I remember back in the late 90s when the first Palm Pilots came out. I was instantly hooked. Now over 10 years later, I don’t think I could function without one. If you’re the PDA-carrying type like I am, then you probably think you have all the info you need on it already. However just to make sure, here are 10 essential lists (inspired by David Allen) that you should carry in your PDA:

Personal Information

This is where you store all the basic personal information about yourself and your family members such as drivers license, insurance policies, social security numbers and medical information. You want whatever it is you need when filling out common forms.


It’s amazing how when you least expect it, great ideas will pop in your head: while driving, in the shower, going to the bathroom etc. By always having my PDA nearby, I’m able to record these ideas that eventually turn into blog posts, business ideas and so on.


Good jokes are hard to come by, but when you do come across them, a PDA is a perfect place to store these for immediate recall at opportune times. And if you’re simply having a bad day, perusing over this list will definitely turn that frown upside down.

Former Employers/Employees Contact Info

It’s always a good idea to keep previous employers/employees contact info. Up to 3 years prior is not a bad start. You never know when you’ll need to have a reference or networking opportunity readily available.

Things to Do Before You Die

I like carrying a “do before I die” list around with me. During the downtimes, I’ll review this list which helps me to take a broader look at what life has to offer and not focus so much on the day-to-day minutia, forgetting why we’re here…namely, to live life.

Account #’s and Passwords

Having a centralized location for account numbers, PINs, credit card numbers, and passwords can be very convenient. However, make sure to password protect these. It’s a good idea to make these “private” and to turn off the private view (only available when you use your password to start your PDA). Another option is to put them in not-so-obvious places like where you keep your phone numbers or contact info (crap, now you know my secret ;) .


I especially like to keep a revolving list of good quotes stored up by topic in my PDA. The ones I like, I’ll commit to my gray matter and the rest I’ll replace. It helps when I need a little boost and I also like to include them in some of my writings here at this blog.

Product Information

I can’t count the number of times I’ve been in a department store like Walmart for some other reason when the thought pops in my head, “Since I’m here I should get a new oil and air filter”, only to be clueless as to which one to get. Or I’m hanging out in Best Buy and noticed that it’s the last day of a great sale on RAM, when I can’t for the life of me remember if it’s SIMM or DIMM or some other -IMM that’s compatible with my motherboard. Having a list of important product and automobile information like serial numbers, make/model, computer components etc will help save time, possibly money, and definitely frustration.

Important house information

If you own a house, it’s a good idea to keep track of important things for insurance purposes such as a list of valuables. For general upkeep info, you may want to include room sizes, paint colors, furnace filter types, etc.

Gift Ideas

Throughout normal conversations (if we are paying attention), we often get hints about our friends, coworkers, and family members interests and passions. It’s always a great feeling to surprise someone with a random, unsolicited gift. Even something small and thoughtful will go a long way and make huge deposits in people’s emotional bank accounts.

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