The Post It Note Productivity Method

I hope this technique will help you as much as it has helped me.

In my final year of university as things were getting serious I started using this method to help me stay focused on my work and be more productive. I can’t remember if I read it somewhere or adapted it from something but I’m certain it wasn’t my original thought.

Our brains are wired to run on tangents, one thought quickly leads to another and everyday thousands of ideas and memories cycle through our heads. What’s more the moment we think of something, for example “remember that really funny video?” it is now the easiest thing in the world to go to our smartphones or open a new tab on our browsers and find it…

… and then all of sudden we’re not being productive any more.

What’s more as soon as we log on to YouTube or on to social media to find these videos, these platforms are designed to keep us on them for as long as possible. With a stream of related content thrust in front of us and a curated selection of videos we ‘might like’ brought up at every opportunity it is the easiest thing in the world to fall down a rabbit hole and consume an endless stream of content when we only meant to watch one video.

This quick break has all of a sudden turned in to an hour wasted. Even if you only stop for a few minutess you will have lost your train of thought and completely halted your momentum during a productive workday.

And so this method is all about resetting our brains not to need this instant gratification which rapidly derails us from a productive day.

Here’s how I do it…

At all times when I’m working I keep a pad of post it notes and a pen next to me…

… everyday I will allow myself two sessions of 15 minutes which is time that I can spend however I wish. I make a note of those times on the post it note (normally 11:00AM and 3:15PM, but you can choose whatever time works for you, or even make it one half hour slot).

As you go throughout your day, every time a thought pops up or you have an idea that would require you to stop what you are doing, choose what free-time slot that you are going to do it in, note that down and continue with your work.

These noted tasks for later often include re-watching a cool video I’ve watched that’s suddenly popped in to my mind, it could be sending a work email or it could even be sending a Facebook message to a friend to ask how their weekend was.

For thoughts such as Facebook messages or other social things that aren’t massively time sensitive, I’ll often create an evening section on my post it note as they can be done when I’ve left the studio and am back home.

Often I’ll create a separate post it note for work-related things I really must do and add to it throughout the day.

On most occasions when that 11AM or 3:15PM window arrives most of the time I don’t really want to stop what I’m doing, as being productive and ‘on a roll’ with work is a great feeling. And when I give a quick glance back to that list of things I wanted to do a few hours ago being brutally honest a lot of it seems much less appealing and not a big deal to save for another time.

Most commonly everything on the list goes one of two ways. I either decide to forget it and not to follow through with it, or realise it’s so important that it deserves a sustained period of my full focused attention and plan time for that.

As I come to a conclusion I realise that this blog makes me sound like an amazing productive person. But the truth is everyday I face exactly the same productivity challenges as you do. I wish I was 100% productive and focused during work hours and I that everyday I stuck to this method and succeeded with my intention.

I wish it was as easy as it sounds, but a lot of the time I fail. More than I care to admit.

My intuition says that you can’t be discouraged when you fall short of the mark, every moment is a new opportunity and a clean slate to try and better.

Nothing worth having comes easy and if you can be 1% more productive than you were yesterday that’s a win. If you can be 2% that’s even better.

They say that discipline equals freedom…

So don’t forget to try post it note productivity method to help lead a more disciplined work day.

And I wish you every success.


About Jack

I help people, brands and business communicate more effectively with their customers through visual, audio and written content.

I do this through Southpaw Sport, the sports content marketing company I’m currently building as well as on a freelance basis working for agencies and production companies.


You can follow Sixty Second me on YouTube where we share news, reviews and tutorials for digital filmmakers, all in sixty seconds…

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Jack Tompkins