Organizing Lessons from Jenga


Jenga-5Written by Robin McCoy.

If you’ve ever played Jenga, this will make sense right away.  If not, we’ll explain the connection.

Jenga is a simple game played with a bunch of uniform, oblong building blocks which you stack in a neat tower with each layer running perpendicular to the adjacent ones.  Building the tower neatly and precisely makes for a better game.  In turns, players carefully extract one of the blocks from any level and place it on the top.  The first few extractions are pretty easy.  Subsequent ones become dicier.  The tower becomes increasingly unstable until the attempted placement of another block on the top makes the whole tower come crashing down.  The player whose block placement caused the crash is the loser.  Think, house of cards, straw that broke the camel’s back… you get the idea.

So what’s to be learned from Jenga that has anything to do with Simplicity and organizing?

Uniformity makes organization easier.  If the playing blocks didn’t match, building the tower to start would be much harder than it is with standardized materials.   Extracting mismatched pieces would be nearly impossible.  The gig would be up almost as soon as it started.

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Don’t doom yourself with a sloppy beginning.   A haphazardly constructed tower makes for a short game.  Likewise, poorly envisioned and executed organization makes for a quick return to chaos.

And, when stuff piles up, rather than being returned to its rightful location, it’s only a matter of time before everything comes crashing down. Just as in Jenga, no one likes to be the loser.  What are you losing by being disorganized?

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