Snuffing Out Pseudo-Emergencies

Monday, October 24, 2016

Welton Chang has a piece at Medium titled, "How Proper Planning and Being Organized Sets the Table for Productivity," and it offers a concise, but rich list of suggestions. I encountered the article through a Lifehacker post highlighting a "backwards planning" technique for meeting deadlines (or at least detecting those that will need negotiating in advance). That is new to me, and I plan to try it, but here's one that has served me very well over the years:

Organization, whether it be the file structure on your computer or the way you maintain written notes, means being able to call on the things and knowledge you need in a timely manner. I can't tell you how many times I've gotten frantic emails or calls from colleagues who misplaced a file or can't remember something and need to be reminded. Keeping yourself organized and having a system prevents these kinds of pseudo-emergencies from cropping up.
Pseudo-emergencies. What an apt term. And, yes, one of the first things that disorganized people do when they panic is -- if you're unfortunate enough to be working with them -- to suck you into the crisis. I am not sure whether I am more relieved that I have often been able to snuff such calls out quickly, or amazed at how disorganized many people get away with being. One of my biggest pet peeves is having to find something I know I have, and double if I have to drop what I'm doing and do so for someone else.

I hope I find backwards planning half as rewarding a practice.

-- CAV

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