The elasticated office

August 17, 2011

I am in the airport hotel in Honolulu, fiddling with my laptop. No hang on, that sounds all wrong. I am moving files on my computer and adjusting this and that. It strikes me that my computer is a lot more organised than my office, which is packed with unfindable pieces of paper at almost neutron star density. Why is that ?

Meanwhile, doing some web-meandering (so much more accurate than “surfing”) I came across this : an amusingly weird physically hyperlinked book. The pages are joined by coloured pieces of thread. Well, I am months out of date of course but hey ho. Then I remembered my great invention, which I have failed to patent after several years of boring people with the idea at coffee time : the elasticated office. Permit me to explain.

In my physical office, when I start a project I pluck things out of folders and filing cabinet sections, and make a working pile. For some days I work work work and the pile grows. Then, as I realise I need to start something else, I become conflicted. I know that I ought to put all those things away. But … the new project is of course terribly urgent. You know what wins. I put off the unsplicing and start a new pile. The inexorable result is a set of randomised piles of documents spread confusingly round the office. Entropy has done its thing yet again.

Now … when working on my computer there are no piles. I don’t move any files, you see. I open a file, clickety-click, and when I am done, I click that nice friendly X and — zip — it closes, and goes back where it came from ! On my Mac I can even make virtual piles, again without moving the docs, and when I am done I just delete the whole thing.

So… I suddenly realised what I need back in the physical world. Every paper document in every filing cabinet section should be on a piece of elastic ! I pull it out, read it, and when I am done, just let go, and — zip — it flies back to where it came from !! Bingo !

I realise there may be topological issues here, but I am working on it.