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Organization Strategies: Google vs. Yahoo!

September 17 2004 – 05:08pm

I have noticed in looking around at desks of various people in my office, that some people, like myself, take a “Google” approach to organizing: everything is just in one big pile, and when you need something, you just sort through it and find what you need. Other people take the “Yahoo!” approach to organizing: everything is in nice, neat piles, or even filed away by project or what have you.

I, and the popularity of the search engine hints that I’m not alone, think the Google approach is superior. Sure, you think you’re saving time when you can grab the needed document at a moment’s notice with the Yahoo! approach, but look at all of the time you wasted organizing and categorizing all of your documents, many of which you may consult very rarely. With the Google approach, you start to develop your own “search algorithm” which becomes keener over time, and may even rival the at-moment-of-need find time of the Yahoo! approach.

I take this approach with other things in life, such as silverware. I don’t bother organizing everything into forks, spoons, and knives as I unload my dishwasher. It takes so much less time out of my life to just throw them all in one tray, and find the needed utensil as I need it.

I do laundry this way, too. Whatever clothing items wrinkles are of consequence on (shirts and pants) get folded or hung up when I am done with my laundry. Other items (socks, underwear, t-shirts) remain in my clothes hamper, and I take them out as needed. When I need to hamper again to take my dirty clothes to the washer, I just throw the remaining clean clothes on the floor. I dream of a dresser that is just two hampers that you could switch back and forth in this manner. Seriously, do you need to match up and fold your socks, put them in the drawer, take them out of the drawer to wear them, put them in the hamper, put them in the washing machine, put them in the dryer, put them back in the hamper, fold them, and put them back in the dresser? Throw a step or two out of this convoluted process.

Yes, I am single, and live alone, which is conducive to these strange ways of doing things.

I told a friend at work about the hamper thing, and he told me that in the “smart house” that my firm is working on in a retirement center at the University of Florida, they have a dishwasher much like my hamper philosophy. It consists of two dishwashers. You store your dishes in one, take them out as you need them, then put the dirty dishes back into the other dishwasher. When those dishes are cleaned, you then start taking your dishes from that dishwasher and putting the dirty ones back into the dishwasher that originally stored the dishes. He added that if you think about it, the innovation of the dishwasher was just dropped into the modern kitchen with no consideration for its potential to make storing dishes in cabinets obsolete.

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This post is filed under Creative Productivity, Humor, Society, Technology.