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Use Post-It Notes for GTD Collection

Do you keep a pad of post-it notes on your desk? If not, you’re missing out on a useful productivity tool.

Some people claim that you should banish post-its from your workspace, but I take a different approach. You should be clear and strict about how they fit into your productivity system; for me, that is GTD.

I always keep a pad of small post-it notes on my desk. I love the 1.5″ x 2″ variety, since they are a great size to jot a quick note. Plus, the small size prevents you from writing too much.

Here’s just a few ways that I make use of these life-savers in my everyday productivity:

1. Collection – Whenever I have a thought that needs recording, I can jot it on a post-it, stick it to the desk, and get back to work. Later, I can process these notes and see if they actually require action or should be filed for reference.

2. Run by to do – The biggest use for post-its is when I remember something when I’m away from my desk. I don’t want to open up my task manager and record something, so I just run to the desk & jot the thought on a post-it. Much quicker.

3. Smart reminder – I have a piece of paper on my desk right now that I need to take with me for an errand next week. I have to remember to validate my parking ticket when I go. Thus, that’s on a small post-it, stuck to the piece of paper. It’s my mobile tickler, since it will “tickle” my brain when I do the errand, and I won’t have to pay for parking.

But let’s not think that post-its are the solution to every information problem. Here are some post-it traps to avoid:

1. Passwords – That has nothing to do with GTD. However, you should NEVER put a password on a post-it and leave it on your desk. Get yourself a real password management program that hides and encrypts your sensitive data. Honestly, it’s stupid not to.

2. Storage – Post-it notes should never be used for any long-term storage of information. They fall off, get lost, and so does your information. If it’s important information, keep it in a safe place, such as your task manager, journal, or just a plain old text file.

3. Over-use – Even if you are strictly collecting data for GTD, as mentioned above, you can’t over-use post-its. You’ve got to process your post-its regularly. Otherwise, you’ll be working in a sea of little sticky notes. Not cool.

So if you don’t have a pad of small post-its on your desk, get one. You’ll be glad you did. In fact, I’ll be glad too. Just don’t commit post-it abuse. That doesn’t make anyone happy.

[tags]legal andrew, post-it, gtd[/tags]

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