Wednesday, May 02, 2007

post-it notes

I recently had an initial consultation with a new client who is struggling with the burden of too many tasks to accomplish. As we talked about his situation, he asked how he might begin to organize all his projects so that he can get the "big picture" and prioritize everything more effectively.
I shared with him my favorite brainstorming tool: a pack of Post-it Notes.

I'm very visually oriented (hence my parallel existence as a visual artist), and I like to see everything in front of me when I'm working. If I have a lot of ideas to organize, I sit down with some Post-its and start jotting down ideas - one item per page - then stick them to a large area like a blank wall, a door, or an empty tabletop.

It's easy to move things around as patterns begin to emerge, and after about fifteen or twenty minutes I have a visual chart of the subject I'm brainstorming. I can then transcribe all the Post-it jottings as bullets in a spreadsheet or Word document, and begin formulating my action plan.

My visual orientation also means that I shun PDAs, because I like to see everything all at once. If it's not on the page in front of me, I can't remember it well. If I had room to carry around a desk-blotter-sized "month-at-a-glance" calendar, I would. As it is, I make do with a "week-at-a-glance" day planner, and a monthly wall calendar for tracking my financial life (accounts payable, etc.).

I love Post-It Notes. I keep pads of them everywhere, and jot down "to do" lists whenever I think of something. I can stick the notes in my day planner, include them in my business files, or stick them on highly visible surfaces around my apartment to remind me of things. Thank heaven for 3M...

copyright 2007, Michelle Lynne Goodfellow

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