Getting Organised: Low-tech Planning with Index Cards


In a previous post, Getting Organised: Setting up a System I explained how important it was to have a system that allowed you to compartmentalise all the personal and work related tasks in some manageable order.

This system is based upon David Allen’s Getting Things Done, or GTD for short. For more on being organised, I wrote a three part series here.

I described how our daily schedules are complicated by an array of competing demands that in sum, account for all the things that we need to and want to do.

Emptying your head of all of these mental images is the first step. Getting them onto a system that works comes next. In the post above I gave you step by step instructions on how to go about this process.

All it takes is for you to take action!

Easier said than done. Where can you find the time?

Well, I would argue that spending half an hour of emptying your head and organising those items into actionable and non-actionable items, is a sacrifice well worth making.

In time it will save you endless hours and make you a much more productive and efficient person, as well as help towards lowering work related stress.

So I wanted to show you perhaps the simplest efficient system that you can have up and running within minutes, to try out this whole lark of being a more organised teacher.

Anyone can do this. Encourage your students too. It might even be a fun exercise to hold in class, in promoting smarter student organisation skills.

Okay, your shopping list is…

Palm/Index Cards, Plain or Coloured
Fine-liner Pen
Bulldog clip

You probably have these stashed away somewhere at home or in school, so dig them out and let’s get going. If not buy them and claim them back as expenses or against your tax.

Looking at the previous post on this subject, you will see that all you need to do is to get those things out of your head and onto paper.

Palm Cards / Index cards are great for organising an inexpensive system.


You can use just plain old white cards or perhaps you prefer colour. It’s up to you.


Mark on the cards the things that you wish to remember like Next Actions, Waiting For Items, Project Lists, Calendar, Someday-Maybe Items.


For a fuller treatment on these items see the previous post.

Once you have made up the cards, simply hold them with a bulldog clip and voilà, you have a GTD system. I like to use fine-liner pens as linked above: they are better suited for precise writing and ease of use, but that’s just me. A crummy old pencil will do just as well.


Carry this around in your top pocket or trouser pocket if you’re a gentleman, or ladies can keep it in their purse or diary. It’s important to have it to hand to fully utilise it.

At a quick glance, you can jot down and mark off things that need to be and have been done. As simple as this is, it truly is a transformational process that gets you miles in front in organisational efficiency.

Have a go at setting this up. Any questions, let me know and I’ll be happy to help. Protection Status

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