Growing up, I used to see my mom's labortory schedule on the refridgerator. I was always amazed to see the schedules of 30+ lab workers neatly arranged on a grid. There would different codes for when people started working, what kind of schedule they were on, and for each of the departments: blood bank, microbiology, hemotology, chemistry, etc. It all fit together so intricately.
My mom eventually took over the lab scheduling as one of the supervisors. Back then, they still did things by hand and I watched her put together the schedule. My mom tells other people that I wanted to try to do it, so she would let me start filling in those grids. One of my mom's coworkers told me that I seemed suprisingly normal for a kid who wanted schedule a lab.
How little have things changed. I am now in charge of scheduling the office hours for my law school's Dean's Fellows (like teaching assistants). I have to figure out when our weekly meeting is and when our office hours are going to be. Coordinating the schedules of 7 very busy law students with the schedule of first year classes is not an easy task, but I opened up an excel spreadsheet and started filling out grids. Like mother, like daughter.
As you can tell, I am most comfortable when things are arranged neatly in spreadsheets and charts, color-coded and tabbed. When I started getting overwhelmed with my job search for next summer, I opened up a google spreadsheet and put down all the firms I was applying to, what they needed, the application due date, and the status of application. No more scribbling notes in different notebooks or post-its, and forgetting the name of that place that looked really cool.
When my friend Sarah sent me her even more extensive excel spreadsheets as an example of how I could do the Dean's Fellow scheduling, I smiled. You can call me weird or neurotic, but I am not alone.