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I introduce simple principles to keep stress-free accumulation of information by using just an "index cards" and a box named "dock". I call this extremely simple system/method as "Pile of Index Cards", or more shortly "PoIC". Soon after you will see your "cultural genetic code" in your own dock. This is first presented in my flickr photo set. It gives you more intuitive view of this system/method. This manual is supplement for the photo set.

Comment, question, suggestion are always welcome.

Best, Hawk Sugano a.k.a hawkexpress


The PoIC, as a software, is licensed under GNU GPL, and this manual is licensed under GNU FDL.

PoIC System

All you need to start PoIC is "index cards" and "dock". The PoIC is extremely simple system. And the simplicity generates robustness.

Index Cards

An "index cards" is a unit of information in the PoIC system. There are so many color, size, and type of index cards. Among them, I recommend quadrille, 5x3 size index cards. The 5x3 is reasonable size for capturing and accumulating ideas. It is like a lot of small LEGO bricks. Later, they will be used for building large structure. A grid line of quadrille provide you a base writing format. It plays an key role for PoIC's tagging as well. In case you can't find quadrille index cards, you can still use plain index cards. Usually it is available anywhere, and more reasonable. The quadrille 5x3 index cards is, of course, just a recommendation. You can choose color, size and type as best-fit for your life style.


Next to the index cards, you will need a box to keep index cards. Any box is alright for a moment. Search your house and you may find a box. As you finish a pack of index cards, and you find the PoIC works good for you, then it is time to get good box. I call such box as "dock". Because all index cards gather as ships do in a harbor. The dock concentrate all of your index cards and prevent from dissipation. Take an index cards and go stationery store or DIY shop, then you will find it.

PoIC Method

Four Cards

There are four kind of information inside/around us. Only four. The world is so simple. All cards contains icon, title, contents, time stanp, and tag.


Icon : Circle Tag : 2nd block Diary, note, bank account, health, weather, any kind of records about oneself are classified into Record Card. Viewing from long time span, these records provides useful information. Graph the numbers of some Record Cards, then you will see a certain pattern. Feedback from such pattern will give improvement.


Icon : Electric Bulb (lightning) Tag : 3rd block Discovery, idea, insight, inspiration, things from own brain, mind, spirit, anything emerge from inside, are classified into Discovery Card. I think this is the most important and enjoyable among the Four Cards. According to my own dock, 80% of index cards are Discovery Card. By introducing Discovery Card, you will see your discoveries emerges in your mind like a water from spring never dry up.


Icon : Square (check box) Tag : 4th block. Squared as open-loop first, and filled later as accomplished. The GTD is advanced To-Do system proposed by David Allen. Next action of your project is described and processed through GTD flow. In the PoIC system, the GTD Card is classified into 3rd kind. 4th block is squared first, as open-loop, and filled later as accomplished. The percentage of GTD Cards in my dock is about 5 %.


Icon : Hat (something above you) Tag : 5th block Quotation, recipe from book, web, tv, anything about someone else’s idea is classified into Cite Card. Important thing here is to distinguish “your information (Record/Discovery)” and “someone else’s information (Cite)”. Source of the information must be included in the card. For a book, for example, author, year and page(s) must be written.

Chronological Stacking

In the PoIC, all index cards are kept in a chronologically. That is, the newest card comes at the front of the dock. This is called "Chronological Stacking", and an important key of the PoIC system. No classification, no search, no revision. All you do is just store the index cards as you write, and don't mind about the order. Although it may look chaotic at the beginning, it will become more regulated soon. Don't be afraid to sweep out your mind and capture them all. Make visible what is going on in your brain. You will see a sequence of tag, a cultural genetic code.

Task Force

As the time is ripe for you, that is time to organize "Task Force". When you feel enough index cards accumulate about a project, extract all index cards related to the project. The index cards are used for reproduction and produce new fruits. After the task, the Task Force are keep besides the dock and not return to the dock inside. The PoIC's Chronological Stacking works because of this Task Force process. These two processes are coupled each other, and cannot be divided.


Why and how the PoIC works? It would be more useful to see the mechanics and theoretical background of the PoIC. This is also about property of information.

One Pocket Rule

In PoIC system, all index cards drop into the dock. You feel comfort since you are far from frustrations such as “where did I put my index cards?”. All you need is to look into the dock, then you’ll find them all. This is first mentioned in a book “cho seiri ho” by Noguchi Yukio, who introduced push-out filing system now formally known as “Noguchi Filing System“. He call this simple rule-of-thumb as “one pocket rule“. That is, if you have only a single pocket, and you put something into the pocket, all you need is just to look into the “one pocket”. While, if you have two or more pockets, you will have to look into all of these pockets. Keep things less, then you will save time.