I just finished reading “Getting Organized in the Google
Era”. It was written by Douglas Merrill, the former Chief Information Officer of
Google. Merrill has a Ph.D. in cognitive science. He offers a lot of
information about how our brains works and the way we think to determine why we
are disorganized. Basically, our lack of organizing skills is not our fault.
Our brains just weren’t meant to deal with all of the information we try to handle. Merrill shares many interesting and often
humorous stories. Stories, he says, are a great way to help us remember things.
He focuses on 21 principles of organizing. He covers some of
the basics like avoid multitasking, group similar task and break big projects
into smaller ones. He also challenges us to think outside of the traditional
“get organized” box by sharing that he avoids filing and keeps piles on his
desk. He relies on the search function instead of taking the time to set up
separate folders on his computer and in his cloud.
Throughout the book he tells us that his way is not the only
way and it may not be right for everyone. It does offer a new perspective on
organizing and I can say that I have implemented several of his concepts into
my own system.
This book is a whole lot of Google! It really appears to me
to be as much a Google How-To manual and Google advertisement as it is an
organizing book. What did I expect from a book called “Getting Organized in the
Google Era”, written by the former CIO of Google?
Merrill explains that he doesn’t use or recommend Google
tools because he worked there. He believes they are the best for what they do
and they continue to improve. He does offer many other options for the concepts her recommends.
Even if you’re not sold on cloud computing or Google tools,
I think it’s a good read with a lot of great resources and ideas. By far my
favorite principle in the book is that “work-life balance” is just not
possible. Merrill says “Integrate work with life instead of trying to balance
the two.” That is just plain brilliant!