Living by post it notes

Photo courtesy of Judit Klein (Creative Commons)

Photo courtesy of Judit Klein (Creative Commons)

I sometimes find myself living by post it notes – a series of the little notes stuck to my desk as a reminder of all the things I need to do. What a great feeling it is to be able to take one off my desk and throw it away!

I realize that is not an effective way to schedule my day, but some days, that’s the best I can do. I try very hard to be proactive and keep accurate lists of what I need to do, but then when craziness ensues, the best I can do is write it on a post it and stick it to my desk!

I function best when I am able to process and integrate new tasks into my lists, and keep things separated by topics – errands, calls, super urgent, online, long-term, etc., along the lines of David Allen’s “Getting Things Done” (GTD) methodology. Having everything on lists, and not in my head is definitely the most productive way to get things accomplished. Besides, if I don’t have it written down, I likely won’t remember it.

But I have to admit, in order to follow GTD, I need to be able to review my tasks regularly – which is kind of unrealistic. I end up putting out fires pretty much all day every day, and have definitely learned that if I don’t write things down, I don’t remember. Hence the post it notes.

Think about it though – it would be so much more productive if I saw my entire scope of responsibilities and tasks all together – then I could make reasonable judgments on what will move projects forward, not just tasks. It feels great to mark things off (or toss post its, as it were), but how much better would it feel to be making a different on the larger project scale?

What do you need to do to quit living by post its?