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Innovation Insights
by Stephen Shapiro

The Cost of Being Disorganized

Today’s Friday Fun Fact

In my Monday Morning Movie, I explained that there is tremendous freedom gained through simplifying and de-cluttering your life. While this freedom is a natural catalyst for creative thinking, the benefits of a clutter-free environment are much further reaching.

Simply Productive, an “Organizational Design” firm, compiled an extensive list of statistics related to clutter. Here’s just a small sample:  (View the entire list)

  • Typical US worker is interrupted by communications technology every 10 minutes (Institute for Future and Gallup)
  • 80% of papers and information that we keep, we never use (Agency Sales Magazine)
  • The Wall Street Journal reports that the average U.S. executive wastes six weeks per year retrieving misplaced information from messy desks and files.
  • The National Association of Professional Organizers says we spend one year of our lives looking for lost items
  • Office workers waste an average of 40% of their workday, because they were never taught organizing skills to cope with the increasing workloads and demands (Wall Street Journal)
  • The average manager is interrupted every three minutes
  • People who multitask decrease their productivity by 20-40% and are less efficient than those who focus on one project at a time. Time lost switching among tasks increases the complexity of the tasks (University of Michigan)
  • Executives waste 7.8 hours each week (Accountemps Survey)

While I wasn’t overly surprised by any of these, they certainly gave me pause for thought.

In my blog post from Wednesday, I challenged you to consider what you would do if you could only work one hour per day. I suspect that many of you scoffed at the feasibility of the idea. I’m sure others tossed the notion aside immediately because it was so far outside of your realm of possibility. But if clutter alone, which is something that can be rectified, could account for bloating your schedule as much as 1-2 hours a day, perhaps you can begin to justify the notion that the one hour workday may not be so crazy.