Photo by Giuseppe Gallo on Unsplash

Index Cards: An Analog Ally

Before you reach for your mouse, keyboard, or any other tech gadget, stop to consider something far more simple, something that only requires your creativity. Sure, it may not be all glowy-glowy. But the humble index card can truly be an analog ally.

Our brain works differently when we put pen—or anything else—to paper. Doing so can help relieve stress while also increasing our ability to focus. Writing also helps strength our memory and comprehension skills. Taking the analog route enables us to engage our brain more fully. Simply put, writing by hand involves more neurons than simply hitting keys on a keyboard. Lastly, going analog increases creativity. Think about it for a moment… You can’t doodle on a screen—at the very least, not as easily.

If I’ve got your interest sufficiently piqued, keep reading. Below you’ll find a variety of practical and fun ways to put the humble index card to use:

  • One Word A Year
    Do you choose one word a year to intentionally focus on? If so, index cards can fast become a way to keep that word front and center now matter where you are. Decorate them and stick them on mirrors, in your planner, on your desk at work, or even on the back of your front door.
  • Simple Stories & Anecdotes
    Keep a record of funny stories or memories that you don’t want to forget.
  • Beautiful Bookmarks
    Forget buying bookmarks. Make them instead or keep the index card blank and use it for jotting down quick notes, references, or questions as you read.
  • Record Notes, Quotes & Sayings
    Write down and save inspirational sayings or good advice you get from others.
  • Scripture Verse Cards
    Whether for memorization or to simply tack up around the house, index cards are perfect for writing down and keeping Bible verses prominently placed.
  • Gift Tags & Mini Greeting Cards
    Skip paying for premade gift tags. Instead, make your own using index cards or employee your children to do it for you. Index cards are great for making quick mini greeting cards, too. Simply create a beautiful design or illustration on one side. Then, flip it and write a quick, encouraging note on the other.
  • Keep a Record of Ideas
    Using index cards is a great way to make and maintain a record system for ideas, gift giving, books to read, etc.
  • Gratitude Notes
    Keep the thankful thoughts flowing by writing them down on index cards. Consider setting a personal goal to fill up one card each day or week. Tuck them away to read when you need reminding.
  • Inspirational & Encouraging Art
    Index cards are small, but this can absolutely be their strength: they’re easy to display nearly anywhere from the dashboard in a car to inside a planner to tacked onto a mirror. So, use them to create beautiful miniature masterpieces that can be given away to inspire and encourage others—or kept to keep your spirits high, too.
  • Affirmations
    We all benefit from taking the time to remember how capable we are. Use index cards to jot down personal affirmations. Then, intentionally place them where you’ll see them most.
  • Creating a Reading (or Movie) Log & Rating System
    It can be fun to track how many books—or movies—you enjoy. Consider doing this with a simple index card system. A simple star or point-based rating system can help boost the fun!
  • Portable Drawing & Coloring Projects
    Index cards are just the right size to take along wherever you go. Whether you take along a small set of coloring supplies, too, or just a simple ballpoint pen, creativity can abound with a simple index card no matter what. Use it for doodling. Scribble a design on it. Then, color in the different sections with various textures. The possibilities are literally endless.
  • Jot-Down Journal Entries
    Sometimes an entire blank page can be incredibly overwhelming. Start using index cards instead to jot down quick journal entries. Consider using bullet points to list the important things that happened that day and/or list the successes and challenges you faced.
  • Fold & Stand Reminder Notes
    I discovered this use for index cards quite by accident. I was completely out of sticky notes, but I had to make a note that I simply couldn’t forget for work. So, I grabbed an index card, turned it so that it was in portrait (vertical) position. I wrote down the key information near the top of the card. Then, simply folded it in half. When placed on my desk, the card stood up at attention right in front of my monitor. Soon, I had an entire army of reminders standing at the ready—and ready to be easily moved around in order of priority.
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