Very bad habit

ripetMarch 24, 2005

Well, I have a very bad habit.

May be you can help me.

Whenever I take notes for something ( appointment , to do , to buy, fix this and that , phone# for someone etc etc), I just use paper around me or behind magazine , paper napkin.. etc. And result is a huge mess, not only mess but sometime losing some important info . I do this at my work too.....

I tried to just get a note book, but what happen there is scratch note everywhere on the pages and sometime I still can;t find where I wrote it.

I've been this way for a long time...

Do you have a good idea to break this type of habit?

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I use to do this... it's hard to break but I did it with my Franklin planner but I think you could do it with the notebook if you try to DATE the top of each page. That way at the very least you can estimate the date of something and look back that way. on the same line is the way my husband does it.. he has custom pads made up. Each is lined and then segmented into four parts. Each section has a topic.. one is delegate, one is follow up, one is call, the other is.......hmmmm it escapes me..but you get the idea. Hope there is something in all that to help you!


    Bookmark   March 24, 2005 at 9:38AM
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I have a magnetic pad on my refrigerator and that's the only place I allow myself to write anything.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2005 at 9:52AM
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I used to do this alot, too. I'd end up with scraps of paper everywhere, and could never find the one I needed. I do tend to write dates down on my calendar ASAP.

What I've been doing lately is to start out with one full sheet of letter sized paper in the morning. I start out with what is top priority for that day, things I have to do. From the bottom up are things that need to get done, but not necessarily today. If I am doing errands, I write every little thing and store on the list. I keep this sheet on the counter and keep adding to it all day - just misc. things that I think of that need to be done, notes to myself, whatever (I have a CALL section, ERRAND section, etc.). I cross them off as they get done (I never used to do this, but it does make me realize that I do get things done when I feel otherwise). Then each morning I start with a new sheet, add the things that didn't get done the day before (or eliminate them if need be) and THROW OUT yesterday's list (so I never have sheets of paper everywhere). If something is staying on the list day after day, I have a longer term list in a household notebook for things to do at some point. This list is really helpful to me. I tend to think of things that need to get done, that I couldn't possibly forget and - yes - forget to do them, so I really put every little thing on my list now. Rewriting the list every day also helps me to remember little things that need to get done, and gives me a specific time to just sit and think about what needs to get done, rather than constantly running around trying to remember.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2005 at 10:06AM
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I like RJVT's idea--you could get a clipboard to hold it.

I had that "lots of Post-its" problem at work, and I got a smallish notebook (our company keeps tons of them in stock)--it's 7-3/4" high, and 5" wide, wire bound on the side, college ruled.

I make notes on there, and when something doesn't matter anymore, I cross it out w/ a single slash.

It works really well.

Another thing you might try is, not to *fight* the "lots of ppieces of paper" idea, but to CORRAL those pieces of paper.

Get a memo spike, and slide them all on it. Or, hang a wire hook somewhere, and put them on (either using a hole punch, or just poking the hook through).

Or, a basket, junk drawer, whatever.

You'll then need to go through them now and then and weed them out (transfer phone numbers to phone book, filing stuff, tossing stuff, etc)

Here is a link that might be useful: the notebook I use (I think)

    Bookmark   March 24, 2005 at 10:58AM
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I write bits of info on scrap paper too.My DH is an avid fan of the palm pilot.Funny thing is,he still comes to me for all the info.He files it away and can't seem to figure out what section he filed it in.I have a section of my purse dedicated to paper scraps and business cards.Works for me.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2005 at 12:37PM
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One of the best features of computers is that they can search for you. You have to follow a few rules (the computer can't find "coffee" if it's spelled "cofee" one time and "cooffee" the next), but one of the best features of my Palm is letting it search for the phone number or company name.

That aside, to ripet, I would suggest carrying around a pad of sticky notes. Write only on those and write only one task on each piece of paper. Then you can either stick them where they need to be ("get gasoline" can stick on your steering wheel or inside the car window) or you can pile them up (the entire day's tasks end up to be eight notes that you can stick to each other and then to your desk). When you have finished a task, remove the note from wherever it is and recycle it. Dates would be helpful, too, if there is a deadline for that task.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2005 at 2:07PM
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oh, and for prevention:

Make sure whatever you decide you WANT to write on it AROUND, and easy to get to.

And be vigilant about throwing out old envelopes, etc., that you DON'T want to write on.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2005 at 2:32PM
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I have a large calender hanging in the kitchen that I write all appointments on as I make them, also phone numbers and any other number that I have to remember. My kids know that they can find information on there. Saves searching. To do lists are a whole 'nother deal! I quit writing them, and just doing! I don't remember everything I wanted to do, but it sure is nice not having that long list stareing me in the face!

    Bookmark   March 25, 2005 at 8:45AM
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I identify ripet. I'm queen of the *mega sticky notes everywhere* syndrome. I've tried many different systems from time to time but for one reason or another, at some point I find myself knee deep in stickys again. The two methods that worked best for me were the notebook with today's date method and a large desk pad where I could scribble (and doodle) to my heart's content. With the deskpad method there is lots of room to write/highlight and put stars beside for important stuff or whatever. When the sheet was full or I wanted a *fresh start*, then I transferred all the undone not crossed out stuff to a new page and threw the old away. The notebook works just as well as you can always start a new page (fresh start) and with the date you have an accurate ref.
BUT - for me - the paper of whatever variety needs to be a) by the phone b) by a comfy chair and c) in a place unencumbered by other stuff. The latter is my downfall. I'm very good at piling and very bad at filing so, whether notebook or deskpad, they oft become buried and I'm back to stickys *just for now until I clear the desk* which happens . . . not often.

I think some part of it is forming a/the habit much like keeping the house clean and for me, with my *piles*, probably some (maybe a lot of) ADD. I even have a slot specifically for filing. The slot is empty but my desk is surely not! You/Me/Anyone who is trying to break this habit really needs to concentrate on it and that can be difficult when we have bunches of things to do/see/find/go to/pick up. . . and like that.

If you can find the *root cause*, which I am sure for me is the fact that I pile and don't file, then perhaps it becomes easier to establish the habit of *one place for notes*.

Another thing I did in my quest to conquer *the sticky jungle* -- I bought a small handheld tape recorder with the idea I could carry it everywhere - work/home/or anywhere in between - and when some issue reared its head I could immediately note it on my recorder. Aha! Brilliant Idea! Everything would be in one place. I'd have lists for stuff I wanted to get at Walmart when I'm near there and grocery stuff and . . . you get it. But - the big butt(head) - I could never figure out how to operate it so guess where it is? Buried with the stickys on my desk. LOL!! I briefly considered a PDA but quickly realized that, until I got one habit down, adding anything else to my 'solutions arsenal' was downright foolish not to mention expensive.

So for me, my *root cause* is really my inattention to doing the boring old filing. Until I get that down pat nothing else is going to work.

And sometimes we need a really big boot. I am moving in 3 weeks. I'd really like to have my new home be orderly and well cared for. Unless I want my junky messy piles of stuff to follow me, unless I want to live once again with boxes of jumbled items where I've no idea what's in them, then I MUST get my act together NOW.

If you'd lost a $600.00 (or $6000.00 if $600 is not significant enuf amount for you) due to *sticky note madness*, it would be a powerful motivator not to live like this nor go thru the trauma(s) again.

There are lots of solutions and what works for you may not work for another and vice versa. We just have to find something that does work.

Lord - didn't mean to turn this into an essay. I guess I identify strongly with your dilemna and frustration. :-)))

Ciao Holly

    Bookmark   March 25, 2005 at 1:44PM
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I am not great at filing. Not terrible, but not great. I used to have a pile of things to file that lived on top of the filing cabinet, and when it was starting to fall, I would file most of it (except the things I couldn't figure out what to do with - another story). I finally got a bigger (taller) filing cabinet when we started another business this year and needed a drawer for that. The cabinet was too tall to pile things on easily. The drawers were deeper, and I went through all the files in all the cabinets we have and really purged a lot. I was able to fit some other things in the new cabinet, and even have an empty drawer (for now). But the thing I found was that now that the drawers are all half empty, I file things right away becase I just open the drawer and can throw things in the file with one hand (I don't have to push the files to the back to open the file I want). This is a stupid thing, but it has made SUCH a difference. No piles for "to file" and nowhere to put one anyways.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2005 at 4:01PM
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Thanks everyone for great ideas !
I am glad to know I wasn't alone going through this. I think I have been this way since I was a kid in school ! As I read many good ideas from you all, I am thinking which one I should try first.... All seems like good idea, it just if I can stick to it or not. May be I should try the easiest one. I think I may want to start out with getting ONE note book. And write the date on the top of page ASAP. I still probably run into a trouble since I am the kind person who don't see the lines on the page(I just scribble notes...). But at least if I know that's the only place I wrote all the info about efverything,I can always go back and search within the note book. Also, I decided that I am not going to separate the book by my personal life and work notes.At this point of trying to break the bad habit, I am not capable of having 2 separate note book.
I realized that Person like myself can not handle being too neat at this point,lol. I should just be happy that I don't have to keep calling my friend asking someone's phone # for the 3rd time, or calling them at last minutes saying "I know it was today we meet but can't remember what time ?" Wish me a luck!

    Bookmark   March 25, 2005 at 4:34PM
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I do what RJVT does with my palm. I tend to like the reptition and knowing I can find it in several places.

SO- I have a paper planner, a franklin planner. It has extra paper in it and some of the most important phone numbers that I use. I have a palm and it is in with my planner. I live by my palm. Grocery list, birthdays etc. You don't have to be too organized, you have to pretty dedicated about putting things in your palm. You can type them in on the palm or on the computer. It really is painless to do. I thought I wouldn't switch but I have for the most part.

I keep paper in my planner and when someone gives me a number, because putting things in the palm immediately is a bit unwieldy, I will write it on the paper in my planner. I have one piece of paper per day that I keep notes on. If I'm driving and think of something to write down- the paper in my planner, I scribble it down and move on with life.

It really is not very complicated. My opinion.
But I spent a long time getting to this point.

I think you are right ripet- take your time and work on breaking the habit of using every paper around, then you can start finding something that works for you. I would also suggest that you take the idea of, if you do write on a scrap paper, have a place for it. - a pocket in your purse, a folded over page of notepaper, something.

Good Luck. Keep us informed.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2005 at 11:43PM
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Since I don't type fast enough on the thumb keyboard of my PDA, I use a post-note, scrap of paper, etc when I'm taking down an appt time, a phone number, a contact name, any quick note, etc. Then this stuff becomes part of my "back pocket stuff" until I do something with them. Also included in this is the business cards I get as I get them... they stay in my "pocket stuff" until I do something with them... which could be go right to the business card section in a desk organizer (actually lives in a bookcase in my home office). or typed into my PDA (most things). then I toss the post-note, paper scrap. Also, I grab work meeting stuff right from my email too.

(okay I do empty my pockets into my little desktop orangizer box (~ 2x2 inches) that I keep my loose change and loose bills (green backs) in and then when I leave the house I tip the little container box over and fill my pockets again with the loose change & bills, and biz cards/post-notes (folded).

And then I carry these in my back pocket of my jeans (it helps that I wear the same style and type all the time and I always seem to have a pocket :) Then I disipline myself and then move that info to my PDA. For appts e.g. a doc appt that I'm making over the phone, goes immediately into my PDA, since I wouldn't be scheduling anything without already having it in front of me :)

Anything from meetings at work, to doc appts to roughing out set of vacation plans, etc... usually winds up right in the PDA calendar. That is control central in my PDA. Also tasks wind up on the same calendar view.

What I don't always transfer is all the contact info I get from business cards. I keep all my business cards in one place in my home office, but I have yet to do anything more elaborate or high tech. But for the services and stuff that I do actually wind up using (like movers, gardeners, doctors, contractors, etc) then I do put a contact entry in my contacts application on my iPaq PDA. Or type it in using Outlook on my Windows machine and then let the Sync s/w take care of it... And like Steve then I find the search function is second to none for getting that info at my finger tips in seconds :) I pretty much have my PDA with me always. A quick "Find" and I have anything and everything to do with a search criteria. For instance I plug in the name of the Master Gardener and I get the appt entry (ies) and the contact entry and also any "notes" that I may have jotted down too...
Pretty useful.

But all that said, I still do keep all the little scraps, post-notes, smallish stuff in a small open cube that matches my desktop assessory stuff and I occasionaly go thru and weed it. But that way if I find that there's some note that I didn't translate to somewhere else, I can go back and find it. This has saved me before. Like T.S. says find a way to Corral them :) That has worked for me :)


    Bookmark   March 27, 2005 at 7:53PM
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I still probably run into a trouble since I am the kind person who don't see the lines on the page(I just scribble notes...).

I ignore those lines! You don't NEED to use them, just because they're there. I never do. I just write whatever, and draw a line across the page underneath it to indicate that section is.

Don't start thinking you've failed because there's some part of the tool you don't use, but think you *should.*

it's not the *process* (writing on the lines) that means you're successful at being organized--it's the end result (you can find your notes when you need them).

"neat" is only important when "unneat" messes you up somehow. It starts off w/ "unneat" means you lose stuff, then it makes your mind unquiet, then it means people judge you as unorganized.

I don't separate personal and work, either.

(also, if you DO make a note on stray paper, stick is inside the front cover of your notebook, and then if you dont' want to worry it'll fall out at some point, transfer the info to the notebook page so you can toss the envelope.)

    Bookmark   March 28, 2005 at 10:32AM
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Enjoyed all the ideas. I can relate with writing everywhere including unopened envelopes or today's paper. I do control pretty well unless someone disposes of my "notebook". Important notes from the phone we use a carbon copy phone message book. You can write the message down, take it with you, or leave it, but there is always a copy there, and it's not something that someone will drag away (supposedly!) or use for something else. Sticky notes are also useful but pads can get easily lost if you take them with you. I have a sticky note maker called liquid paper at the desk. You can make a sticky note out of any paper, just slide it behind the paper and stick it wherever you need including that organizing notebook you've probably already started. I try to use a planner but unless it's something you always have with you those loose notes will always be everywhere. I marvel at those who carry all that vital info in a palm pilot or whatever, but I've heard them cry when they've lost it all somehow and they've tossed the hard copies and they were planning on backing up one day. Plus, I try to carry as little as possible when I go shopping, etc. It weighs less and less to lose.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2005 at 3:05PM
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I can't believe I never heard of liquid paper. That will be added to my shopping list. I, too, write on post-its and any scratch paper around. When I worked, all the personal notes (or reminders to me) went in my pocket. I once bought a good pair of pants that didn't have pockets. I was lost without my pocket! Now that I'm not working, I still write on scratch paper. I've tried to only write in a notebook but the notebook at home is never right next to me. So, maybe I can use the liquid paper and put all these notes in a notebook. In theory, at least, it sounds good.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2005 at 5:22PM
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I've never heard of liquid paper either. I want to try some. I'm trying the one note book idea, but it is not right by me all the time. I am thinking may be I should try a smaller note book , 3"x 4" or smaller and put a chain around it and hung it around my neck. I just take it off when i take shower.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2005 at 12:20AM
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I marvel at those who carry all that vital info in a palm pilot or whatever, but I've heard them cry when they've lost it all somehow and they've tossed the hard copies and they were planning on backing up one day.

I marvel at those people, too, because one of the main selling points of the Palm (or its electronic cousins) is that synchronizing the info that's on your Palm with the info that's on your PC is as "hard" as pushing one button. Given that many of the recent models have batteries which are recharged through the cradle, the idea of putting the device on the cradle to recharge and never ever pushing the button just boggles my mind. But maybe I've just spent too long with computers and pre-beta code.

BTW, Liquid Paper actually is a brand name for a correction fluid used in the dead days of typewriters and manual paste-up. I've heard of what Terrapots is talking about, but it probably is not called just "Liquid Paper." Any of you shopping for it might do better describing what it does than what it's called. :-)

    Bookmark   March 29, 2005 at 9:41AM
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I have a glue stick that converts any paper to a removable sticky note. It's labeled "restickable glue stick." Scotch makes the one I have. I don 't use it as much as I thought I would--I guess I never need to stick my notes to something.

I had a brief experiment w/ an old Handspring Visor, and lost everything because of power failure. My DH, who was pressuring me to use it, never hooked the cradle up to the computer. But mostly I didn't like that it was so hard to write on it--I prefer paper. I'd have to transfer stuff over, and that was just too much fiddling for me.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2005 at 9:49AM
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As far as losing PDA / palmtop / Palm Pilot / etc /etc type data... I had an hp200lx palmtop for 7 years! Never once lost the data. Well one time I did but I had a backup that I sync'd over via the IR port. Nowadays they are so much more sophisticated it really is just a matter of setting it in a cradle and the thing syncs up with your "master" computer.

The only thing I don't like about mine is it's dependence on Windows. I'm not a Windows user perse. Much more of a Linux and Unix hack. But for all the benefits I get from my PDA organizer I sync it with my home Windows system only since everything at work is Linux. So even though I'm not an Outlook (or Lookout as I call it) user I still use all of the zillions of features and add-on software available right on the PDA device itself (in this case an HP/Compaq iPaq) and do 90% right on the PDA and then use Outlook on my Windows box for more of a "backup". So if I lose or somehow fry my PDA or accidently drop it out my car window, etc... I still can get another one (yes - ouch on $$) BUT then I simply sync from my home Windows machine and volia - everything would be back. I haven't put this ever to the test. I would rather not, but I do expect that it would be that *simple*. Granted if I try this 10 years from now - maybe not - as technolgy does march on. But in most cases they do try for forward-compatibilty.

But I do agree that battery life on these things can suck if you for instance have WiFi. Mine has WiFi and when the WiFi is up, it sucks through the battery big time. With the WiFi turned off a single charge can last a very long time (days)..

But I put it on the cradle every day or so - both to charge the battery and also to sync with my Windows copy of Lookout.


    Bookmark   March 29, 2005 at 2:33PM
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I'm an avid note-taker too, and my DH is absolutely out of control. We buy yellow pads by the dozen at Office Depot. I have reporter's notebooks in my handbag, in the car and by the phones. I also have a Palm, which I back up faithfully.

What I do now, and I do this for work also, is to use one yellow pad and flip over the used page. When I'm done with an item or no longer care about it, I scratch it out. When the pad is full I go through the pages to see if anything is left that I haven't scratched out or transferred to the Palm, then I throw away the pad.

Most of my note-taking is "brain-dumping" - non-essential notes. Anything I want to keep that isn't appropriate for the Palm, I place in a manila folder. Like "real estate" or "remodeling ideas" etc.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2005 at 6:35PM
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then I simply sync from my home Windows machine and volia - everything would be back. I haven't put this ever to the test. I would rather not, but I do expect that it would be that *simple*.

I have put it to the test and yes, it is that simple. :-) All the more wondrous that people don't ever do it.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2005 at 9:01AM
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