I am sometimes asked why I invented TABi. The answer is probably not as obvious as you might have thought. Yes of course I needed to find my notes quickly, so using a three-dimensional array of tabs allowed me to write a tab for every page where a traditional one-dimensional set of tabs on the right of the pages wouldn’t have given me enough tabs to index enough pages. The real reason I needed TABi was because my notes were chaotic. Nothing related one note with the next other than it happened in a chronological order. What I needed was an additional clue as to where in that sequence a particular note could be found.
Had I been a neat and organised person perhaps using a tablet or laptop to record my notes, then I would have no need for something like TABi. And if I had wanted to stick to paper as an organised person, I would probably have become a convert to bullet journals or some other type of indexing discipline. But my character is disorganised and undisciplined by nature. I strongly admire people who create order out of their lives, but I’m not one of them.
So I invented TABi to let me STAY DISORGANISED, and not to force me to use a structured way of storing my notes. TABi lets me write tabs to give me, and only me, a clue about what’s on that page. But the order in which I use pages, the notes I make on them, and what I write on their tabs is completely unplanned – because I like it that way and I don’t have to change my habits. Unstructured information hiding in my notes has received a sort of structure by encouraging me to invent a keyword or two to sum up what my notes on that page are about… and that’s all I need to do to help me quickly find them again.
TABi lets me remain chaotic but for the effect of that lifestyle choice to become less problematic. For people like me, it’s not an organisational tool, it’s a disorganisational tool! Amazingly organised people also love it because it helps them become even more organised. But the challenge for TABi is how we make disorganised people aware it exists… when by definition they’re not the sort of people who seek ways to become more organised!
by Jerry Horwood, TABi inventor and founder.