Organize Your Life with Index Cards

I love index cards. There is just something so simple and efficient about them.  I use them for prayer requests, snippets of family story events I want to write about, recipes, games and activities for my fifth and sixth grade Sunday school class, Bible verses I want to memorize, household projects to complete, and many more things.

Below are three articles from different people showing how they use index cards to organize their lives.  And following this a list of ideas from around the web.  I hope you find some inspiration and new suggestions here.


Article One:  Capture Your Amazing Ideas and Increase Productivity – A Simple Four Step Index Card System
By Frank Coppola

One of my clients PJ McGuire created a system for capturing her thoughts and expanded a system using index cards that has her feeling enormously satisfied and extremely productive. Try this on for size.

So, you have a bunch of random thoughts in your head? Well, write them down. Those thoughts could be an amazing business idea or a bunch of gibberish. But you’ll never know the potential of your ideas if you don’t get them out of your head and on paper.

During my first month of coaching, Frank suggested that I start sifting through my constantly racing thoughts and ideas by writing them on index cards. He gave me a set of rules; only write on one side and throw the card away the next day if it’s a useless idea. I thought Frank and his idea were crazy but decided to give his suggestion a shot; my system definitely wasn’t working. To my surprise, it worked and I took his advice to the next level. Using the index cards has made a huge difference in my life and I hope it will work for you. The process is very simple and will get you organized. Are you ready? Here it is:

* Purchase colored index cards; they come in an assortment of colors.

* Choose a color to represent each area of your life. I’ve assigned RED for life/family events; BLUE for my company Modet Inc.; GREEN for miscellaneous stuff and YELLOW for To-Do.

* Always have blank index cards nearby. In your office, on your bedroom nightstand, coffee table, bathroom, etc. Good ideas come at all times of day and night as well as in a variety of locations. You should always be ready to jot them down.

* Start writing no matter how silly the thought; you can always throw the card away later. The important thing is to get the thoughts out of your head so your mind is clear for your next incredible idea.

To make the most of the To-Do cards I have a few tips. Write your To-Do’s for the day the night before so you can hit the ground running when you wake up in the morning. If you haven’t finished your tasks at the end of the day throw the card away and forget about it. This will keep you from beating yourself up over the things that you didn’t accomplish. Tomorrow is a new day; start fresh.

Frank Coppola is an ADD Coach, who specializes in helping people overcome procrastination, gain focus, and manage their time. You can download a FREE copy of his special report Crack The ADD Code at:

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swirl-flower-divider-vector_X1h9_zArticle Two:  Feeling Overwhelmed and Unorganized? – How to Use Index Cards to Organize Your Life

By Lorraine Peltier

Are you still looking for the perfect organizing tool?

Is your Filofax too bulky and heavy to fit in your purse and carry with you?

Tried a Palm or other Handheld and found it awkward to use when you’re on the run?

Ta Da!! – Try simple 3×5 index cards, you know the litle ones you use for kitchen recipes.

Why? They are affordable, easy to find and they fit in your pocket or purse. They come in pretty colors so you can code your projects by color.

e.g. one for Family, Work, Personal Goals, Home Projects, Hobbies/Crafts etc. Note: If you can’t find colored ones, use a colored marker to outline around the outer edge of the card . This is enough to help you quickly sort them into groups if you need to.

Here are some examples of how you can use them. (I use one for each project but you can combine as many as you want onto one card)

  • Daily To Do List
  • Grocery Lists
  • Personal Goals – one for weekly, daily, monthly yearly, life goals
  • Your Life Mission Statement
  • Favorite Prayers
  • List of Books on your Wish List to buy (or those that you want to read/look for at the library etc.)
  • To jot down your Hot Ideas when you are on the run.
  • Record notes from books and meetings.
  • Phone Calls – work, business, personal etc – jot the phone number down too so you don’t need to look it up before you call.
  • Keep some blank ones in your pocket, purse, car, by your bed to record dreams, ideas that wake you up in the night.
  • Keep a stack by the computer to keep track of your passwords, favourite sites and keyboard shortcuts.


I have one with my Credit Card Balance and I record any new purchases on it as I make them so I can check off the transaction when my monthly bill arrives at month end.

Right now I am in the process of setting up a new Bank Account and I have made a list of all the utility bills that we pay by automatic payment from the old account and which I now need to notify of our new account data. I have this all on one card and can check off each one as I complete it. With a separate card for this project, I feel organized and can see immediately, how far along I am in this process. When I complete the project, out goes the card.

Oh, and by the way, don’t forget to use them to record your favourite cooking recipes

I have a little plastic folding cover for my cards with two flaps inside that hold them from falling out. I picked it up at my stationary store and it protects my cards from getting bent and out of order in my purse. This isn’t necessary

as you can just pop them in any bag but it is handy for me. My daily To Do List is always on the top so I can just flip the cover open and see my list.

I would love to hear from those of you who already use index cards to stay organized. If you try them for the first time after reading this article,I would love to hear how they work for you.

Lorraine Peltier is a work at home mom who lives in Southern Ontario, Canada with her family and two adorable cats. She has recently created a blog to celebrate her collections of vintage fabrics, paper and other delights including her new adorable kitten. Come visit for links to other resources:

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swirl-flower-divider-vector_X1h9_zArticle Three:  Discover the Power of 3×5 Cards
By Elizabeth Hagen

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex, overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.” Mark Twain

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by all there is to do and all that’s on your brain? It’s so important when you feel overwhelmed to STOP and regroup. That feels counter-intuitive to us since when we feel stress the logical thing is to try and work harder. But that’s not what you should do. Take time to think about all that has to be done.

Go out and purchase some really cool colored 3×5 index cards. My favorite color for the cards is neon green! Then when you feel overwhelmed take out the cards and write down one thought on each card. Perhaps one says go to the grocery store, another says call Mary, and another says clean out e-mail inbox. Keep going until you feel like your brain is completely drained. Then look at all the cards and ask yourself “What is the most efficient use of my time right now?” Take that card and turn it over. Then ask “What’s the 2nd most important thing to do?” Take that card and turn it over on top of the 1st card. Keep going until all the cards are turned over. Then flip the pile over and you have your thoughts in a logical order and in the priority in which they should be done.

If any of the cards is a large project take the project and break it down into small tasks with a card for each task.

Other uses:

  • To get the kids to help:

Write a chore down one per card, let the kids each pick 1 or 2 cards from the deck (they can’t see them) and send them off and watch things get done. Put a reward on the back that they get when they hand the card back in.

  • When you’re on the road:

Take 12 – 3×5 cards and clip them with a small colored binder clip – keep in your purse or pocket. As you’re out and about and think of things that you need to do write one item per card. When you get back home or to the office put them in your “In” basket and you won’t have to try and remember all those great things you though of when you were out.

  • Getting organized:

Look around the room and write down one area that needs to get organized on each card. Kitchen areas might be refrigerator, pantry, south cupboards, north cupboards, etc. Shuffle the cards around and whatever one ends up on top – DO IT!

Discover the power of 3×5 cards! They are the most inexpensive and simple way to get control back of your day and your life!

Elizabeth Hagen is a dynamic and inspiring female motivational speaker, the author of Organize with Confidence and offers business coaching services to motivate women to stand out and accelerate their success. You can become more focused and have more momentum, more confidence, and more success. Elizabeth’s book “Organize with Confidence!” will change your life and her “Speak Now and Forever Get New Clients Home Study Program” will change your business! Visit and receive her eBook “10 Fearless Lessons Every Woman Must Know” as her gift to you.

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