Woefully Disorganized

Sunday, November 09 2003

Hi. My name is Michael, and I’m woefully disorganized. I have socks mixed in with my butter knives, and lip balm in my light sockets (or maybe not, but that has a nice ring to it [note to self: use as childrens’ book title]). In my pocket, I have a 2 pent piece from England, a Danish coin, a Euro, $0.85, a mint, a guitar pick, a wingnut, and a screw that doesn’t match the nut. I’ve been transferring these items from dirty pants pockets to clean pants pockets every morning. I have no idea how any of them got there to begin with. My level of disorganization outside of work is frightening.

But my mind isn’t disorganized. I tidily file away my current bank balance, status and to do items on over four software projects outside of work and two major ones at work, important dates like birthdays and anniversaries, future ideas, political view points, likes and dislikes, and most importantly, thousands of informative, but ultimately useless facts collected from years of drinking Snapple.

How do I make my life neat and tidy? And this includes my own computer, where all files deemed important go into a single folder. No URLs ever get bookmarked, and items pile up on the desktop biologically. I backup items to zip files that I never open again, and they tag along from hard drive to hard drive much like my pocket flotsam (careful).

And does a neat and tidy life = higher productivity/creativity/sanity or do I not know what I’m asking for? Will I become obsessed with right angles and evenly spaced french fries? Will I buy a label maker and put an L on my left shoe and an R on my right? Will I always button the top button of my shirts, even when not wearing a tie? Will I obsessively insist on bringing toilet paper everywhere I go, just in case?

This introspection all started when working on a development project this weekend, and I was releasing an entire new version of the project. It was painful knowing that I had no formalized version control system and no way of keeping track of major differences in text files except that I had saved the old version and called the folder projectname_old. Isn’t that lame? I know better than this, but when I’m in a hurry and it’s my own personal project, I take shortcuts eventhough I know that will come back to bite me.

How do you stay organized, in general or even specifically?