Cheap, colorful, portable – self-adhesive tabs, smaller cousins of stick-it notes! One of the reasons many lifehackers prefer not to go paperless, me included. Below some ways in which I use sticky tabs, be it cute tabs or productive tabs.
1. Semi-traditional way
The main point of having tabs is to keep track of important parts of the books you research. That’s true enough, but remember you can tweak your productivity by:
- color-coding the things you are after, e.g. green tabs are used for data, yellow ones for direct quotes you want to use etc.
- not sticking it at the top of the page but at the level of the verse or paragraph you find interesting or useful. This makes finding desired part much easier and books on your shelf look tidier, as the tabs protrude from the side, not the top.
- write shorthand or symbols at tabs to find things even quicker. I often mix large tabs with small ones, so if I have an obligatory lecture I paste a large tab at the beginning of each chapter (for easy reference) and write key points of this chapter underneath.
2. Retro reminders
When I borrow a book or a CD, I paste a small tab inside the cover to remind me when I have to give it back and to whom. As my stack of books to read and CDs to see/listen is large, this gets very handy for sorting my priorities. Sometimes I also stick tabs to food containers for clear view of the best before dates. It’s always better to have them in bold on the lid than to seek it each time on some concealed side of the package like the sealing or, worse yet, at the bottom.
3. Arrangement aid
If you plan a longer text – an essay, a dissertation or even a book – write down the titles of chapters and subchapters on self-adhesive tabs and stick them on a white sheet of paper. You can easily rearrange them, tinker with your ideas visually and get the desired outcome. Especially useful when writing for and against essay – you can write benefits on one color of tabs and arguments against on the other. You can then see which argument feels the strongest, whether it’s better to give all positive arguments first or maybe provide each side of arguments in turns, and so forth.
4. Smart Learning
There are comprehention checks at the end of the chapter / article? Read those question first and come up with at least one question of your own you expect to find an answer to in the text. Write the number of each question on a sticky tab and mark the answers as you go. Much quicker and easier to correct than highlighting!
5. Tailoring organizers
For all those creatives out there, having a personal organizer and jotter is a must. Some of us prefer digital solutions like Evernote or Springpad. But sometimes you just see the perfect notebook for you. The paper feels just right and the cover has the wittiest comment you came across. The design is perfect. A plain notebook like that can be cheaply transformed into a great custom calendar or organizer by a couple of tabs and stickers inside. Simply decide on the structure, assign pages and there is no other notebook-organizer like yours!
Any ideas to add?