An Antidote to Digital Disorder

When I saw a recent podcast by Dr. Sanjay Gupta about messiness I thought immediately of my own work environment.  I realized that today we all have two desktops -one physical and one in our computer. In my case, my physical desktop is in fact a mess but my computer desktop and files are very well organized.

With this in mind, I listened to the Gupta podcast and then did a little more research on the impact on our work lives of being messy. The research is succinctly summed up in a Harvard Business Review article as “When our space is a mess, so are we.”  Some effects of messiness are obvious. We lose time trying to prioritize, find the needed document or other resource and are generally less efficient. Other effects are more subtle.

Read The Case for Finally Cleaning Your Desk by Libby Sander in the Harvard Business Review.   

Disorganization Drains out Cognitive Resources

The human brain processes constant inputs from our environment consciously and unconsciously. Ms. Sander describes the conclusions of researchers at Princeton that, “constant visual reminders of disorganization drain our cognitive resources and reduce our ability to focus.”  Ms. Sander goes on to cite research correlating messiness to procrastination, and may even trigger adverse coping and avoidance behaviors or feelings of stress, anxiety or even depression.

Messiness in the Digital World

Messiness can occur nearly as much in the virtual world as it does in the real world. We have all seen computer screens where the desktop is filled with random documents or there are dozens of tabs open at the top. Without good organization, you can misplace a document in your computer just about as easily as misplacing it in a messy office or poor physical filing system.

Most individual software programs provide some means of organization within the program. To be effective, these need to be intuitive by providing a logical structure where people would expect to find things. But digital disorder also arises from the use of several software programs to run a single type of business. Without integration between the applications, using different programs may mean moving data around manually, which is inefficient and subject to error. Worse, using multiple software tools with anything less than rigorous consistency will ultimately lead to the same kind of search for the information you need as sorting through a messy physical desktop or filing cabinet.

ADR Notable:  An Antidote to Digital Disorder

ADR Notable offers an antidote to digital disorder in your dispute resolution practice. ADR Notable was designed specifically for conflict management, at both a case and full practice level so it is intuitive. Everything you need to run your practice can be organized and stored in this single software product. It integrates a few tools like calendar and email, allowing you to work from a single platform without juggling data and disparate applications.

As the end of the year approaches, it’s a great time to think about your goals for 2024. “Get Organized” annually appears in lists of the most common New Year’s Resolutions, and based on the research, it’s a great one to choose. We can’t come and clean up your office, but we can give you the tool to get organized and clean up a messy computer.

Sign up for a demo to see more, or try it out yourself for 14 days at no cost.  You don’t even need to provide a credit card.

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