Wednesday, January 30, 2013

On Organization, Right-Brained Thinking and Office Supplies

Two weeks ago, I had the privilege of speaking to the Lancaster Christian Writers group on the topic of organization. They were a warm and enthusiastic bunch, and I had a wonderful time.

Among the resources I shared was one of the books that had ushered in a paradigm shift for me, Organizing For the Creative Person: Right-Brain Styles for Conquering Clutter, Mastering Time and Reaching Your Goals, by Dorothy Lehmkuhl. Until I read this book, I'd never considered the notion that people who are right brain dominant organize differently than those who are left brain dominant. Silly, really, since I'd been an educator for years, and firmly believed that different kids had different learning styles and that we could maximize what they learned by using those styles to their advantage. Still, I'd never made the leap to different organizational styles.

But, after I read that book, I sure did. I embraced that concept not only personally but professionally, cooking up style names designed to make organizational concepts fun and accessible for kids, and, as it turns out, adults too.

Then last weekend, I came across a nugget of information in a document I'd downloaded quite some time ago. Smead (the office supply company) had created a document called 100 Ideas for Better Organization. I'd been reading it in bits and pieces, but when I arrived at idea #72 last weekend, I stopped short.

There it was again. Right brain organizing.

Turns out that the need to leave things out in plain sight (one of the personal styles I discuss in my classes and presentations) is connected to right brain dominance. According to Idea #72, the right-brain-dominant person is stimulated to thinking and doing by the things they see.

Well, what do you know? My messy desk has more to do with the dominant side of my brain than my need (?) to operate in chaos.

But, as you can imagine, an office supply company doesn't put out a free publication without taking advantage of the opportunity to advertise their product. In this case, however, I was appreciative, because their "hints" and "suggestions" fed into my mission. When I talk to people about organization, there are two things I want them to know by the time they leave:
  • you aren't broken or flawed or somehow inferior if you struggle with organization and
  • you can turn your styles into assets.
More than halfway through my free download, I discovered that not only was my need to leave things lying out a reflection of my right-brained-ness, but there were office supplies geared to people like me. And you know what that means?

I'm not alone. Better yet, I'm a target market - one who can turn her styles into assets.

Well, that may be the nicest thing an office supply company has ever said to me.


  1. Good post. Can a person be a little of both? :)

  2. LOL! Absolutely! I think, though, that many of us who are naturally right-brained have learned left-brain how much is innate and how much is learned behavior? I'll leave that to the clinical psychologists!

    As always, thanks for reading!

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