Getting Things Done (Philosopher’s Edition)

My family likes the business self-help section of the bookstore. When I was an an awkward adolescent, my father made me read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and How to Win Friends and Influence People. Seriously. I’m not a big fan of this kind of thing; I think it’s a bit of a scam to constantly sell people $20 books that say the same thing that the last $20 book said. However, some things are a little harder than common sense, and organization is one of them. We run into road blocks because we don’t know how to break down a project, like cleaning a desk, into all its constituent parts. That’s not to say we can’t figure it out, but we rarely want to devote our cogitating powers to such a task. I don’t know where to put all this extra crap, and I’m psychically incapable of handling the danger that I might throw something important away.

For me, this requires that I do all of my work in public places: usually Starbucks. That way, I only ever deal with a briefcase full of papers and books. However, this weekend I am attempting to execute a desk cleaning operation, and I decided to invoke the good old business self-help section of the internet. Free information that says the same thing as that book my dad made me read? Perfect.

messy desk

Here’s the link I’m using: 10 tips for keeping your desk clean and tidy. Gosh: “#1 Use a System to Manage Paper.” Why do I need somebody to tell me this stuff? (Admittedly, the article then goes on for several paragraphs -describing- a system… but still!) The key is to recognize that big projects require a new level of organization, a metalevel of thinking about how to organize them, which requires some of that precious creative power. Without that, everything just ends up in a pile, and then the pile gets swept under the desk when company comes over. Thankfully, I’ve been keeping most of my creative juices idling on Go and Virus 2, so there’s plenty to spare. 🙂

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