I’ve always thought of myself as a very organized person, to the point of slight compulsive behavior. I make lists of things to do (as a one-off, every week, or asap); lists of things done; lists of thoughts I’ve had; lists of sites I like visiting; lists of quotes, etc. I have great systems for keeping myself organized that ensures I never forget anything and allows me to prioritize my tasks.
I had a conversation with one of the companies that do personality trait assessment. Usually I don’t find these things particularly useful–anything they tell me I could have told them initially (since I know my strengths and weaknesses well); moreover, the answers they give me are usually limited at trying to get me to realize my strengths and weaknesses (which I already do) and carefully try not to offend me (which is a waste of time since it’s really difficult to offend me). However, there was one thing these guys said that made me stop and think. They said that my great organizational skills and the ability to manage large lists of tasks in the right order are just a way for me to compensate for my natural drawbacks in these areas. In other words, I’ve constructed an elaborate workaround for my problem, to the point where even I believe that I’m efficient.
The interesting thing is, I have no way to prove whether they are right or not (since there is no good test on where your personality traits come from) but I accept the possibility they are right. This allows me to think about some things I could do if they were right that would address the root part of the problem. These root problems are useful to squash, because it’s likely they will cause other problems (not the hypothetical one) later on. In the face of the absence of information, we have to make the most educated guesses and try to precompute what makes sense to precompute.