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Organizing for Your Brain Type: Finding Your Own Solution to Managing Time, Paper, and Stuff [Paperback]

Lanna Nakone , Arlene Taylor
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

April 14 2005
Get---and stay---organized!

Let your natural inclinations guide you toward gaining control of your environment and learn to live life on your own terms. Drawing on the science of brain function and her experience as a professional organizer, Lanna Nakone offers tailored and specific advice that will actually work to help you tame your desk, unclutter your closet, manage your time, and save your sanity.

Take the Brain Style quiz to determine which of the four parts of the brain you rely on the most to process information, and which organizing style complements your brain function. If you rely on the

*Posterior left section of your brain, you're a Maintaining Style. You develop and follow routines well and adhere to traditional organizing methods.

*Frontal right section of your brain, you're an Innovating Style. Artistically creative, you have a unique stacking system that no one else understands.

*Posterior right section of your brain, you're a Harmonizing Style. Valuing interconnectedness with your family or coworkers, you need to be organized enough to keep your environment peaceful.

*Frontal left section of your brain, you're a Prioritizing Style. Adept at analyzing data, you prefer to delegate organizing.

Chapters specific to each type offer practical tips and strategies for implementing an organizing system, maintaining your system, and coexisting with different brain styles.

Insightful and understanding, Organizing for Your Brain Type turns the task of managing your life into an enjoyable experience.


Product Details


Product Description

About the Author

Lanna Nakone is a professional organizer and consultant. Her business, Organized World, boasts clients from corporations and busy executives to homemakers. A member of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO), she runs workshops and does extensive lecturing for The Executive Committee Worldwide (T.E.C.). She lives in St. Helena, California.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Organizing for Your Brain Type
Chapter One
Maintaining Style
The heavens themselves, the planets, and this center Observe degree, priority, and place, Insisture, course, proportion, season, form, Office, and custom, in all line of order.
--William Shakespeare, Ulysses in Troilus and Cressida, 1.3. 85-88
 
Let's start by stroking your ego. You deserve it! You see, your natural style matches societal expectations for the desirable organizational solution and the rest of us have been trying to emulate you throughout the ages. It's true, you are the epitome of efficiency, meticulous systematization, and clarity. Your work environment and home reflect a sense of reasonable order. No clutter. No piles. A place for everything and everything in its place. You are the technique specialist and like to keep yourself up to date with the latest approaches to ensure that you are doing your job well. So join me as you learn how to maximize your strengths and shed some light on new and proven ways to generate more energy, develop more skills, and increase your personal success.
Now, take a deep breath. For those of you who scored low in this section, you still use some of this type of methodical thinking for basic survival and efficiency. Although you may not feel comfortable using these skills for too long at a time, take solace in realizing that some of these techniques could give you a leg up, so it's a good idea to get to know this brain type. If a coworker, spouse, child, or friend is one of these amazing organizational types, reading this chapter will help you figure out what makes them tick and how you two can work better together.
Okay, Maintaining Style, you tend to prefer having specific steps you can follow, right down to the letter. I assure you, a custom-mademethodology is coming! (Lots of bulleted points are right around the corner. You will be able to easily check them off, one by one, so you can incorporate them immediately into your daily routine.) However, let's first explore the way you do things, and see if we can better understand how you could manage your environment effectively.
Relinquish a bit of control and let me support you. I know that that isn't your style. You prefer to have the directions, your car all tuned up, your lunch beside you, a map open, and know exactly what is expected of you once you arrive. Here is your agenda for this chapter:
• How your brain type works
• Why do you need help?
• How to manage your environment in your own style
• The details
• The strengths and challenges of your brain
• Organizing your time
• Organizing your home
• Organizing your office
• Conclusion
• Overview of the Maintaining Style
I will help you set up a structure for organizing that will be easy for you to understand, maintain, and--most important--enjoy. Don't worry about how to implement any of these ideas right away. You are likely already a highly productive worker and you may only need to tweak a little of this and that. Ultimately, all of these insights and tools will strengthen your belief in your inherent talents.
Even though you like to work alone, we will work together in dissecting some of your daily actions. This will give us insight into how you can shift your perception of what you are doing in order to achieve more ease and calm. This new relaxation will actually enhance your ability to achieve even more in a way that makes you feel confident and powerful.
HOW YOUR BRAIN TYPE WORKS
Order and simplification are the first steps toward the master of the subject.
--Thomas Mann, The Magic Mountain
 
Your brain is blessed with the ability to understand work, activities, and life in general by following proven routines. With your linear, structured style, you focus on details and develop effective methods that allow you to manage tasks and complete assignments, checking them off one by one. Your work style isn't about speed, but reflects a methodical approach that usually requires uninterrupted time to get the job done. Being slow-paced, deliberate, and sequential, your brain type prefers doing things in a way that can appear to others as somewhat boring. But who cares, you do it right the first time and would rather take the time to be right than the first one done! Since you tend to be traditional and a somewhat conservative planner, you follow the rules. But that's your innate way, and it works just fine, combined with doing things in the same order, preferably at the same time of day. To you, routine is the proper and precise way to work. As you say, "If you are going to do it, do it right." Which way is right? Your way, of course!
You prefer to classify information in either chronological or alphabetical order. You may even have your own organizational system that you've developed and always use. (For example, A, B, C ... 1, 2, 3 ... I, II, III ... . ) You then typically store that information in a neat and conscientious way--since you are the "maintainer of info"--that still provides you with easy, stress-free retrieval when it is urgently requested for a meeting. Being the implementer of planned agendas and guidance, you don't like to just wing it. That would feel very uncomfortable and may even cause you to panic.
The tasks you need to perform on any given day are typically listed in your day planner. Being incredibly specific about your time commitments, even weekend time is included, and notes are structured in a step-by-step, timely fashion. You are able to schedule with accuracy,since you've done the same procedures a hundred times and know just how long they take.
Uniformity brings you consistency and accuracy--time and time again. Where you feel most comfortable many others feel stifled, or uninspired. By doing what has been previously done, your brain finds comfort and success as you continually use proven techniques. Others see you as productive because you don't waste time trying to reinvent the wheel. You tend to work methodically and are very thorough in all that you do. You find it easier to begin a project when you know how it was done in the past. And depending on your sensory preference, you would either prefer to see it done (visual), read or hear about it (auditory), or participate in a hands-on demonstration (kinesthetic).
The two biggest enemies to your comfort zone are interruption and surprise. As a result, change, in any shape or form, can cause stress and may even make you so confused that you find it difficult to get back on track. Your schedule may turn upside down if one thing gets out of place. In managing time, the crux of your dilemma is trying to complete tasks when things around you are hectic and present frequent interruptions. Take a deep breath. And then another. Remember, you are always willing to spend the time to get organized and that you are in control of your surroundings.
New things and new approaches can cause you discomfort. You overcome your fear of change when you see that a new procedure has proven effective. It takes a lot for you to move into unknown territory. Therefore, when you are asked to do something new, you may want to ask specific questions that you have written down first. You need first to understand why you are doing it that way, process it, and then do it. You think before you move. That way you are able to gather your wits, get the details straight, and plan a face-to-face meeting.
You receive recognition from your family or coworkers most often when you are able to integrate facts and figures with procedures that are already in place. By being able to report sequentially, in projects and correspondence, you can help your superiors "look good" at work. By maintaining and retrieving documents, you help them to make quick and accurate decisions. You offer good value wherever you go. Youmay not appear flashy, but you are the reliable behind-the-scenes person who systematizes routine tasks easily and effortlessly.
You also tend to be the quintessential keeper of all the paperwork, facts, figures, and policies in your organization. Thank God, someone knows the rules! When in doubt or need of something, your coworkers or family members always ask you, "Where is the ... ?" And you always know! Your tax returns are filed on time; kids are picked up from school; and Christmas presents arrive before December 25. All of us owe a lot to you. Our world and families depend on you. When I lecture to various CEOs around the world, most of them crave working with someone like you, and other than their intimate partner, you may be the most important asset in their lives.
WHY DO YOU NEED HELP?
Never before have we had so little time in which to do so much.
--Franklin D. Roosevelt
 
During the past few years, 60 percent of my clients have been people like you--people who are very well organized but who are very stressed out keeping it all together. We work side by side and enjoy the process of discussing organizational skills. When I work with the rest of my client base, it's a different story. They normally disappear the moment I arrive. They want me to "take care of it" and are unnerved by the process of organizing, period.
Why do I work with your type the most? First, you are aware of the fact that so many people depend on you and you need to have everything in good order and easily accessible. Second, you, more than anyone, know the value of organizing, how beneficial it can be to your life, and are therefore willing to spend the time and the money to do it. Third, you are likely to stick to a new set of daily routines if they are explained to you and you see the value in them. You ...

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
I have created customized organizing systems for thousands of clients, ranging from individuals overwhelmed by clutter in their home to large-scale corporate offices needing streamlined systems. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Valid idea but need more information! Aug. 7 2010
Format:Paperback
This book caught my eye at the library; I quickly did the quiz at the beginning and skipped to the chapter that was pertinent to my "brain type" (which is really just her categorization of an organizing style--mine being "innovative style.") I was excited as I read through the chapter, because I recognized myself and my patterns so completely! But it's a short chapter, and the few ideas she listed for ways to cope with my style were basically things I am already intuitively doing. Because she was so right on the money in "diagnosing" me, I was disappointed by not finding more detailed suggestions to follow. All her case studies for my style were high-flying Hollywood types with unlimited funds and manpower at their disposal, which doesn't help me at all. (I am a artist and writer who works at home.)

I went to the website listed on the book, hoping to find more information, but it is no longer a valid website. I guess the author has moved on to other things. Overall, disappointing. My recommendation would be to check out this book in the library, read the chapter that is pertinent to you, and then buy Julie Morgenstern's books,Organizing from the Inside Out, second edition: The Foolproof System For Organizing Your Home, Your Office and Your Life which have a lot of real, useful, practical suggestions.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  19 reviews
43 of 44 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very helpful information Dec 4 2005
By RK - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
As the reviews say the book consists of looking at how we organize our life using 4 brains types. There is the Prioritizing type, the Maintaining type, the Innovating type, and Harmonizing type. Overall I found the book well written and enjoyed how the author looked at how each brain type functions overall. She talks about ways each brain type can: use a calendar more effectively, use storage space, deal with paperwork, organize your home and office space, and organize your environment. Also, at the end of each brain type chapter, she gives a nice bullet point summary of key points so that you don't have to go back and re-read in detail.

My only problem with the book was the testing method in helping to find your brain type. The test was 50 questions (too long) and many of the questions where things I had problems relating to. For example some questions asked:

You are reminded about going to the opera when:

1. Check your planner a day in advance

2. Notice post-its over the house

3. Friends shows up at door step

4. Your Palm Pilot's alarm goes off 15 before you are to leave

While Typing, you notice your dog is looking at you with those huge hungry eyes you:

1. Tell him you feed him at the same time

2. Your dog never looks hungry there food on the floor all the times

3. Throw him your half-eaten doughnut form breakfast this morning

4. Tell him to lie down and wait until you are done

You normally try to avoid conversations that:

1. Involve the future

2. That go into great detail

3. That deal with figures

4. That is too touch-feely

For me these questions (and some others) depend on situations. I may talk touch-feely at one time, and depending on the day or my mood, I might feed the dog now or wait. The test would have been more effective had it dealt with typical situations. My guess is she was trying to offer something different than the other books out there on organization that gives tests using every day situations, but her test did not work for me. Also, by her own admission, she says some of the test questions "seemed a little over the top" and what I found was because some of the questions were over the top, I scored in a different brain type category (Prioritizing style) when after reading the other brain types, I am clearly a Maintaining type.

My only suggestion would be is to take the test, but make sure you read the other types to see if they don't fit you better. The the book is arranged in a way that you can scan the other brain types easily. Overall the book is very good and offers good tips and info.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The only place to start Aug. 5 2007
By Jeanne Maher - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Like so many people, I have read plenty of organizing books. I try to implement the recommended systems, but, if I even get the system in place, I can't sustain an uncluttered environment.

In Lanna Nakone's book, I learned that traditional systems of organizing only work for people who are already natural organizers. Only by understanding the way your own brain works, can you begin to implement organizational systems that will last for you. Read this book first, then you can sift through other organizers' advice and select what will ultimately work for you.

Raleigh area residents can find free support using Ms. Nakone's system at [...]
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Useful and Practical Information, Fun to Read Feb. 20 2007
By B. Jones - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I am very busy, so I do not have a lot of spare time to read. I liked how this book was concise and practical, and yet still fun to read. It is organized well so that I could quickly get the information I needed to help get myself organized, and then go back later and read about other types.

I especially liked the section which showed how people with other brain types viewed people with my type; it was uncanny!

I liked it enough to order two more copies for friends.
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Different slant on the Organizing problem comes up short Feb. 8 2007
By Reading Mom - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I found the ideas in the beginning of this book to be interesting -- and obvious. Of course everyone is not the same and needs different organizing techniques. It is a nice idea to have different ways of organizing in one book, geared towards the different ways people think.

However -- the quiz to figure out what "type" you are had some flaws. The answers are exaggerated to make it easy to select "your" answer, but some of the questions are things that aren't relevant (to me), and some of the answers didn't fit me at all. Once one type became clear, I found I fit around half of the qualities for that type.

Given the point that we are not all one type, I would have expected more information on how each person may have more than one style. This was not addressed at all.

While this books has some new ideas, I found most of them fell in the category "You are different, you don't have to do things like <them>." There are different suggestions for each Style, but I found them too general.

In addition, there is a "sensory" quiz, to let you know if you are a visual, auditory, or kinesthetic person. I found this interesting as well, but did not get conclusive results on the quiz. The suggestions for the sensory preference within each style were, again, interesting.

All in all, I will use some of the ideas that I read in this book, in particular, some of the ideas behind why my "style" likes and dislikes certain things. I will mix that in to all of the other information I have read about organization and hopefully continue to develop something effective for me. I would not recommend purchasing this book, though, at least not without a dry run at the library. In addition to feeling it was incomplete, the writing style was sometimes irritating, with stories that weren't always on topic. I also think the author is of the "Harmonizing Style", as the way she wrote that chapter is markedly different from the others. Although she says each style is just the way certain people do things, no one style is better than any other, the treatment of Priorizing Style people isn't as kind in the end chapter about working with different styles.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Organizing for your brain type Feb. 19 2007
By Ghost Writer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
One of the best organizing books for a chronically messy person! Actually, I'm not messy...I just do things differently. Easy to understand, easy to follow.
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