Morning Walk #44
Being organized has nothing to do with success
Hi. I’m Stepa Mitaki. I’m a product person and an entrepreneur. I’ve been working in 🏙 govtech for eight years and currently work at a UK-based 🏦 fintech startup Silverbird while building a new company in 👩🏼⚕️ health tech on the side.
Morning Walk is a personal weekly newsletter where I share some musings on tech, digital healthcare, working on startups, productivity, some nerdy stuff and an occasional share of reflections on the Ukraine war and how it feels being Russian at this moment in history.
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📑 Being organized has nothing to do with success
I don't know about you, but I like being organized. I can't think properly if items on my desk aren't neatly put together and everything is in place. The same goes for order in my mind and work affairs. I like putting together high-level mind maps to track what I'm working on and how every tiny thing fits together. As a result, I'm obsessed with planning and neatly organizing projects, tasks, tools, you name it. If you would bring chaos into my todo list organization, I'd be able to deal with the emergencies somehow, but that would feel highly stressful, and I'd probably be thrown away for some time with any of my long-term goals and objectives.
I always felt that keeping track of this high-level picture and being organized about it is one of the key traits of successful people. I simply couldn't imagine otherwise. Whenever I see a successful person, I always think about how she keeps track of myriad things that are taking place in their work. They must be extremely organized; otherwise, it seems impossible to me. They must know some magic trick to turn their knowledge and day-to-day activities into a library where one could easily find anything.
The origin of this perception is unknown to me. Maybe, it's part of my own thinking mixed with the media that yells from every corner that being organized would boost your productivity. Well, being productive doesn't mean being successful. It doesn't even mean being good at your job.
One day, on the walk, out of the blue, my wife asked me: could you say that the best people you have worked with were well-organized? I started going over some of the best leaders I knew, and the realization was surprising. None of them were.
So I asked some friends to think of the very best people they have worked with during their careers. Those who were true leaders they were looking up to and who have been very good at what they do. And then I asked, "Could you say they are well-organized?". Nine out of ten were resounding "Hell no!".
Then I started thinking of some famous people. Not surprisingly, I couldn't find any evidence they were very organized. In fact, it was quite the opposite. Sure, messy desks don't mean the person doesn't organize everything properly in his mind, but it's almost always correlated.
Einstein even once said:
If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, then what are we to think of an empty desk?"
Staying organized takes a lot of energy. It does make you feel more productive, but being productive doesn't make you successful. Working hard and being intelligent do.
Recommendations of the week
👨🏼🔬 Y Combinator: The Institute of Innovation (read)
Yet another phenomenal deep dive from The Generalist. This time on one of the best and most successful players in venture capital, Y Combinator.
"YC is no longer just an accelerator," said Anu Hariharan, "It's a full stack product."
🚰 What's the Deal With Water Bottles? (NYTimes, interactive storytelling)
The story is fun, but I was even more impressed by the way NYTimes tells this story using scrolling effects, gifs, videos, and other interactive elements. That's how you leverage tech to tell a captivating story.
⌛️ How to lose time and money (Paul Graham, read)
I occasionally reread some of my favorite Paul's essays, and this is a great reminder to be more conscious of how you spend your time. Especially if you spend a lot of time trying to be organized 😅
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That’s it for today. Thanks for reading. Until next week 👋🏻
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