Practical Ways: Using Sticky Notes to Organise your Life

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Sticky notes can be used for everything from leaving a note on the fridge to remind you to buy milk, to labelling the mess of cables behind the TV or note that you need to clean the fish tank.

No matter how many apps and electronic ways there are the to help us organize our thoughts, paper sticky notes are still the best way to sort and label. In a way it is a similar process to organising and decluttering your home.

White sticky notes.
White sticky notes.

What are Sticky Notes?

For those who don’t know, self-adhesive notes, also called “sticky notes,” are partially adhesive, detachable note papers that have revolutionized memo making. They can be placed exactly where you want them without any fasteners like tacks, paper clips, or staples.

The creators of the notes, Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing Company (3M), first distributed their well-known Post-it brand nationally in the USA in 1980. Four years later, it was the company’s best-selling product.

Expanding from the original yellow square note pad, they now come in many colors, sizes, shapes, and specialty varieties.

When do you Need Sticky Notes Most?

When it comes to organizing your thoughts, take a practical and step-by-step approach. Sometimes, the process of turning a collection of thoughts into a few notes, can literally make things as clear as black and white.

If you are looking for a practical way to not only capture your bright ideas but to organize them in a useful way, sticky notes are a great tool.

So, you’re organizing ideas for a party, your to-do list, your life, or making sense of all the different things going on in your life (your career, relationships, finances, health, etc.) just get a few packs of sticky notes and begin to organise.

Embrace Action Items

So what exactly is an action item? This is just another way of describing a single and specific task. We all have things that need to get done from clean the fish tank and buy dog food to soccer practice at 3pm and get gift for birthday party.

Our days are full of action items, and we can’t keep them all in our heads because we have all experienced what happens … something critical slips through the cracks. With sticky notes it is much easier to prioritize and schedule.

Organise with Stickies

Morning coffee is a good time of the day for you to sit down quietly and make a list of what you need to do that day.

Without worrying over a chronological or systematic order of everything you need to accomplish, simply list your items one-by-one as they pop into your head, then spend some time thinking over each item.

Ask yourself if the item can be broken down even into smaller, more specific tasks and list those. Then write each of these (action items) specific tasks on a sticky note.

Use the Wall for your Action List

Stick the note on the wall. Continue the process, making sure to write only thought per sticky note.

You can then start placing sticky notes into groups. Feel free to create whatever groups or groupings you’d like: this exercise is all about making sense of the thoughts in your mind.

This is a great way to organize your thoughts.

If you have a space available, leave the notes on the wall until the task has been completed and then toss the paper in your recycle bag.

Brightly coloured stickies
Brightly coloured stickies

Use a Notebook to Organise your Thoughts

You don’t have to go crazy here.  Just get a simple inexpensive notebook, and a selection of stickies. Be sure that you get a set with a spectrum of colors.

If you really have a lot going on, you can break down each day into 2 or 3 separate pages with headings “Monday Morning, Monday Afternoon, and Monday Evening.”

Stick your notes directly onto the pages of the notebook, organizing each action item to its rightful page, from top to bottom, and in order of priority.

As you accomplish each task, tear off its associated stickie, crinkle it up, and throw it away (or recycle). As you near the end of the day, your page should be blank and your recycle bin, full of crumples stickies.

Organise your Office

If your desk (along with your computer, phone, chair, and stapler) is covered with sticky notes, they really aren’t doing you any good. The whole point of using them is to be able to find important notes quickly, not to dig through them just to find your desk.

Here are some tips:

  • Sticky notes come in various bright colors for a reason. Use a pack of your favorite colors for color coding tasks by importance.
  • When sticking in a book, switch up the positioning of the sticky notes. Finding notes is near impossible when they’re all stacked up on top of each other.
  • Stick notes on the side of your monitor. This way they aren’t cluttering up your desk and you can easily see them
  • Write one task per note. This will make the note clear and easy to read.
  • Mark your documents by level of importance. Choose eye-catching colors for urgent tasks. You can even write the due date right on the note.

A few friends agreed that in spite of smartphone apps like Waze and Google Maps, they still preferred to jot down direction and an address and stick it to their dashboard or steering wheel.

Don’t use Stickies for:

  • Credit card information
  • Passwords
  • bank account info
  • When there is more than one task to complete
  • A method of retaining information on permanent documents. They can get knocked off and will dry out after awhile
  • External or formal correspondence

While sticky notes are OK for quick temporary notes that you discard fairly soon after using them, they’re not effective for notes you need to retain.

Fact: Writing down tasks on bright colors and shapes helps you remember tasks better than if writing on a plain white pad of paper.

Household Plastic is your one-stop-shop for sticky notes – all colours and sizes. So get to one of our four stores and get your life organised!


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