Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Author Organization

Today at the Books & Such blog, I saw an author organization quiz in the lower right hand corner. Being a sucker for punishment, I decided to take it.

Now as much as I try to avoid generalizations, when it comes to my own work, I have many. And generally I do not see myself as very organized. I'm sure my family would agree when they step into my studio. But in other areas where I work, I seemed to have developed a reputation for organization. Ironic, don't you think?

Well, the results of the survey surprised me a little but here's what the results said (and I might add, the majority of authors seemed to fall into this group):

Organization Meister


You look organized to everyone around you because you shine in several areas, but you secretly worry about the hidden glitches in your systems.

Even meisters can improve so ... "

A Meister? Cool, but ... really?

Well for starters, I must say I don't usually secretly worry about the hidden glitches because I see the hitches every time I try to walk to my desk. Some days, it's an obstacle course. Organized? It sure doesn't look like it.

But at the same time, I don't miss a deadline unless it's for circumstances completely beyond my control. If I say I'll do something, I usually do it the moment I'm back at my computer. I figure I don't have to stress about what's on your to-do list, so the faster it's off mine and back to you the better. I have two calendars open (a desktop one and a, well, a "desktop" one) to track what needs to be done and what I have done each day. I think I can say it's fairly organized.

Here's where I think the dichotomy lies:

I do have a system. I jokingly refer to myself as being a "visual filer" because my system runs somewhat on the principle that out of sight is out of mind. So I tend to have stacks of papers or letters or supplies sitting around me. My desk does tend to overflow. All my shelving is open so I can see at a glance what's there. Project supplies, research or notes get stacked together. I prefer the open mesh-style filing boxes for current stuff. And I usually have one small box of stuff "to be dealt with." It's not urgent but I don't want to put it away just yet because it's significant for some reason.

Now here's the thing - I can find everything. I know which stack to look in. It's when I clear up and file things that I lose track. Occasionally I do a massive purge (like the days before company comes) and then I have to reorganize the mental files to match the move in the physical ones.

So while my friend the professional organizer might agonize over the state of my system, it's working. I hear, though, that even meisters can improve and I never want to close the door on improvement. I'm sure there are tips and tricks that will let me better mesh neatness and organization.

But for now, I'll add that thought to the appropriate stack. Then I'll know where it is when I need it.

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