Mode switching

What’s the point of sorting the silverware when you empty the dishwasher–why not simply put all of it in the drawer in a random order, and then pick out the cutlery you need when you need it? It’s the same amount of sorting, after all.

We intuitively understand the reason. If you take a minute to sort the forks, knives and spoons all at once, you won’t have to spend ten seconds every single time you want to find a fork.

The cost of changing gears is higher than we give it credit for. The web has persuaded us that everything is miscellaneous, that sorting things carefully and keeping them where they belong is a waste of time–because we can simply find them when we need them.

But switching to ‘find mode’ breaks our rhythm and eliminates the useful serendipity that happens when the right things are near each other, right where we expect them to be.