Files vs Piles

I recently read an article that had some interesting but not surprising statistics. Harte-Hanks published a survey in December, 2001 which reported that 96% of businesspeople interviewed were frustrated by their companies' information management. It's no wonder. An IDC white paper published in August, 2001 told us employees can spend up to two and half hours a day looking for information.

It's about retrieval

The truth of the matter is that information in large organizations is stored in huge electronic databases and archival files. However, a great deal of it is also found in the individual employee's workspace?on their desktop, in their file cabinets and in their heads. Coopers and Lybrand estimates U.S. Executives spend one hour a day just looking for misplaced files. But as I tell my clients, it's all about finding files, not just storing them. Can the information you are looking for be retrieved quickly? If needed, can it be found when the employee is absent from work? What if the employee leaves the company...does the ability to find information leave also?

Systems to the rescue

Taking the time to create a workable filing system works to the advantage of an organization. They become strategically prepared for the future and can maintain a competitive edge. However, development, management and maintenance of a filing system at the individual desktop level seems to be a hurdle for most. The truth is that it doesn't have to be difficult?it just takes focus and time. A well thought-out filing system simply provides a user-friendly structure or path. Better yet, the same key elements for developing a paper files can be used for digital files as well. The rewards include increased personal performance, productivity and reduced stress levels. If employees took the time to begin developing a customized, workable system, their retrieval problems would be greatly diminished. And so would that of the organization.

Technology to the rescue

There are at least two software products in the marketplace that help employees retrieve information stored within their own workspace. The programs aren't particularly complicated or expensive however they take time to set up. But let's face it--a workspace in disarray didn't get that way overnight. So the 'fix' most likely won't happen that quickly either. After investing the required time, management and maintenance of the system tends to be easy and painless. And the productivity gain enormous.

As Neil Larson said?'the value of information lies in how it is organized.' Can you find your organization's valuable information quickly?

Copyright 2001 Cynthia Kyriazis. All rights reserved.

Cynthia Kyriazis is a Professional Organizer, trainer, consultant, speaker, coach and author with over 20 years management experience in multi-unit corporations. She is President of Organize it, Inc., an organizational consulting firm serving Fortune 500 clients since 1995. Cynthia has worked with over 150 companies and hundreds of professionals to help improve performance in the areas of time, information, space and electronic file management.

Cynthia has appeared in the Philadelphia Inquirer, Kansas City Star and the Legal Intelligencer. She currently serves as Secretary on the Board of Directors for the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO), member of the National Speakers Association (NSA), member of International Society for Performance Improvement ? Kansas City chapter (ISPI-KC) and consultant to the American Coaching Association.

In The News:

Organizing  NYS PEF
Organizing for Equity in Oakland Schools  California Teachers Association

Introducing the Power Hour Concept to Plough Through Mountainous Tasks

Have you ever been totally overwhelmed by a massive task... Read More

9 Simple Strategies for Home Organization

Home organization means being able to find your stuff when... Read More

Organizing Tips to Help You Conquer the Laundry Monster

Laundry. You sort, you wash, you fold, you blink ?... Read More

Creating The Perfect Closet

Your closet is often the first thing you see in... Read More

The Clutter Campaign - Design Your Vision

I like a room you can dance in the middle... Read More

Clutter Campaign - Select Your Tools

Have nothing in your houses that you do not know... Read More

Home Organizing Tips & Gizmos

Staying organized can be a constant battle. The following organizing... Read More

Create A Working Mail Center

I talk about the mail a lot in my newsletter,... Read More

Change the Way You Think and Change Your Life

Dennis is working as a factory worker during the day... Read More

Spruce Your Environment, Spruce Your Spirit

After a long winter, this is the time of year... Read More

7 Little Things That You Can Do to Organize the Kids Rooms

1. Sink to their level. Get on your knees in... Read More

Its Time To Clear Out! Clutter Busting For Every Aspect Of Your Life

'A well-ordered life is like climbing a tower; the view... Read More

How Long Do I Need to Keep This? - A Guide to Receipts, Statements and Financial Clutter at Home

In most homes, paper causes clutter. And it seems to... Read More

Organization Tips - How to Set Up Your Database

What's in a Name?Everything.What do you do with all the... Read More

Clutter & Creativity

Take a look around you right now. Look away from... Read More

Organize Your Children & Save Your Sanity

It may be difficult to relate saving money with organization... Read More

Keep, Get Rid Of, Or Not Sure?

Cleaning out can seem overwhelming -- especially if it's been... Read More

Does Your Storage Make Sense?

What do your storage spaces look like? Do you know... Read More

Getting Organized For The New Year - Part 1

The following procedures will insure an organized and well run... Read More

Kids Clutter: Organizing at Every Age

Our children are probably the biggest clutter creators we have... Read More

Clutter is Postponed Decisions?

Do you ever sit down at your desk buried in... Read More

Mental Clutter- Is It Taking Over Your Life?

Chances are, most of you have a lot you need... Read More

Files vs Piles

I recently read an article that had some interesting but... Read More

A Personal Action Plan for Change

There are eight distinct steps to constructing and executing an... Read More

Feeling Overwhelmed and Unorganized? - How to Use Index Cards to Organize Your Life

Feeling Overwhelmed and Unorganized? - How to Use Index Cards... Read More