Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Time and Space Management That Works with Your Personal Style

Click on the picture for a preview
How to be Organized in Spite of Yourself: Time and Space Management that Works with Your Personal Style

A couple of related links:
Quiz:  What Type of Organizer Are You?
Discover Your Personal Organizational Style (a blog review with details about the book)

Another dime-rack library take-home.

The difference in this book is that it asks you to diagnose your organizing "style" and tailor your methods to your personality, rather than submit to a one-size-fits-all approach.   For this purpose there are questionnaires for each chapter, a ratings scale to show whether you are this type or not, and then suggestions tailored to the individual style.

Different Styles of Time Management.
  •  The Hopper quickly and and frequently switches tasks throughout the day. Hoppers often enjoy variety and like to feel the gratification of completing small tasks, but they may be easily distracted by other people or technology. This is the most common of the temporal organizing styles.
  •  The Perfectionist Plus seeks excellent performance in every activity, sets very high standards for herself and others, and may have difficulty distinguishing between valuable and less-valuable uses of her time.
  • The person who is Allergic to Detail enjoys thinking about the big picture and new ideas, sometimes neglecting smaller details or follow-through.
  • The Fence Sitter can see both sides of an issue and thoroughly researches upcoming decisions, both large and small, sometimes to the point of forestalling action.
  • The Cliff Hanger thrives on adrenaline, deadlines, and external pressure, but sometimes loses track of all the commitments he’s juggling.

Different Types of Space Management

  • The Everything Out likes to have reminders, mementoes, and project materials in plain sight and within easy reach.
  • The Nothing Out prefers to have surfaces cleared off and materials stored away.
  • The Right Angler enjoys having things look a certain way, with the appearance of precision.
  • The Pack Rat keeps almost everything.
  • The Total Slob believes that organizing things is a waste of time that could be spent on creative pursuits.
As always with personal temperaments or styles you may find you match more than one of the types. 

And if you're like me you see yourself in EVERY type.   Is there a "Resists Being Pegged Into a Specific Style" Type?   So this book was of limited helpfulness to me.   However, I kept it around because

(1) it does contain the standard organizing advice
(2) it does include the acknowledgment of different types of temperaments as well as different types of situations, which in theory makes a lot of sense to me.

I think I can let it go though. Basically I have found that organizing tips are mental clutter for me, so almost any time I research "how to organize" I end up wasting a lot of time and mental processing units with little return.

A lot of time and space disorganization seems like just another way of saying Trying To Fit Too Much Into Too Small a Space. Which is something I tend to do in many ways, because I want to Have It All Just in Case.  There is a kind of security issue there.  

So the best organizational breakthrough I ever found for Space Issues is to give a bunch of things away.   I didn't miss them much compared to the huge relief of not always tripping over things that were of limited use to me. 

The best organizational breakthrough for Time Issues -- well, that's a bit different because when you have a bunch of children you are going to have a lot of calls on your time.  And they will be many and varied and external, which works against my introverted "focus on conceptual things deeply" tendency.    But it comes down to prioritizing, I think. ... getting the Big Rocks into the jar first and fitting the gravel around those..  And spatial simplicity, not that I've achieved it yet, helps me focus my other priorities better.  I think I'll have to write about Time Management some other time. 

Anyway, I think this is a decent "starter book".  Once you have somewhat diagnosed your specific organizational challenges and know what "method" might work best for you, you could go and look for books on the methods that suit your temperament best.   For example, a Total Slob and perhaps a Packrat would probably go for Flylady or the Sidetracked Home Executive books.


  1. I think I'm every type too! Along with a "have everything out" personality. If it's away, I forget about it.

  2. Me, too, actually! which is why minimalism tends to work better for me than lots of great storage spaces. I am an "everything out" who gets zapped by too much visual clutter, so simplicity becomes important! Hope you are having a great Thanksgiving and start of Advent, Amy!


I would love to hear your thoughts on this!