I could have written that post. When I read Hawk's Pile of Index Cards web site I got very inspired and ran out to buy myself a whole bunch of 3x5 cards and a box to hold them in. I bought little carriers for them and a Circa Hipster PDA. I was writing on index cards all the time, in the car, on the couch, in the bathroom. There were stacks of them everywhere. I had my whole GTD system on there too.
Then one day I got sick of shuffling through the cards and made a to do list on a regular notepad. I got so much done that day! Somehow seeing everything in one place really helped, so I gave up the index cards and moved to a notebook and online documents that are searchable.
But I still love index cards and I wish I could find a good way to use them. They make me think of about fragmentation, and tearing things down into pieces and rearrange them into new configurations.
- Twitter and microblogging
- GTD's "widgets" and breaking projects down into smaller tasks
- mind mapping/sweeping
- MP3s and the demise of albums
- RSS feeds
All these things have helped open my mind to the power of fragmentation and collection. My tendency is to create systems and bring information together (like I'm doing in this post). The idea of tearing it apart intrigues me.
The world is breaking down into smaller, more flexible pieces, without gatekeepers to tell you how they should be arranged. That's a good thing.
If you've ever considered using a personal wiki to track your GTD to-dos and notes, but abandoned the idea because the software was too cumbersome, you might give ZuluPad a try. I've been using it recently to hold all my various lists and notes and it's really impressive. Go for the Pro version, available for a $15 donation, which allows you to print, add images, and synchronize your wiki online so that you can use it on multiple computers.
My main ZuluPad document is growing by leaps and bounds. I'm using it for all my GTD lists and notes, and I'm loving it so far. Making links to other pages within the wiki or on the Web is practically effortless, and I easily got my pages to print on Circa Junior paper. There's a handy datestamp feature, and it's easy to navigate between all your pages. The online synch has worked perfectly so far.
The program gets a little slow on larger documents, but not too slow to be particularly annoying. The only things I find myself missing so far are traditional word processing functions like bullet points, customizable headers, and a spell check.
Developer Thomas Gersic seems engaged with an adoring ZuluPad fanbase on his Web site, so hopefully some of those options will appear in a later release. Even without them, ZuluPad is one of the most useful and well-written programs I've found online - simple, elegant, useful.