Analog system better than Ugmonk

I would like to share my proprietary analog system. I have over two decades of use with this system so unlike Ugmonk I’m not a newcomer on the scene, rather this is proven technology:

Proof of the success of this system - the bookshelf in task #4 has been simplified more since the deep dive of only hours ago:

For only $15 Canadian you can buy and entire year’s supply: - no an affiliate link.

(Bad handwriting is not included in my system you must supply it yourself).


don’t forget the handy card stand:


Or for a few minutes of your time (including 2-1/2 to what a soothing video), make one yourself out of sturdy cardboard: DIY Custom Index Card Holder - Inspired by the Ugmonk Analog - YouTube


Gotta say, I do appreciate that people like the guy at Ugmonk exist. It’s nice to see actual craftsmanship. And in my experience, luxury goods frequently raise the bar for the non-luxury ones.

But I do agree that his system isn’t something I’m interested in - at least partially for cost reasons.

That said, if all somebody wants is a way to sort 3x5 cards on your desk, this little pen cup from Amazon holds 3x5 index cards perfectly:

and it’s divided into two sections, so you could have “fresh” and “used”. I use it for that exact purpose, as a matter of fact. :smiley:


You were right, I feel very soothed now, lol.

Those felt octagon things as a pinboard was a great idea too!

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It was just an attempt at humour. I was mocking the fact that we all spend money on things that we don’t need. For years my notebooks were Moleskine. Never did I actually need a Moleskine.

@MacSparky loves Ugmonk and that’s cool. I just want to tease him about it.

BTW Blank index cards promise twice the number widgets built everyday.


I’ve added this to my wish list for the next time I put together an Amazon order. Thanks for surfacing this as Amazon identifies it as a pen cup! It is also available in black.


I would prefer the MacSparky version of same :wink:

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Oh no, i just listened to Focused. Apparently I need to sell this to @mikeschmitz as well.


When you’ve done your bookshelves can you come round and do mine? I started before Christmas and still have piles of books on the floor :books:


You’re an animal - just - writing things down and then - doing them.


My Mum is one of the most organised people I know. For the whole time I’ve known her, all she does is write daily to-do lists and other important lists on a piece of paper with a wooden pencil. Not even a nice one, she just keeps free pencils and uses them, like a monster :scream: She rarely even sharpens the pencil (I do when I’m at her house and need a pencil, because it drives me mad that they’re stubby and blunt!!). And it’s not even nice paper, she just keeps a pile of one-sided A4 printouts and letters that are ready for recycling and tears them into quarters! She doesn’t even keep a spare piece of paper on her person!! They’re in a drawer, and she just remembers these things when she’s writing her lists?!!! And she ran a shop, a household and a community group like this???

I bought her a nice notebook once to write lists in. Waste of money that was. :joy: She ended up just tearing the pages out the notebook so she could use them.


I would get along well with your Mum. For the first 5-6 yrs of running consulting business, it was all in my head with an stack of index cards to make sure I didn’t forgot things.

The irony is that provide professional advice on business strategy and for along time didn’t make use of the tools I advised people on.


I wish I’d been raised by an organized mom. :frowning:

(Kidding—but really, not everyone can pull that off. Thank goodness for the people who do make everything look easy in our lives.)

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Like your mom, my wife is very productive… without reading or spending an ounce of time on productivity books or apps. Currently, she works as a child and adolescent psychiatrist and lecturer at a local university. She also co-authored one of my books, and is a great mom to our three sons.

She’s never heard of GTD or Atomic Habits. She doesn’t meditate. What about Omnifocus, Things, Notion… phhhht. She manages her life with a few stickies, and Google calendar.

My point… the productivity industry caters to a certain type of person. Someone with a persistent itch - one might say, an anxious itch - to be so much more than what I am right now. The problem with anxious itches… they’re hard to scratch.

Some of us have the itch, some don’t.


I’m more envious of your shelf space. I’ve almost filled up my new shelf I got last year and I may need a new one by next month based on how much I acquire books.

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This is an uncanny resemblance to my own mum, she’s the queen of legal size yellow notepads and manages the family business with them. Me? I’m spread out over a half dozen apps whilst constantly fiddling and suffering app envy of others curated setups.

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Two things to help, this is only my office shelf. I promise there are other shelves in the house.

In addition for work, I buy most of my books on Kindle/PDF, so I can get my highlights/notes into a notetaking tool via readwise.

My problem is really the copy hype.

Each pen holder is milled from solid walnut, sanded to perfection, and sealed with a clear matte finish.

That’s not craftsmanship; it’s just word salad. But if it gets someone to buy a chunk of wood for $40 I guess it works. I know walnut is $9-14/bf. Even Lie-Nielsen doesn’t markup their tools the way this is done.

Don’t even get me started on the “exclusive classes to change your life.”

It’s all just productivity porn.


If you remove “to perfection”, that actually seems like a very useful description of what it is you’re buying - at least to me.

I’m not saying Jeff isn’t making decent money on every product that goes out his door.

By the same token, I would imagine that the design involved, prototyping, custom CNC milling of each product, finishing, packaging, warehousing, etc. all add a non-trivial cost to the product.

I’ve had some minor custom stuff done up at a machine shop, and the cost was definitely not trivial.

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