The average office employee spends 1.5 hours a day (6 weeks per year) looking for things they own but can’t find. — organized world
The average executive wastes six weeks annually searching for important documents lost among the clutter. — Wall Street Journal
The average retrieval time for a piece of paper is ten minutes; 3 percent of all papers are misfiled. This study put the cost to a corporation of recovering a lost file at $120.
The typical executive wastes 150 hours a year (almost an entire month), searching for lost information. For someone earning $50,000 a year, this loss is equivalent to $3,842 annually. Forbes ASAP
Want to reclaim those lost minutes and lost dollars?
You might not have taken 90 minutes to find a pen today; but, if you give these statistics some thought, you might be surprised to find how closely they reflect your own work life. Little minutes add up— 6 minutes trying to find the car keys, 3 minutes to find spare staples, 10 minutes searching for a document, your cell-phone, a phone number, you get the idea. And as the minutes add up, so do the dollars lost.
Getting organized is well worth the investment (think time, money, emotional benefits, health etc.), and the process of organizing your office can be simple, affordable, and even fun. Here's the secret:
“Every minute spent in organizing, is an hour gained.” - Benjamin Franklin.
It’s really that simple. Organizing does not need to be painful or complicated, it’s just a matter of devoting time to getting your office in order to better suit your needs and improve functionality. Here are a few general guidelines and tips to get you started:
1. Declutter your space
It’s amazing how much junk and excess we hold onto that serves no purpose, and only adds to our stress. Decluttering, and paring down is always the first step towards getting more organized.
Paperwork: Keep tax documents for at last 3 or 5 years, loan and bank information. Other than that, the task of deciding what paperwork needs to be kept is specific to each profession or individual. Shred and eliminate as much as possible. If you’d like some more specific guidance, take a look at our blog post “checklist of things to get rid of now.”
Books: Look through old books and donate anything that hasn’t been touched since high school. Really, are you ever going to read that Geometry textbook?
Supplies: Throw out old office supplies, or any items you have in excess amounts. Scale down and only keep the amount of office supplies you use.
READ: you do not need 3,671 mismatched ballpoint pens or a rubber band collection “in case you need them someday.” You are not saving money by keeping them… and there will not be a global shortage of crappy pens with logos if you let them go. Get rid of all supplies beyond what you currently use. Bonus points: replace the 20 pounds of pens you’ve just thrown out with a simple set of pens in a single color: we recommend Poppin.
Prior to our session, this desk was covered with clutter, paperwork, and yes... a collection of mismatched pens. Simply decluttering and getting rid of the excess has transformed this office space: more functional, inviting, inspiring... check, check, check !
Shopping might sound like blasphemy coming from the mouth of a professional organizer, but carefully selected organizing supplies are a good thing.
The key is to really take note of what will work best to maximize the functionality and style of your specific space and the items that will be stored in it. When shopping for our clients, we find almost everything we need at Target, Ikea, and the Container Store.
Simple and thoughtful additions make a huge difference. A $10 acrylic organizer and items sorted by category transformed this client’s desk drawer. Now instead of digging through piles of clutter to find the tape, our client can easily find anything she needs.
Now that you’ve decluttered and have the supplies you need, the fun begins. There is no secret trick, beyond thinking about the way you work in your office and specifically, when, where, and how often you use items. With these factors in mind, place items where they make sense. Place items you use everyday like a stapler, electronic chargers, or sticky notes at arms reach. Place papers you reference daily also in arms reach- maybe in the top desk drawer or a desktop letter divider. Other files or papers you access once a week or less can be kept in a file cabinet or file box.
And of course, no organizing session would be complete without the addition of a little bling.
Why? Because you work hard goshdarnit! And you deserve to have some beauty in your office.
You will be happier and more productive in your office space if it is neat and inspiring to you.
Flowers- Nothing warms up a space like some fresh flowers or a potted plant.
Task lighting- Good lighting is easier on your peepers. Lighting from a lamp also rounds out a desktop and looks nice.
Candles, pictures of family, whatever brings you joy.
Happy office organizing!! Check back for more organizing inspiration next week.