Post It. Do It. Trash It.

I’ve never been a big paper person. In fact I’m fairly sure the stuff hates me. It seems to multiply before my eyes and quickly becomes unmanageable for me. Add the fact that my handwriting is often illegible and you quickly start to see why I lean so heavily on technology for organizing my life.

As I start to get my act together, I’m beginning to see where technology falls short and I am experimenting with how my old nemesis, paper, may be able to fill the gap.

One of the biggest holes in my workflows is dealing with the smallest tasks, the ones that are the quickly accomplished, that you look to do immediately, but often get distracted from. They are the things you easily forget because they seem unimportant. They require no planning, simply action. They are the things you want to go away.

Unfortunately, at any given moment a phone call, a co-worker or a loud noise can throw me off track and occasionally (and embarrassingly) I forget what I was doing all together. To counter this, I’ve gone as low-tech as I can go. I’m not quite using a Hipster PDA, but I am taking a cue from the index-card loving amongst us. It’s a simple three step process:

  1. Grab a post-it note and write thing you need to do on it.
  2. Do the thing you need to do quickly so you can…
  3. Throw the post-it away and move on with your day.

There are a few advantages here. They stick to your desk, so no fear of them getting lost in the shuffle. They are bright yellow and demand even the most fickle of attention spans. Most important of all, they are hideous to me and I want them off my damn desk which makes me do whatever it is that needs doing.

My first instinct is always technology. It comes far more naturally, there is so much more that you can do with the information you create, but every now and again, less really is more. Maybe, just maybe, paper isn’t as evil as I’ve always believed it to be… Maybe.

9 Responses to Post It. Do It. Trash It.

  1. Yeah, I heard paper had a hit out on you. It’s such a relief to hear that you already know. Whew!

    I’d love to be able to get a divorce from paper. Ad it stands now we’re separated. But it becomes a fall back again whenever poetry or boredom away from technology is involved.

    • I feel your pain. Between my proclivity for disorder and my atrocious handwriting, we’ve been at odds for years. Although I have to admit, the more I get the technology under control, the more I’m starting to like paper again. I’m actually giving it even more love tomorrow!

      As for the hit… they’ll never take me alive…

      • lol – No. They won’t. Totally feel you on the disorder thing though. I hide mine in drawers, then one day when I’m bored, I say to my stuff “If I haven’t seen you in a year, you’re out of here.” And I through away about 10% of the stuff, reminisce and close the drawer back up.

        Usually with duct tape.

        • I went another route. Just got a small desktop scanner and everything goes into Evernote. This way I never have to keep anything, but I always have access to everything.

          • Yeah I just got a scanner last week, as part of my whole office upgrade. SO much less paper around recently. But since most of the stuff in the drawers is creative writing, I doubt it will stem the tide even with scanning. Because I’ll take out old poems that were unfinished and keep writing. I’d spend half my life scanning stuff.

    • I envy you. My relationship with it is complicated at best, terrible at worst. Post away and I’m looking forward to reading it this weekend. Paper is nothing more than minor tasks or meeting notes. Just about everything else happens by device. Manual dexterity issues + a naturally disorganized mind = interesting experiences. Hopefully I pick up a trick or two from your post.

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