Organization for Pilers and Filers

Everybody knows that organization is fundamental to being productive. No matter where you are on the career ladder, finding information quickly is essential for completing tasks and managing deadlines.

You can look around any office environment and you will see some desks cluttered with stacks of papers while other desks are extremely tidy. Is one more organized than the other? New studies show that both styles have strengths and benefits. Working at a tidy desk promotes generosity and conventionality, while working at a cluttered desk promotes creative thinking and stimulates fresh ideas.

Even Einstein was wrong some of the time. Contrary to popular belief the appearance of a desk often has little to do with how well-organized a person may be. As long as you can find things quickly, your method works.

Identify and embrace your personal organizational method and use the following tips to enhance your productivity.


Cluttered desktopDoes your desk appear disorganized with stacks of paper grouped by topic? Is your computer desktop filled with document icons? Can you, and only you, find everything with ease? Then you’re most likely a piler.

A piler likely coined the phrase “Out of sight, Out of mind.” Pilers often feel that filing information away amounts to losing it forever. This means you prefer visual cues to stay organized.

Here’s a few tips to keep your stacks under control:

  • Folders are still necessary:  A stack of labeled folders keeps the pile together and less likely to fly around. Labels provide better visual cues, enhancing your productivity. Create directory shortcuts for your desktop instead of individual file shortcuts.
  • See more to do more: Multi-tiered vertical desktop organizers are a great way to keep folders in front of you. They are neat, they let you see exactly what’s in them with a quick glance. Plus, they free up surface area (for more piles).
  • Appearances do matter:  Face it — Clutter is unfairly equated to disorganization. Customers or colleagues visiting your office may lose confidence in your abilities if they see you surrounded by clutter.  Bins and color coding will give method to your madness.


Organized Desktop

Are you the type that keeps a neat and tidy desk, where everything is filed by topic and labeled accordingly? Is your computer desktop relatively icon free? Can you see the cool wallpaper design you selected? Do you find that excess clutter distracts you from the task at hand? You’re probably a filer.

“There is a place for everything and everything has its place” is a filer’s motto. Filers have paperwork on the desk only while it is needed and it is diligently put away when done. But beware, too much organization can negatively affect efficiency. It can consume more time with over complicated systems.

  • Avoid over-categorization: Design your filing system with the topics that make sense. Keep information that you use often together. If you need to gather 20 file folders from different directories just to complete a routine task, that is not efficient. Plus, you are likely to miss key information.
  • Keep related items together with color: If you can’t resist splitting items into multiple chunks, use a color coding system. You are less likely to overlook important paperwork if you pull out all green-labeled folders to do a task.
  • Don’t forget to purge:  It’s easy for folders and file cabinets to fill up with unnecessary documents. Set a regular schedule to archive or purge them. Shred or recycle any that are no longer needed.

Fighting your natural tendencies leads to disorganization. So, pile or file away using a method that will keep you organized in a way that is consistent with your strengths and preferences.