My wife and I operate in completely different ways when it comes to making notes. She prefers a bound notebook, perfectly writing each listing very legibly. When she finishes a task she has entered in the book, she simply puts a check by to indicate it has been accomplished.
In my mind, I realize her way is better, but Im more of a visual person who likes reminders surrounding me so Ill be sure to see them. And many times, that does not happen in a book.
I think one of the greatest inventions is Post-it notes. I love the fact that they are made of bright-colored paper. I love the fact that they have a sticky edge to adhere to something else. I love that theres a whole thick pad of them making the possibilities of suggestions and reminders almost limitless.
Give me a pen and a pad of Post-it notes and I feel as though I can conquer the world. Or, at the very least, the world around me.
When Debra is in town, our large desk is orderly and tidy to the point of making me sick sometimes. The computer sits in its place as does the printer and keyboard. There is also a small lamp, tape dispenser, stapler, photo printer, calculator, box of Kleenex and, of course, her notebook for messages and to do lists.
When shes away, the scenario is more like something that happened in the 1980s movie, Ferris Buellers Day Off.
To the desk Ive also added my phone, iPad, any project on which Im currently working, numerous pens and pencils, some remnants of snacks, a tall glass of water and, you guessed it, a whole pad of Post-it notes. Only then am I ready to work.
Yellow Post-it notes dot the wooden desk as if a giant shredded a humongous piece of brightly colored yellow paper and allowed it to randomly fall onto our desk. Its very bright and colorful.
How I deal with the Post-it notes depends on my mood. Sometimes I arrange them in straight lines, while other times I use the desk as a blank canvas to create a large and interesting mosaics. The sticky edge of the notes keeps them firmly in place, not allowing the ceiling fan to blow them away or disturb them in any way.
After I call the person Im supposed to, make the deposits or anything else I need to remind myself to do, I simply crumble them up and throw them in the trash, one at a time. Its a fool-proof system until Debra arrives back home and the yellow papers begin to disappear before I can say Post-it. Ive asked our small dog, Georgie, to watch her but hes more interested in a piece falling to the floor so that he can further shred it.
It is always my goal to get all the Post-it notes into the trash can before Debra arrives home, but sometimes that doesnt happen. It drives Debra crazy until she asks me about each and every one of them and then, with a little glare in her eyes, reaches for the book to enter them. One by one, the desk loses its yellow paper covering and the inside of the trash can becomes a whole lot brighter.
This process always takes my breath away because I know I wont always look in the book. I cant tell you the times Ive secretly gone through the trash can in the office looking for a certain note. It doesnt make me proud; Im just being honest.
Ive considered creating paper flowers out of the used notes so I wont be killing trees but old habits die hard. Debras slowly but surely trying to make me understand the importance of making an actual list on an actual page, in an actual book that, quite frankly, isnt small and yellow.
As I sit at the computer typing this column, Debra is away. The notebook is open and I have an entire page of things to get accomplished in the next couple of days. I must confess, earlier I reached for the drawer that holds the Post-it notes but resisted the urge to grab them.
What can I say? I am a work in progress. Ill never be Debra and shell never be me.
As my mother always told me, There are a lot of ways to get from A to Z. And I still believe it. It sounds like Im very disorganized, but Im really not. I promise. As most of you know, I get a lot accomplished in a day. I just use the Post-it note form of organization to help me instead of the notebook.
Is it the wrong way? Probably. Is Debras way much more efficient and effective? Certainly. Do I lose phone numbers that I would still have if I had written them in the notebook? Without question! But, at the end of the day, I get most of my to do list accomplished.
It is definitely a goal of mine to be more organized like Debra. I yearn to see just the opened notebook and wood grain of the desk without them being buried under a shroud of yellow pieces of paper in various patterns. Ive always known that nothing gets accomplished without a plan. I just havent learned the best place to put the plan.
I will say that I love my iPhone and iPad because they have a notepad living somewhere deep inside of them and, guess what, those electronic pads are even yellow! Im learning to use them more and more. I think in some ways it is even better than Debras notebook. At least everything is stored in the Cloud.
However, I still feel comforted knowing that only a pull of a drawer away is a crisp new pad of Post-it notes calling my name. Debra, dont worry! Im trying to be strong. I tell them to be quiet but they tempt me with their yellow color and their little sticky edges.
More with Mark
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