Until We Go Paperless

From time to time I hear this question from an audience member during one of my presentations. They express a dire hope that getting organized is a one-time event based on acquiring the right tools?and then secretly hope for a magic pill. The bigger picture depicts something of more concern. The price tag for not getting organized is significant in time, money and frustration for the individual and thus the organization.

The Wall Street Journal reported "the average US executive loses 6 weeks per year retrieving misplaced information from messy desks and files. The cost in salary and lost productivity is enormous." Six weeks a year translates to about one hour a day. Simply take one hour a day, multiply it by the average hourly employee rate and then multiply that by the total number of employees in your organization. This gives you an annual dollar figure of lost productivity. Keep in mind that this figure does not reflect the $250 cost incurred in order to re-create each document that can't be found. And it does not reflect the amount of time lost pursuing new opportunities. The cost of not being able to find information can be staggering.

There is no magic pill, but strategically speaking there are three key elements involved in getting organized.

Customize your system

If thought and planning are not given to a home's foundation, in time the house may crumble. If the organization of an employee's working environment has not been given the time and attention it needs in order to create a user-friendly foundation, then clutter and DISorganization are just a step away?and so is the negative impact on the top and bottom line. Remember? paper, time, space and electronic management systems are all interconnected. A non-workable system in one part of the environment will more than likely result in a similar situation elsewhere.

It isn't about a paper-free workspace

Once a workable system has been established, the next objective is to practice the processes required in order to keep work moving forward. The processes help the employee become effective (doing the right thing) and efficient (at the right time) which reduces stress, increases personal performance, team performance and ultimately company-wide productivity. It's not about a paperless office yet.

Manage behavior with commitment

This is, of course, the most difficult step because it represents change and for most of us change is a challenging and difficult arena. It takes commitment to overcome delayed decision making (aka procrastination), let go of unneeded paper or remain focused on priorities. But the rewards are there to be had by anyone who pursues. Just remember that everything we do and don't do is dependent upon how organized we are?.or can be.

Copyright 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:

How to Organize Your Home Pantry  The New York Times
Organize or Die  Labor Notes

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