A Simple Measure for Effective Organizing

Can you always find WHAT you want, WHEN you want it? If you can, then it’s a pretty safe bet that you are organized.

It’s tempting to think that when everything has been tidied up and things look neat, that you have achieved organization. Indeed, that may be a big step in the right direction, but you’re not there yet.

Take these organized-looking drawers to the right. I noticed them from my restaurant table the other day. They look very systematic and the natural wood is beautiful. It’s a glorious harmony of form meets function. There’s just one problem. They don’t work.

During my entire brunch, I must have seen half a dozen different waiters and waitresses go through those drawers looking for things and not one of them knew where to look. Their “system” was to randomly open and close drawers, until they found the napkins, straws or whatever they were seeking. One guy opened every draw. I guess he never found what he was after.

I suppose it would be seen as unsightly, to label these drawers or to leave a number chart out, but it comes down to priorities. Good organizing is ultimately not about sorting out your stuff or your schedule, but about sorting out your priorities. Maybe customers like waiting for their eggs to get cold, while their waiter goes on a safari hunting down a fork, but I doubt it.

In a restaurant setting, as in so many work settings, a lot of little things need to happen quickly and timing is everything. The right system can ensure that you can always find exactly WHAT you want WHEN you want it. As with finding the right mate, don’t settle for looks alone.