Saturday, October 30, 2010

New Thinking About an Old Problem

Remember when I told you that the book "Clutter Busting" by Brooks Palmer was a great motivational book on getting around the mental obstacles that keep us from getting organized? Well, I have found another. I went to the 650 section (where many organizing and decluttering books are shelved in Dewey libraries) on the new non-fiction shelves and found a real gem. I often check this section to see what we have that is new on “our favorite” topic but have not found much that inspired me since “Clutter Busting.. This organization book comes at the problem from an entirely new direction. The book is called “Getting Organized in the Google Era” and it was written by Douglas Merrill, the former Chief Information Officer of Google. Talk about excellent qualifications! Did you know that Google’s mission is to “Organize the World’s Information?” What a claim! And this is the man who was hired to help them achieve that mission! But on a more human or realistic side, Douglas Merrill lets down his guard by admitting that he has dyslexia and despite this learning challenge, he earned a doctorate in cognitive science. In fact, he believes that having dyslexia and having to truly understand how his brain works is what led him to cognitive science and made him the perfect candidate for a job on organizing information. And because he had to overcome his issues, he is very empathic to others and gives very kind advice not only about letting go of the negative beliefs about clutter but affirming that our brains and our 21st century life styles do not really equip us to lead an organized life! In other words, it is not our fault that we are disorganized!

The book is divided into three parts. The first part is about us as thinking humans and how we are affected by our often out of date society. As “old school” thinking he questions the merits of memorizing multiplication tables and keeping 9-5 working hours that were devised for factory workers in the Industrial Age. In the second part, he shares the “tips, techniques and strategies [he’s] developed over the years for getting and staying organized.” Not surprisingly, many of these solutions involve computers and new technology and this part of the book was probably out-of-date before the book was even off the press. The third part of the book deals with how to roll with the changes and challenges that we face as we move forward. He promises that “I’ll show you how being organized can help you tap into the energy and brain power you’ll need to handle the unexpected when it comes – because is will come.” (Merrill, Getting Organized in the Google Era, Random House, 2010, pg. xiv) I have only just started reading this but I will share other tips and encouraging words that I find useful. I hope to see you all this Thursday evening at the South Brunswick Public Library at 7:00 for our monthly De-clutter Club meeting. The Quiet Study is in the middle of being renovated so we may not be able to meet there. I will put up signs if the location changes and let the staff at the Information Desk know where we are.

Keep on Clearing!

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