Use Post-It Notes to Highlight Information

In 1968 a 3M scientist was attempting to develop a strong adhesive but instead formulated a weak adhesive. The new discovery, it turned out, was perfect for allowing notes to be repositioned multiple times. In 1977 3M launched Post-it notes. Also known as repositionable notes, sticky notes, self-adhesive notes, and a few other names, Post-it notes come in a variety of shapes and sizes. While generic brands are available, I prefer the 3M brand, as the adhesive seems to be stronger.

Post-it notes out of the package are useful for their intended purpose – writing notes which can be attached to almost any surface for a short period of time. However, Post-it notes can be customized to highlight information in your journal or notebook. Below are a few easy ways to incorporate Post-it notes into your planner, notebook, or journal.

1. Create a frame.

Use a small cutting mat and sharp knife to create a frame from a Post-it note. The two primary sizes of notes that I use are 3×3 inch and 1.5×2 inch. You can trim these to fit a specific need. In the example below, I trimmed the note to 1 inch by 1.5 inches. The frame width is approximately 3/16 inch, but I did not measure exactly.

2. Hide Content

You may have notes in your journal or notebook that you don’t want to include in pictures or simply want to easily mask from prying eyes. The easiest way to accomplish this is to trim a note to cover the desired content.

3. Create Bullets

Bullets are a standard way to indicate lists of items. Bullets are easy to create by hand in your notebook or journal. However, with a little effort, you can create bullets from Post-it notes. In the example below, I used a craft hole punch from Hobby Lobby to create 5/8 inch bullets.

Because Post-it notes have adhesive on the back side, they can easily get stuck in a hole punch. The solution is to take two notes and position them back-to-back, so that the adhesive sides are pressed together. You can then punch holes for any size (up to the size of the Post-it note). Simply separate the two notes after punching. A standard hole punch will work, but it can be difficult to separate the smaller bullets.

4. Create Art Effects

I often trim down a Post-it note so that only a small strip with just the adhesive on the backside remains. You can then use these small strips as title blocks. You can also use these pieces to create a negative space, which makes any text in the negative (white) space stand out. You can also use Post-it bullets as a template to create unique lines of text in your journal or notebook.

5. Insert Bookmarks

Even in a small notebook or journal, like the Moleskine Art notebook, it can be challenging to locate information quickly. I use table of contents to record the basic content on each page, but it is helpful to mark certain pages for easy access or reference. Three types of bookmarks are illustrated below.

  • The top example (green) is a strip of a 3×3 inch Post-it note trimmed so the full strip has adhesive on the backside. The edges are wrapped around the top and edge of the notebook.
  • The middle example (blue) features the same approach, but with just an edge bookmark. Both of these applications feature a flush-edge bookmark which aligns with the page edge.
  • The bottom example (purple) shows a tabbed bookmark. This one is not as useful for me because I keep my small notebook in my pocket.

6. Create a Straight Line

If you need a straight line but don’t have a ruler handy, you can simply insert a Post-it note, draw your line, and remove the note. You can reposition the note to draw additional lines. Unlike a ruler or another temporary solution, Post-it notes will adhere to the paper, so you don’t have to hold it in place.

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