The Power of Notes is in the Decision-Making

Kara Monroe
15 min readMay 9, 2024
Image generated using MidJourney with the prompt: Create a photorealistic image of a person sitting in front of a computer with a task management app open. There is also a notebook open in front of the person.

I’m sitting in one of my favorite spots as I write this. It’s a cozy chair in my great room. I have a blanket over my lap and Kona, my faithful miniature double doodle is curled up at my left hip.

Because it’s one of my favorite spots, I’m also surrounded by the little things that collect over the course of a few days — slips of paper, post-it notes, pieces of mail, a magazine with a dog-eared page. Each of these is some sort of note from past me to future me to do something. (I credit my friend R.J. Nestor for the idea of a note being written from past me to future me. He goes into this and much more in his wonderful book The Rhythms of Productivity.) What I’m to do with each of those notes requires a decision to be made. And, for many of us, it’s that decision making where our action-taking stalls out. We gather the notes together but we fail to decide what to do with them and how to remember those decisions.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately, and I think the decisions we have to make boil down to three decisions about each piece of information.

  1. Will I do this thing?
  2. Will I do this thing now or later?
  3. Where do I put things that I’ll do later?

In this article, we’ll take a deeper look at each question.



Kara Monroe

I am a world traveler, part-time road warrior, and home body all wrapped up in one gadget-loving package. Writer, photographer, chef, and aspiring artist.