Understanding how you process information to help you get organized, part I

When you read a book or newspaper article, do you instantly commit it to memory? Or, are you someone who likes to pace the floor when you’re thinking? Maybe you are someone who can hear a lecture and have no need to take a single note?

How you process information has a strong correlation to how you may want to organize your home and office. Strategies that work well for an audible processor might fall flat on someone who prefers to intake information visually. Knowing yourself and your preferences can make a difference in how successful you are at creating an organization system. The two posts in our “understanding how you process information to help you get organized” series will hopefully aid you in creating your profile.

The first step is to begin by identifying what type of an information processor you are: visual, auditory, or kinesthetic/tactile. Take the following quiz to help identify where you fall in the information processing spectrum:

Directions: Add one point to your score for each statement that strongly applies to you. The category with the most points is your dominant processing style. You may have strengths in more than one category.

Visual processor –

  1. I can remember that I need to do something if I write it down.
  2. I need to visualize myself wearing something to make a decision about what I want to wear.
  3. I take copious notes during meetings and often can remember what the page of notes looks like before I remember what the notes say.
  4. I need to look at a person when they’re speaking.
  5. It has to be quiet for me to be able to complete my work.
  6. Seeing data displayed in a graph is vital to me understanding numerical information.
  7. I am horrible at remembering jokes.
  8. I can remember phone numbers if I can visualize typing them on a phone’s key pad.

Auditory processor –

  1. I prefer to listen to books on tape or to read books aloud.
  2. The more I discuss a problem with my co-workers, the easier it is for me to find its solution.
  3. In school, I only needed to attend class lectures to perform fine on the tests.
  4. I remember what people have said before I remember who said it.
  5. I like to complete one task before starting a new one.
  6. A train could be passing through my living room and I would still be able to hold a good conversation with my Aunt Sally on the phone.
  7. When I forget how to spell a word, I sound it out.
  8. At the grocery store, I repeat my list either in my head or aloud.

Kinesthetic/Tactile processor –

  1. When I take on a project, I want to start doing instead of planning.
  2. When I need to take a break from working, I have to get up and move around my office.
  3. I can work effectively in a coffee shop or in an airport waiting area — I don’t need to be at my desk to do work.
  4. I can remember a client’s name better if I shake her hand.
  5. I would like to ride my bike to work, if I don’t already.
  6. I think more clearly throughout the day if I exercise before work.
  7. I am often aware of the temperature in my office.
  8. When I pick up something as ordinary as my stapler, my mind drifts to memories somehow associated with a stapler.

Which category best represented your processing style? I am visual processor with a relatively high score also in kinesthetic.

The second post in the series will provide suggestions for how you can take this information you have learned about yourself and apply it to your organization systems. Stay tuned!

72 Comments for “Understanding how you process information to help you get organized, part I”

  1. posted by links for 2009-05-18 « LAN b4 Time on

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  2. posted by Understanding how you process information to help you get organized, part 1 and part 2 (me? Definitely Visual and Tactile) at j a v a j i v e :: photography from indonesia :: on

    [...] how you process information to help you get organized, part 1 and part 2 (me? Definitely Visual and Tactile) « Stonefish – one of the world’s [...]

  3. posted by Jordan Greenaway on

    Thank you v. much. I’m completely audio, never realised before but it makes sense. I force friends to discuss the classes with me, and will stand in my room repeating what I have to learn over and over again.

    Surprised I hadn’t realised before.

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  5. posted by Match Your Learning Style with the Proper Productivity Tools [Productivity] « Coolbeans on

    [...] you have your own tips and suggestions based your own learning style, share them in the comments. Understanding How You Process Information Helps Get You Organized: Part I & Part II [...]

  6. posted by Match Your Learning Style with the Proper Productivity Tools [Productivity] - 2249th Edition | Technology Revealed on

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  8. posted by John on

    So what does it mean when I score zero in all three categories? Maybe an iffy 1 in the first two and a definite zero in the third. I guess this just proves I am an unorganized person. ;-)

  9. posted by falaris.com » Blog Archive » I just learned how I learn on

    [...] a story I had missed yesterday as I hadn’t been on the computer much. It had a link to a quiz asking “What type of learner are you?” and then gave a bunch of helpful hints based on [...]

  10. posted by Jeri Dansky on

    For those who want to probe this topic more, you might look at the VARK categories. VARK categories include visual, aural/auditory, and kinesthetic – but also read/write. Visual folks learn from maps, graphs, and such. Read/write folks prefer “information displayed as words.” Last time I took the test, I was a read/write, with aural as a close second.

    See http://www.vark-learn.com/english/page.asp?p=categories

  11. posted by dwight on

    I scored 2-1-2… what’s that mean?

  12. posted by Brandon on

    I actually scored 5-5-4. Most of the time I need a combination of things to help me remember something. Most of the time I can only remember bits and pieces of information, but enough to get the bare essentials of what I’m looking for.

  13. posted by Energy and Productivity « The Waki Librarian on

    [...] you know what your learning style is? If not you might want to check out these posts on learning styles and organization. Knowing your learning style doesn’t just help you learn more effectively, it can also help [...]

  14. posted by Preparing for Final Exams « Student in the States on

    [...] YOU MIGHT FIND INTERESTING Unclutterer had a post this week about how to discover your learning style—and how to use your learning style to help you get things done and stay organized. A visual [...]

  15. posted by Understanding how you process information to help you get organized « I.T. One day at a time on

    [...] Understanding how you process information to help you get organized Filed under: Uncategorized — cocodmonkey @ 2:00 PM In my never ending quest to arm myself with the best system/process to maximise my already busy day I came across this great site. http://unclutterer.com/2008/05/14/understanding-how-you-process-information-to-help-you-get-organize… [...]

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  17. posted by middleroader12 on

    Great. I scored 5 in all three categories. Does that mean I’ll do well with any organizational method, or that I’ll fail all of them?

  18. posted by andy on

    great i score 3-3-3 – i’m no closer to understanding what i am! must be some kind of floater

  19. posted by insiders’ guide @ UNE » TIP: Work out your learning style for better results … on

    [...] but just to get us started we thought we’d point you towards a great article on blog site Unclutterer.com (via Lifehacker.com). “When you read a book or newspaper article, do you instantly commit it [...]

  20. posted by Claire on

    I was accussed of not listening yet I try my hardest to listen to people. Hence I found this sight. I am interested if our learning styles have a lot to do with how we we process information. I rated highest in kinethestic which I am not surprised. Sometimes when people are talking to me it is too much for me to process and remember. It is not because I am not listening. Would you have any suggestions for assisting with listening and processing of information for the various learning styles ie is in every day communication with people?

  21. posted by Jenny S. on

    Interesting article. I found many organization related products like Purse Organizers at PurseBling.com.

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