This episode of PPILL brought to you courtesy of the tedious work of assembling IKEA furniture.
When everything is commingled together, it takes us longer to find what we are looking for. So we have separated Large and Small eggs so they can be sold with different price points, or we have pre-sorted daily doses of pills, to make sure that all medications are taken. This is the value of sorting, but the way things should be sorted is related to how the stuff that’s being sorted is intended to be used.
If we have a large number of small parts that we need to assemble something, we are going to spend a large amount of time picking the right part for our next task. We could instead, separate all the parts by types. This way, if we are doing repetitive tasks that require the same part over and over again, we can just grab the ones we’ll need.
By contrast, if we need to repeat a sequence of tasks that each will require a different part (think assembling many drawers), it can make more sense to sort the parts in small groups containing one of each that we’ll need.
Nowadays, sorting is not only for tiny screws, or other physical objects. Sorting media and bits of knowledge is as, or even more important, because the explosion in the amount of data is staggering. First Yahoo, then Google, and now we even have Pinterest. We even got Books of the Channel. The job of the curator is an important one, it is to sort into categories that we can consume quickly and with the least waste.