Like Rose Petals, or Why The Paperless Society Is A Terrible Idea

I routinely make a note to self to check old to-do lists when I remember that I’ve forgotten an important task. That I forget tasks often is a sad commentary on my attention span, but that’s not the point. The point is, I would be lost if I didn’t scatter notes to self all over the house like rose petals at a wedding.

Yes, there are reminder apps on my phone and email, but they require thought and planning. Notes to self only require scraps of paper and something to make marks. Pencils, pens, crayons, soot from the fireplace, finger paints, blood from the paper cut you got tearing off the scrap of paper – any of these will do.

When you’ve written your note, you can be sensible and place it where you are likely to find it. That place will not include your desk, because it is already filled with other things. It should not include the freezer, even if that is where you generally find your coffee mug (admit it, the mug ends up there when you think about your latest plot twist while looking for something for dinner at the same time). My preference is to create a personal, private treasure hunt of notes to self. The surprise of finding a reminder to pay an important bill immediately can often shock my little gray cells into remembering what my character’s arc was supposed to be before I wrote that last chapter that changed everything.

Go ahead, regale me with stories of perfectly organized electronic calendars and to-do lists. Brag about never missing appointments and always being on top of events. Just leave me with my scraps of paper artfully decorating every flat surface.

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