Personal Productivity Hacks

I’ve been an analog person for a long time, despite having been a tech wonk for a long time as well.  The substance of pen and paper is reassuing for me, and it seems to be less disruptive to take notes with a pen than with a clicking keyboard.

For years, it was about the moleskines.  I have a series of pocket, quadrille, softcover books, with the dates that they cover written on the paper edges. Years of them.  One day, I was at the end of a book, and didn’t have the next one with me.  So I grabbed a few 3×5 cards (a la Hipster PDA) and was able to keep doing my analog thing.  Then I found that I really like the 3×5 card.  I was able to structure ideas more discretely than the forced linearity of the book.  Pretty soon, I filled a 100 sheet pack.  I did get another book, but I was then struck with it’s limitations.  So, I got a pack of quadrille 3×5 cards.  And I am enjoying the ability to put content in the order that I need it, and then to re-order it.

Here are a few of the little hacks that I have going.

  • I both lead a team directly, and work with many people indirectly.  I have a card for each person that I meet with or have asked something of.  Some people walk into my office now, and ask “do I get a card today?”
  • I affirm the small binder clip, although many times I just grab the stack.  No clip really needed – I use the clip of my pen.
  • I do the classic box-then-check for tasks.  I keep a seprate card for my to-dos, satisfyingly checking them off once I finally get a chance to do real work.
  • I like the quad rule.  I draw a lot of mini diagrams to make a point.  Quad rule helps, as opposed to getting in the way.  Also, make it easier to divide a card vertically.

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