Thursday, April 14, 2011
Untidy Workers are as Productive as Tidy Ones
As far as I can tell, there are two types of workers in the world--those who drive themselves nuts keeping their office tidy, and those of us who drive the tidy workers nuts because we don't.
Tidy workers file their work horizontally and alphabetically--they actually use their file cabinets to create a record keeping system that's beautiful to behold.
Casual workers, like me, file their work vertically, stacked on the desk, floor, chair, or on top of the file cabinet. If you walk into our office you might be invited to move one of the piles to the floor so you have a place to sit. Or you may even be invited to just sit on the pile.
In case you missed it ~ Tidies organize in files and Casuals organize in piles.
What a world when the Tidies collide with the Casuals! When things hit critical mass for the Tidies' overwhelming need for an orderly existence, the Tidies decide to take charge and organize the Casuals. Rarely do you find the Casuals deciding to organize the Tidies.
Oh, the Tidies are sneaky ~ they usually wait until we're on vacation ~ or pay someone to take us out for a long lunch~ so they can sneak into our office uninterrupted to clean.
They take all of our carefully constructed piles of papers and folders, slip them into color-coded file folders with neatly typed headings in bold lettering and file them in alphabetical order.They close the books and periodicals lying around the room and arrange them on shelves in alphabetical order by author and title.
They carefully collect all those hastily scribbled names, phone numbers and addresses to put into outlook, and organize the hard copy contact list in alphabetical file by last name. Finally, they throw out the piles of recycled 'scratch paper' we've saved to jot notes on (okay so maybe we have enough to last us 10 years).
As a final act the Tidy leaves the latest research article ~ proving Tidy Workers are more productive than Casual Workers~ neatly centered on our now uncluttered desk. They stand back, admire their work, and close the door satisfied the previous disaster area, known as our office, is now neatly organized. All is well in the world once again.
When we Casuals return to our spic-and-span office, we're amazed it looks so clean ~ and we thank the Tidy Worker who cleaned it. Although we're casual in style, we can still appreciate how orderly an uncluttered office appears.
But we also know it will take us a while to find things, put them back into their proper piles, and be productive once again!
You see, dear Tidies, Casuals don't think alphabetically. We think conceptually or by projects. When you organize us into neat, alphabetical files, it takes us more time to start at the beginning of the alphabet song and sing through to 's' to find Joel Smith.
It may not make sense to you that Joel Smith is found at the beginning of the 'A's in our private contact list. But to us, it makes sense that he's 'A' good friend.
And all those piles on the floor may look like clutter to you, and you may wonder how we can ever find anything in them. But we don't have to find them. We just have to see them. Casuals know what topic or project each pile represents. All we have to do is stare at the piles and imagine what's in them. Put into a file cabinet they no longer exist.
So go ahead and clean our offices. We understand it makes you feel better. But please just do it once a year.The rest of the year we need to be productive.