Another note on organization

After blogging yesterday about organization, I realized I should have mentioned the little (well, sometimes fairly lengthy) email I get every day from Productivity501 with a productivity tip. Today’s strategy, on storing things in a contextual manner so that it’s easier to find them, is particularly clever.

What’s in the basket?

Like all of us, I play the priorities game on a daily basis.

Currently my top-level priorities are getting to my yoga/weight-training/aerobics class three days a week and completing weekly writing assignments for my major client.

Second-tier priorities involve growing my writing business and routine care of my family and the house — from cooking, laundry and shopping to paying bills and scheduling the usual house/car/etc. maintenance stuff.

Beyond that there’s this weird third tier of stuff, a hodge-podge of professional and personal development and my hobbies, all of which involve design and fabrication of some sort and most of which entail collaborating with friends or meeting new people interested in the same activities. This list of things I want to do in these areas is endless!

Organizationally, I have no difficulty keeping the tools and schedules for the top- and second-tier activities in perfect shape. But the rest of it? Files, bookcases, boxes, and deceptively decorative baskets in nearly every room of the house — to say nothing of megabytes of space on my Macs — are filled with potential ingredients for these projects.

Here’s the contents of the most recent basket:

  • Goodies from the excellent WebTrends conference I attended at the Grand Hyatt last week. The conference was free, the presenters were good, and I came away with a better grasp of the web analytics field. WebTrends gave attendees some great gifts, including the marketing book Waiting for Your Cat to Bark and an attractive notepad portfolio that includes a little pocket handy for collecting business cards. I took notes on my PowerBook during the conference and promised I’d blog later about the shockingly bad PowerPoint presentation given by a Microsoft VP. So here it is: I didn’t have the nerve to whip out my cell phone and take a picture of it, but his first slide used outlined type in italics, and his second slide had more than 60 words, four levels of outline, 15 bullet points, and three footnotes — plus a chart. It looked like a “before” example from an Edward Tufte graphic design seminar.
  • A handwritten list of mystery writers whose books I like and want to buy more of.
  • Receipts to shred.
  • A scribbled note about Pat Murphy’s book Adventures in Time and Space with Max Merriwell, recommended to me by an award-winning science fiction writer I met at a party.
  • Martha Stewart’s Spring Cleaning Checklist (three pages, illustrated). I see I get points for cleaning my “window treatments.” Unfortunately, after I took the diningroom curtains to the dry cleaner and got them cleaned for an outrageous amount of money I realized I like the dining room much better without them. And that I want to replace them with honeycomb shades. $$$$.
  • Baklava recipes for a cooking contest I didn’t enter.
  • The hour-by-hour schedule for the upcoming Northwest Folklife Festival. I’ve marked all the concerts I want to attend, even though I always spend 11 out of 12 hours of the day dancing in the Roadhouse.
  • Four silver buttons I clipped off a hideous jacket and intend (some day) to put on a much nicer jacket. If the cats don’t turn them into playthings first.

So, what’s in your basket?