Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break.

Ellen and I walked into the side door of a third neighbor’s house. Every counter top in the pantry was covered with stacks of mail, papers, magazines and books. Some of the stacks had a definite lean to them and looked like our walking by them would be enough to send them sliding to the floor.

My mouth must have been hanging open because Ellen looked at me and said, “She only lets good friends come in this way. In this world there are two ways to organize; piles or files. Shari wins the grand prize for piles.”

Until I saw that pantry, I thought I was a piler. Human Resources is a champion generator of paper. I often had more than one project going at a time and had project piles along the window and on one end of the table. I really did know where everything was and I didn’t file stuff until I was finished with a project. I charged my University of Minnesota MBA interns to help me get to a paperless office two years in a row. The third year the advisor called to see if I had exhausted that project and (hint, hint) maybe had another one in mind.

My life is simpler now and I do most everything on-line. The computer has forced me into the folders I resisted at work. A person like me, a natural piler, is at a distinct disadvantage using the computer. It doesn’t want me to pile or at least it doesn’t make it easy. My bookmarks are a long list that fortunately seems to sort itself into alphabetical order. Odd things tickle my curiosity and the title of the bookmark doesn’t always remind me what about that item interested me. I have document folders labeled misc1, misc2 etc. That isn’t at all helpful. The little looking glass icon works as a searcher sometimes but not always.

Okay all you filers, I am looking for help here. What’s a piler to do? And for the pilers among us, have you abandoned your piles? Can you function without them?

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