• 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

It can be a struggle keeping things neat and organized. Doing so usually will take some immediate sacrifices such as speed, convenience, effort and concentration – and it is easy to convince yourself that those are too great a sacrifice. “I can’t be neat, because right now I have to focus on this problem” or “I’ll tidy this document up later when I have more time”. When you are in the thick of a task, under a deadline, or have people waiting on you, neatness can easily become secondary to some of the more urgent pressures in your life.

But like many things in life, there should be a balance. It may not be immediately apparent, but a well-balanced approach to neatness is really an investment instead of a complete sacrifice.

Neatness is like “paying it forward” to your future self (or in a team-based environment like FFL, your colleagues). The extra work that you put in now to make tidy arrangements, identify and clarify information and keep it organized, will result in fewer questions down the road, greater insight into what has already been done and good direction for what needs to happen next.

At the heart, I believe neatness is related to good communication. If your work is clear, does not have to be repeated, can be translated to other similar tasks and is easily interpreted, then it becomes much more valuable than just a completed task. Like a good conversation, neatness will have a positive impact on the people that participate, but untidy work will simply confuse and frustrate.

Do your future self a favor and tidy up, so you will be more empowered to build on what you have already done, and spend less time wondering what happened.


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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