The Matt Hall Questions: Organization
Whatâ€™s this all about? Whoâ€™s Matt Hall? Go see the first one, on blogging. Then the second, on Twitter. Then the third, with more on Twitter.
What is your preferred chaos when it comes to organization? Are you a Google apps user? Do you have a Crackberry? Do you wish you had an iPhone? A Pre? Do you use software like Evernote?
Three things (that the actual Matt Hall already knows) provide the disclaimer for all that follows.
One, I am tactile. I need hugs, I dislike itchy clothing, and nothing is more soothing to me than drawing, mixing dough, yoga – peaceful motion. I need delicious, smooth paper and my fountain pen.
Two, I am a magpie and a geek, and I love shiny little technologies.
Three, I am an organization LUNATIC. I straighten supermarket shelves without realizing what I’m doing, I Freecycle religiously, and the neatness of my desk is an office joke. I disappointed myself this weekend because I realized I had run out of things to declutter. Partly it’s that I’m forgetful, and partly it’s that I have awful eyesight, but if everything has one place where it belongs, and it’s always there, life is just so much easier.
So here’s what works for me to organize my thoughts: actual paper, shiny buttons, and minimalism.
Here’s how it shakes out.
- My small, thin planner is with me everywhere, and that schedule runs my life. This has shrunk over the years. It was Franklin Covey for many years, it’s been Smythson for the last few, and I’m trying to decide on a Moleskine for next year (I have to see if Moleskine paper can handle fountain-pen ink).
- I keep a separate small, even thinner work notebook. This helps in three ways. One, organization, obviously. Two, CYA record-keeping (already invaluable in one delightful legal situation). And three, it beingÂ separate from my planner helps keep work separate from the rest of my life. These are random and funky – the current one is from Pearl River Mart.
- My favorite new work toy: I replaced my desk blotter with a giant sketch pad. This is FABULOUS for call notes, team brainstorming (and doodling). There’s a mug of Sharpies next to it, of course. Staples‘ finest.
- I am addicted to having the email/browser/Twitter/address book functions of my Blackberry at my fingertips. Given the above, I don’t use the calendar or note functions.*
- As for desktop apps, I tried Gubb and loved it for a while, but of late, I live in Google Docs. It’s just so multifunctional: I don’t need separate apps for list-making, chart-making, word processing. (I wrote this in there.) Cloud computing makes sense. Why wouldn’t you want to be able to access everything everywhere?
I would also add that in addition to all this, you need a way to get the other stuff out of your head. Blog, journal, therapy, all of the above – whatever. If organizing is hard, make sure that that isn’t because you’re trying to force your brain away from what it needs to be thinking about.
So that’s my madness.
What’s the one organization that saves your life?
* The INSTANT that iPhone shows up on Verizon, I will have one in my hot little hands. Tactile, organizational, beautiful, simple. >drool<