I’ve been through a few phases in my life where I’ve used Index cards. Exam revision at school. A brief foray into the Hipster PDA. But I mostly gravitated towards using a Field Notes-sized notebook as a pocket carry, and an A5 notebook for work.
I’ve been experimenting a little with different kinds of paper for productivity. I’ve used my Off-Lines desk station with its little A7 sheets as my main to-do list anchor, as I described in my review of the Baron Fig Week Pad.
And now I’m trying out the Baron Fig Strategist Note Cards.
Make no mistake, these are just index cards. Standard 3×5 inch (so bigger than A7, but smaller than Field Notes), thick paper, no binding. They come in a stack of 100 for $9.
Where they differ from most index cards is that they have rounded corners and a rather fetching pale-green dot grid (blank on reverse side).
As always, Baron Fig bills itself as making tools for thinkers and creators, and it suggests some grand ideas for these cards. Planning a novel. Creating app interface wireframes. Study revision. These are all good uses, particularly more visual uses where the dot grid is more valuable than an index card’s traditional lines.
As to me? Well, I did what I do best. I started using them as daily to-do lists.
For that purpose, I really appreciated the slightly larger size of the Strategist cards versus my usual A7, and the bright white paper made for good contrast.
The only really frustrating thing is that my ink slides off the rather large dots of the dot grid — and when you’re writing in extra fine, that means you lose a whole letter!
The paper itself otherwise is good. It’s very sturdy, and there’s no bleeding or feathering or showthrough. Perfect for fountain pens.
My only other complaint is the slightly dodgy rounded corners.
So, all good, right? I have a bit of a silly confession to make, though.
I struggled emotionally with using these cards as they’re meant to be used. Index cards to me are always meant to be utterly disposable, like Post-It notes or any unbound paper: you scribble down one word or an arrow on them with a Sharpie, rearrange them, get the value you need from thinking through a structure or process, then bin them at the end of the meeting or working session or revision crunch.
That’s fine when a pack of index cards costs £1.50 from your local Rymans or Tesco, but there’s a bit more pressure on you to use them effectively when they’re four times the price. If a pack of Post-It notes cost a tenner, you wouldn’t exactly use them with gay abandon, would you?
At 10 cents per card, these Baron Figs are hardly breaking the bank, and indeed they’re cheaper than Nock’s dot-dash cards, which work out to $12 for 100. But this is enough of an increase that it actually inhibits my use of them for ideation. Which is a bit of a shame, but that’s the human psyche for you!
Baron Fig sent me these cards for free. You can get yours here.