Last Saturday, my friend Kate asked me if I was CDO. That is, OCD, but alphabetized.
I certainly am. If you know me, you know what I mean.
If you don’t, here’s a hint: this is a picture of my bookshelf. It is alphabetized by author. If I have multiple books by one author, they are further alphabetized by title, the exception being a series, which is (of course) in numerical order.
Now, this particular bit of obsessiveness comes from my time working at the library. It’s a great system – I love being able to go into almost any library and to immediately know which section a book will be in. If I really thought about it, I would probably be tempted to label & sort my books by the same system. And don’t even go there, Library of Congress classification trumps Dewey Decimal anytime.
There’s a certain beauty to order. And, I know I’m a lot less stressed when things are in place in my life. Sure, sometimes I induce madness in those around me, because of my insistence on procedure & ironing out all the details ahead of time. But, I firmly believe that you should have a plan, even if you end up deviating from it. (Please note that is part of the plan, under the heading “Contingencies” in Section 3B.)
From experience, a project will go more smoothly if everyone is informed & on schedule. And how will they know they’re on schedule if there is no schedule? Even if it means more initial legwork, it saves time and (I think more importantly) frustration in the end. Additionally, your project has a greater chance of actually succeeding, which will help keep your team from becoming demoralized and acting jaded when the next project rolls around.
That being said, organization should be balanced with innovation and creativity. It’s easy to get so caught up in the minutiae that you forget the larger goals. If you know you lean towards one end of the spectrum, work on developing balance. A great way to do this is place yourself in situations where you need to work together with someone who is on the opposite end of your spectrum. This can be hard to do, but communicating clearly and often is a good way to stay on track.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go alphabetize my spice rack. (The balance comes later, when I toss spices into things at random as I cook.)