Posted by: Joe Hoffman | May 16, 2008

In a File or in a Pile?

My good friend Cindy Croll is a professional organizer, and a good one at that. We have disagreements from time to time over how to make some of her recommendations work for a lot of us. For instance, people tend to be “pilers” or “filers”. I’m a “piler”.

“Pilers” like me put things in piles, some times in groups, sometimes just in time ordered stacks. But at the core is the fact that it is a visual filing system. I know where things are based on visual landmarks on my desk, or the shape of the stack or various bits of color that show. It may not seem very efficient, and for filers, it definitely isn’t, but it works.

Until someone moves the piles!

Alternatively, if I put it in a folder and then in a file, it is lost immediately.

I have the same problem (worse actually) with a computer. Most programmers are linear thinkers so we have grown up with a hierarchical storage system. Top level folder, sub folder, sub-sub folder. For forty years this has driven me crazy. Even the desktop on my PC makes me crazy. I know where I put that Icon for Dia, it was right next to Google Earth, but where did windows decide to move it too today.

There is another problem with files. Much of what we deal with relates to more than one topic, it has relationships and associations. In fact, that is how the human brain stores information. In my, never humble opinion, “Piles” rule.

Cindy and I discussed this many times and she finally came back to me with a system that works for me, at least for some parts of the business stream. As for the rest, I am keeping the Piles

Nevertheless, she has a lot of great tips for helping keep your business organized. Visit her blog when you can.



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