​​​​​​NEATNESS COUNTS
  • Arranging documents and other communications in an easy-to-follow, useful manner
  • Identifying and properly labeling data, information sources and assumptions
  • Organizing work in a methodical and tidy fashion, free from irregularity

COMMENTARY:
Neatness is a very high virtue that one should strive for, but as individuals we view neatness from different perspectives and levels. Neatness for many means a peace of mind, the ability to be productive, and general sanity.  
 
My family has put together many jigsaw puzzles over the years and we have a methodical way of doing so. Just like most people we first place all the pieces upright and put the edge together. Then we try to work from the outer edges towards the middle to complete the puzzle.  We recently played out a similar scenario, but on a much larger scale than a simple puzzle on a table.

My family is going through what I consider a high level of neatness awareness as we help our family members relocate from out of state to our hometown. We agreed to store their household furnishings for a few weeks (which will have evolved into a month when everything is done) to allow them time to get their new house ready to move into. To prepare for the big day of acquiring another ones’ household belongings, we quickly relocated some of our furniture to other rooms (i.e. dining room chairs in the bedrooms, etc). As we unloaded the U-Haul truck, my husband, who can methodically pack anything into the smallest of spaces, was the manager of where items should be placed in our home. It quickly became apparent to me that we had a challenge ahead of us, but it was also like a jigsaw puzzle in the sense that we were trying to figure out where all the pieces needed to be placed in order to take up the least amount of space, but yet fit snugly together. We eventually placed everything in our home, but if anyone walked into our home at this time not knowing what we had just accomplished, they would think that we are extremely untidy. However, I view the items as being neatly arranged (even though one cannot enter the dining room and there is a small walkway through the living room) and that they all fit snugly in the most methodical method. Everything is neatly arranged within a couple of rooms. There are many boxes placed on top of furniture pieces, but there is not any question as to what is inside because each box is neatly labeled, placed in an upright position, and neatly arranged. This scenario also reminds me that I have had at least two grocery store cashiers tell me that I would be good at Tetris because of the neatly order and methodical manner in which I place my grocery items on the conveyer.

At Funds For Learning, we also strive for neatness as we diligently prepare the E-rate applications for our clients. Each application is prepared electronically and reviewed by multiple staff members for accuracy and supporting documentation. We make sure all the puzzle pieces such as invoices, contracts, copies of bids, and list of recipients are all attached to the application in a methodical and easy-to-follow manner. This is not only important to the reviewer and client, but also saves time, decreases the chance of discrepancies, and increases efficiency and productivity. Neatness and order in the workplace matter—and not just because “neat is nice.” Studies show that when the workplace or organization of documents is cluttered, it is difficult to process the information, let alone focus on priorities, projects, and tasks.  he good news is that organizing one’s work is a low-cost activity with immediate and noticeable benefits.

I encourage others to strive for neatness in their daily workplace even if that means rearranging a few puzzle pieces to make your tasks more organized and productive. 

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Key Words and Phrases
Precise; Tidy; Methodical; Fastidious; Free from irregularity; Systematic; Arranged orderly; Admirable.

Opposite Terms
Disorganized; Sloppy; Messy; Disheveled.

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GuideMarks – Distinguishing Characteristics of FFL E-rate Guides

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