“That’s the best thing since …”  How do YOU finish this sentence?  When I was growing up, the answer was sliced bread. When I was raising my own kids, the answer was bagged lettuce.  Now, it’s Post-Its.  At least, in my humble opinion.

That’s because I’m a list keeper.  Rarely does a day go by when I haven’t made one list or another.  Studies show that people who keep lists are more productive.  I do think that’s true for me, and for four reasons.

First, a to-do list helps me prioritize my day.   And if my list isn’t prioritized simply by the order of items on it, I use asterisks to mark the most important ones.

Second, if I have a list, I won’t forget something.  I read once that if worries keep you awake, you should write each worry on a piece of paper, put it in a “worry box,” and therein let go of the worry enough to fall asleep.  A to-do list gives me a similar release.  With a list beside me, I can focus on getting things done rather than on trying to remember what’s on the list.

Third, a list motivates me to act.  Enough said there.

And fourth, there’s the sense of accomplishment that comes from crossing each item off the list.

Ok, you list-makers.  A list is a list, regardless of where it’s written.  Right?  And regular paper, or scrap paper, even a supermarket receipt is good, too.  Right?  But Post-Its are better – again, in my humble opinion – largely because they stick places where you can actually see them.  After all, what’s the point of a reminder if you can’t find it?

I have Post-Its in different colors – yellow, pink, green, purple and blue.  Personally, I prefer the lighter colors.  My blue pen stands out better, for instance, on yellow or pale green.

I have them in different sizes, tiny to large.  My most-frequently-used size is 3 X 5, which seems to work best with the lists I make.

I have them in different shapes.  For work, I want a more serious square or rectangular.   For personal things – a list of, say, Valentines Day cards to buy – I branch out.  An apple, a telephone, an arrow, a heart – I have them all.

Where do I stick them?  If my list is strictly related to work, the Post-It goes on my computer.  If there are non-work things mixed in, the Post-It goes on the corner of my desk.  If the items are wholly non-work, the Post-It goes on the kitchen table downstairs.  And the reminder of a crucial appointment, meeting, or tennis lesson?  That is written with a thick sharpie, so that it can be seen a dozen feet away, and is either stuck on the wall at the top of the stairs or on the door to the garage.

Did you know that Post-Its were created by accident in a totally unexpected moment?  Actually, two such moments according to the history I just read.  One occurred in 1968, the other in 1973.  The first attempt at sales failed largely because of poor marketing, but someone believed in the cause enough to persist.

I’m so glad they did.  Post-Its are every bit as crucial to me as bagged lettuce and sliced bread – though I do admit to having taken a liking lately to fresh-baked, unsliced bread.  But that’s for another blog.

What’s your life-saver?