Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Categorization & frustration

In general, I like organizing and sorting things, but I am easily overwhelmed when something doesn't fit into a category. This is manifests itself in all sorts of ways in my life. Tidying the apartment. Packing. Entering and analyzing data. I hate it.

I tend to deal with this tidying and packing problem by making piles of miscellaneous things, but then I fuss over them for a while, trying to categorize them, before hiding them out of sight. But I can't just do that with data... It is so frustrating sometimes that the world wasn't made categorically! There's always a judgement call to be made in categorizing those boundary points. If I have to do it a handful of times, ok. But if I need to make a whole bunch of decisions that could really go one way or the other... ack!

Obviously, today I'm dealing with some data that aren't clearly one thing or the other. I've been reading about ways in which other people have dealt with this, but the best way to approach it still isn't clear to me.

I talked to John about my dilemma. He also loves categorizing things and has a meticulously organized, data-filled music collection on his computer. When he has music with incompleteable data, he just deletes it. Unfortunately, I can't just delete the difficult ones!

I'm tempted to work on the easy ones for now and come back to the hard ones when I'm less frustrated.


Alyssa said...

Oh, that drives me nuts too! Good luck!

African Fieldworker said...

that is highly frustrating and not easy. If it's possible, try the analysis both ways (or with data categorized differently) and see if that makes a difference.

Good luck!