DIY note card task board

Today we welcome Brian Kieffer, one of Unclutterer’s amazing programmers, to tell us how he created his extremely useful note card task board.

I’m a big fan of using index cards as organizational tools. They’re cheap, relatively sturdy, and the perfect size for jotting down tasks and notes, among many other uses.

Unless you really like flipping through cards over and over, though, it can be difficult to keep from losing track of everything you have going on your cards. If you’ve searched for a solution to this, you may have encountered Levenger’s excellent Note Card Action Board. But at nearly $40 for a 13″x15.5″ board, they’re pretty pricy.

I made my own in less than 5 minutes for a fraction of the cost using simple parts I picked up on a trip to my local art store. All you need is a board, and several large, heavy-duty rubber bands.

Any sturdy board will work, but the board I chose is the 16″x20″ Studio Panel. It’s essentially a 3/8″ thick piece of masonite with a canvas-like surface, and you can get them in many different sizes. The textured surface of the board provides a little bit of friction to keep the cards secure, and could easily be painted to match the decor of your office. The back of the panel includes pre-drilled holes for hanging on the wall.

Assembly is quick and easy. Just stretch your rubber bands over the board and space them according to the size of the cards you use. And BAM! DIY Note Card Action Board. Then you can use your label maker to mark the different sections of the board for your productivity system.

25 Comments for “DIY note card task board”

  1. posted by Michael S on

    I always rotate systems (GTD, index card . The reason is after a while I will tune out one system. Usually due to having a full plate with a touch of resentment for not getting “those things” done. Almost like how our brains block car alarms, advertising, and sights & sounds when exposed to them over time.

    I think if I use this method I’d make a board per project. Most of my clutter comes from things getting mixed together and little time to sort through them.

  2. posted by ike on

    You could use a clipboard I’d think?

  3. posted by Dave on

    I’d need a whole wall sized one, one more to add to the to do list

  4. posted by Keter on

    This is a nice hack for those who like this method, but I find that having all of my tasks and to-dos in front of me all the time is very stressful (seeing a huge stack of tasks is scary!). Having them fed to me one at a time – with the possibility to reschedule the reminder – is much less so. For this, I use Cute Reminder on my computer to track my to-dos and make sure I don’t forget important dates.

    I carry 3×5 index cards with me for notes, but put them into my GTD inbox when I get home, and except for hot items that need immediate action, I process them with the rest of the content.

  5. posted by shb on

    Michael S, I’m really glad that I’m not the only one who rotates systems. I do it for the same reason, I think. Thanks for posting that.

    As for this article, great diy idea!

  6. posted by wufflebunny on

    I use a simplfied version of this:

    I propped a large cheap photo frame on the wall (the ones with panes of glass in them).

    I split my board into 5 zones, Due today, Due this week, Due next week +, Done and monitoring and Useful Info. I then use coloured post its to assign tasks to different zones, using the colors to indicate whether it’s personal or work, quick win or a hard slog. I can rearrange my post its depending on urgency, priority and it’s quite satisfying crumpling up a post it whenever something is done. If I need to take my to-do list anywhere, I just pull out my phone and take a picture.

  7. posted by iphigene on

    This a really cool idea and quite simple to make. I like notecards too and I pin them on the cork board i have in front of my desk. The layout of this keeps thing easy to navigate.

  8. posted by Justin Smith on

    Applied digitally, this principle really seems to make the paper-based system seem quite laborious.

    Kudos on the layout though nonetheless.

  9. posted by Another Deb on

    I really like this idea as a base for lesson planning. I can sort through ideas, strategies, video notes, warmup ideas, project stages, vocab lists, anything!

    I have an acrylic picture frame that stands on its own and plan to get some rubber bands and go to town! Thanks for a system that may solve a lot of problems!

  10. posted by Karyn on

    As an alternative to a wall board–especially for those who find seeing all of the notes at once visually overwhelming–how about using a cheap “brag book,” with one index card per pocket? Yep, I’m borrowing from the recent post suggesting the brag book as a coupon holder. 😉 I’ve also been sticking my shopping list in the front pocket. Dedicating a brag book to a cheap and portable index-card task-management system might be a workable solution.

    And, BTW, using the brag book for coupons is the best coupon-management system I’ve found, yet!

  11. posted by DIY Note Card Task Board « The Big Blue Room on

    […] Cross-posted at Unclutterer. […]

  12. posted by Janet Barclay on

    Michael S & shb, I’m so relieved to know there are others like me! I’ve gravitated from a paper system, to paper and electronic combined, then strictly electronic, and am now back to a combination (a different one this time), and it’s made me feel rather flighty. To deliberately plan to rotate systems may be just what the doctor ordered!

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  19. posted by skittles on

    I’ve used something similar to this that I got at Hobby Lobby for mementos. It is an insert for an 8X11 frame to keep tickets & pictures tucked into the lengthwise pleats/pockets.

    http://www.countryliving.com/c.....ard-de.jpg

    mine does not have the ribbons on the folds. you can also write on it, if desired.

    (from an article on organizing: http://www.countryliving.com/c.....rafts-0109 )

  20. posted by Linkszomania for May 13, 2009 | Primer on

    […] gives us a great blueprint for how to make a cheap and easy notecard task board. I will do this if my Post-Its start falling off the […]

  21. posted by Nancy on

    I’m a little confused why I need this instead of the same ‘to do’ & ‘follow up’ lists I make on my computer in my Word program (or can be done in Outlook with deadline dates as well), which saves paper and space.

    I do happen to use Post Its and the border of my computer screen when it’s something I want in front of my face all the time until it gets done.

  22. posted by Marc Sheffner on

    I use this system, developed by a Japanese engineer who loves using index cards (his own variation of GTD system).
    Pictured here is his temporary storing dock, which I use to hold cards that are part of a number of live projects.
    I use his suggested combination of the “origami” pod with moleskin folder to hold cards in different categories while I’m on the road.
    I still end up with lots of cards in a big stack, unsorted, but that’s because I don’t schedule time to properly sort them daily. It’s on my to-do list.

  23. posted by lianeible on

    This looks cool so far, what’s up people?
    If there’s anyone else here, let me know.
    Oh, and yes I’m a real person LOL.

    See ya,

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