I write a lot. More than most. And I've been doing it for a long time.
I have good tools that allow me a lot of flexibility over user interface. And I have a lot of time to tinker.
I have a hard time finding things. It would be great if everything were in its proper place. If it all were, or even just most of it, I might be able to turn all this writing into a book.
So I have an incentive to get organized.
In 2003, I did a project called Channel Z. Its goal was to build a blogging tool that made it easy to categorize stuff. So easy, that I would actually do it. And if I did it, maybe I could figure out how to get other people to do it.
I'm the kind of guy who likes to categorize things. I made a tool, an outliner, a long time ago that makes doing that very easy. I still use the outliner to this day, and love it, and I keep finding new ways to use it to be more organized. With excellent results.
Okay, so how did the whole categorizing blog posts thing turn out? It was a bust. I would start out with a burst of energy but then get busy with something more interesting, and would never go back to it.
Being stubborn, I hacked some more to make it even easier. Came up with the idea of a text router, a right-click menu that instantaneously categorized the bit of text I'm pointing to. Couldn't be easier. Right-click, choose a category, save. Boom.
I had a rush of a few days when I was categorizing like a mad man. Showing everyone "Look I cracked the nut, it works!"
Only to find out that a week later -- drum roll please -- I was no longer doing it.
Dan Bricklin explained it as follows. "Instead of making you feel bad for 'only' doing 99%, a well designed system makes you feel good for doing 1%."
Once you fail to do it, that's it. You'll never do it again.
So apply that to Circles. You might feel a rush to organize your friends into categories when you start to use it. But you'll give up after a dozen or so, as soon as you hit one that defies categorization. You'll say to yourself "I'll come back to this later." You won't.
From then on, you'll have a guilty feeling every time you think of it. And you'll check Twitter and Facebook which you can use without categorizing people.
Again, I'd love to be proven wrong. Maybe Google hired a team of crack psychologists and found the secret sauce that makes people get over this hump. We'll see soon enough.