At Work

7 ways to use sticky notes productively at work

As I was wrapping up the first quarter at my work, I couldn’t help but notice how overwhelmed I was feeling the last few days. Well, once I looked down between my monitor and keyboard it was clear why.

Man covered in yellow notes
Man covered in yellow notes

A puddle of colorful sticky notes, going in different directions had developed. Constant interruptions, little tasks here and there I thought I could do “quickly later” had piled up. Luckily, after taking a step back, not only did I implement new simple techniques, but was able to improve only ones already in place.

Here are 7 ways to use sticky notes productively at work:

  1. Jot quick notes after meeting someone new. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a wonderful conversation with someone that I met for the first time and afterwards, I had forgotten the person’s name 2 minutes after the conversation!By jotting down some quick notes and first impressions about the person, this helps keep the information fresh and even be available to later recall when and were you met. Further, stick the post it to the back of the business card before you put it away so that when you go to save your new contact’s information, you have all the first impressions right at hand.
  2. Use sticky notes to create “cheat sheets” on the top or bottom of your monitor. Now this may be used to the extreme at some cubicles, but a clean and neatly written sticky note can provide a quick reminder close at hand. Take that old “fyi” note and rewrite it. Also, you can either summarize larger projects in one stick note or a quick phrase you want to write but modify every time you write a certain type of email.
  3. Place holder for scanning. Everybody has been there. You’re at the scanner and you have 50 pages in your manila, with different sizes of pages. It’s going to be a while. Luckily, you can quickly use post it’s to be place holders of not just your spot currently. If the paper gets jam, your smile is still on your face.
  4. Divide a clunky manila folder on the fly. Sure, you can pre-divide your folders before you get the scanner, but what if you get stopped to present quickly? Pop some post-its and stop getting overwhelmed at the number of pages since you have the most important ones marked.
  5. Next action post it. If your stack of folders and paper piling up, put a post it on the top left of right of your sheets and folders every time with the next action step(s) you need to take. If you get sidetracked on what you were working on, you can always remember the next step you needed to complete.
  6. Create an action board. If you seem to just keep piling on the sticky notes on your desk, stop. Put the sticky notes on a sheet of paper, landscape, and put the paper on the wall. Line up the sticky notes as neatly as possible. Your gibberish writing may not still make much sense, but at least now you have a clearer picture of what you were trying to do. Once you have completed the project, toss the post it and watch your action board get smaller every day.
  7. Use sticky notes to coordinate a move. Where it’s rearranging a filing system or planning a major event ahead, sticky notes can help you “see” where things will be in the future and if you like the results. If not, move the post it’s back and start over.
  8. BONUS – Put a motivational quote to inspire you on a gloomy day. We’d all been there and this step just makes the days a little better.

Try a few or all of the tips mentioned and see how fast your can improve your week at work today and on.

Question: What other ways do you use post it’s at the office? What is another way you have seen post it’s used creatively?

Writer and creator of a character called Subbie. I'm host of the Move Up Podcast, dedicated to all things that help improve your life, one step at a time. I enjoy reviewing blog tools and apps. I send a weekly newsletter with updates and tips.

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