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Organizational Habits Are Tied to Personality - Are You a Piler, Filer or Tosser?

May 11, 2008
We've found that a person's actions are often dictated by their personality type. We commissioned a study hundreds of office workers across the country to determine what make them tick from an organizational perspective. We found that people fell into one of three main categories: Pilers, Filers and Tossers. What we were surprised to find is that people's organizational habits are directly tied to their personality.

For example, anxious individuals are likely to be Filers. The act of maintaining order in their world, and their workspace, is soothing. It helps them feel like they're in control of their environment, and their feelings.

Pilers, on the other hand, don't mind clutter because they actually have a dependable system of organization, they can probably tell you which pile any given memo is in at any time. Pilers are 'big picture' people, who don't let themselves get lost in the details. In the business world, they adapt by either developing their own systems to handle the details, like piling, or surrounding themselves with people who can effectively implement details.

Surprisingly, Tossers are the individuals with a clear lack of organization. Like their Piler cousins, Tossers aren't detail-oriented. The difference is that Tossers deal with details by not dealing with them. They don't have the skills to maintain organization, so these natural risk takers get rid of almost everything. To be successful, Tossers need to learn how to identify what they'll need in the future, and find a way to hang on to it.

Want to know more about your boss (or even yourself)? Take a look at their desk, and then read on through this interesting survey, Pendaflex has uncovered the secrets of "Pilers", "Filers", and "Tossers":

POPULAR PILERS (48 percent) You can probably find a Piler, or lots of Pilers, in your office Nearly half of American employees claim they regularly organize paper by piling it on their desktop. This love of chaos isn't limited to the office, 59 percent of Pilers say their house is 'somewhat messy.' These self-described 'sophisticated workaholics' loosen up by watching their favorite sport, baseball. What is the dream vacation for Pilers? Packing up a tent with Fido and heading out for a camping trip. They are intellectuals, holding the most master's and doctorate degrees.

FAITHFUL FILERS (38 percent) Neatnik Filers are as fussy about their home as their workspace; nearly two thirds boast that they maintain a 'neat' abode. At work, they boast management titles, and claim to be 'conservative', yet 'easy going' individuals. These filing aficionados are most likely to have a bachelor's degree hanging from their office wall, and daydream of sunbathing on a tropical island. After they leave work, Filers unwind by listening to the smooth sounds of R&B and jazz, or head off for a swim.

TART TOSSERS (14 percent) It's official, clutter-averse Tossers aren't happy unless a surface is bare. Not only is their desk pile- and file-free, they won't settle for anything less than a perfectly tidy home. In their spare time, Tossers play hoops and hit the town with friends. It's no surprise that these self-described 'young at heart' social butterflies are drawn to big cities for vacations. These social tendencies serve them well in the workplace, despite being the most likely to have only high school diploma, Tossers are most likely to be team leaders.
About the Author
Sharon Mann is an organizational expert, author and president of the 'I Hate Filing Club', part of Pendaflex. Customers can download a free Guide to Office Organization.
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