Neat does not necessarily mean organized

March 21, 2008

“I have to get organized.” “My office is a mess.” “I know exactly where everything is.” “I can’t find anything.”

Many people are under the impression that a messy desk means they are not organized. Or, conversely, that a neat desk means they are organized. But some desks are neat only because everything just got shoved into a drawer, never to be found again. And some of the most creative and productive people I know have messy desks.

One way to define organized is there is a system and a logic to the placement of things such that they are readily available when needed in the flow of the day or project.

How often have you seen piles of files and papers, and have been told that “I know exactly what and where everything is“? And, often it is exactly the truth! These are highly organized people who use a system of piles and placement. Usually, if YOU place something on their desk they won’t see it or remember it, because THEY did not put it there. With these people – if you must leave something in their office – put it on their chair. They will have to pick it up to sit down, and then they will see it and will put it where it belongs in their system.

You can be neat AND organized, and you can be ‘messy’ AND organized. Just remember, neat does not necessarily mean organized.

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Small, subtle changes

March 17, 2008

Why is it that people think they have to change everything when they discover something isn’t working? I run into this all the time. I can’t get a new system implemented because it will mean changing everything! Really? It will take too much time for everyone to learn a new process. Why do you think that?

I think when people notice that something isn’t working, they think they have to start all over. But I have found that most of the time all that is required is one small, subtle change to the process to get it back on track. And once that small, subtle change has been made – everything else falls into place.

The trick is knowing what needs to be changed…


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