Jason Larson's got nothing against Post-It notes. But he doesn't like seeing them all over Lars Construction's office.

"We're big on presentation, so when new clients or prospects come in, you don't want to see a bunch of Post It notes on everyone's computer," the San Diego remodeler says.

To cut down on the mess of yellow squares, Larson used Excel to create an electronic message board on the company's 10 networked computers. The Task List, as it's called, is simply a workbook with fields for date, project name, task to be completed, and follow-up comments. Users can create desktop shortcuts for quick access to the workbook, which is saved in a network folder.

Larson says the Task List helps reduce clutter, but more important, it improves staff communication. Employees can leave reminders, requests, or ideas. And with each staff member assigned a colored font, everyone knows who left each message.

"As the owner of the company, I can check to see who's doing what and find out what people are talking about without talking to each person," Larson says.

Programs like Outlook provide similar functions, but Larson says for companies like his that "aren't that high tech," the shared workbook "is a really simple process."