THE BOOK • 07-03-2014


Organizing/cleaning up your to-do lists or garage or any organization system has two specific values:
a) restore the navigability/accessibility/functionality of the system;
b) getting back a sense of control and order. 
And neither of those require as much effort and detailed organization as you might think. Actually, that assumption may well be the reason you have been avoiding it.
Clustering chaos
Imagine your dinning table looking rather chaotic after a party. Imagine you take a couple of minutes just moving things around the table, putting glasses together, plates together, forks and knifes together, bottles together and so on, but without moving a single item to the kitchen.
After the operation, the table will look quite different, right? Even if, in fact, nothing was significantly moved forward in the chain of events that will lead everything to their final destinations. Most things will still have to be moved to kitchen, prepared for the washing machine, washed, wiped and moved to the cupboard or final place. Only then everything will be in order.
None of those several steps happened in our example. Everything is still on the table. Only grouped, clustered. Nevertheless, the emotional feeling about that same table before and after that "organizing" may well have changed considerably. The sense of overwhelm may well have become much smoother. You can experience it right now with your desk if it's messy enough. Go on, try it just for fun! Just group stuff and see what happens.
Overwhelm and Potential Action Computing
Well, the reason for that emotional change, is that our mind is always trying to compute potential action about everything around us. That is, it's trying to keep track, for each single item, of all that has to happen to restore order. Where order means absence of any requirement of intervention: zero potential action.
Grouping stuff just makes that job a lot easier. It's like now there are only 7 types of things on the table and their respective 7 global intervention procedures, where just before there were tens of items requiring tens of interventions. And you can't keep track of them all - hence the overwhelm sense.
Please note that roughly the same amount of work is waiting for you. In fact, any overwhelm feeling from chaos/disorder is typically way more connected to the representation/tracking mental system, than the actual amount of work pending. And this is a central notion to have when you want to get your system back on track after a bit of chaos creeps in. And, of course, the same applies to your garage...
Now... want to try some clustering on your to-do lists?


1 comment
This website is excellent, I really needed motivation and now I have it.

Thanks for helping me get organined!
in 2014-03-07 16:48:47
Leave a comment:

Name *
Message *