Can a Highlighter Make You Happier? Enter to win a gift basket from Post-it® Brand

Every year, my husband buys me flowers for Valentine’s Day. But this year, since I was leaving town the next day and wouldn’t be around to enjoy them, I asked him not to bother. (How practical of me, right?) Little did I know that he would give me a gift which showed his love so much more than flowers ever could. He got me a book. Now you might be thinking that’s not very romantic so let me back up a bit and explain.

A week before Valentine’s Day, we were watching ‘Steven and Chris’ (a popular talk show in Canada) and one of the guests was Gretchen Rubin, the author of the book ‘The Happiness Project’. I watched with great interest and casually mentioned that I’d probably enjoy reading it. When he surprised me with this book on Valentine’s Day, I felt it was such a romantic and thoughtful gesture because it showed that he was actually listening and paying attention to me. We’ve been married for 25 years, so I’m very grateful for that. The book did not disappoint me (and I will talk more about it in a future blog entry) but you might be wondering what all this has to do with organizing.

Like many self-help books, this book was full of great ideas, quotes, and revelations. But there’s no point in having all that great information if we can’t put our fingers on it when we need it so we can put it to use. A friend of mine (who is a professional organizer in the US) gave me a highlighter that had a small dispenser stocked with ready-to-go flags attached to it, so I had a field day with it as I was reading this book. Whenever I read a sentence that inspired me or shifted my perspective, I would highlight it and flag the page. It felt so great knowing I wasn’t going to lose or forget it when I put the book down. Once I finished reading the book, I was able to quickly review the material I had highlighted. Then I created an action list and put the tasks in my calendar. My own happiness project has been launched, thanks to a cool new pen that helped me organize it.

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Post It Brand Highlighter with Flags

When I was in Florida last week, I went to Target and stocked up on the pens, but I wanted to also share them with my friends and clients. I contacted the Canadian branch of the 3M Company that makes the pens to find out whether I could buy them on this side of the border. Sure enough they are available here. In fact, after hearing my enthusiasm, the nice people at 3M agreed to provide a gift basket with $250 worth of their Post-it® Brand products, including the coveted pen. They have agreed to ship the basket anywhere in Canada, so if you want to win it, simply leave a comment below and you will be entered into the draw. If you live outside Canada, you are still welcomed to leave a comment but are not eligible to be entered into this draw.

The deadline to enter is: March 26th, 2010

Winner will be announced here the week of  March 29th.  Good luck!

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This post has 104 comments

  • Amy says:

    The highlighter with flags is a fantastic idea!

  • Lorraine says:

    Hi Helen,

    Congratulations on having a hubby who is paying attention and can still surprise you! Beautiful. I use highlighters all the time (coupon expiry dates, kid’s newsletters, dates on the calendar) Would be thrilled to get a gift basket with Post-it Brand goodies to help me organize more efficiently. Thank you for sharing 3M people!

  • debh says:

    To be perfectly honest, I don’t think a highlighter makes me happier. But a highlighter does make my life easier. I use highlighters daily to make things stand out and remind me of things to do that are important to me. Highlighters work and they rock!

  • Ruth says:

    I adore Post-its. That pen is a great idea.

    Your husband is definitely a keeper. Gretchen’s book is on my “books to buy” short-list.

  • Natalie says:

    Sounds great! I always love browsing office supply stores.

  • Colleen C says:

    A while ago I was given a mix of Post it products that included a lot of stuff I hadn’t seen before. Index cards, super sticky post it’s and extra large post it’s. I was amazed at how handy they were once I started using them. Wow! They have some great stuff.

    I haven’t seen that pen, but it sounds useful too, and I can imagine what goodies would also get tucked into that box.

    Please enter me, and please let us know how your project goes.

  • Lynda says:

    OMG, I have one of those pens and I love it, but hoard it because I don’t know where I got it, so I’m afraid I won’t be able to find more. It combines the delight of finding a gem of info with the practical need to find it again. And yes, I too am a fan of Gretchen through her newsletter – haven’t read her book yet. What a perfect gift for you!

  • Al Naganobu says:

    A great gift idea !!
    I tear pages out of books and magazines, but can’t tell which books/magazines they came from.
    And all the loose pages are hard to control.
    Better to mark the pages and leave them in the book or magazine.

  • Norma says:

    That pen sounds like a great idea! I would love to win the basket but if I don’t I will have to find that pen somewhere. Thanks for all the great information here, Hellen.

  • Anna says:

    I love office supplies more than make up! (And I’ve been known to wander the aisles of Sephora for ages). Just as I’m always searching for that “magic cream”, I haunt a certain office supply store looking for the one thing that will get me organized. I’m not deluded enough to think there is one product or one cream, but it’s so much fun to look.

    You can never have enough Post-Its, Sharpies or pencils.

  • Diane says:

    This would be great I would give them to my daughter she loves flagging pages when she is reading.
    I am sure I could use them too !!!!!!!!! 😉

  • Org Junkie says:

    LOVE 3M! The 3M hooks are one of my favorite organizing products, I’ve got them all over my house. And Post-It notes, don’t even get me started. I go through a pad of notes every three days! 🙂

  • I am going to get some of those highlighter pens! What a great idea.
    And like you, I am going to read Gretchen Rubin’s book. I started following her blog years ago, before she was a famous author. The book sounds wonderful.

    Coincidentally, my friend Laural Adams met Gretchen AND Julie Powell last month. You might want to read about her adventure here.

  • Janet says:

    I LOVE highlighters and I LOVE post it notes!!! This pen sounds amazing, hope I win the basket!!

  • Jason says:

    Great story. I just love Post-Its and highlighters.. university really put those highlighters through a workout.. and flags were great when you wanted to mark up a page but not mark up the book.. (so we can sell them back at the end of term!)..

  • Shana says:

    That’s awesome! I want to start my own happiness project now 🙂

  • Judy says:

    Highlighters are a wonderful tool! I’m also enjoying your reruns of Neat on Global.

  • Kim Gifford says:

    Oh, I would love that basket. Office supplies are my favorite luxury to buy!! I’ll have to check out that book as well, it sounds good!

  • Paula M says:

    Sometimes it’s the littlest things that make the difference. Pens with post-it notes! A souse remembering a little comment made in passing.

    Love your blog. Loved watching your show on hgtv. Very inspiring and we’ve put much of it into action. I am sitting in a (mostly) neat office because of you! 🙂

  • Lee Ann says:

    I SO need that pen. The turned-down corners in my books are not so useful…

  • Andrea says:

    I have a pen like that but my 3 year stuck the flags on EVERYTHING including herself. A great pen, useful and apparently entertaining.

  • Catherine Tremblay says:

    use them all the time and would love to win the basket.

  • Helga says:

    Hellen and Gretchen Rubin are two of my favorite people. I also have the pen with the little flags but highlighters with those flags are even better. Would love to win a basket of goodies from M3.

  • Ellen Forbes says:

    I think this is a great idea! I am always “folding” pages over and this would save my edges!
    Thanks for passing this on Hellen!

  • kerith says:

    What a great prize Hellen & 3M! I promise to share, share & share. Those flags are great – I love that they are reusable. I used them just today to work on my daughter’s class scrapbooks. Thank you for reminding me about Gretchen Rubin’s book too.

  • Lynne Johns says:

    I just ordered Gretchen’s book yesterday. I had borrowed it from the library but when I started to read it – it seemed like something you would want to own and the highlighters would be perfect to personalize it.

  • Tracy Luk says:

    What a sweet story! Your husband is a keeper and very few of them around.
    Could you please enter my name in the draw ~ I use post-it notes a lot at work. The pen idea is great! I have to pick one up for myself!

  • Tracy says:

    Love 3M & their Post-it products! Haven’t highlighted a book since my University days… Always highlight during seminars and workshops though!

  • I have a weakness for office products and it seems that those folks at 3M are always cooking up something new and innovative. I would love to win this prize!

  • Desiree Wiebe says:

    Thanks for sharing, Hellen! I love 3M products. I have never seen this pen before, but what a genius idea!

  • Pat Dewar says:

    As owner of two business in two different provinces, keeping orgainzed is always a challenge. Your hints and tips are very much appreciated….as would be a basket of goodies from 3M!

  • Wendy Onions says:

    Your hubby is so thoughtful…he sounds just like mine! 🙂 Would you please enter my name into the draw? I use Post-its in my home office and around the house, and would definitely appreciate all those 3M products! Thanks! 🙂

  • What a sweetie you have there…he is a keeper!
    I love 3M products..I would be in Pig Heaven if I won that! (What exactly does that mean?)

  • Jill Chongva says:

    What a wonderful gift! Love it!

  • Karen Stuart says:

    I always look forward to your new ideas and comments. I have been able to pass them on to my daughter who is a busy mother of two and another on the way. Seeing her incorporating my ideas (from you) into her life makes me feel that she’s going to be way ahead of the game than I ever was. She is learning all these lessons early. And I can see all this good stuff is helping both of us. Love following you – keep up the great work and thank you so much for sharing.

  • Wendi Yates says:

    I currently have 2 Post-it notes stuck to my handbag to remind of things that I am bound to forget as the day goes on – what did we do BP (Before Post-its)?

  • Liz (Marblehead, MA) says:

    Love the highlighter idea! I must get one!

    Congrats on finding that your husband was actually listening… It always seems like it’s when you least expect it.

  • Nadia says:

    That highlighter sounds wonderful. I will definitely have to pick one up.

  • Mary Vasiliou says:

    Always great ideas/advice…keep up the great work!

  • Sandra says:

    I love the idea of having a highlighter and post-its all in one!

  • Leesa Sereda says:

    I heard about the 3M Post-it Flag Highlighters from Oprah during her ‘A New Earth’ webcasts with Eckhart Tolle in 2008 and I have been using them ever since – they are so useful!!! While the original versions come in mismatched flags and highlight colours (as shown in the Staples online catalogue,340&name=CA%5FSK%5F3M+%2D+Post%2Dit+Flag+Pen), 3M now offers some coordinated ones too…pink, yellow and blue
    (as shown in the Grand & Toy online catalogue
    I would love to see what other useful 3M items are included in the gift basket! (whether I win it or not!)

  • Sylvie Rozon says:

    Thanks for sharing this info. I’m always looking for new books and new organizing ideas. Office supplies stores are my weaknesses. Love, love, love browsing and finding new items.

  • Cindy says:

    What a brilliant idea. I’m a visual and your new find will be perfect for me. Once again, you have provided a gem of a solution for us organized junkies (or wanna-be’s). Can’t wait to go out to purchase the pen and the book.
    Keep up the great work.

  • Caitlin says:

    great idea

  • Maria says:

    Hellen, this product is revolutionary. I purchased your book and just recieved it the other day, and will be using this highlighter when I read your book. I am talking it on my spring break vacation with me . I think my kids will be jealous so better pick one up for them also.

  • Shea says:

    I’m going out shopping for a couple now! two great products in one!
    made my day!

  • Tracey says:

    What a novel idea. So practical!

  • Fabulous article Hellen! I adore 3M products. I’ve been known to cheer in delight upon finding Post-It notes in different shapes and colours. My favourites are shaped like spring flowers in pink and chartreuse!
    A highlighter with flags makes me swoon. Truly.
    Any gift that has a lot of thought behind it is always romantic. 🙂

  • Barry says:

    My daughter will love these highlighters, she’s going into exams in a couple of weeks, so for sure these will be in her care box! Thanks Hellen!

  • Korinna Smith says:

    You could say my husband and I are “pen people”! We regularly come home with a pack of new pens to critique. Not so great for reducing clutter in the home, but why not smile at a fine tipped, smooth writting, unblotting, grippable writing utensil? DH and I had a chuckle at the title of your post, Helen, so we had to leave a comment!

  • Mary says:

    ‘The Happiness Project’ by Gretchen Rubin is an excellent book full of inspiring ideas – I wish I had read it with the 3M highlighter like you did Hellen! Although I love flipping through the book every now and again, it would save me a lot of time having to find the passages I wanted to revisit. With a 3 year old and a 18 month old… anything that helps save a little bit of time is worth it!

    Thanks for your tips!

  • Mary Elizabeth says:

    Thank you for extending yourself through your blog and sharing ways that have helped our family have more calm in our lives. Our lives run smoother because of you!!

    Your book opened everyone”s eyes in our family as to their style and created an atmosphere of acceptance. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
    Mary Elizabeth

  • I love post it notes. I use them all the time. But the pen with the little post it notes in it sounds really cool.

    I watched the episode with Gretchin Rubin as well and had the same thought that I’d like to read the book.

    I’ll have to check it out!

  • Greg says:

    What a great pen for helping with real estate purchase and sale agreements.

  • Bince says:

    I wish I had one of these 🙁

  • Melanie says:

    I love this idea! Because I have highlighters and the little flag post-its stashed away in my purse and all possible spots in my home where I tend to settle down to read. How smart to consolidate!

  • Mikaella says:

    neat idea.

  • Martine says:

    I love office supplies. I use flags all the time but the combination is a great idea.

  • Heather says:

    I’m so excited to find that Hellen is still organizing! I’ve just discovered this website after being completely riveted by Neat when it showed on HGTV. Hellen, you are so good at what you do, my girlfriend and I would often be in tears watching you help people sort out their lives.

    As far as this blog topic, what a great idea to combine 2 of the best reminder/research techniques: flags and highlighters. Sounds like the perfect purse tool. Now if they could only attach a small pad of post-its… 🙂

    Thanks for all the inspiration.

  • Karen says:

    Thank you for the great ideas. They always inspire me to get a bit more organized and with enough effort maybe one day I will reach and maintain that goal.

  • Diana Rita says:

    Hi Helen:

    thanks for offering the pens and basket, I hope I win!

  • Rosie says:

    What a great idea! The highlighter/flag combo sounds ideal and thank you Hellen for sourcing it for us all!


  • Susie says:

    Hi helen,
    I am really here to try to get to be clutter free. Your story of your Husband touched me as he really heard you when you said you would read that book. I asked my hubby for a book for Valentines Day. A New Earth. I have yet to read it. I was wondering if those post it pens would help me get through the book. I tried to watch along with the webcast but was not able to log on. Just another way my clutter get in to way of things i would enjoy. Hope I get keep reading you blog and a light will go off Its my dream. I admire people that are organized and uncluttered. Thanks for sharing. Susie

  • Sandy S-M says:

    Hi Hellen,

    It is amazing that your hubby listened to you. I was watching Dr. Oz and he had a guest on who suggested that you need to write things down for men because they are better at visual things than auditory. Anyway, I love post it notes to use in marking my fav recipes in cookbooks. And who doesn’t love to use a highlighter? lol Thanks for sharing your great organization tips. You are an inspiration!

  • Erin Trainer says:

    I’m a big fan of your book and website. Thanks!

  • Taya says:

    I would love to win this gift basket! Highlighters are the best!

  • Sheila Chiasson says:

    I am going to look the book up, sounds interesting. What a great pen from 3M!!

  • Cathy M. says:

    This combination is such a great idea. I don’t know where I would be without my highlighters, and post-its, so this product fits the bill. Can’t wait to try some.

  • lori says:

    Can not live without post-its and hightlighter pen sounds great!

  • eva julien says:

    I don’t know where I’d be without my highlighters while reading and studying! They are the best thing since sliced bread!!! Love the idea of having the flags right there at hand – Ive been using them to flag the beginning of a chapter.

    I hope I win the basket…would be a huge bonus being a student!

  • Mary says:

    What a great find! Where would we be without Post-it’s and highlighters?
    This combination is a super idea. I’m a big fan, watched your show Neat every week, and follow you now on FB and Twitter.
    Thanks for sharing, Hellen!

  • Clare Kumar says:

    Great product suggestion Hellen. I would use it while reading magazines to flag the pages that I want to refer to later.


  • Melissa Packman says:

    Thanks for looking out for us Hellen! I wish I had your organization skills!!!

  • I really love The Happiness Project – but the thought of people writing in books is so stressful to me!

    I use post-its so I can take them out without wrecking the book.

  • Cecilia says:

    A highlighter can make me happy, but for my 5 year old girl, it can be the best part of a drawing project!!

  • Lisa Lang says:

    Hi Helen, I have been following your site for awhile and love it. I get so many wonderful tips. I use highlighters and the tabs all the time when I am reading and studying so that way I can go back and see what I thought was important. Thank you again.

  • Joanna says:

    Hi Hellen…what a fantastic idea! I will definitely get one of these for my briefcase!
    I’m so glad I found your site…got here from twitter…keep up the good work!

  • Patricia P says:

    I am tempted to buy all those Postit items but I try to save money using do it yourself compromises. The result: a mishmash of clutter.
    the basket of product is inspired as I am sure that there are more frugalistas in Canada than just myself. I look forward to checking out Gretchen’s book as I follow her blog.

  • Shari says:

    What a fantastic idea! Wish I’d thought of it LOL Even if I don’t win the draw, I’m going to have to go out and pick up a few of these for my desk. Thank you Helen for bringing these to my attention.

  • Kristy says:

    I was helping my aunt organize her house today and found one of these. I thought it was the best thing ever! Then I get home and you post this on Facebook. It is a sign that I must go buy one!!

  • Lisa says:

    Hi Hellen,

    I’m in the Travel Industry and the the amount of literature, brochures, flyers and pamphlettes that we need to read is overwhelming! This remarkable highlighter with convenient flags is an awesome idea. Not only is this something we would like to get our hands on for those in the head office, but we work with many Home-Based Travel entrepreneurs. A lot of our time is spent helping them cope with the volume of information that comes their way. I’m recommending that this great tool becomes a staple item in the start up kit! Thanks, Hellen!

  • Debbie says:

    Oh my word – what a wonderful gift that would be!

  • Debbie says:

    I just read that book and have to say that it was one of my favorite books ever. I’m considering buying them for family members as Easter gifts.

  • Heather Reid says:

    Hi Helen, I ordered the book from amazon based on your suggestion and it was delivered to my door via UPS the next day. Thanks for all your great blogs. The highlighter is an amazing idea. I too saw it on Oprah.

  • Maureen says:

    I love organizational things but they do overwhelm me at times so I am looking forward to getting your book so I can learn what best works for me!

  • What a great hubby you have. I am sure that he has been very supportive of you and all the great work you have been doing. I still watch you everyday on TV! Great pen too!
    Your biggest fan!

  • Bob F. says:

    This product looks pretty innovative and useful.
    I remember some years back being the first person to use and introduce Post-It Notes into the Head Office of one of Canada’s largest technology companies. Can’t wait to arrive at my current firm with this product.

  • Lydia says:

    Too bad I can’t enter the drawing since I live in TEXAS in the USA, but thanks so much for the info! I’m def going to look for it here @ Target!!

    You’re great, Hellen!

  • Janet says:

    I love 3M products too. Oprah also featured these on a show! Love you blog and website! Hope I win this fabulous gift basket!

  • Anita says:

    Highlighters and post-it notes, use them all the time! I would love to win this!

  • Sheila says:

    I use Post-it notes all the time. If there is something really important I need to remember I will post one on the bathroom mirror before going to bed, so I’ll be sure to see it the next morning. I use a highlighter on my wall calendar to emphasize special events, or any changes in appointments, etc., that occur.

  • canoes says:

    thank you for offering all of this ms. hellen
    (i use the little stickies to mark my pages in my university texts):)

  • Toby C says:

    Hilighters and Post-It-Flags !! 2 of my favorite things. Another great idea from 3M.

  • Sherry Browne says:

    It is a great pen. It can be found in Canada at Staples and Zellers as well as in most office catalogues.

  • Evelyn W says:

    It is surprising how exciting a highlighter can be! I have just finished reading “The Dog Whisperer” book as we have a new puppy and this would have come in very handy to note all the tips I need being a new dog owner for the first time! Thank you.

  • Sara says:

    I am a stationary whore….I love stationary…I am going to go out to find this highlighter!!!! I also love your newletter Helen…it has me on the right path to a decluttered life! And I have also adapted your brain book which is fantastic.

    Thanks again!

  • Sarah says:

    Thanks for the tip Hellen! I frequently use highlighters (ok, I love them), but I tend to use them on materials other than personal books I own. For some reason, I just don’t want to mark them up. But I realize now that is just crazy!! Cheers to many lines of bright yellow text!

  • S says:

    Where can you get these in Canada? I believe this was on Oprah – she loves these. Never seen them in Canada though.

  • Hellen says:

    You can get them at Zellers and Staples in Canada.

  • Sylvia says:

    It’s amazing how the simplest of things can often have the biggest impact.

  • Patti says:

    Great IDEA for the pen! Thanks Hellen for sharing!

  • Donna says:

    Highlighters!! Light up my life! Raising active kids that were participate in a number of organized activities, there were days when it was difficult to remember who needed to be where and when. This is where I learned that the different coloured highlighters would keep all of us organized. Each member of the family has their own colour. Using a day planner and the different coloured highlighters, our daily schedules are so easy to read. Now with the highlighter post-it pen, keeping everyone organized just got a whole lot better!
    Thank you Hellen for sharing this and for sharing all your great ideas, methods and solutions for getting and staying organized!!

  • Donna says:

    ha ha – I guess I am a little late for this one!!! Oh well – thanks, anyway!!!

  • Rosy says:

    The highlighter with the post-its are the BEST thing ever! 3M makes the best products to keep one organized and they are all portable too! Can’t live without them! I’m going to put “The Happiness Project” on my book list.