I’m Too Busy to Get Organized

Whenever I meet with people to talk about improving efficiency, I frequently encounter the excuse “I just don’t have time.” My first response is empathy, because I know how busy everyone is these days. The pace of life continues to snowball, and every minute counts. However, it is for this very reason that my second response is a reality check. The truth is, saving time is one of the major benefits of getting organized!

My best definition of what it means to be organized is: “Being able to access what you need, when you need it.” With this definition in mind, here are a few facts that are worth considering:

The average American spends almost an hour a day (or 2 weeks per year) searching for items they have misplaced. (2003, Simple Living)

Nearly half of Americans say disorganization causes them to work late at least 2 or more times each week. (Jane Von Bergen, “So many reasons to neaten up…” Boston Globe 3/12/2006
Esselte survey, David Lewis)

In surveying 1000 middle managers of large companies in the U.S. and U.K., 59% miss important information almost every day because it exists within the company but they cannot find it. 
(Accenture, Wall Street Journal, 5/14/2007)

Getting rid of excess clutter would eliminate 40 percent of the housework in the average home. 
(National Soap and Detergent Association)

55 percent of the respondents would save upwards of 16 minutes to one hour a day if they were more organized. (National Association of Professional Organizers, February 2008)

66% of office workers surveyed indicating they spent up to 30 minutes of time during a typical work week looking for things they have misplaced at their desk or around their office. (Brother International “P Touch Means Business” Survey)

It only takes about ten or twelve minutes for you to plan out your day, but this small investment of time will save you at least two hours (100-120 minutes) in wasted time and diffused effort throughout the day. (Eat That Frog, Brian Tracy)

The point here is that being disorganized is not only frustrating and unpleasant, it wastes time, and time equals money. Because we rarely study and quantify these costs, we frequently underestimate the amount of time being lost. So what’s to be done?

If you struggle with disorganization, poor time management skills or a general inability to “get things under control,” perhaps the time is right to make a change. Most people fall into one of 2 categories:

People who have the ability to organize independently, and just need to prioritize.

If this is you: make it a priority in your life to get it done. Pull out your planner and intentionally schedule time to work on establishing effective systems for your time, space and belongings. Plan tasks that are well defined, taking one step at a time. Reward yourself along the way.

People who feel at a loss as to where to start, are overwhelmed by their current responsibilities, or are too far behind to catch up.

If this is you, consider hiring some help. Just as a personal trainer can bring the skills, motivation and accountability needed to get your body in shape, professional organizers can quickly and efficiently help you get your life in shape.

Benjamin Franklin once said, “For every minute spent in organizing, an hour is earned.” Now more than ever, our time is our most valuable resource. Rather than spend it making excuses, spend it making a positive difference.

Submitted by Seana Turner, Founder and President of The Seana Method