Free PDA Replacement That Never Runs Out of Batteries

I used to have a PDA that I carried around with me wherever I went. I spent countless hours searching for utilities and games to put on it. I synced it with my calendar so I could keep track of things and I had to remember to charge it regularly. I was disappointed to learn that if the batteries ran out all the data was erased. As I began to use it less, that happened. I went through the process of restoring all the files and utilities I had on it, but eventually I stopped using it.

The only two things I missed were the calendar and the ability to write things down easily.

I bought a Moleskine and carried it in my pocket for a few months but it was bulky and uncomfortable. When I wanted to write something down I had to remove the elastic band to open it then find the right page with the bookmark. This became annoying over time and I missed having a calendar.

I read Getting Things Done (GTD) by David Allen and realized that my PDA and Moleskine had been acting as temporary inboxes. I decided I didn’t need to keep those lists long term because the task would be transfered into my tracking system. The temporary list could be disposed of.

When I heard about Pocket Mod I was pleased with its elegance and simplicity. I also liked the fact that it could be easily customized and was disposable.

PocketMod is a single sheet of paper that you fold up to create an 8-page booklet. You choose what pages you want to have in your booklet, then print the sheet and fold it into the booklet.

I tried several variations and have settled on lined pages on 7 pages and a yearly calendar on the last page. When one page is full, I change pages so the outermost page is always the one I’m writing on. Thus there’s no turning of pages to write something down. There’s also no elastic band, bookmark, power button or plugging it in to charge either. It holds up well and is so thin I can’t even tell it’s in my pocket. Just make sure to take it out of your pocket before putting your pants in the laundry.

I use because it has a larger selection of pages than the original PocketMod site, but both work.

Here’s a PDF of my current pocket mod which you can print out and fold up. I print to PDF using a custom size of 8″ x 10.5″ instead of the default of 8.5″ x 11″ because it centers the page and makes it easier to fold. The default settings work but the page isn’t centered on the paper so you may want to trim the paper after folding it.

PocketMod isn’t just for task lists and calendars. There are pages with games like battleship, sodoku, tic tac toe and a random maze. There are also reference pages with timezones, conversions, ASCII tables, morse code, tip tables and a collection of formulas. If you want to get more advanced has dynamic pages that pull from Google Calendars, online todo lists, cartoons, horoscopes, among others. In my quest for simplicity I’ve just stuck with the basics.

In summary, to create a free personal organizer from a single sheet of paper, follow these 3 steps.

1. Design your pocket mod by dragging the mods on the left to the pages labeled Front, Back and 1 to 6.

2. Print it

3. Fold it


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  1. Awesome!

    One of the coolest things I’ve seen in a while. I’ve just recently broken myself of the habit of carrying around folded papers for notes…guess it’s time to reacquire the habit.

    Comment by mckay on February 19, 2008 @ 12:17 pm
  2. mckay: You could call it a small disposable notebook instead of folded papers, if that helps :)

    Comment by dan on February 19, 2008 @ 12:31 pm
  3. Your pocket mod pdf link doesn’t work.

    Comment by Rick on February 21, 2008 @ 4:38 pm
  4. Thanks – it’s fixed now.

    Comment by dan on February 21, 2008 @ 5:08 pm
  5. […] warranty program. I was curious. It sounded like it could be a good deal. I made a note in my pocket mod to look it up […]

    Pingback by Don’t Get Mogi - Amidst a tangled web on December 17, 2009 @ 6:15 am

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