I just came across an interesting article from Smead with a different take on organization that I wanted to share. So many things you read about organization give you generic tips for how to organize your desk, your home, your car, etc… but organization isn’t necessarily one size fits all. Different organizational styles might apply to different people. Here are a couple of tips for making the most of your personal preferences…
Create the right kind of storage.
Hiders vs. Seekers
Smead talks about how there are two ways that people are comfortable storing their belongings. Hiders can’t stand to see things sitting on their desk, they prefer to have things out of sight. Seekers have a tendency to panic when things are stored away, they fear that if they can’t see something, they’ll forget about it or forget to do it.
Hiders should look for enclosed storage solutions… like desk drawers, file cabinets, shelves, etc. If space is limited, they should consider strategies to make the most of whatever storage space they DO have – like subdividing drawers into smaller sections to keep them organized. Make sure to keep your storage locations organized… just because something is out of sight, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be organized.
Seekers should focus on relocating unnecessary piles on their desks. Try to prioritize everything you have on your desk right now… if it’s something you rarely ever use, it would be safe to put it in a drawer. If it’s something you want to have in your sight, then there are other options rather than having it just sit on your desk – consider clear plastic containers, desk organizers, folders. Seekers want their papers to be easily accessible, so think about all the alternatives to “closed storage” that would achieve that.
Understand your work style.
Chunkers vs. Bursters
These are two different work styles that Smead refers to. Chunkers like to stick to one task at a time… they commit a lengthy amount of time to one project and like to keep their focus on that one project. Bursters like to work on multiple projects at once, spending a little time on one project, then switching gears and working on another.. they are big on multi-tasking.
When it comes to organization, Chunkers prefer to shut off the outside world as best as they can and keep their focus on the one project at hand. They should work to eliminate unnecessary distractions, but also make a point to keep some balance in their day. It’s good to remember that there are some distractions you can eliminate, but you also need to stay reachable to some extent.
Bursters can be very productive, as long as they set some boundaries around their time. Bursters should try to limit the amount of projects they’re working on to a manageable amount so they can actually finish all of them on time and meet quality standards. Make sure to prioritize your projects into the high-priorities first and then work from there.
I’d say I’m a seeker and a burster. What are you?? Comment below!