· Homekeeping Tips · Organization Tips · The Secret Weapon for Getting Organized…A Post-It Note Planner!

The Secret Weapon for Getting Organized…A Post-It Note Planner!

If you have spent any time on Pinterest at all you will know that organization boards are a big deal! People love anything and everything related to being organized. If you have spent any time on my Pinterest boards…you will see there is no board about organization. :-)

Now don’t get me wrong…I like to be as organized as the next person (well maybe not the really crazy organizers!), but my main objection to “getting organized” is my irrational fear that it will somehow impede upon my “free spiritedness”. I think I am one of those very rare (dare I say….odd) people that can only be described as obsessive compulsive hippie freak! It’s the Pisces in me I tell ya!  “The zodiac sign that is symbolized by two fish swimming in different directions pointing at the Pisces inner tensions”.  See?  It’s not my fault. :-)

So, that being said, I have the tendency to shy away from anything resembling a planner, or a schedule or a organizational board. But lately the stuff on my plate has been piling up and threatening to spill off the edge! I just have too many things running around in my brain, that I desperately need to put down on paper somewhere to alleviate some of the mental pressure.

And as much as I loathe the idea (and have been procrastinating it!) I felt a glimmer of hope today when I ran across this idea from Jen at JenHewett.com.

It’s brilliant in its simplicity and just off-beat enough to make me feel like it was meant for me! Plus it’s pretty and colorful….a major bonus in my book! I was actually so smitten by the idea that despite my crazy, busy, hectic day…I made time to go pick up some office supplies so I could get started right away!

All you need is a spiral notebook of some sort (spiral is preferred because when open it will lie flat); a package of multi-colored Post-It Notes (I decided to go with the small, square ones); some tab dividers (optional); and a pen. (And of course I had the perfect pen for the job from my post yesterday!)

For the full rundown of how this method works…make sure and visit Jen’s website!  If she can get someone like me excited about this…you know she’s onto something. :-)

But just for summary purposes….the idea goes something like this.

  • In a spiral notebook, set up two facing pages for each client/topic/subject/category that you want to keep organized.
  • Every new task that needs to be accomplished gets written down on a post-it note and placed on the left side if it’s pressing, and if it can wait awhile, it gets placed on the right side.
  • Here’s the part I like…..when a task is completed…remove the post-it note and throw it away! The goal is to have an empty page by the end of the day. Then you can begin moving things from the right hand side of the page to the left hand side.
  • Blank post-it notes are always “at the ready” on the inside cover of the notebook.

Here are a few photos of my beginner’s efforts:

As you can see….I spent a lot of time taking pictures of the steps leading up to the actual writing down of stuff. Can you say procrastination

After I realized what I was doing….I kicked my own butt into gear and actually managed to come up with stuff for all 4 of my categories. (I actually could have kept going…but didn’t want my brain to get too confused by all this “tidying up”.)

Would you believe I was actually sweating after writing on all those little post-it notes? lol.  I was!  It took a lot out of me, but I actually felt a lot better knowing that at least some of the stuff rattling around in my over-taxed gray matter is now safely ensconced in this little book without the fear of it just evaporating into thin air someday. It’s there until I get to rip it off the page, crumple it up and toss it in the trash! (I know…not very eco-friendly….but oh so satisfying!)

In addition to being a “free spirit” with OCD tendencies…I also pride myself on being somewhat of a realist. I realize this isn’t the “holy grail” of organization…but it’s a start! And for ME…that’s One Good Thing! :-)

Anyone else care to start with me????

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Jill Nystul Photo

Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


Homekeeping Tips

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  • Love post it notes, especially the extra sticky ones. Several years ago I found a Planner that used this idea and had plastic pages and tabs. I must have been the only one that liked it cause I can’t find it now. I do something similiar with page protectors which also provides a write on wipe off surface.

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  • […] is just only one of the many ways you can use Post-Its in a different way. If you look here, you’ll find Jill’s blog where she talks about keeping all of your Post-It notes in a […]

  • […] sure having it in a notebook will be sufficient. It may be to easy to close and forget about.  [Check it out.]  I’m more drawn to the bulletin board version where it’s more visual and visible. […]

  • […] is a big fav, and recently I stumble across links to this lovely blog and fabulous idea. I has shiny new notebook and an excuse to buy post-its in a range of colours […]

  • Love the concept & the different approaches people use. I like placing notes on the refrigerator. But cabinet doors sounds great–each door its own category. Two side notes: there is an app for “sticky notes” you can use on your phone; also, if you hate spending so much $$ on Post-it notes– buy glue dots (& reuse) use with any kind of paper.
    Another plan of attack, especially when it is an overwhelming type project–and you need to know you accomplished something even if it doesn’t look like it. Write a list of everything that needs to be done. Instead of crossing out the items when completed, use a highlighting marker. This way you can still read the list and you get a bright positive color showing your progress. This too is great if someone asks (or you bribe them) to help. Choose an item, complete the task and highlight away.

  • […] saw the project at One Good Thing By Jillee, but it was originally posted at Jen And Jake where you can find the full […]

  • I love this idea! I love the planner I have, but don’t use it enough (feeling I have to use it the way I am suppose to). The OCD part of my brain and creative side are in serious overload with all the possible tabs to divide categories of tasks (work, home/misc, craft projects, nonprofit committee I lead, college).

    Thinking calendar tabs in the front, then tabs for each category. Under the category can be my stickies for later for each one, then I can move to the calendar section for that week (and like someone else said if it gets moved then I just move the sticky). My volunteer work, I lead a committee of 15 women, I could put all the upcoming tasks to be done before the next meeting on stickies and delegate the task by giving away the sticky note. The OCD part of my brain is requiring that the categories be color coded though, so I can glance at the calendar and know the type of task.

    oops sorry started typing ideas as they were flowing into my head, I hope at least my ramblings might give others ideas.

  • You had me cute note books, great pens, and sticky notes! I think I’ll change my topics to things I need to get done at different times of the day. Morning, afternoon, and night. We shall see.

  • Get out of my head!!! I do NOT put much stock in zodiac signs, but I, too, am a Pisces and you just described me to a T! I am definitely doing this… Today. I’m pretty sure I even have all the supplies at my fingertips at the office too (which means I have no excuse to procrastinate on it). Nice!! Thank you so much. And my husband thanks you too (he’s been telling me for years that I have to start making list…. Yuck)!!!

  • I love to make lists all the time but it’s never very organized. Will absolutely have to try this! I love that it’s cute and colorful and will give me the satisfaction of seeing an empty page!

  • I manage to Pinterest my way to your blog every once in a while, and after reading this, the OCD list-making monster in me could not be any happier! I hate planners because I always stop writing in them after a couple weeks, and lists end up all over; this is a great way to corral all the lists and isn’t schedule-constrained! LOVE IT! You are spectacular! Thanks for all the great ideas!!

  • Found your blog today while looking for a way to clean my washer. 2 hours later my washer is sparkling and I have skimmed a dozen posts! This post is amazing to me because I am a list maker. What a great way to keep my lists together!

  • Love this idea! I work in software design, and the latest and greatest group planning/organization device is – wait for it – post it notes! We organize all our tasks on a board, and people grab a post it when they need something to do. It’s a great system. Can’t believe I’ve never thought to apply it to organizing the rest of me :)

  • I love this and do it daily! I’ve tried the planners, list, etc. and get nowhere. Now I just have post it’s on my calendar. At work I line them up on the outside of my desk calendar and if something comes to mind that is to be done in a few days I put a post it on top of that day so I’ll remember when it comes.

    I have to ask – where did you get your RSVP pens from! I LOVE RSVP pens and have never seen one with designs and now I’m in love and will hunt day and night for them!

  • Sweet Jillee,
    Organization does not keep you from being creative, it frees you to be creative. When we are constantly losing our keys, forgetting appointments, can’t find the scissors, and all the other things I dealt with for years I did not have time to be creative. My time was wasted looking for stuff and digging through all the stuff that I thought I needed that actually got in the way of life. A lot of compulsive people have given organization a bad name. Organizing is simply the process of arranging the elements of life so we can be more effective. The idea in this post of using post its for organizations is a prime example of tailoring an organizational style to fit your personality. Take what others do, tweak it, and make it yours. Seems to me you do that all the time.
    Mary P

  • Jillee!
    This is a brilliant solution! I can’t wait to introduce it to some of my more creative control freak clients! And, I can see how to incorporate it into my own organization (since I have not been able to give up colorful post its).

  • Hey – that’s my organization system! Thanks for the mention. Seriously, this system has helped me keep my sanity when balancing a zillion different tasks. Glad it can help others! *Jen*

    • This organization system is fantastic, not just for free thinkers but–and I think this deserves specific mention–for those of us dealing with limited Spoons from chronic illness, disability, and all the other reasons why flexible scheduling is a necessity (new children coming in our home, even simply getting used to a new routine during a new semester at school or a new job).

      I especially like using sticky notes in conjunction with a planner. I put the schedule of events in the planner, and create a sticky to-do list to go with it. Wake up too tired and can only commit to three things today? Pull off stickies! Kid wakes up with the flu? Goodbye stickies! Snow day? Different stickies! Discover something that needs to be done on a specific day two weeks from now? Sticky, right on that day. Plus, I can just write projects once with a due date (Work on Civics paper, due May 16) and keep moving it along. I like to color code my stickies according to grouping or location (school, home, work, errands; or different colors for each class or work project). It keeps me from looking at a single sticky for so long on that “to be done later” page that I overlook it until it’s too late.

  • I do have a planner but I still use post-it notes a LOT. I have all sizes and colors and usually several on my desk and in my planner at all times. I couldn’t live without them. Now if I can just convince my granddaughter to stop swiping them! She’s only 2-1/2 but she thinks they’re awesome, too!!!

  • I’m definitely going to try this! What a great idea. So much nicer than my lists that I misplace, with some things crossed off making the list look so messy. Thanks for the great idea!

  • Yaaaayyyyy!!!! I’ve found someone just like me!!!! Anytime I have tried to use a planner/schedule I’d rebel against it cuz it made me feel boxed in!!! LOL!!!!!

    I’ve already gone to the store and bought the supplies for this for both me and my daughter!!! I think it will be just what she needs!!! She’s 17, has dyslexia, a job, classes, theater….and nothing we’ve tried has truly been “the one” but I think this visual style will be her salvation!!! She’s so excited to get it set up when she gets home from work!!! And I know I need it because I’m visual as well and I think a system like this will be the ticket!! :)

    Do you have any idea how much of a blessing you are??? You are to me and I’ve gained so many neat ideas and things I’m doing thanks to you!!!! :)

    • awww….you’re a sweetheart….thank you Laura! Very sweet of you to say!

      Nice to know we’re not alone in our “rebelliousness”, huh? ;-)

  • So the mild OCD I have is from my Pisces side? I am on the cusp of Aquarious and Pisces and say I have best of both signs LOL. But I never knew where the OCD came in. I wonder which side my ADHD comes from? Love your posts, first one I read each day. My short memory I know comes from age. Take care.

  • Ok Mrs. jillee, this is awesome. Knowing me like you do you know that this will never happen with me, being a leo I keep my own standards of organization and this is not for me. However, I am going to get all of this stuff and set it up for the hubby. He is so unorganized and he just has to write everything down that he does in a day or he doesn’t remember to do it (I know, I know, it is a good thing that I love him :-) ) I am thinking though that he will have to do it a little different, he also has to look back through his day and know that everything he needed to do got done. So I am thinking that he can time stamp the sticking when he is finished with it and then he will still have it at the end of the day and know that it got done. I suppose he could go through every other day or so and remove all stickies that have been completed. What do you think? I just worry about it getting to cluttered that way, perhaps at the end of the day he could do it…. HMMMM something for me to think about. :-) As always Jillee you are amazing and I love ya. :-)

    • LOL! Oh Danielle….you make me smile. :-) Of COURSE this is not for you! Silly Leo. I know you better than that!
      Sounds like hubby might be a Pisces too! :-)

    • If the page is blank, everything he needed to do got done.

      Now, if you’re saying he needs to see a list of what he accomplished, then that’s different. He could always use a page for “stuff I did today” with completed stickies. Probably not a bad idea, given how often some of us probably re-do the same tasks. That way you can re-use the same sticky too.

      I do this method in combination with my planner. Anything that I need to remember to talk to the doctor about gets put onto a sticky note on the day of the dr appt. That way if the appt gets moved, I just need to move the sticky. Similarly, I put a to-do list on certain days, and if it doesn’t get done then I can just MOVE them. It helps me see if I’ve put stuff off for later/certain days, so I don’t overload one day.

  • I can’t tell you how good it makes me feel to know there are others who share my angst over traditional planners!! lol. :-) thanks for all the great comments everyone!

  • I do this except instead of a spiral notebook I use my kitchen cabinets. I use different colors for kid stuff, house stuff, errands, etc. My husband even gets his own section of the cabinet for his tasks. The only problem is when I forget to take them down (move them to the inside) when we have guests. I love this because they are in my face all day and I can’t forget to do something.

  • oooh, FUN FUN FUN!!! it’s like CRAFTS meets ORGANIZATION GURU!! :D And i absolutely love the colorful sticky notes! totally going to try this! thank you AGAIN! :D

  • I am SO doing this! I’m married and homeschool two kids, go to college, clean two other houses… this list goes on and on. Planners just don’t do it for me, but I think I can make this work!

  • I am going to try this. If you can do it with all you have on your plate, MAYBE I can do it too. You are AMAZING! Off to the store I go…..

  • To be more “eco friendly” you could save post its for tasks that will be repeated, such as “PTA Meeting today”. Maybe use a separate page just for reusable post its to keep them in one place. Once they’ve been used a few times and start losing their “sticky”, then they can be thrown away.

  • I laughed so hard reading your blog this morning! I am a gemini obsessive compulsive gypsy freak, and I am so looking forward to using this notebook method. I love that there are no date and time blanks to fill out and the system really supports “juggling” ideas and tasks. It’s so simple that it could be perfect! THANKS!

  • I have to tell you Jillee, I LOVE your blog! I work at a hospital as a medical social worker and for good reasons many websites are blocked on their internet service, but not yours (yay!) so when I really need a break from crises and emotional interactions I just check out all your fantastic ideas and funny little blurbs along with them :) I really like this post-it organization idea as well. I am also a compulsive list-maker and although I really love it when I get a bunch of things done and can see all of the stroked out items, I think this would be a much more organized (due to the categories) and more eco-friendly way (because I’m not constantly writing and rewriting all of the things to do, just the ones I get done!). Thanks for another One Good Thing!

    • You are most welcome Danielle! Thanks for leaving a comment. I’m thrilled to know I can help alleviate, in some small ways, what must be a very stressful job! Keep up the great work you do! :-)

  • I am SO not a “planner organizer” person. More of the wing it, free-spirit type. I like using post it notes with my list for the day or I like to use my chalkboard for my daily planner/list. I put a check mark beside it when the task is complete and whatever doesn’t get done, goes on the chalkboard (or post it notes) for the next day.

  • I absolutely LOVE this idea!!! I am not OCD by any means with anything, but…. I’m a compulsive list-maker and always have been. I can’t stand to be boxed into anything, so a list keeps me on task. The funny thing is that my lists are not organized AT ALL. I’ve tried planners, mini notebooks, etc. It never works. Just random, scattered lists all over. I think this would def work for me! I think I would probably just use a pretty binder with page separators in place of the notebook for more durability! But I’m def trying this. Love, love, love!!!

  • This so IS eco friendly! Especially if you rip up your post its and put them in your compost! :) See!? Love this idea!! Thanks for sharing!!!

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