kind of records about us belongs to this class.” I’d say this is the incoming “stuff” of the day: appointments, notes to follow up on, etc.
The Discover Card. Hawk describes the Discover Card as “Things from my brain, mind, spirit, anything emerge from inside me, are classified into this class.” This is the result of a mind dump. Don’t worry about classifying when filling out a Discover Card. Just get whatever is on your mind out and onto paper.
The GTD Card. Here he combines the title of a project and several actions that pertain to it (here’s a look at the template in English). This reminds me of the “Hipstper PDA Template” I used religiously about 10 years ago.
The Cite Card captures other people’s ideas that warrant attention. He says, “Important here is distinguishing ‘your idea (Discovery Card)’ and ‘someone else’s idea (Cite Card).’ Source of the information must be included in the Cite Card. A book, for example, author, year, page(s) are recorded for later use.”

https://unclutterer.com/2014/06/17/the-pile-of-index-cards-poic-system/

Of course you can add other types of cards but these 4 types seem to be a good place to start.  There is more information and good tips for setting up such a Personal Knowledge Base available online.  There is no one software for replicating PoIC that I can find.  There is something to be said for keeping paper records as well. 

In essence this is a commonplace book https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commonplace_book  broken up into card sized chunks, one thing per card.

rcjordan

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Re: Pile of Index Cards system
« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2019, 03:21:40 PM »
I come from a 'file pile' heritage.  My dad built and ran several successful businesses using legendarily tall stacks of paper and (80cc punch) cards with scribbled notes.  He somehow knew the rough location of specific docs within the stacks and everyone was forbidden moving them.  I use much the same method *IF* the paper already exists and I've even carried that file-pile tech over to the digital world --sweeping old digital docs into archival folders.

BUT, making physical notes defeats spontaneity and tends to be put off and lost.  I've mentioned here a couple of times that my Alexa-Todoist setup is like having a personal secretary.  Thinking about it now, it's sort of a verbal (or keyboard) digital card system with scheduled retrievals, reminders, and search.

Brad

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Re: Pile of Index Cards system
« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2019, 04:34:59 PM »
I do a lot of this on my blog: ie. what book I'm reading, etc.  But I'm still fascinated with the idea of doing this on paper - or part online and part on paper.  I like putting some things online as conversation starters, but some thoughts, research and projects I don't want on the Internet, at least until they are ready, so I may split things up that way.  Public = online, private = PoIC.

More info:  http://pileofindexcards.org/blog/cluster/

And it might be the index card route just does not work.  If so, I'll try a blank commonplace book which requires a whole lot less organization.

rcjordan

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Re: Pile of Index Cards system
« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2019, 04:50:24 PM »
> fascinated with the idea of doing this on paper

There are two types of people in this world; those who say they're going to write stuff down and those who write stuff down. hhh

ergophobe

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Re: Pile of Index Cards system
« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2019, 09:05:53 PM »
There are two types of people in this world; those who say they're going to write stuff down and those who write stuff down. hhh

I went to grad school with a crazy Finn who counseled new students to write everything down. If you see something interesting, write it down right then and there, because you may find you'll never be able to find it again.

After he gave me this speech in front of my major professor, a giant in the field with countless publications, my prof turned to me and said "And THAT is why Kari has been working on his dissertation for 12 years. I recommend focusing on writing down what you need, not what you think you might need unless you have a trust fund to keep you for 12 years of dissertation writing."

When working in the archives, they had stacks and stacks of cards people had used to request documents which were blank on the back. I took all my notes on those for 2.5 years. That system had a few advantages
 - you don't lose two years of work if someone steps on your notes in the bus
 - you don't lose two years of work if you forget the day's notes at the archives and someone steals them, which they don't do anyway because they're just old request cards.
 - you can shuffle and rearrange them. I grouped notes into chapter, then sub chapters, then read through them over a few times and set them in the order the section would take, then started writing.

All forms of paper notes have two huge drawbacks that I just can't abide
 - they take up physical space
 - they are not searchable with regular expressions

Drastic

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Re: Pile of Index Cards system
« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2019, 02:19:22 PM »
This looks interesting. I'm still on a sticky note system that I've tried to wean off for a couple years now without success. I am trying to find some suitable digital replacement.

Nothing has worked yet but I've really not given it the focus and time it needs yet.

Will check this out.

rcjordan

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Re: Pile of Index Cards system
« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2019, 10:39:12 PM »
Just saw this on /r. Thought of this thread.  Kinda true.

Remember kids, the only difference between screwing around and science is writing it down.

Brad

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Re: Pile of Index Cards system
« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2019, 12:52:00 PM »
Good quote RC.

There is a lot of friction in this PoIC system for me.  If I would find an online (cloud) based software that would let me do this and would not lock me into a proprietary silo, I would use that. It would need to use the index card UI.  Unfortunately I can't quite find anything that really fits.  Although SuperNoteCard has some of them https://www.supernotecard.com/

PoIC, works best if you work at a desk or table, where you have room to write and your file boxes, and card supplies are right there.  But I would on a laptop, in a den, from The Ultimate Command Recliner and that makes it a pain to use.

Also, since the idea is really to keep an commonplace book I already do part of that on my blog.  I post what I'm reading etc there.  The PoIC is for stuff I don't want online, story ideas, business plans, schemes for Total World Domination by Search, and any other hair brained idea I might have that can't be telegraphed online.  That makes things tricky too.

I still like the card analogy I'm just not sure it's going to work for me.

buckworks

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Re: Pile of Index Cards system
« Reply #8 on: March 09, 2019, 12:56:18 PM »
If you like to work with index cards, you might like the "pocket briefcases" at Levenger:

https://www.levenger.com/stationery-notebooks-322/pocket-briefcases-763.aspx

Brad

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Re: Pile of Index Cards system
« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2019, 01:00:00 PM »
If you like to work with index cards, you might like the "pocket briefcases" at Levenger:

https://www.levenger.com/stationery-notebooks-322/pocket-briefcases-763.aspx

Great minds, buckworks!  Well I bought a knockoff on Amazon for half the price.  I like it.  It's faster for quick notes than me trying to type them into a smartphone.

Drastic

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Re: Pile of Index Cards system
« Reply #10 on: March 09, 2019, 09:11:43 PM »
So after looking at the POIC in particular, there's no way I could make it work. Home office and work office, plus being mobile often, it's just not realistic. I also don't think I'd put the effort in to manage the system properly.

>pocket briefcase
Wow, this looks quite doable. I love this size for current todo and primary task lists.

Brad

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Re: Pile of Index Cards system
« Reply #11 on: March 09, 2019, 10:25:54 PM »
>doable

I got the "shirt pocket briefcase".  Index cards are cheap and if I write somebody a note I don't have to tear a page out of a notebook.