The Ten Guiding Principles

There’s really nothing mystical or magical about the humble sticky note. They are, however, a criminally underrated gem that can unlock your hidden productivity and help you do so much more with your time, and your life.

The official Blue Note Guiding Principles consist of ten points:


  1. Keep your sticky notes close. Once you get into the habit, you’ll want to use them constantly, and the entire system collapses if they’re not within arm’s reach.


  1. Writing ALWAYS helps. Typing a to-do task just doesn’t solidify it in the memory…but writing? That creates a powerful neural pathway that sticks in your mind like nothing else.


  1. Use the stick. Sticky notes come with adhesive for a good reason; it makes them flexible and easy to place wherever you like. Don’t fall into the trap of just placing them on the desk, at the same level as all your other documentation.


  1. Location, location, location. Choose the note location wisely. Stick to common sightlines, but don’t use the same ones repeatedly, lest the note fade into the background.


  1. Colour matters. It’s an excellent idea to mix up the colours of your notes. That way, the ideas and prompts will ‘stick’ in your mind far easier, since they have an extra visual point of reference.


  1. Brevity is best. It’s a note, not a page. Communicate your ideas, but keep things short and snappy; you just need a prompt, not a full explanation.


  1. Rewrite when necessary. It’s tempting, but even if you need a note in the long term, you can’t get too attached. Throw it away and rewrite the information to keep it fresh.


  1. Use the rule of three. One note is good. Two notes are better. Three notes, with the same information, in different colours and stuck in different locations? You can’t go wrong.


  1. Square is supreme. There is only one acceptable sticky note shape: the palm-sized square. All other shapes are gimmicky imposters and should be burned.


  1. Always be kind. Sticky notes have been used for passive-aggressive nonsense since they were invented. Don’t succumb! Use your notes for positivity, and everyone will be more likely to notice and acknowledge them.