I dropped in to see a friend of mine who was experiencing a small burst in his contracting business. He was pouring over a piece of paper filled with sticky notes, rearranging them like a puzzle.

I asked him what he was doing and when he could tear himself away from his work he said that he was scheduling his work teams for the following week.

Then he showed me his calendar. At first it looked to be a mess of sticky notes and I inquired about whether it wouldn't be easier to just write everything down or put it on the computer.

He pointed out that he often had to change his planning for the week, depending on updates he got from other trades (and whether they'd finish in time) as well as deliveries, equipment rental, and weather. His success was dependent on so many other factors that he had to accommodate for them and move people around accordingly. And he couldn't type it into the computer because he found himself in the field in conditions not always conducive to computers. And to keep the sticky notes from blowing away or getting damaged, he slides it into a plastic sheet protector that you find in binders.

It struck me as a good idea so I asked him if I could suggest it to my readers. If you have a project that is highly dependent on many other factors for success, you may want to consider a similar sticky-note calendar system. It keeps your schedule very flexible.

This idea is going to keep companies like 3M in business for a long time. And it will keep your time more productive.