​​​​​​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:
Although the term likely means different things to different people, most can agree that neatness is important – even if we’re not always as neat as we’d like to be. It may be more important to some than others. We may go about it in different ways. But I think nearly everyone acknowledges that there are benefits in maintaining a degree of neatness. 

I’ve been told that my need to be neat, clutter free, and well-organized borders on annoying. My girlfriend of three years would argue that I’m well past that point. It’s probably true. Clutter stresses me out. Being disorganized just isn’t an option for me. And I don’t like having things out of place, dirty, or hard to find. 
 
I admit, I can get a little carried away. At home, I make several Goodwill trips a month, donating clothes, furniture, anything really, just to get it out of my house and off my mind. At work, when people walk by my office, I’m sure they’d be surprised someone’s using it. I’ve got my briefcase, a few books, and some post-it note reminders – that’s it. It’s comfortable to me; it might seem a little obsessive to others. 
 
As with most things in life, there’s probably an appropriate balance to strike. I think neatness is more important to some than others, and the utility in being well-organized varies for each of us. Neatness may also be more or less crucial depending on the circumstances. But, in my view, one place it’s vital to remain especially neat is the workplace, particularly when you serve clients and are part of larger organization dependent on working together. 
 
At Funds For Learning, Neatness Counts is one of our GuideMarks. It encompasses the following principles:
  • 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
When I put to use the above concepts, the results are significant. Doing so tends to increase the effectiveness of communications, makes information easier to locate, and produces more consistent results in my work. And most importantly, it limits my mistakes. 
 
When I get a little sloppy, careless, or disorganized, it often leads to me forgetting or losing something. Because others –FFL clients or co-workers –depend on me to provide mistake-free and useful information, it is critical that I do what I can to meet that expectation. And for me, a big part of that means being neat.

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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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