What Is A Hipster PDA?

Electronics are taking over the world. From cell phones, notebooks, iPods, to just about any daily item you can think of. And they all require batteries. Technology has invaded just about every aspect of our lives. We even have electronic devices, called PDAs (personal digital assistants), for storing all of our information such as lists, phone numbers, dates, events, and reminders. It is all necessary, right?

Or is it? A new form of PDA is sweeping the internet right now and guess what? It doesn’t require one single battery. In fact, there is nothing technological about it. It is called a Hipster PDA and it is a throwback to the days of writing notes down with a real pen on real paper.

The Hipster PDA is simply a stack of index cards held together with a clip. You can customize it to your own desires using any number of colors. With such simplicity and versatility, it is a wonder no one thought of doing this sooner. If you are sick of lugging around an expensive piece of hardware, the Hipster PDA might be the choice for you.

How The Hipster PDA Got Started


The Hipster PDA got its start from the writer Merlin Mann. He is a San Francisco writer and is best known for his contributing work on the website 43 Folders. Mann was tired of the hassle of expensive and increasingly complicated electronic PDAs. So as sort of as joke, he created a new form of PDA and called it the Hipster PDA (which stands for Parietal Disgorgement Aid).

Although it was intended as a humorous statement on the widespread use of technology, the Hipster actually gained popularity with a rapidly increasing following. People liked the idea of a technological free system for keeping track of their information. Suddenly there were websites with users sharing ideas and templates for their own Hipster PDAs. It has since become a successful management tool for personal use and business.

Materials for a Hipster PDA

The materials to put together your own Hipster PDA are pretty simple and common. You will not need a group of technicians or a customer service number to help you install it.

All you need to create your own Hipster is a stack of 3×5 inch index cards, a binder clip, and something to write with. All you do to put it together is stack the cards in the order that you want them and bind them together with the clip. No instruction manual is needed.

You can use both white index cards and colored index cards. The type of paper is called cardstock and you can even buy it at your local office supply store. Some people prefer to use index cards that have a hole punched in them. A binder ring can them be used to hold the cards together. If the index cards are not already punched, you can simply do it yourself with a hole punch.

Not all PDAs are created just using index cards. Some loyal followers cut out 3×5 sheets of thin plastic, similar to that used in plastic folders, for the front and back covers of their PDAs. If your PDA is particularly thick or you want it to hold your pen, you can use a larger clip.

How To Organize It

Organizing a Hipster PDA is entirely up to the discretion of the creator. The most common way to organize it is to use colored cardstock as the front and back covers. An index card of a different color is then used to separate the used white cards from the fresh or blank cards.

Besides the divider for the fresh cards, you can also add divider cards (also using a different color) to separate lists, daily calendar, and notes. By color coordinating your Hipster PDA you can keep everything organized, separate, and easy to access.

When using your Hipster, every time you write something down, you move it to the appropriate section. This way you always have a fresh card available at the top or front of the PDA. Since the divider card that separates the fresh cards from the used cards is a different color, you can easily look at it and see if you need to add any fresh cards to your Hipster.

As you run out of fresh cards and your Hipster gets full of stored information, eventually you will need to clean it up or process the information. When you get home or back to the office, take out the used cards that you do not currently need and store them in whatever organized manner you choose. Some users have bins for their used cards. Others have a cork board where they can pin the cards up. If needed, you can then add some fresh cards to the Hipster. This prevents it from getting too big and bulky and allows you to stay organized at the same time.

What Can You Do With The Hipster PDA

The versatility of the Hipster PDA is the real draw to this simple system. The uses for it are wide and easily customizable. You can add just about anything to this type of PDA. Here are some things you can use the Hipster to do: shopping lists, things to do, weekly or monthly planner, calendar, addresses, phone numbers, travel information, and personal notes.

Benefits of the Hipster PDA

The Hipster PDA has many benefits. The most obvious is that it requires no batteries which is better for the environment. Used batteries, even though they are small, take up a considerable amount of space in landfills because of the high number that are used every day. Plus, batteries contain several dangerous and corrosive elements that are unsafe.

Another benefit is that the use of cards is pretty much unrestricted. You can write anything you want in any form. The cards can be placed into any sequence or even given away to other users.

The Hipster PDA is small enough to fit into your pocket and is lightweight. You don’t have to worry about space or handling it with care. If you drop it, it won’t break. It is much more durable and it won’t short out if you spill your coffee on it.

And finally, The Hipster PDA is much cheaper than an expensive electronic version. You don’t have to save up just to buy one and if you misplace it or it somehow gets destroyed, you can easily replace it with a new one.