Is there any one of my loyal readers who doesn’t have a sticky note on their desk? The odds are good that every single one of you relies on this product invented by Art Fry with the assistance of a colleague at 3M, Dr. Spencer Silver. The product didn’t take off when it was first available in the early 1970’s. In 1979 the 3M corporation implemented a massive consumer sampling strategy that established its Post-It Notes as an essential organizing tool.
The sticky note does have a place in our quest for organization. I am actually a huge fan and have all colors and sizes on my desk. I use them to label documents, bookmark pages, flag places for signatures, and call attention to something important. I try not to use them to make a note every time someone calls me or stops in my office to discuss a file. These little notes can multiply until they can be compared to the refrigerator magnet … after a while they become a part of the landscape and we no longer see them, even though they cover the entire surface.
Sticky notes tend to accumulate in every nook and cranny of our offices, one on top of the other, sometimes never to be looked at again or at least until it’s too late to do what you wrote the note about in the first place. Or, worse yet, you can’t find the note you need when you need it. Oh, my! The frustration!
Organizing expert Monica Ricci provided this picture of a pickup truck she witnessed driving down the Georgia 400. I think this may be taking the use of sticky notes way too far, not to mention the danger. This is NOT an efficient daily planner!
Is there a solution? Yes!
All of your notes, instructions, phone numbers, etc. should be written in one place. The trick is to determine what single product will work for you.
I find that a simple, inexpensive shorthand notebook kept by my telephone does the trick for me. I put the date at the top of the page. On the left side of the line, I write the name of the person I’m doing work for and on the right side of the line I make my notes. I try to always ask for the telephone number of the person I’m talking to and jot that under their name. If I’m referring to a client, I may note their file number under their name.
Every day I start a fresh page and every month I start a new book. It is easy to find a name or a category if I need to look back because they are always in the same place (the notebook) and clearly set out by themselves on the left side of the page.
Take a look at your desk. Is it time to limit the use of the sticky notes? If so, decide where you can keep your notes all in one place. Let me know what works for you!