The Post-it Note was more than just a practical tool — it was also a psychological one. Compared to the clunky machines of the 1980s that generated all those documents, it was a vision of high-tech minimalism. Its edges were sharp and square, with no ugly binding, no perforations, no metal rings. Its color, a subtle but attention-getting yellow, was somehow like the color of thought itself, a lightbulb going off in your head. Devoid of any other graphic elements, it had the effect of a clean, calming, blank screen. And, yet, for all its streamlined efficiency, it was playful and user-friendly. . . .

from Greag Beato’s Twenty-Five Years of Post-it Notes

Sticky Notes

As the photograph suggests, I’m partial to Post-it Notes. Here are twenty ways to use them:

1. Mark your place in a book. It seems so obvious, yet relatively few students seem to do it. When your professor picks up with the poem or short story or chapter of the day, you’ll be on the same page.

2. Mark the beginning and ending points for a reading assignment: immediate feedback on your progress.

3. Mark selected readings in an anthology.

4. Mark the notes or glossary at the back of a book for easy repeat access.

5. Mark passages in a library book.

6. Keep several Post-its on the inside cover of a datebook, planner, or notebook: now you’re prepared to leave a note anywhere.

7. When you sit down to work, make a small-scale to-do list on a Post-it and stick it to your desktop.

8. Leave a Post-it on your alarm clock or inside doorknob as a reminder.

9. Avoid fines and late fees: put Post-its with due dates on library books and DVD rentals.

10. When there’s no Scotch tape, cut the sticky edge from a Post-it to use as fake tape.

11. Use the sticky edge as a temporary label for a folder.

12. Fold the sticky edge into a hinge to hold a piece of paper or a postcard on a wall.

13. Wrap the sticky edge around a cable to identify it.

14. Use the sticky edge to clean between the keys of your computer keyboard.

15. Jot down less familiar keyboard shortcuts on a Post-it to keep by your computer.

16. Which way does the envelope go when you feed it into the printer? Draw a diagram on a Post-it and stick it on your printer.

17. If you drive an older car that doesn’t remind you that you’ve left your headlights on, use a Post-it as a reminder. When you put your lights on in the daytime, stick a Post-it note on the driver’s side window. When you leave your car, you’ll see the note and remember why it’s there.

18. Keep a Post-it on the refrigerator and jot down what you need from the supermarket.

19. When you go to the supermarket, remove the Post-it from the fridge and stick it on your wallet. At the store, stick the note to the handle of your cart and have both hands free for shopping. Toss the note when you leave the store.

20. Splurge! Use a whole pad of Post-its to make a flip book. (Thanks to my son Ben for this last tip.)

Michael Leddy is the author of “How to e-mail a professor”. He blogs at Orange Crate Art. The photograph above is of his paperback copy of Marcel Proust’s The Guermantes Way, the third volume of In Search of Lost Time.

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