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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Thinking in Piles

I used to be a very organized person. Some folks might even say I was somewhat obsessed with being organized.

Case in point. Not long after joining my company, I created a filing system for the marketing and business development group. It was beautiful; highly detailed and followed an easy-to-understand parallel format to our master project files.

That was 2002. The system sure looks great posted on my bulletin board.

Nowadays, I operate off of the "pile system." I still file, sometimes, but not until a project is completed. I suppose it's lack of time or lack of energy or lack of resources or - maybe - lack of a lackey to do the filing.

I have three primary pile points. 

Pile One is "Important things you don't have time to do today but want to look at so you remember that 1) they are important and 2) you have to do them at some point." Please note that this pile has special characteristics. It's not only a pile on the desk, but it's also a somewhat filed pile in an organizer. The latter bit is just to make me feel like I'm still organized.

Pile Two is "Important things you need to do today but are afraid to pile in case you forget you need to do them." This pile is noted for it's spread-it-out approach which covers the primary work surface, ensuring that you can see everything important at one time and feel overwhelmed to the point of paralysis regarding all that needs to be accomplished.

Pile Three is "Why aren't these deadfiled?" A handy feature of this pile is that it's pretty handy to shuffle through the stack when a three-month follow up call comes in and you need to reference old (I mean, unfiled) information.

I wonder if my piles are part of my other P problems - procrastination, perplexity, and peevishness?


  1. I love the description of the piles and how you make order of them all. . .of course. . .you can do what I did today. . .got tired of looking at the neat little piles. . .shoved everything into a notebook and placed it into the "to-do basket". . .now got me a clean desk!!! Oh, and is that a UK coffee mug on your desk?

  2. It is! Kind of! It's actually a bone china tea cup. :)