January 22, 2012

organizing for your brain type

(click 'read more' to learn the 4 types).  'organizing for your brain type: finding your own solution to managing time, paper and stuff' is a fabulous organizing book by Lanna Nakone.  thank goodness I read this book early on in my organizing career.  a game changer for sure.




there is no one right way to be organized.  just as every person is unique and individual, so is how they function.  how then could everyone be satisfied, work productively and feel good in the same space?  they can't.  and that's why I love this book so much.  click 'read more' below to find out your organizing brain type.





the book contains a 15 minute multiple choice quiz for readers to figure out which of 4 organizing brain type categories they fit into.  working as an organizer for the past 6 years, I can often figure out which type you, your spouse or your boss is fairly quickly and easily just by seeing your space or asking you a few questions.  then I can organize your space in a way that works for you specifically.   this is certainly not the only tool I use when customizing solutions for each client, but it definitely helps.

interestingly enough, it often aides in spouses, partners and house mates understanding more clearly how the other person works. i've seen this empathy resolve many a conflict.

so you'll have to borrow the book from the library or pick yourself up a copy if you'd like to take the test.  i have however copied and pasted the summary of each brain type below to give you an idea of which one you may be. 


Maintaining Style
As you may have already guessed, your style enjoys being organized.  You need organization like a fish needs water.  Your life is most likely already well orchestrated, the result of conscientious planning and consistent implementation.  Relying on self-discipline and often a love for maintaining order, you appreciate an environment that makes you feel grounded.  Administrative duties come naturally to you and you like to do a job right, one time, every time.  You truly enjoy being organized and feel safe and rejuvenated in a structured environment.

Harmonizing Style
Let’s face it – you are a humanitarian.  You are emotional, spiritual, communicative, empathetic, and your compassion affects others deeply.  Since you learn through listening to and sharing ideas, you naturally harmonize with the feelings and experiences of others.  You respond to sensory movement, music, discussions, group interaction, and expressions of all kinds of fellowship.  Human values and personal growth are subject that guide your life and lift your soul.  Chances are that you are more stimulated around people rather than possessions and get easily sidetracked when you are trying to get organized.  Therefore, time management is a challenge for you.  You can’t keep everything – every recipe you ever read in a magazine or all of your ninety-nine Tupperware containers.  And no, you don’t need to read everything or clip every article to give to a friend.  I understand that you need your environment to generate energy for you, but sometimes you get lost and have trouble getting work done.  However, you must renegotiate how much stuff you need to keep and, using a bit of logic, where you need to keep it.  Working and spending time in a harmonious environment where your stuff doesn’t rule your behavior but rather helps you stay connected to your surroundings should be a goal for you.

Innovating Style
Let’s face it; you are the master of innovation.  You like to wear different hats, go different directions, think about things in the future tense, and explore endless new possibilities.  You can easily get lost in thought, and may fail to notice the traffic light has changed from red to green.  But when you finally become focused, look out.  You can easily conceptualize whatever lurks in you imagination and manifest those grand abstractions into a lively and original theory, conversation, or project that feeds your expansive soul.

Out of the four types, your particular style needs to be the loosest and most fun.  Yes, you still have to keep your socks in one drawer but they don’t have to be graded from light to dark, or from athletic to dress socks.  Therefore, things will need to be loosely organized – for example, putting miscellaneous appointments into a planner – but not in the time-consuming way you may have tried in the past.  Traditionally you have been taught that you need a filing system; well, I’m going to suggest that you don’t.  Throwing papers into a box labeled “Important Papers” could be the only step you take.  You are going to be opened up to organizing that is freeing and exhilarating, yet still enables you to be flexible while in control.  The ultimate question for you is not where to keep it, but how much of it do you need to keep? 

Prioritizing Style
You are the most rational thinker of this organizing foursome.  Where would we all be without you?  You are the CEO of leadership, success, financial planning, and personal drive.  Theoretical, fact-based, and certainly the most logical style out of the bunch, your technical, financial, competitive, and critical skills all support you as you tackle tough problems to determine rational and realistic solutions.  You are also task-centered, action-oriented, efficient, and even ruthless with your daily planner, and you expect your personal goals and work output to be in perfect sync.

Even though you deeply value organization, you have trouble maintaining it or dealing with it.  How then can you become organized without doing the work?  Delegation is one answer.  The amount of clarity you bring to this procedure will determine the level of freedom you will eventually have form day-to-day operations.

You have no problem with purging, but the little that you have to keep must be very well organized and accessible at the drop of a hat.  What stresses you out the most is not being able to find something when you need it…now.  You feel nurtured and thrive in an environment that is perfectly organized, even Spartan.  In order to achieve a system that is energizing and easy for your style, you will have to learn how to delegate, what you need to keep, and where you need to keep it.


Thank you Lanna Nakone!  by the way, i'm the 'maintainer'... if it wasn't already obvious.