I like to think I am a pretty organized person. I like knowing where to find things. I tend to put my keys and wallet in the same place each evening on the coffee table, and on the same place on my desk at the office every morning.
I find it is less stressful to know that I won’t have to search for them when I need them again. To my mind the less I have to think about things I can control, the more space in my head I’ll have for things I can’t control. I try to avoid creating problems, life gives me enough problems to solve.
Grant writers have to be organized because we deal with so much real and virtual paper. The stacks of documents, publications, emails, text messages, tweets, excel spreadsheets, graphics, and pictures can be overwhelming. They pile up so darned fast that important documents can get lost, overlooked, or mulch in an electronic compost pile if you aren’t careful.
I like to think of myself as an organized person but I still lose things and waste time looking for them. I don’t always follow a logical system for labeling and storing electronic files. Oh, I usually have a reason for where I put them, it’s just that I can’t always remember my reasoning 45 minutes after I have concluded my deliberations.
It doesn’t help that there are so many bloody disk drives on my computer, and CD disks, and flash drives, and external hard drives, and multiple computers! It's like having six coffee tables where I could put my keys and they were all identical; I would probably forget which coffee table I put my things on and have to scour each one before I left for work. That’s how it gets with :c and, :e and, :f and, :I drives; they all have storage and they all have folders and I forget where things are placed. That’s where I can get things horribly lost.
My systems for staying organized are imperfect and sometimes they get crisscrossed in my brain – especially when there’s a deadline. Suddenly I’ll find that I am flinging my wallet onto the dresser in the bedroom or on the counter in the kitchen instead of the coffee table next to my Newsweek magazine that I won’t have time to read because I’ll spend fifteen minutes hunting for my wallet and cursing the ne’er-do-well who snuck in during the night to rob me.
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Graphic Credit - Chelsea Koetsveld