Friday, June 23, 2017

A Habit and a Hack: Adding a Heads Up Display to my Offline TODO List

The Habit

I've added another piece of my offline, index card based TODO list tracking system. On Sunday evening, I bust out a fresh card, a small ruler and make myself a grid for the week:

(The last 'W' stands for weekend)

I then pour over my stack of TODO cards and come up with a high level schedule for the week, picking one or two large items to work on every day:

At the start of a given day, I usually fill in more items that I want accomplish that day.

This little exercise, including the arts and crafts component of drawing out the grid, has been surprisingly effective. It's one of those habits that's so obvious that you can't imagine how you lived without it for so long.

The Hack

The large binder clips danging off my standing desk are doing a good job of organizing some key essentials. On the other end of the spectrum, I've found a new use for the tiniest binder clips I own. This was strictly an accidental discovery. I picked up a a few rare earth magnets the other day only to find out that they were *too* powerful for the task I wanted to use them for. At one point, I had the magnets on my desk and I was fiddling with them. Turns out, the tiny binder clips I use to keep my TODO stack together are ferromagnetic (that is, they stick to magnets). And the same was true for the outside border of my monitor.

It took some experimenting, but I eventually arrived at this arrangement:

Two small neodymium magnets stacked on top of each other firmly hold my entire stack of TODO list items, while one small magnet easily holds the weekly schedule card.

The result is a heads up display that shows me both the task I'm currently working on, as well as my weekly overview. The system is surprisingly robust, with the cards staying firmly in place yet easily accessible. And besides, there's something magical about magnets that make them a tactile joy to use.

My suggestion: pick up some neodymium magnets and see what sticks.

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