Thursday, July 10, 2008

Put Away Your Toys!

As a child, my parents would say this to me -- and to my brothers -- often. While we didn't always get why they were asking us to do it, we understood what they meant when they said it. Finish what you started, clean up your mess and move on. Fundamentally, I have been doing this all my professional life, even if the toy part as a child was lost on me. Projects are finished, you clean up, sort through the manila file, which usually contained everything related to that product launch or media event or community relations opportunity. Then, you tossed what you didn't need or what was duplicated and put a new label on the file and with some very savvy coding, filed it in a metal filing cabinet.

Then along came the Internet and electronic documents and now what do I do? There's just not one place for everything anymore. Sure, I have bookmarks and favorites, but not all my technical gizmos can be neatly placed in a manila file folder, much less the cabinet.

It may not be that the "pages" are all 8 1/2 x 11 either. The real reason may be that the projects just don't end anymore. They morph on and repeat and often the lines are blurred between finishing one project and starting another. This does not even address the issue of time compression and project overload. So the question in my mind is now: when is it time to put away my toys?

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