• Prem Sundaram

Organizing with Index Cards

Updated: 1 day ago

At NoteDex we are the biggest fans of Index Cards. A few years ago we created the #1 Index Card app on Windows and NoteDex is the next generation cross platform version of the app. A lot of new apps are released almost weekly, and like NoteDex allow you to capture notes, thoughts. but only NoteDex allows you to use Index Cards to organize your ideas - and more!

That's great and we love to see such innovation but many miss out on of the key value propositions of Index Cards - as small short form note canvases to capture your creativity.

The Index Card is a perfect (tried and tested) tool to capture one thought, one note or one idea. That's the reason why we love them to capture information.

The NoteDex canvas allows you to capture using text but also with digital handwriting - just like on a real card.

This is where a lot of creativity and innovation occurs and it's what sets NoteDex apart from other note taking apps - and it's what can set you apart in creating, capturing and organizing all your notes and ideas.

Having an Index Cards System

The almost infinite usage of index cards in all areas of life mean that there is of course not 'one' perfect index cards system to using and organizing them. You might be wanting to organize information, or just organize your daily life routines! You will also find on the internet many systems and frameworks to help you manage information.

The great thing about index cards is that they are not specific to any one model, so you can decide depending on the situation how to use them and which information management model to use. For example, writing a book and capturing quotes and notes might be very different than using index cards for your studies and as use as flashcards.

Organize Your Life by Organizing Your Cards

I think one of the reasons that they are so good at helping to organize is that they appear as visual objects which can help to represent a project, and class or something else.

You can use one stack to organize your notes and ideas about each topic. Ideally without making more sticky notes, you can create one card to hold your to dos or tasks.

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto

If you are using physical cards then keep a pack of whole cards in your back pocket - yes, the hipster PDA! Whether physical or digital, they are great for taking notes, writing down an idea, and jotting down tasks.

Planning your Day - Essential to Balancing a Busy Life

Index Cards are a great asset to helping to plan your day - together with any planning technique you might be using - or not. For example, as a busy mom you may choose to take a moment (if you have any!) to jot down things to do today or the next day. The nice thing about Index Cards for managing your to-do's is that unlike a to-do app the items can easily be edited and moved around on the card as things change and develop. Plus you can come back to it the next day and make the edits for the next day. So you can sort of use it as a rolling to-do note.

If you use a tool like NoteDex then you can write your tasks into a table - so that can be helpful to be more organized. Each column might be a day of the week so you can make a life plan for the week - or it might be a shopping list with each column based on a different store or need.

If you are a student you might use a table view to plan out your week - you can see in this example how one student uses it to create a weekly plan.

Creating a daily plan to organize your week using NoteDex

Organizing your Writing Research

There is a nice article by Thrive Research on using index cards for writing. The key point about using an index card is to help brainstorm, brain dump and outline your thoughts so that you can use them to write your article.

As a writer you might be wanting to take notes when reviewing your research books or papers. You can use one index card per idea or thought. Then when you write your paper you will take each card and go into more detail.

Then you will organize your cards into themes - categories - perhaps as chapters or by key character themes. We will write more about using index cards for story writing in later articles.

Whichever index cards system you use you will find the use of these tried and tested tools invaluable.

What can I do with an Index Card?

There are just so many ways to use index cards but here is short list of common ways. Here goes!

Jotting down ideas and knowledge

  1. Tracking Tasks

  2. Use as flashcards for study

  3. Capture research notes

  4. Tracking customer meeting notes (a 'Lite' CRM)

  5. Maintain expense logs

  6. Tracking addresses

  7. Outlining speeches

  8. Capturing spiritual scripture snippets

  9. Tracking recipes

  10. Maintaining inventories of items

  11. Mapping your character attributes for writers

  12. Keeping shopping lists

  13. Taking meeting notes

  14. Organizing projects


Index Cards are a great way to organize - not only information but also your life!

We are always amazed how our users use our NoteDex app to capture, organize and share their information. We look forward to seeing how you use them to be more efficient and productive as you adopt your own personal index cards system.

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