There are two things I try never to leave the house without: My iPod and my Hipster PDA. The Hipster PDA, created by Merlin Mann over at 43Folders, is a super low-tech, easy to use system for collecting thoughts and information while you’re out and about. It’s essentially a stack of 3×5 index cards held together with a small binder clip. Clip on a pen and you’re ready to go. Anything you think you’ll want to remember gets jotted down for later review and processing. As its popularity has grown, there have been several modifications made to the basic concept, my favorite being the D*I*Y Planner templates that you can print directly onto your cards. It’s extremely handy, but there’s one small problem… While I make sure I always have my iPod with me, I often forget to pick up the Hipster PDA before going out. My solution was to combine the two, trying to keep in the spirit of the original Hipster PDA concept. I’ve been really happy with the results.
Before we get started, I should share some of the requirements I decided on before working out my solution. First, I didn’t want the final size to be larger than the 3×5 cards themselves. There are several small organizers on the market with pockets that would accommodate an iPod and note cards, but they all end up being too big and bulky to comfortably carry in my pocket. Second, I wanted to have access to my entire front index card for writing, which meant no shoving a stack of cards under an iPod belt clip or constructing an elaborate web of rubber bands. Lastly, I wanted the solution to be as simple and inexpensive as the Hipster PDA itself. What I came up with not only meets all of my requirements, but also provides a nice surface to write on when holding the cards in your hand. You can make one of these in 5 minutes with things you probably have around the house. So let’s get started…
Here are the supplies you’ll need:
- Two 3″x5″ ruled index cards
- Scotch tape
- Ruler (optional)
Begin by folding one of the cards horizontally along the fifth line from the bottom. If your cards aren’t ruled, or if you just want to check, it should be 1 and 1/16 inches from the bottom edge. All creases should be sharp.
Then fold the card in half vertically.
Next, fold the side edges to the center line.
When you open the card, you’ll notice that you’ve created two squares in the bottom right and left corners. Cut on your folds to remove those squares.
Now fold the bottom lip up to the first crease you made.
Insert the second card, lenghth-wise, into that fold and center it.
Tape the bottom lip of the first card to the second card.
Flip the cards over and fold the two outside flaps in half, squaring them up to create the iPod pocket. You may have to tighten up the creases to get them to hold the proper shape. Then stick a strip of tape to the inside of each flap, sticky side up.
Fold the pocket down onto the back and check to see that everything looks reasonably square. Make sure the bottom is flat and the sides are straight. When you’re happy with the alignment, press the tape down firmly. You may want to add a few more pieces of tape over the seams to reinforce the pocket.
All that’s left to do is clip your Hipster PDA onto the Hipster POD card and insert your iPod. Don’t worry if it’s not perfect on the first try. I made three before I was happy with the result. Luckily, they only take a few minutes and it gets faster with each one you make.
Lastly, I should mention that my “everyday” iPod is a 60GB iPod with video which I keep in an iPod sock. The iPod fits very loosely in the Hipster POD pocket without the sock. Depending on your iPod model and case, you may have to experiment a bit with the measurements above, but my method should work well with any of the thin silicone or plastic cases on the market. I recommend the iPod sock because of it’s simplicity and because it has a loop that can hold a thin pen or pencil. If you don’t use a case, or you use a protective film like the Invisible Shield, you could probably cut an iPod sock, or any sock, to fit inside the pocket and hold your iPod in.
The iPod sock gives my iPod a nice snug fit. Can you tell I’m holding it upside-down and shaking it?
That’s it. My Hipster POD was fun to make and has really helped me keep track of my Hipster PDA, which means I’m actually using it and getting more things done.
Let me know if the Hipster POD has worked for you.