Review: Helvetindex Cards

Anyone who’s been following productivity on the Internet is no stragner to the Hipster PDA. As described on Merlin Mann’s 43Folders, the Hipster PDA is:

“…a fully extensible system for coordinating incoming and outgoing data for any aspect of your life and work. It scales brilliantly, degrades gracefully, supports optional categories and “beaming,” and is configurable to an unlimited number of options. Best of all, the Hipster PDA fits into your hip pocket and costs practically nothing to purchase and maintain.”

I’ve used one of these “devices” off and on for the past several years, but my latest version isn’t as inexpensive as its predecessors. And I’m fine with that because it is made up of some of the finest index cards on the planet: Helvetindex Cards.

My Impressions

While I’ve kind of let the cat of the bag early on in this review, let’s just further it by saying that combined with my Pilot Hi-Tec C pen, this is the most pleasurable portable paper setup I’ve ever had. I learned how to use the Hipster PDA through Merlin’s tutelage on 43Folders, but it’s never felt quite so good than it has since I started using Helvetindex Cards.

Helvetindex Cards are the brainchild of Aaron Mahnke, and the site itself further illustrates why they were created:

“Every idea deserves to be captured, and thankfully it doesn’t take much. A stack of index cards and a pen can match a good GTD app any day. But why use plain cards when you can capture in style?”

These cards are simple, elegant and incredibly adaptable. Whether you’re a GTDer or just want to use them for basic notetaking, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better paper stock to write on.

My Wife’s Impressions

My wife isn’t as into productivity as I am, but she did say they look better than my plain index cards. That said, she also that they had better considering they cost a lot more.

You get 100 cards per batch, and each batch costs $7 each (plus $4 shipping within the US). I paid a bit more since I’m in Canada. The cost may be a dealbreaker for some, but they are worth every penny. The fact that the cards have a deeper value seems to translate to the stuff you put on them. They’re not as disposable in that regard, which could very well mean that using Helvetindex Cards over regualr index cards may make you more productive overall.

The Verdict

If you want a portable, pristine paper solution for your productivity needs, Helvetindex Cards are the way to go. They’re great for those who don’t want to conform to a specific system, love to use quality paper and don’t mind spending a bit more to have all of that.

A pack of Helvetindex Cards would make a great stocking stuffer for the productivityist in your life.1

UPDATE: As per the request of the readership, I’m posting a photo of how the Helvetindex Cards stand up to different writing instruments. Below you’ll see a card adorned with the ink of the aforementioned Pilot Hi-Tec-C, the Pentel EnerGel Euro needle-point 0.35 mm gel ink pen and the Pilot Acroball 0.7 mm ballpoint pen. Oh, and I also scribbled something on there using my trusty Kuru Toga pencil to boot.

You’ll notice that I put the current date in the upper left grey box, the nature of the card’s contents on the upper right magenta box and use the bottom grey portion for quick reference as well and footnotey-type stuff. Brad Dowdy also offers a great review that’s worth checking out; this kind of stuff is a bit more in his “inkwell”, so to speak.

1 Nudge, nudge. Wink, wink..