Behold the Post-it Note

Hello everybody, my name is Dustin Harris and I am an addict. The nature of my addiction? Post-it notes. I’ve tried and I’ve tried and I just can’t kick the habit. I need your help.

Okay, so that might be a little dramatic… but I’m only half-joking! I do genuinely have an obsession with post-it notes and I really want to get over it.

Regular readers will probably be a little confused right now. After all, I’m a massive advocate for technology. You’ve all read me talking before about the “Three-Legged Stool” approach to business, in which one of the legs is technology. You’ve read me saying that spending money on good technology is an investment in your business, rather than an expense. You’ve read me praising the paperless approach to a business – there are so many apps nowadays, on both your computer and your phone, that it’s actually a pretty easy thing to do.

Post-it notes are not the height of modern technology. They are also, obviously, made of paper. So why on earth do I use them? Well, believe it or not, post-it notes are actually one of my main productivity drivers. You see folks, I am an extremely tidy person, both at home and at the office. I absolutely hate mess and – in the case of post-it notes – I use this to my advantage.

Every time I have an idea – whether it’s a task I need to take care of, or something I might want to implement in my business – I write it down on a note and stick it somewhere. That could be in my car, on my desk, on my computer, or anywhere else where I have to look at it. Given that I hate mess, I can’t stand to look at that pesky note for longer than a day or two before I just need to get the task done. I finish it whenever I get a spare moment, usually between other tasks. When it’s completed, I can take that post-it note, scrunch it up, toss it into the nearest waste paper basket and feel pretty good about myself.

This also serves as a good way to automatically judge the priority of something. As I said, I try to get every task done within a day or two, simply so that I can get rid of the post-it note. If I notice that one’s been hanging around for longer than that… well, it means it’s probably going to take longer than a few “between-tasks” minutes to complete; it’s going to require my full attention and probably needs to be put on the back-burner until I can afford to focus on it properly.

I know this is a crazy system and it definitely goes against a couple of my main principles. The problem is that it’s so darned effective! I want to change though and I need your help to do so. I’ve tried various apps that have reminder functions and it’s just not the same – one problem, for instance, is that I might not be between tasks when that reminder that I set several hours ago happens to pop up. I need something better than that.

I want to break this cycle of post-it note addiction. If you have any suggestions for how I can do so, then please – please – leave them in the comments below.


For more information on this subject, please download and listen to The Appraiser Coach Podcast Episode 088 – Behold the Post-it Note





19 thoughts on “Behold the Post-it Note”

  1. Pingback: Behold the Post-it Note - Appraisal Buzz

  2. I am also a post it note fanatic too. I have tried emailing myself the notes but they eventually get pushed down in email world. “Out of sight out of mind”

    I believe what you said is very true about seeing the note and wanting to get rid of it so the task gets done. I am a procrastinator and a tidy person so these post it notes work the same way for me, I want to get rid of the paper so I complete the task.

    Sorry, I don have any suggestions for you on how to change. “Why fix what’s not broke “

  3. Deborah Lewellen

    Hi Dustin,
    This is a cry for help, as you are feeling guilty for enjoying the use of paper and cheating on technology that your are committed to. It’s my opinion that you have two choices. Come clean with technology, be open and embrace the use of an occasional post-it note. If that is not possible, then perhaps counseling. :()

  4. What about little dry erase boards? That way it’s still in front of you and you won’t be wasting paper! 🙂

  5. Microsoft OneNote software is super useful for me – even converts selected text from PDF files to editable text. You can sync it with your phone so that you can add a “note” wherever you are. I have different tabs for which is my prioritizing for things from immediate (today) attention or a tab called “rainy day”. You put it out of your mind and on paper so you can focus until you have that free moment. The best part – it auto saves so you never have to worry about saving before walking away or closing the window.

  6. Yes all smart phones have note pads that you can use but then you are checking your phone even more.
    Personally I us Jeanne’s method and cross off a single list.

    Paper is ok don’t fixate over it. There is a reason they still print daily newspapers even they all have
    digital versions. People like to hold that news print in their hands especially in the morning with a nice
    cup of coffee.

  7. I feel your pain, brother. I have tried a bunch of times to break the paper habit. You are way ahead of me in the paperless office. The best app i have found for keeping notes is Trello, I like it a lot because i can make different boards for different tasks (personal and business). Like most apps it can also be changed on my desktop and all my devices in real time. I agree with you about notifications, they don’t work for me either. I hear the chime when i am in the middle of something else and i totally ignore it, then i never get back to that task. Maybe someone will invent a taser that attaches to your phone and says “Hey stupid! stop doing that and start doing this!” Just be careful where you put your phone or you could be singing soprano.

    1. Mark

      I tried trello for about two weeks and just could not get it to work for my mindset. Maybe there is something that I need to have pointed out to me that I just get upfront, but it just didn’t work, as much as I wanted it to.

  8. Notezilla is an amazing, affordable app with 30 day free trial…you can set digital post it notes to open only with specific folders, you can set due dates/reminders, and you can apparently sync with other users…though I have not tried this yet…Give it a try as I think it is what you are looking for. I’ve been using it the last couple months in an effort to go paperless and it really has helped.

    Adam Staubitz

  9. Hi Dustin,
    I use a desk calendar for my home office, post it notes for car travel. When in office, the desk calendar serves multiple tasks! You have a calendar
    for the days/weeks, and multiple areas on the calendar to put your notes. You can also just use an ap. for car travel. Use what every makes you
    comfortable. Have a great day!!!!!!!!!!!!

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