The Case of the Missing Post-it Note
August 30, 2007
Several years back, before becoming a productivity trainer, I worked in a sea of cubicles like so many of the rest of you. One day my manager gave me a post-it note with the name and phone number of customer I was to call to “resolve an issue.”
Now, this particular “issue” was one of those less-than-fun tasks, that I was-less-than thrilled about handling. So my first thought was to quickly postpone the call until the next day. I’ve learned better since then (see when you’d rather not).
So I placed the post-it on my computer monitor to remind me to make the call the next day. Well, that day came and went, and no call was made. The day after that, I knew I’d better call that customer, So in an attempt to bump it up in priority, I moved it from the computer monitor to my phone.
That strategy proved so effective that a whole other day came and went with no call being made. Adjusting its priority again, I moved it to my palm pilot (yes, I had the original palm pilot of the late 90’s).
Finally, I decided that ignoring the problem was a much better solution all together. So I removed the post-it and placed it in the customer’s file.
After a few weeks, the very angry customer called my manager again, and I was in hot water. So no ifs, ands, or buts about it - I had to make the call that day! But, I had one major problem … I couldn’t find the post-it note!
I tried retracing it’s steps. I remembered all the places it had been, the monitor … then the phone … then the palm pilot, and I was sure I put it in the customer file. But it was nowhere to be found. So I had to eat crow, and ask my manager for the number again (as you might have guessed, I wasn’t nominated for employee of the month).
Finally, I made the call and took care of business.
When I got home that evening something strange happened. I noticed something peculiar stuck to the bottom of my dress shoe. When I removed it, I noticed it was a folded post-it – yep, the very one I had spent all that time ignoring, and then frantically looking for.
As difficult as it is to believe, it must have somehow fallen out of the folder and onto the floor. Then, I somehow managed to step on it just right. I have no idea how it stayed on the bottom of my shoe all that time. I guess that just shows that God has a rather bizarre sense of humor.
What’s the moral of this story?
Don’t entrust valuable information to “stickies.” They’re best reserved for jotting quick notes to attach to documents. If the information is truly valuable transfer it to a contact or task list. Also, don’t use the visual prompt method for prioritizing – it doesn’t work. (See Monkey See, Monkey Doo)