43 Folders

Back to Work

Merlin’s weekly podcast with Dan Benjamin. We talk about creativity, independence, and making things you love.

Join us via RSS, iTunes, or at 5by5.tv.

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

Links and Resources for the Chronically Disorganized

N S G C D | Home

I'm still in a de-cluttering mode these days (more on that soon), so I was intrigued by this resource, which arrived this morning via Mrs. Folders.

While primarily a trade group for "professional organizers," the National Study Group on Chronic Disorganization site has some handy documents and links to help with identifying and solving pathological problems with clutter and hoarding.

If you can tolerate the site's gruesome ardor for PDFs, you'll find some informative and eye-opening stuff. From their fact sheets page:

I really liked some of the Tips for Overcoming Procrastination for the Chronically Disorganized Individual or Household (excerpted):

  • Remember that it is motivation that gets you started and habits that keep you going. Resolve to get started.
  • Delay until you have enough information but not all the information. Have the courage to make decisions with less than 80% of the facts.
  • Break up your projects into small pieces and avoid “all or nothing” thinking.

Good stuff. The Now Habit, anyone?

mrlukens's picture

Habits, not gadgets

You might be amazed to learn how many professional organizers are fans of 43folders. I have been one for ages, which is why I feel shocked and stung by your mash-up of misconceptions on this subject!

A professional organizer is someone who transfers organizing skills to a client. After the client has identified a goal, the first and most important organizing skill is learning to get rid of the unnecessary. The first skill plus one is learning to turn off the tap, so that useless junk doesn't come into the person's life in the first place. You and all of professional organizing are in agreement on the need for a profound realignment in thinking.

Not all organizers work with the chronically disorganized (some of whom are hoarders, some of whom have OCD) and not all work with closets. But the principle of improving lives by transferring organizing skills spans all the various specialties.

As a professional organizer who specializes in helping business owners and work teams to organize their time, paper and projects, I don't see many closets. I do sometimes see in-boxes clogged with 6,000 messages, schedules larded with useless activities, and drawers crammed with ancient papers. More often I see pretty organized and effective people who want to get even more organized, because they value the ways in which improved organization can help them achieve their most important goals in work and in life.

I admit I personally geek out at the Container Store, but I seldom send a client there, because organization doesn't come in a box. It's about habits, not gadgets.




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


Subscribe with Google Reader

Subscribe on Netvibes

Add to Technorati Favorites

Subscribe on Pageflakes

Add RSS feed

The Podcast Feed


Merlin used to crank. He’s not cranking any more.

This is an essay about family, priorities, and Shakey’s Pizza, and it’s probably the best thing he’s written. »

Scared Shitless

Merlin’s scared. You’re scared. Everybody is scared.

This is the video of Merlin’s keynote at Webstock 2011. The one where he cried. You should watch it. »