I use two more things to enhance this system. One is a 'Fieldnote' which is used as temporary memory. Another is 'Moleskine Memo Pocket'. It is modified to carry 5x3 index cards around. These two tools are something like a net and cage. Take and prepare a net and cage all time for appearance of butterflies.
A fieldnote is used among surveying engineer, field scientist for long time. Umesao Tadao and Kawakita Jiro both wrote productivity book related to index cards in 1960' to 1970'. According to their books, they used to use this kind of fieldnote since they are field scientist.
I met fieldnote through field work on my job, too. Through my own experience, I found I can use it not only for field work, but also personal idea capturing media.
Kokuyo sells fieldnote in several format ; sketch book (quadrille), level book, etc. I use quadrille as usual. I hack the fieldnote by adding elastic band as seen in the picture. It enables to bind a pencil between current pages. I use a pencil itself as bookmark. Then I can open current page in a second.
Toughness : It is designed for outdoor use, as it's nature. It's thick hard cover enable to take a note in any posture. As I started to use index cards, I found many situation I cannot write index card. Ideas emerge in anytime/anywhere, in a train, in a bed, in a darkness. The field note is the best idea capturing media in such situation.
Reasonable : Surprisingly, the quality is enough good even such a reasonable price. I use the field note as temporal memory in metaphor of "virtual memory" on computer. It works well if it reasonable. Imagine if a note costs $20, like Moleskine actually does, one surely hesitate to write small ideas on it. A high price makes us feel that we have to write something "important". However, it doesn't make sense if we don't use a note in daily base. A note should not be a "souvenir". The low price (but high quality) of the fieldnote makes me feel free to write anything.
Why not hipster PDA ?
It might be a simple and natural question to ask "Why don't you use hipster PDA?". Because the hipster PDA (hPDA) uses 5x3 index cards, too.
In fact, I used to try hPDA prior to the fieldnote. But it is completely incompatible with my system in several reason.
- hPDA uses index cards in portrait (vertical) : It works good for listing action items, but troublesome for writing format in PoIC. Conversely, it is difficult to use hPDA in landscape (horizontal) because It doesn't fit for hand.
- it is impossible to write better letter on hPDA. In PoIC, individual index card is data for future use. I should write in better letter for good visibility.
- hPDA is dissipative. Single clip is to weak and easily break down. Also, I used to wash hPDA together with shirts.
I met so many dilemma with hPDA in PoIC system. It is somewhat paradoxical but the field note is more compatible with PoIC.
Moleskine Memo Pockets (icPod)
I use Moleskine Memo Pocket as mobile index card box. In the PoIC, I collect not only GTD stuff, but all thoughts including Records, Discovery, and Cite by using index cards. It is quite possible a number of cards exceed 30 per day. A clip-holded hipster PDA is totally incompatible with PoIC. All I need is not like portable RAM, but a portable HDD like iPod.
Taking 5x3 index cards around using Moleskine is originally rewl's idea. But the Moleskine's pockets are just-fit for 5x3 size and inconvenient to put/pick index cards inside. Another problem is the accordion is too high. It prevent me to see what is inside. To overcome these problem, I hack the Memo Pockets as following,
- Fold all accordions in reverse,
- Cut away half length of the pockets, then
- Put dividers for each pockets.
There are 6 pockets in the Memo Pockets. The dividers are Monday through Friday, plus Someday/Maybe and Next Action comes front end. I put all cards in front of each divider in order to see the title and time tag.
See detailed modification procedure on the flickr.
Dock and Pod
Since I have called a card box as “Dock”, it is natural to name this modified Memo Pockets as “Pod”. It resemble to a concept of the iPod, too : A thousand songs in your pocket. It resemble to space vehicle in Sci-Fi as well. This pod is for index cards, so I personally call it as icPod.
If I settle icPod just in front of the Dock, the meaning of name Pod is clear ; stable dock and mobile pod. A spacial sequence corresponds to temporal one, "there to here" equal "past to now".
What is inside the icPod?
Since I use the fieldnote for mobile idea capturer, I don't need to take blank index cards with icPod. The Cards in the icPod are all I have written.