Friday, June 6, 2008


Some weeks ago our ministry team did a hat-making exercise at a team building event. The object was to create a hat out of art materials that would communicate what was unique about us. I decided quickly just the thing for me: I would make my hat out of sticky notes.

Everyone chuckled at this because often in group settings, I will break out the post-its and say, "Write 3 things that..."

Amy (on staff with our church) always rolls her eyes when I ask the team to brainstorm using post-its, but I persist in using them. I do so, in part, because I love seeing the reaction I get from everyone, but, on a more serious side, I really do think they are a great way to foster healthy teamwork.

I can honestly say that this simple invention (consisting of a smidgen of effective, but surface-friendly adhesive on the end of a small piece of paper) has changed my life. It's amazing how a tiny thing like post-its can help us become better listeners, more creative, and less judgmental. I find that when I'm tempted to make a snap decision, I force myself to slow down and do a little brainstorming using square stickies. Invariably, when used in group settings like this, people walk away from the meeting feeling valued and respected.

Next time you're making a decision, give it a try. I'm sure you'll see the light that post-its really are indispensable.

I don’t remember when the Post-it© phase of Troy’s life began, but I wish I had invested eleventy billion dollars (or $4) in 3M stock back then, because I would be a billionaire now. But alas, I did not have the foresight to do that. I actually think it was someone in our mission, Christian Associates, that’s to blame. But I can’t finger the exact person, so there is nothing I can do. That person, if caught, could possibly be blamed for the partial deforestation of the world.

Troy uses Post-it’s for many, many things. At our team meetings, our church staff are used to Troy walking in with a wad of them in his hand. He’ll start handing them out and say “List 5 things… blahbidittyblahblahblah …one per post-it.” Sometimes, he’ll take pity on the environment and say “You can put them all on one.” That makes Amy very happy.

Because of this obsession, Troy always gets Post-its in his stocking. At Christmas-time I roam the euro stores in search of new and exciting shapes and colors. The only problem with the lesser-than-3M-quality notes is that they are not very sticky. So when Troy starts smacking them up on the door to the cabinet in our living room that hides our TV, they eventually begin fluttering to the ground in a sad little display of my cheapness.

So lately, he has been collecting ideas on Nic’s Ikea chalkboard that has taken up dubious residence in our living room décor. Saves trees I guess.


The four little penguins say: said...

My husband has an allergy to post-it notes because at one church where he was youth pastor, they used post-its to yell at him. He knew everytime he saw one that he was in trouble. Big trouble. And he saw them OFTEN. We haven't had any post-its in our house for four years.

Kirsten said...

I am in favor of post-it notes for things like brainstorming and making hats. I have also seen them used to cool stained glass-like effect as people posted their various personal applications to a teaching on large windows that faced the sun. But when I start making lists of things to do on sticky notes around my house, that's an outward indicator to me that I have too many tasks and am likely kinda stressed. Another outward indicator to me of stress is that I will set a soda on top of my car to load up my stuff (and kids) and then forget about it and drive away. I only remember the soda when I get halfway down the street and hear the thump on the roof of the car and look in my rear view mirror to see the precious liquid pooling on the asphalt behind me. sigh.

Troy and Heather Cady said...

Four Little Penguins ~ Awww, poor hubby. That's mean! Maybe you should start leaving him little love notes on post-its to help him recover!

Kirsten ~ we've totally left stuff on top of the car too! As long as it's not a kid, you're still doing OK :)!


Anonymous said...

I constantly use post-its at work! :)

~laura, from the office

Amy Swacina said...

HaHa. I'm glad that I got mentioned in this post. This is the perfect subject for you guys to discuss. Save the trees!!!! HaHa