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Getting Organized in the Era of Endless

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Cultivate Your Inner Dictator

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Okay, okay, “cultivating your inner dictator” might be a little harsh, but one of the best organizing tips I give my clients is to be more selective (other terms: picky, choosey, more discerning, downright discrimminating.) Selectivity is a new organizing skill. That’s because the Internet is a real game changer in the organization/disorganization realm. Information is now unlimited. Shopping has no bounds (except poverty) and sharing videos/photos/thoughts/ideas is easy and unrelenting. If you are overwhelmed you are likely under-selective. How do you cultivate your inner dictator? Let’s say you have 300 hard copy photos. You easily could receive, depending on the size of your family, another 100 or more a year, digitally. This discussion could easily devolve into a debate about the best features of the zillion digital photo programs/services available. And you should use as much technology as will make the job of dealing with photos easier. But I’m making the case that cultivating the skill of selectivity trumps technology. Here is how it is done:


  • Have a criteria(s). It can be “appealing”, “most recent”, “something I don’t have already”
  • Schedule a sort time just before occasions (the week after a family reunion, a few days after Christmas, etc.)
  • Sort with a closed-mind using your criteria to guide you
  • Put an in/out ratio in place. For example, for every 100 photoes I receive I’ll get rid of 20

Being selective takes practice. Good items to practice on are your bookmarks/Favorites, e-books you’ve accumulated, and magazines. Bad items to practice on are tangible books, shoes, and office supplies. You simply cannot have too much of those!

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