Take note: don't make meaningless notes

Published 10:45 am Sunday, April 14, 2002

By Staff
Lindsey Sherrill
Okay, I admit it. I'm an organization freak. Seriously. Sometimes I even scare myself. If I could find a bumper sticker that said "Martha Stewart is my hero" I'd probably have it. (Okay, so maybe not but you get the idea.) It's got to be rough on my family. I mean, come on, how many other people keep their CD collection in two perfectly sized white boxes with the CDs arranged alphabetically by artist's last name? My best friend saw this and said simply, "Lindsey, you're sick." She might be right. (And she doesn't even know about the color-coded sock drawer!)
But I'll let you in on a little secret. I do have one vice in my neatness fetish: I'm a maniacal note writer and I cannot keep them straight no matter how hard I try! I make notes to myself constantly (I'm making them as I write this) and they end up in the oddest places. For instance: On the back of an ID card in my wallet you will find scribbled in pink ink an email address. It's barely legible, and I'm sure that no one else but me would have the slightest idea what it says, much less why it's on that particular piece of paper.
And I make notes about everything. I decided while writing this to take a brief inventory of the notes on and around my desk, just for curiosity's sake. Here's what I found: (1) A list of books and authors I'm going to read "one of these days", (2) My CD wish list, (3) A list of sheet music I've been looking for, (4) High school transcript info, (5) Websites I keep meaning to check out, (6) Measurements for who knows what (4 3/4 in w front, h 4 5/8 in, 5 7/8 in w back h. 4 1/2 in h.), (7) A single notation "15 $" (I have no idea), (8) Fifteen phone numbers, including three for the same person and one with no name, (9) My writing notes, most of which I can make no sense of. And that's just the top layer.
Now in keeping with my organizational habits, all of these notes were in logical, orderly places. But I'm afraid that besides the location, nothing else about them is organized. I tend to write in a form of shorthand which, unfortunately, no one, including myself, can decipher. I think the phone numbers may be the worst though. A friend and I talked about this not too long ago. He's a note maker too and we agreed on that. We both make notes of numbers haphazardly. When I'm on the phone or listening to something I just jot down the number on the first available scrap when I hear it. Then I forget to write whose number on it. So a week or a month later I find the number and by then have no clue whose it is.
I decided to remedy this situation not long after I had the conversation with my friend. I rounded up all of the stray numbers and went through them carefully. I wrote the names on all the ones I could remember and disposed of the rest. I'm sure he'll be very proud of me.
But that started the cycle all over again. I just make more notes to replace them. They just keep piling up and I just keep insuring that Mead notebook makers stays in business. It's getting pretty bad. I could go on telling you about my strange deviation, but that number with no name is driving me crazy. I think I'm going to call and satisfy my curiosity. Or maybe I'll just make myself a note to do it later…

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