Necessary Notes

What is your preferred note taking device? Digital or paper?

March 3, 2016 | | Blogs | Community | Leisure | Two Blue Boots

I belong to a local Question and Answer Facebook page. Folks use this page to ask questions about the community or to search for local services or to ask for suggestions and guidance with a variety of issues.

This morning, a frantic post appeared on the page:

“Anyone had their notes on their iPhone just disappear?
I just had them all and now they are gone. Freaking out a bit!”

PaperMost people store notes (tidbits of information, miniature files, and other miscellaneous facts) in the Note section on their phones. I, however, continually forget my phone has this handy feature. My preferred method for note-taking is to grab a small notebook and pen. I use these outdated tools to scribble down random thoughts, life-changing inspirational quotes, and other miscellaneous facts. I’m guilty of stuffing jot notes into my purse, leaving them on the kitchen counter and scattering them inside my car. My life is full of paper prompts that include memorable moments, telephone numbers, and emergency reminders such as “pick up toilet paper.”

Recently, I’ve made more of an effort to remember to type notes into my phone. I’m not a total convert but I do enjoy tip-tapping on the miniature keyboard. I feel a smug satisfaction knowing that my personal lists, inner thoughts, and life goals are stored neatly in the palm of my hand.

So, of course, when I see the panicked plea from the fellow Q and A participant, I begin to worry. Did my private notes disappear from my Note app? I try to recall what notes I had actually typed. Are they important? Are they lost in cyberspace? Is someone else reading them?

I grab my phone, tentatively press the little notepad symbol and sigh with relief to see that all of four of my notes are neatly intact. Whew!

Next, I carefully examine these precious files in order to determine if I, too, will be fraught with panic. Will I encounter the same misfortune as the Q and A pal, who is presently “freaking out”?

The first note is entitled PORCUPINE RIDGE-SYRAH and contains the name and photo of a favourite bottle of wine. Obviously I no longer need to refer to this – as I have since memorized the exact location of this beloved bottle – and can navigate myself blindfolded to the exact shelf at my local LCBO. Delete.

The second note lists an item that was recommended to me by a friend: Bye Bye Gray by Marc Anthony – $12.99 – Shoppers Drug Mart. This must-have product is followed by this suggestion: USE HAIRSPRAY AFTERWARDS.

I’d forgotten all about this little endorsement. No doubt, this could be life-altering! I complete a quick Google search and discover that Bye Bye Gray is not very highly rated by beauty experts. One reviewer describes it as “insane-looking scalp paint”. Hmmm. Perhaps I don’t need this note after all. Delete.

The third note looks hopeful. It’s entitled Eye Doctor. Perhaps this is my most recent eyeglasses subscription? Upon opening this file, I discover some type of running commentary that was written in order to pass the time in the waiting room. It goes as follows: I have a headache today. I arrived here just as a small child was barfing onto the carpet. I glared at the mother. My kids never barfed in public places! To be honest, they likely did and other mothers likely glared at me. My days of barfing children are done and gone. Now I can glare at other mothers and their little barfers.

Hmmm. What an odd note? And so judgemental of me!? What was I thinking? I wonder if I can use this note as fodder for a future blog post.? No, I think not. Delete once again!

Note number four is called Deodorant – What’s the Difference?

Deodorant for Women:

  • Baby Powder Soft
  • Spring Breeze
  • Go Fresh
  • Go Sleeveless
  • Romance Rose
  • Cocoa Butter Kiss

Deodorant for Men:

  • Wild Rain
  • Anarchy
  • Swagger
  • Arctic Force
  • Phoenix

These lists are followed by the comment: Women are cool and breezy and kissy. Men are wild and adventurous and powerful. Why do we allow deodorant to define us?

I’m not sure if this note is an observation or a criticism. Perhaps I should get on my soapbox and change the world with this revelation. No, this world has enough environmental, social, spiritual, and political angst. We don’t need to concern ourselves with a deodorant dilemma. I delete this one too.

I sigh with relief as I realize all is well. My notes were safe. But they were deemed unnecessary. Now they are gone. I hope the Q and A poster is able to recover her notes, especially if they are more earth-shattering than mine. If she’s unable to locate them, I have a pen and notebook she is welcome to use.

Do you type your notes into your phone? Would it “freak you out” if you lost them?

About the Author More by Laurie May

Laurie teaches Grade 4 at Island Lake Public School in Orangeville and writes in her spare time. She lives in Mono and looks for the humour in everyday country life. Check out her blog “Two Blue Boots”.



  1. In the Fall of 1981, I had a lovely girl in my class named Siobhan who’s grandma was the CEO of 3M, the manufacturer of this great new product called the Post-it note. She brought me in so many samples of it that I still have some to this day!
    Whether it’s a sign of too much multi-tasking or dare I say,’ older age’, I frequently make grocery lists and leave them on the counter. It’s not such a bad thing as I’m seldom in a hurry any more and find strolling down the aisles quite pleasing. Of course, my negligence of leaving the list behind leads to much more food purchases than anyone could possibly consume. That’s one the purposes of lists; to make us more efficient and spend-thrifty. Another reason I make a list is to show me that I’m making progress on things I don’t want to do. Sometimes that works as it’s a bit of a ‘personal nudge’ I also use lists as a mental GPS to facilitate driving from store to store without doubling back.
    What would we do without these organizers? Some B types would say, “don’t worry, be happy–life goes on” but the rest of us who feel compelled to complete a set number of tasks in a given time frame continue to use them with some degree of success.
    Thanks for your amusing look at your life with note taking Laurie. It was thought-provoking and made me reflect on my own use of them. Kris

    Kris from Etobicoke on Mar 13, 2016 at 8:36 am | Reply

    • Hi Kris: Wow! I wonder if Siobhan’s Grandma ever predicted the popularity and longevity of this product??? It’s hard to remember life before “sticky notes”–though I do recall folks would actually write reminders on their own hands. As long as the ink didn’t blur, it seemed to be an effective method.
      It sounds like you could teach a course on organizational note-taking and list making. Larry, the King of Post-it Notes, could serve as your advisor. Thanks for reading my post!

      Laurie May on Mar 14, 2016 at 3:27 pm | Reply

  2. Enjoyed your writing again Laurie! I am a “note” person. My problem is having the right note in the right place. My grocery list is often hanging on the fridge while I am in the store! Gail

    Gail Smith from Freelton, Ontario on Mar 11, 2016 at 3:56 pm | Reply

    • Thanks for taking the time to read and comment, Gail.
      I agree – my lists are never with me when I need them. I constantly leave the grocery list at home. I go into the store and I do my best to recall what was on the list. When I return home and check the list, I have always forgotten the most necessary item. 🙁

      Laurie May on Mar 14, 2016 at 3:08 pm | Reply

  3. Looks like Post-it Notes win the day… a large margin…..count me in!
    I think I should by some stock in the Post-it Company. Dad

    Larry Gee (Dad) on Mar 5, 2016 at 12:20 pm | Reply

    • Dad – if Marllee is the Queen of Post-it Notes – you are surely the King. I don’t know how you would survive without them!!

      Laurie May on Mar 5, 2016 at 2:52 pm | Reply

  4. I also have post-it notes and a very colourful set of Vera Bradley note paper that I picked up at an outlet mall in the States. I never even thought of using the notes feature on my phone. There’s something old school about scribbling, crossing off and ripping that still works for me.

    Kassie on Mar 4, 2016 at 8:54 pm | Reply

    • Hi Kassie:

      Wow….fancy notepaper! Why didn’t I think of that? If I’m going to leave notes scattered everywhere….they may as well be attractive notes! Thanks for the tip!

      Laurie May on Mar 5, 2016 at 9:31 am | Reply

  5. I don’t use the notes as much as I’d like. Every time I try to use it one of my kids takes the phone to play a game on it. Plus, I love scratching things off the list, deleting just isn’t the same.

    Danielle on Mar 3, 2016 at 9:55 pm | Reply

    • Hi Danielle:

      I LOVE to scratch items off lists too. Sometimes I add really mundane things to my lists so that I have more things to scratch off. Also, when I complete a list, I enjoy ripping the paper into little pieces and throwing it away. You can’t do that on your phone!

      Laurie May on Mar 3, 2016 at 11:54 pm | Reply

  6. This is from the “Queen of Post Its”, no I don’t use the notes on my phone. Post Its are everywhere in my home, actually I just counted them, 9 pads on the go, plus one in car. This also means there are 9 pens, why is it the post its remain in their location but the pens always seem to walk!
    Thanks for the smiles Laurie
    Marllee Reeder Orangeville

    Marllee Reeder on Mar 3, 2016 at 8:39 pm | Reply

    • Thanks Marllee: It’s nice to know there are other Post-it Queens in the community. As for the missing pens…I have that problem too. Where do they go? Perhaps they run away to the Land of Odd Socks?!

      Laurie May on Mar 4, 2016 at 9:35 am | Reply

  7. I use post its, One post it says buy new phone. Maybe later. Great story.

    Joy Gaskin from Orangeville on Mar 3, 2016 at 5:44 pm | Reply

    • Thanks Joy!
      I love Post-it notes too. In fact, your comment reminded me that I often scribble notes onto Post-its…… and then stick them to the surface of my phone. Works for me!

      Laurie May on Mar 3, 2016 at 11:49 pm | Reply

  8. Well at first I was offended to read this blog as I was the one that gave you the Bye Bye Gray tip! ( Not that you need it!) But then I remembered what I actually said was “If you ever see gray roots on a woman who bends down at the eye doctor’s office to clean up her kid’s barf, then go to your Notes and immediately recommend Bye Bye Gray.” Now go and put my recommendation back in your Notes post haste! Haha! PS – I do use Notes on my phone but would not freak out if I lost them as…I’ve deleted most of them because I never refer to them:)

    Ann from Collingwood on Mar 3, 2016 at 5:25 pm | Reply

    • Ann – you are hilarious!
      The next time I see a “Mother of a Barfer” bent over in clean-up position, I will certainly recommend some “insane looking scalp paint”. That’ll make her day better!

      Laurie May on Mar 3, 2016 at 11:45 pm | Reply

  9. I LOVE using the notes feature to create my shopping list. Add items as I need them throughout the week and then pull it out in the grocery store and delete items as I put them in my card. I suppose if I lost my list I wouldn’t know what to eat. Haha

    Amanda from Orangeville on Mar 3, 2016 at 3:43 pm | Reply

    • Hmmmm……very clever idea, Amanda! I’ll have to try that. That method sure beats scrounging for my grocery list in the bottom of my purse.

      Laurie May on Mar 3, 2016 at 11:37 pm | Reply

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