The organising technique of a productivity wizard
What Adam Savage from Myth Busters can teach you about organising your things to get more done
Adam Savage is the Dumbledore of productivity. This guy has built everything from pianos to robotic sharks. He has been busting myths AND ass. According to Adam, one of the things that have allowed him to make the most of his time is his organizing technique. He calls it first-order retrievability.
When you organize your stuff with first-order retrievability in mind, you make sure that you never have to move anything out of the way to grab something else. This allows you to move fast as you never have to look for the tool you need to use or re-organize something else when you take it out. “Drawers are where things go to die,” says Adam. You don’t want clutter to slow you down when you’re fired up. Being able to keep his pace throughout a build is key to staying productive and creative.
My tools are not nearly as heavy-duty as the ones Adam is using to build plate armor and lightsabers. But I’m still very inspired by his approach to organizing. For instance, I’m always keeping my pen and notebook on me to be able to write down ideas throughout my day. I’m also trying to apply first-order retrievability to the way I organize my digital tools. I try to keep the number of browser tabs I have open at a minimum. And I have set up my safari start page with shortcuts to the sites I use the most for my work. That way they’re never further than a click away.
First-order retrievability is not only great for organizing your physical and digital workshops. I believe that eliminating clutter from every room in your home will have a major impact on your productivity. Organizing your kitchen with productivity in mind is a great way to make sure you’re spending less time cooking plus cleaning and more time working on the projects you’re really passionate about. The same goes for the way you handle laundry and all the other time-consuming stuff we have to deal with on a daily basis.
You can’t buy more time. But maybe you make more time by reorganizing your work and living spaces.