I am Starting Pile of Index Cards System

I’m going all in and trying the Pile of Index Cards system as part of my Commonplace book. By doing this I’m dividing things into:

  • Public - which is my blog here at Ramblinggit.com
  • Private - notes about thoughts or ideas that are not quite complete enough for a blog post. Private ideas, schemes such as fragments of stories I want to write. Notes about anything that I don’t want splattered all over the Internet. Etc.

I’m not sure the the PoIC system is the best system for me as opposed to a bound journal, but I won’t really know until I give it a fair try. I feel more confident in taking blank index cards with me if I travel and file them when I get home, rather than bringing a whole journal. If I should loose the journal I loose everything, whereas with cards I loose just a few cards.

IF, the PoIC system does not work out I will sit down and examine what is wrong, is it the card size, or my own squirrelly brain or habits or what. If I can’t make adjustments to the card system the my backup plan is to go to a bound paper journal.

My Modifications:

Some modifications from the system outlined at the link above.

  1. Colored index cards: I’m going to use different colored cards to denote the 4 different card types rather than guide marks at the top edge of the card.

  2. 4 x 6 note cards instead of 3 x 5. More room, easier to use in typewriter.

  3. 3 x 5 index cards (grid) for notes and a shirt pocket briefcase, when out and about, instead of a Field Notes notebook. If need be I can tape a 3 x 5 card to a colored 4 x 6 card for archiving.

  4. Instead of wooden “docks” I’m using a Cropper Hopper Photo Case, Blue for my 4 x 6 cards.


  • While I intend to type most of these cards, a fair number will end up being hand written, probably more than I think now. Must keep writing legible.
  • I have quite a few fountain pens. I really don’t intend to break them out, but I might. Will probably stick with typewriter.
  • If I abandon this card method and move to a bound journal, I will most likely break the fountain pens out.
Brad Enslen @bradenslen


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