Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Windmills of My Mind

I've been trying to catch up on some long-neglected chores, one of which is to wash my dog's lambskin rug. Months ago I found what I thought might be the perfect cleaning agent and so ordered a sample of it from the company. After weeks of waiting, the sample arrived but I didn't have the time or inclination to deal with it. Of course, now that I'm ready to tackle the project, I can't find the sample.

This brings to mind an unattributed quotation that stares at me from the tiny notebook I keep next to my bed:
For every minute spent in organizing,
an hour is earned.

While this may sound true, it's also flawed. Case in point: Think about how you organize your computer files and folders. Or better yet, let's think about how I organize mine.

I have a single folder with my name on it in which I keep a variety of folders: job hunt, eulogies, books, etc. My husband has his own folder, then there's a shared folder containing matters relevant to both of us—one of which is $$$$. This is where I chose to file my list of books I'm selling or giving away. Why not file that under "Books," you ask? Why not, indeed. And here is where my attempts at organizing can go wildly off-track.

How my mind categorizes items one day may not be apparent to me on the next. I'll end up wasting time trying to understand my strategy. And though I love a minimalist approach to desk-keeping (everything out of view, color-coded, easily accessible), the cluttered everything-in-view usually works better. And it has the added benefit of revealing things I'd forgotten about.

This brings to mind an A. A. Milne quotation sent to me on a card by the very same person who gave me the tiny notebook:
One of the advantages of being disorderly is that
one is constantly making exciting discoveries.

Given the choice between saving time or making a discovery, which would you choose?

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