A Random Broad Gives Up Her PDA for a Week

So after penning The Low-tech, Lo-fi Approach to Daily Organization, I decided to see what life would be like if I downgraded from a digital PDA (BlackBerry) to an analog one (Hipster PDA) for a week. . .sort of.

To get started, I downloaded the Hipster PDA template kit from D*I*Y Planner, selected the pages I thought I’d need in my daily life, printed them onto 3″ x 5 index cards and clipped them together.  Printing them was a little tricky because Acrobat’s page scaling was set to print to printer margins.  Once I turned off page scaling, I was in business.  My printer still cut off a small portion of the left and top edges of the images.  As a result, my 2006 calendar is missing a few Sundays, and some of my other daily calendar pages are missing their hourly time delineations; not a huge problem in the grand scheme of things.

Back to my plan.  Next week, I plan to pretty much ditch my BlackBerry and use the Hipster PDA.  I’ll still use my BlackBerry to generate, reply to and forward mission-critical email items, but I’ll abandon its Calendar, Address Book and Tasks features in lieu of the Hipster PDA’s pages.  During the day, I’ll only take my analog PDA with me.  I see a lot of people, sit through a bunch of meetings and make plenty of appointments.  I rely heavily on my BlackBerry device’s Calendar (especially the reminders), Tasks and Address Book.  To make matters worse, I’ll be working on a project that will put me in front of some pretty high-level people in my company.  Timing will be everything.  Yesterday, I seriously considered postponing my plan (which one co-worker dubbed Office Survivalist) for a week.  Steeling my resolve, however, I decided to stick to my guns and, for reasons still not quite clear to me, turn my life over to, what amounts to be, a stack of index cards clipped together with a small binder clip.  Hmmm…  When it’s spelled out like that. . .right there in front of me. . .suddenly, I feel a little afraid.

So I need to think of the best way to make this work for me.  Already I can see some potential pitfalls.  What will I use for a stylus and where will I keep it?  Palm and iPac devices have convenient, built-in compartments for their styluses (styli?).  Also, the stylus is typically slightly shorter than the length of the device.  Because the fields on the Hipster PDA cards are so tiny, and because my handwriting isn’t exactly the neatest, I’ve opted for a mechanical pencil.  My pencil of choice–the PaperMate Synchro 5.0, if you’re interested–is a little bulky.  I may have to upgrade my binder clip to a larger size so that I can clip the pencil to the PDA.  Even then, it will extend nearly 2″ beyond the length of my analog PDA.  I’ll have to locate a shorter stylus; one with a thinner barrel would be a ideal.

Another issue will be keying data into, er, make that writing stuff onto my PDA.  One of the great thing about the BlackBerry is when I need to key something in, I simply remove it from its holster, scroll to the desired module or folder, click on it, key in whatever I need to and replace the device in its holster. Fun!  When I need to write something onto the Hipster PDA, I’ll need to unclip it, flip to the appropriate card, find some place to put other the cards, preferably locate a writing surface (I’ve never been good at using the palm of my hand as a writing surface), write into the teeny-tiny field(s), reassemble the cards (I’m pretty anal, so it has to be neat) and clip them back together, hopefully remembering to clip the stylus back in, too.  Not so fun.

Finally, my biggest worry will be how on earth I’ll remember to keep all of my appointments and meetings.  I pretty much keep my brain clear of when and where I need to be at any given time because I check my BlackBerry device’s calendar religiously.  I probably open it a dozen times a day to make sure I’m not about to make a conflicting appointment or see how long I can work on a task before I have to be somewhere.  Also, it’s calendar synchs wirelessly with my Outlook calendar.  This means if I make an appointment, I only need to key it in once–either in my BlackBerry device’s calendar or Outlook’s.  The analog PDA system will require me to write down appointments that are in my Outlook calendar onto one of its calendar pages–I still haven’t decided which one(s) I’m going to use–and/or key into Outlook any appointments I set while out and about.  I’m not so sure I’m disciplined enough to do so.

My punch list from now until Monday:

  •  locate a more suitable stylus
  •  possibly reprint the PDA onto larger cards to eliminate trimmed edges of images
  •  develop better handwriting
  •  get disciplined
  •  do something about the waves of nausea, panic and fear that hit every now and again as D-Day draws near

**Update**  I got around the trimmed edges by rotating the page 180 degrees and printing it on the same sized card.  This way, the image was still trimmed, but because it was rotated, the bottom and right edges were trimmed instead of the top and left ones. 

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Explore posts in the same categories: Analog PDA, BlackBerry, DIY Planner, Hipster PDA, Lo-Fi, Low-Tech, PDA, Random Thoughts

5 Comments on “A Random Broad Gives Up Her PDA for a Week”


  1. Wind direction

    I am Karin, very interesting article that contained the information I was searching for in Google, thanks.


  2. Thanks, I’m glad it was helpful to you. It was a pretty challenging week. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to post about it soon.


  3. […]   The great Office Survivalist experiment culminated Friday, close of business.  It wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be.  That’s not to say it was great, but there was no loss of life, limb or liberty.  So, all things considered, I guess the project went OK. […]

  4. PDA News Says:

    PDA News…

    Finally you come home for lunch. The house is empty. The silence is maddening, you could really use someone to talk to or curl up on your lap. But that would be silly, because animals don’ t belong in doors, and animals are dangerous. As you sit there …

  5. PDA Rated Says:

    PDA Rated…

    KILKENNY– ……


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