We’ve already opined on the magic of the sticky note in a previous post. Now, it’s time to talk about using sticky notes effectively while brainstorming, and it all boils down to one simple rule: one idea per sticky note.

I love, really love sticky notes. Before Cardsmith‘s online sticky notes, I used sticky notes for everything from managing projects to brainstorming new business ideas to planning my workout schedule.  You should have seen me the first time I saw the 5” x 7” sticky note size; I thought it was my birthday!

Since then, however, I have discovered that larger is not always better, and that the original 3 x 3” size are far better for most applications.

The smaller size enforces the “one idea per note” rule

The smaller sticky note size is perfect for brainstorming. Its smallness, combined with a thick marker help to keep my thoughts separate, short, and to-the-point.  Writing one idea on a sticky note allows me to later rearrange the notes into different groups or organizational structures.

Should the “bananas” note come before the “peanut butter” note? YES!

Should I group all the notes with food on them together? SURE!

Keeping my ideas discrete allows for greater flexibility and creativity in organizing them.

[tweetify]”Write first, edit second and make every word count.” [/tweetify]

Online sticky note writing is like all other writing: the first draft is often the worst draft.

Capture the idea first and edit later; the “write first, edit second” rule applies to sticky notes too. Once we’ve captured the initial set of ideas, I look for words that aren’t useful. Often, despite the size constraints, ideas are not clear and concise, and more than one idea may have ended up on the same note.

If you broke out the fine tip pen and wrote all over the back of a note, that’s a good sign it needs editing. Every word on the note should be useful in stating the idea clearly and concisely.  Once you’ve cleaned up the idea, throw out the first sticky note.

With Cardsmith, you can easily create online sticky notes, or “cards,” that constrain the amount of text per card. This keeps you concise during initial brainstorming. Later, when you want to flesh out your idea, you can add more information inside the card. If you’re like me and sticky notes are an integral part of how you think and organize and brainstorm, look no further: online post it notes are here. Just remember: one idea per sticky note! And go forth.

Intrigued to see how Cardsmith can help you think more clearly and creatively?  Sign up today!

Featured image by Polina Zimmerman from Pexels

This post was updated in March 2020.