Friday, December 23, 2011

Organizing the Bedroom and Executive Function

We have left the office and have now moved onto the master bedroom.   So why should anyone care about this?  I mean, you are moving your crap around... so what's the big deal?

The big deal is that little by little everything is getting categorized and put into a certain place. The chests of drawers are now organized and stuff is folded neatly.  Heaps of clothes got recategorized to go to the thrift store.

So... what's the deal with executive function?

Well, let's see.  Organizing depends on Executive Function:  Planning, Marshalling Resources, Executing and Reviewing.   Lack of the ability to do this got me into this mess and led me to go to Columbia for a neuropsych evaluation.  But we Plan what we are going to do; we Marshall necessary resources like boxes, trashbags, etc.; we Execute by sorting (i.e. categorizing -- more on that later) and putting stuff away; and Reviewing what we did.

We can break down sorting into:
  •  concept formation -- "identifying commonalities across stimuli that unite them into a common category".  In other words, we play the Mister Roger's game of "One of these things is not like the other; one of these things just doesn't belong".  
  • rule making -- "identifying commonalities requires learning ‘rules’ about which stimulus attributes are essential to category membership." So we sit down and look at crap around the house (stimulus) and try to figure out what characteristics are the important characteristics.    One of the rules that we find with the organizer is to "group multiples together".  Also, put everything that belongs to a project together.  Put a project(s) in a project box.

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