When working on a project, I need my must-have information staring me in the face or I’ll never remember all of it. It’s just the way I’m wired.
Years ago, during training for my day job, I learned that people organize their workspace in a variety of different ways, depending on how their minds manage information.
Messy Desk & Empty Desk
- Organized: Some people store all of their documents in clearly labelled file folders or place their digital versions in computer files on their laptop or cloud. Their desk is clear and only used for the work they will focus on that day.
- Messy: Some people have their information in piles across their desk, making their working environment look as if it was the victim of a very localized tornado. Somehow, they know where everything is.
- Empty: Some people’s desk are barren, except for a few odd papers here and there. No family pictures. No calendars on the wall. No schedules of favorite sports teams. Nothing. You’d barely know someone was working in the desk at all.
- Visual: And some people, like myself, need their most important items in the open, in front of them, where they can scan and find what they are looking for.
I not only employ this visual method at work, but also when writing. On one of the walls of my office are 3×5 cards that encompass the entirety of the third novel in our Gabby Wells series.
- The green cards have the major plot points that get us from one important step to another.
- Underneath those are white cards where I’ve noted all of the detail that will encompass that green card.
- The written page will expound that even further, taking those white cards and turning them into actual pages in the book.
There are some software options out there that help you do the same thing. One I particularly like is Scrivener, which allows you to recreate a 3×5 wall of thoughts and notes into virtual form.
The Wall vs. Scrivener
Though using Scrivener’s 3×5 card display does help me in some ways, especially when writing away from home, I still prefer looking at the wall and seeing it all in front of me. That just works for me.
I know it seems old school, even archaic to people who’ve grown up with the computer technology their whole lives, but as someone who has bridged the gap between typewriters and personal computers, from the dewey decimal system to online search engines, I can’t help but rely on the method from which I have had the most creative success.
For me, if it’s out of sight, it is truly out of mind.
How do you organize your workspace?