okay. this just made me laugh.
It is so hot…I have been spending a lot of time indoors and in the process of cleaning out I have had a couple of revelations.
I have lived with fear that the internet would disappear. The piece of information that I read once and knew I would someday need to preserve the world, a life, the online safety of children or cure old age would just evaporate and as I have a very short memory, I would never be able to find that jewel again. The internet was a vast treasure of knowledge and if I could just save everything I thought might be useful someday, then my head would grow and new grooves would form in my brain and I would find the answer to life, the universe – EVERYTHING!
Then came the summer of cleaning out. It started with the move to the new high school. Granted, I am a black belt procrastinator and card carrying grand pooba of packrattiness. (I know it’s not a real word – get over it)
I tried to throw things out. I thought I was doing well. Proud of my new skill, I read (and printed out) articles on organization. I separated items and papers into piles of four and five years out of date (pitch) and two of three years out of date (take home to file and read later).
That was the summer before last! Flash forward to the present heat wave summer and I am trying to take my office back. After filling several large trash bags with paper I have had an epiphany. The internet is not disappearing but it IS changing. Not only is the internet changing, but my interests change as well. Faster and faster, it seems. My skill to work on this year is to ask myself two questions before I print or keep something (aside from the obvious value as opposed to environmental impact and ink expense). Do I want to store/file this item? (if so print and file it or find a home for it NOW) Will it be relevant or useful in six months?
Articles on getting organized? Here is a tip I will share with you. Throwing things away is a very good way to get organized. Even better? Don’t keep them to begin with. I seem to be stuck between a time when a family set of encyclopedias could be purchased when the kiddies headed for kindergarten and still be useable when until graduation. And the now when you can carry an entire reference library in your pocket. Papers would be filed in neat folders and sorted into a relevant order and stored in a room filled with metal file cabinets. Now files can be stored in the cloud and accessed where ever you have internet access. I need to make the leap into this century. I am NOT advocating destruction of personal data that should be backed up in hard copy and stored securely. NO, NO and NO. I do not advocate getting rid of books altogether. I have a collection of books that I cannot part with. The piles of paperbacks are slowly leaving though. Much of my reading is now done on a kindle or iPad. The kindle for novels, the iPad for more visual books.
I’m talking about the blog article that I don’t have time to read right now (Instapaper) or the notes from the convention session I attended (Evernote) or the presentation I am working on (Google Docs and Dropbox). Research for a project I am interested in (see above), longer PDFs that I want to read on a car trip (Calibre and my kindle of Dropbox and iBooks)
I have also been archiving computer files to an external hard drive. If I just can’t make myself delete it and I don’t think I will need it in the next few months – it goes on the external.
I learn best if I can write it down. I know that seems funny to hear about someone who does almost everything on computers but it is true. There is something about my wiring that just works best if there is a physical connection between my eye, brain, and fingers. I have five by seven notebooks (and a smaller one for my purse) that I keep and take notes in. I learned this summer than most four page articles can be distilled into one page of handwritten notes. When a notebook is full, it goes up on the book shelf in my office. Someday my children will look through those notebooks and wonder why in the world??? Hopefully someone will remember the heatwave in the summer of 2011 and know that I was just trying to be productive while staying cool.
I will NOT be printing this article.