Thursday, January 19, 2006

New Information Tracking Technique

My original plan at work was to stay as digital as possible. Storing notes, todo items, appointments, etc. on my laptop (in text files, of course).

That lasted for about two days. Inevitably, a request would come in that I'd like to just scribble down, and paper was ever so tempting.

So, rather than fighting it, I'm embracing it.

The strategy I'm playing around with is built around the idea that paper notes should have a short life span. So, I'm currently using the all powerful post-it note and my physical desktop to create a quick location to jot down notes.

The idea is that when I need to jot something down quickly, I can write it on a post-it and stick it to my desk. Once the issue has been taken care of (or logged electronically), I toss out the note.

This allows me to have a quick visual (and tactile) sense of what tasks are stranded in no-man's-land. So far, the technqiue has been working pretty well.

Some pros include:

- A very usable system that allows me to get my ideas down without hassle

- I can cluster notes together to show relation or importance

- The system is portable in that I can drop notes in my laptop case or even stick them to the outside of my laptop and bring them to an alternate location

- Tasks can't easily hide from me

And the cons? My desk looks like a pig sty, and the folks at work must think I've lost my mind.


1 comment:

  1. Anonymous8:02 PM

    Hello Ben,

    Not only can I relate - I've been using the Post-It Note system as you described it for the past year. It works pretty well. Better than any other technique I have tried - either digital or manual. But it is not perfect, as you point out. In fact - it's terrible!

    I am a list person, but I will not spend the time to rewrite lists every #%*?/ day like I need to do to make lists effective. So the Post-It Notes are easy to rearrange as priorities change and I don't ever have to rewrite a note.

    How can we find a portable, flexible, digital system that is as easy and intuitive to use?

    I've looked at project management software like MindManager. They look interesting but address a different need.

    Thanks for the Blog.
    We'll keep looking!