43 Folders

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”What’s 43 Folders?”
43Folders.com is Merlin Mann’s website about finding the time and attention to do your best creative work.

What do you do with WIP?

I have a problem organizing Work-In-Progress. While plenty of my work is electronic (easy - just close the folder and it's handy to open again) a signifigant portion consists of large (11"X17" up to 30"X42") sheafs of heavy drawings, and an associated stack of reference books, notebooks, reference drawings, and other cumbersome objects.

Often I will be working on a stack of this stuff in a multi-day project. Then someone comes in waving another stack that trumps the first stack. Then the boss comes in with another stack that trumps the second stack. Then my top client calls and wants me to look something up on a third stack. Soon, my workspace is so disorganized that I cannot even find my socks when they are still on my feet. Typically, I have seven or eight projects I may have to reference or work on at any time.

Needless to say, I can't just take one of these projects and put it away in a folder when it is interrupted. It takes several minutes to put away a thick, heavy rack of drawings, the three reference books and the notebooks I have out. Then I have to get them all out again when I get back to the first interrupted project. I have a workspace with a lot of surface area - four 6' tables arranged in a square, however I still end up with one interrupted project stacked underneath another interrupted project.

What do people do with WIP that is too physically large to just put back in the folder or close up in the three-ring binder it belongs in?

--Lawrence the Disorganized

About lile001




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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