Mario Villalobos

Organizational Fetish

Organization is important to me. I don’t just need to know where everything is, I also have to know that everything’s organized in the best and most efficient way possible. I would love to have every aspect of my life follow these parameters, but I don’t. It seems like once I get one thing organized just the way I want it, I have to inevitably start using it in some way, causing it to become disorganized unless I’m actively maintaining it. Maintenance is one of the worst things in the world. I hate maintenance with a fucking passion. For example, my todo list. No matter how much time I’ve spent organizing these tasks into just the right lists with just the right contexts, the system requires I keep adding tasks because life keeps going. Every new item needs to be processed, and if I don’t spend the minimal time-cost upfront, I’m going to be expending so much time and sanity, as each unprocessed task nags at me, no matter how minimally. So how can I remedy this?

One thing I’ve found that works for me are habits and routines. If I make it a habit to process each item that comes into my todo list just as I’m adding it, then I don’t have to worry that my todo list is disorganized. Since those tasks are all processed, my mind is free to think about other things, like sex and shopping. Unfortunately, I’m not always good at this. And I’ve unfairly singled out my todo list. My OmniFocus database is arguably the most important system I have going for me since my whole life is in there. It’s really my personal assistant, always telling me what to do next. What made me bring this up is work. My predecessor left me a list of IP addresses for every single device on the network, and he typed it up in a simple Word document. I hate Word with a passion. Sorry, with a fucking passion. This is a screenshot of Scrivener in Compose mode (how I write all my blog entries):

Notice how simple that is. Just me and my text. Nothing else. And here’s that Word document my predecessor gave me:

It’s atrocious. Yuck. And look how dense all that information is. My eyes glazed over when I first saw this. Fortunately, thanks to another program by the same makers of OmniFocus, I can organize this information in a very readable and effective way. The program is OmniOutliner. All OmniOutliner focuses on are, simply enough, outlines. Here’s the same IP Schemes document in OmniOutliner:

See how I can collapse and expand rows to show me just what I want to see? See how I can also customize it with colors and different fonts at each level in the outline? Dense information should be broken up into smaller pieces, and it should be organized in a way that helps you understand the information rather than producing friction. The same thing for life.

Here come the three pillars again: mind, body, spirit. Three areas, each with a different focus than the other, each with its own organizational structure. That’s how I try to organize my life. I’m not good at this yet, but I have noticed how much more focused it makes me feel. When I’m disorganized and unfocused, I’m aimless. When I’m aimless, I get depressed. When I’m depressed, I contemplate suicide. That’s a path I don’t like being on. Am I saying this organizational fetish I have is a life or death situation for me?


No, not really. But it helps me stay happy if I keep working at it. So I just have to keep moving because if I stop, I die. Like Crank. But not really. Well, maybe a little bit.