May 29th, 2012 | Published in attention
I bought a new 3′x4′ whiteboard several weeks ago and installed it next to my desk. It addresses some issues:
- Electronic todos are a problem for me because they too quickly melt into the background of the many electronic things I have going on.
- Pieces of paper are a problem for me because they get shuffled around and lost. I also don’t like dealing with them when I’m done with them. It’s hard to know when to toss them out, or whether I even should.
- Anything that can be out of sight will quickly be out of mind.
So that brings us to the whiteboard.
I use it like a big legal pad. During normal times, there’s a section for incoming todos, a section for longer term things, and there are a number of quick, ad hoc check lists: All ten sites need something done? I scribble each one down with a box next to it so I know where I left off if I get interrupted (which happens a lot).
The hole in the system, such as it is, is where the information goes if I need space or need to clear the whiteboard for a complex task or series of steps. I briefly considered just typing the contents up before erasing, but that takes too much time. Instead, I spent $0.99 on Fast Ever Snap for my iPhone. The app’s sole purpose is to quickly create photo notes in Evernote: It opens the camera very quickly, has provisions for setting a default tag, and it queues up any photos you add for sync in the background. I’ve set it to use “whiteboard” as the default tag. So when I get to a point where the whiteboard needs to be wiped, I snap a picture of it in Fast Ever Snap and move on. All my whiteboard snapshots are available with a quick tag search.
One thing I haven’t yet done with any consistency but probably ought to is add an end-of-day review of my snapshots. One of Evernote’s neater little capabilities is that you can drop a checkbox into a note and then search on all notes with unchecked checkboxes. So for snapshots that have unfinished items, taking 15 minutes at the end of the day to mark a snapshot with its incomplete todos will make it available for the morning board restart the next day.
The main point, I guess, is that the whiteboard never really leaves my sight. It’s a big 3′ x 4′ reminder of itself. If I have any regret, it’s that I didn’t spring for a larger one, and I may yet. Neighbor Mic tells me it’s not hard to find 8′ wide and larger at assorted auctions and giveaways.