The hipster PDA–not just for hipsters

Matt Stauffer

If you’re still fighting getting a smartphone because you prefer to manage your life with pen and paper, but you don’t want to lug around a giant Franklin planner, the hipster PDA is for you: the perfect blend of portability and tactility.

Essentially, a hipster PDA (or hPDA) is just a binder clip and some index cards. What makes it special–other than the cost (almost nothing), size (fits in your pants pocket), and simplicity (just write)–is that hPDA fans have created an entire culture around sharing creative applications and printable templates.

Merlin Mann created the idea (or at least the name) in Introducing the Hipster PDA, and his website, 43 Folders, has a great introductory wiki. A few other web sites have begun collecting templates, notably Active Voice and D*I*Y Planner, and Lifehacker has a great archive of hPDA-related posts.

The 43 Folders wiki lists a few of the benefits of the hPDA:

  • Cards can be arbitrarily resequenced, given away, and writing by hand is freeform and unrestricted
  • Card size encourages concise notes
  • Can be put into a pocket
  • Won’t run out of batteries
  • More durable: won’t be destroyed by water, coffee, dropping on floor, etc.

Check out the wiki, and the other sites, for more reasons to try the hPDA and ideas for how to make it work for you.

Finally, if you want a step-by-step walkthrough on how to create a more permanent hPDA, check out Instructables user kc2dpt’s guide to Creating a Hipster PDA.

By Matt Stauffer | Posted: Nov 22, 2010
Category: Time & Task Management | Tags: , , , , | Permalink | Post a comment | Trackback URL.


  1. December 24, 2010, 1:34 am | Permalink

    According to Merlin, the most important concept to get about the Hipster PDA is this: “It’s for writing something down. Then doing something about it.”

    • December 24, 2010, 10:30 am | Permalink

      Thanks for that–his post was hilarious. I love the concision of his writing–I do wish I had that available when I was first writing the post.



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