Today’s blog post was inspired by artist, professional pizza eater, and Marilyn Manson super-fan @chelseakirchoff. Chelsea always makes me smile when she leaves a comment on one of my Big Yellow Sticky notes, and while saying nice things about one of my posts the other day, she asked me how I decided what to write on the Big Yellow Sticky notes and if I have a particular process I followed. While I never really documented my BYS process before, after giving it some thought i decided that I do have a distinct process I follow. I shared my process with Chelsea and I thought I would share it as today’s blog post (so I guess I DO now have a document process!).
About 90% of the time I come with my daily content when I sit down to do the actual work on that day’s sticky note. I might start scribbling some random words down based on concepts or themes or emotions I felt that day. If have a bit of a lesson or note of encouragement I want to put out into the world, I’ll start there. Random photo webstes and word sites like thesaurus.com are also resources that will help spark an ideas.
Approximately 5% of the time I will have jotted down a word or phrase or theme in my notes that I can pull from. I may have scribbled a note in one of my journals or used my private Slack channel to type it out on my mobile phone. And if you want me to get really meta, sometimes I’ll jot it down on an actual Post-it note and stick it into one of my journals.
Around 2% of the time the Big Yellow Sticky is a note directly intended for a friend or client. They may have sent me an email asking for help, or launched a new project that crossed my radar, or I was simply thinking about them and their business and had a piece of advice or a resource to share with them.
Also clocking in at 2% is building on or adapting from what a friend or mentor or historical figure has said. If I don’t have content ready to go, I enjoy flipping through books of quotations, or books of bite-sized chunks of advice until I run across an entry that feels on topic or speaks to me in some way. I’ll take that concept and mold it into something that is original unto itself and designed to fit the content format.
And 1% of the time that day’s BYS message may have been sparked by something (or someone!) who frustrated me. A challenge I haven’t quite figured out, a competitor that poked at my business, a client that cancelled an order (or cut the deadline in half), etc. The words I write on the sticky will be to remind myself it’s not the end of the world, or encouragement to push through harder, or to work smarter.
Finally, no matter which percentage of my content formulation process came into play for any individual sticky note I’ve published — 100% of the time the sticky note I created and published was probably a note I was writing to myself.
There are lessons in everything if you look for them, but identifying the lesson is only part of it. You need to make note of the lesson and post it somewhere that you will remember to look at and refer to it so that when the time comes you will be in a position to benefit from that lesson. And that’s the process that’s really important.