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Thursday, May 24, 2018
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Kramer: When Post-it notes run your life

They’re everywhere and they drive me crazy. But I love them, hate them, depend on them and purchase them regularly. I see them in the kitchen, on my night table, in the glove compartment of the car, and sometimes on the front door knob of our house.

They’re both a blessing and a curse. They tweak my memory and clutter my life. But we have a long history together, and they’re critical to many of my accomplishments.

Post-it notes and I began our relationship in the business community decades ago when I worked as the managing editor for a science institute, gathering articles from around the world for its newsletter. My task included keeping track of what came in, organizing it, editing it and putting it all together as pieces of an enormous puzzle. Post-it notes became a critical part of each work day and they allowed me to set up my materials externally before putting them together electronically. In desperation, when the gotta-get-dones overwhelmed me, I found myself occasionally taping a note to my shirt until the task was completed.

When I retired and had the time for more self-indulgent undertakings, I found myself often amazed at how the notes still overwhelmed me. Post-its came back into my life as self-help reminders of what needed to be done, by whom and by when. Often a note would linger for weeks waiting for its time and space in my life. I had them on the fridge, on the kitchen cabinets and, in more frantic moments, on the steering wheel of the car. “Buy milk.” “Return Carol’s phone call.”

I tried replacing the notes with a tiny spiral notebook in my purse, which I used to list the things I both needed and wanted to do. But somehow that didn’t seem to work. It wasn’t always as available and accessible as the Post-Its. It didn’t shout at me like those yellow reminders do.

I’ve watched my husband, Oscar, keep a daily sheet of the things that summon him to task, but he keeps his lists in his shirt pocket – and all of his shirts have this convenient storage place. Few of my clothes have pockets. I may try typing reminders into my cell phone, and then wearing the phone in a case that attaches to the waist-band of my no-pocket pants and see if that works.

I’ve even tried a dry-erase board in the kitchen to replace the notes, but that rapidly became filled with letters, pictures and drawings from the grandchildren.

So I’m going to make one final attempt to help my aging and forgetful memory. I’m going to shop for a small decorative box that will fit on my night table and look beautiful. And at the end of each day, I’m going to search for and collect all the yellow reminders strewn throughout the house and place them in this box for a morning review. That way, I hope, they will no longer control me. I will control them, and we’ll be friends instead of sometime antagonists.

Freelance writer Judy Kramer can be reached by email at [email protected] She is author of “Changing Places: A Journey with My Parents into Their Old Age.”

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