Organization for the Organized

So you’re already an organized person. Congratulations (you annoying snob). But now what? If, despite being organized, you want organizational advice, you find yourself at a loss. All the books purporting to give advice about this matter—and there are quite a few, as you know—were too obviously designed for the benefit of the jumbled, the confused, or the just plain messy.

It’s lucky for you, then, that you’ve found this article. Amazing good luck in fact: you’re about to encounter an infallible source of neatness advice for the already orderly.

Of course, you can’t expect to learn all about systematization from one little article. After all, hundreds of pages have been written to help the disorderly learn to arrange their stuff—and that’s the easy part. So in this first article, we’ll restrict ourselves to a key organizational skill that you probably have already mastered, but still need desperately to improve on: making lists.

    How to make a list

  1. You’ll need a piece of paper. A page ripped out of a notebook is a good start. Even better if it’s water stained at one of the corners.
  2. Once your paper is ready, grab some writing utensils. Try to find at least three, since the first couple probably won’t work.
  3. Before you write anything, stare blankly at your paper for at least seven minutes.
  4. Next, pull out your cell phone or other electronic device. Write a message to an acquaintance whom you don’t have any interest in seeing. Then spend some time looking up useless trivia using your internet browser.
  5. Tear up your piece of paper and start again.
  6. Write some random words. Cross them out, beginning with the last.
  7. Draw a picture of your mother.
  8. Cross the picture out.
  9. Check some sports scores with your electronic device.
  10. When you actually get started listing items, be sure to add too many. Way too many. Three or four times more than you could possibly do in a week. Then add four or five more.
  11. Follow these steps carefully; they should give you a rough idea of the helplessness that the disorderly experience on a daily basis.

“Seagate’s Clean Room,” by Robert Scoble [detail]. CC-BY-2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.


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