Wednesday, September 22, 2010

How organised you are?

Unfortunately I am not. Once on seeing my scrap book (real one) where I had collections of write ups from friends, seniors and teachers since I finished my class 4, one of my friend while we were in college said, "Your scrap book is very enriched but not organized, very much like you." I took that comment more as a compliment than a criticism. Yes, it is by default that I cannot live in a organized,  neat, preplanned way, but I do like to live a random; zig-zag kind of life, but where I get opportunity to learn.  Experienced people in different times have told me  "Don't do something that you want to learn but think what will be good for you or for the ongoing project." I agree, but also if the things needed to be done for the project or for my good, don't raise my interest, then they will not be able to keep me running for long term. I was adamant at this logic few years ago, but with time I learned that interests do cultivate with time, if it is not very faraway from your core liking. So I keep going with my randomness, may be with more precaution added each year.

The scenario of randomness gets heightened specially in the mornings of the days when I  invite someone for a dinner. I see the plethora of work to be done, I see the different surfaces in the living room, covered with magazines, bills, other stuffs like keys, papers etc. etc. But somehow situation do get under control at the end.

But things get even more tough before going to a conference,  or moving out or before a  big project. I keep making lists but somehow I feel that one directional list is not enough in these situations, some kind of three dimensional spider web shaped lists are needed where I can do three jobs at a time.

And most of the time I feel that this critical condition happens to me only. Please comment generously and support me by  saying that I am not alone in this state of mind.

There might be one more reason behind this feeling of self criticism is that I live amidst of super organizers.  My colleague in office; his table is ever neat, his notebooks are very clean and his results and literature are always updated. His motto in life is one at a time. Another friend of mine, talks very less, very efficient + organized worker, keeps very good laboratory notes, and never takes work back home. Although she says it is because of the nature of her job, but I don't know if I would have ever been able to do that. Another close friend, well he is not exactly organized but is very good in prioritized approach, he does things needed to be done in proper time and not necessarily he does it all  but he does the most needed work (remember that urgent vs. important phenomena). And common in all these people are they are very focused. When they work they work and when they watch movie they watch movie.

They don't think about a movie (or child or parents or what to cook in the evening or I need to pay the telephone bill latest by tomorrow) while working or think about work while watching movie. Yes, I do do that, not always, but at those times when I feel the need to do three kinds of work at a time. The worst I do now-a-days is read stories to 'J' without absolutely understanding what is happening in the story, meaning my eyes read and my brain think about all those pending underlined works from the list.

Till now, I have noticed I go through three (or three and  a half) stages before a big project, first is ignorance where I underestimate the robustness of the project and feel relaxed that it will get finished. In this period, I try to understand the project, read about it, frame the questions and so on. Irrespective of whether it is a  question in my laboratory or at home, like teaching alphabets to 'J'. This is a slow phase, and is a calm one.

Then comes a period where I am acting, finding answers to one question but facing two new questions after finishing of each act, this state of mind is very exciting and tiring as well. Any project whether the scientific ones which are dealt in the academic levels in laboratories or the home ones like teaching your child to learn reading are never ending, there remains always some unanswered questions, there remains always scope for further refinements. But at this period of action I think not only I, but everybody wants to get the best. This is the most occupied state, sometimes depressing too. This is also the stage where I feel the need of more hours in a day.

Then after dwelling a while in the previous stage comes a time where I say to myself okay this is it, these are the results, and these are the explanations,  these are the developments, these are the things I have learned, these are the things which can be done further, but at present it is beyond the scope. Once reached there it is a nice state of mind, satisfactory and calming. Here I watch movie and don't think of anything else.

Once having told that to myself, the next challenge, is to explain that to the collaborators/family members, bosses/family members and reviewers/family members. 

This stage of explanations can lead to a second round of action, where it is essential that I take care what others are expecting or thinking about the project, and take into account about their inputs. This step is very critical one as very fine tuning is needed while dealing with others opinion, it is extremely important that I respect others view, but I also try (still learning)  to put forward those points of mine which I think are necessary, important and reasonable for the project, for me. Again it is true both at work and home front. Normally there is a trend of getting emotional at this state, specially when I have put long hours in finishing or achieving something and an expectation arise that if I am respecting and understanding another person's views s/he should think for me too. But I have learned again and again that it is better to express my views than to keep expecting that my views will get heard/understood automatically. A stressful situation arises when I and others don't believe on same principle. So when I say this is right the other might say no you are absolutely wrong. This can be true, as  everybody has his/her own way of dealing a certain situation/problem/habit. Everybody aims for different deliverable from same project. There can be conflict of interests. A common platform is needed to be found out, in work front this can be tackled by arranging tactfully the experimental evidences, literature from other works to support/not support my/others views. At home front also very honest and logical approach is necessary.

Discussion is always important. Putting forward my own thought I feel is necessary, although l am still learning this art. Words unsaid could not be heard or understood, words are made to be told, of course balance is necessary, politeness is an absolute must and exaggeration should be avoided .

Well I think everybody goes through these states of mind, only difference is that the time period we spend in each of these state, may categorize us into organized vs. not so organized ones.
For me impulsiveness does override the compulsiveness in a situation, leads to a long period of 'do it all' state.  Sense of prioritization is also bit fizzy in me; for example now I am writing this blog and not thinking about tomorrows meal. A tug of war remains between what I should do to what I want to do. Lets see whether one amongst the two will win or the two will learn to live with each other may be not in an equal partnership but most probably in the 80:20  ratio.


  1. It happens to me fact I am worse than u....during vacation or holidays I always think about pending works,getting tensed about how much work to be done....thereby destroying the mood of holidays..and after the vacation when everybody starts work in a fresh mind, I feel tired, thinking when I will get the next holidays...this habit is something I desperately want to change...

  2. seems it is too common but rarely discussed.........once my younger sister told me to keep back the things where they after the work was finished and i replied back i dont live in a museum and i stick to the same even though i am married and have 2 kids, organization is a daunting task for me and it makes my head spin faster than being in a rollercoster, i do things at my own pace and they say i perform the best under pressure. HAHAHA. so just chill and things get sorted out when its their time.
    love to J