By Monika Kristofferson Office Efficiency
Do you have piles of paper stacked on your desk, the filing cabinet and perhaps even on your office floor? Do you have papers that require action, such as reading or invoicing, mixed up with papers that need to be recycled or filed? When we have to search for papers and files, it eats up our time and we all know that time is money in business. Not only that, when we can’t find what we need when we need it, we experience a big dose of stress.
Let’s look at the various ways being disorganized will cost you in your business.
I’ve already mentioned the stress that comes with not finding what you need. When you are drowning in paper piles without a clear area on your desk to work, it can be overwhelming and distracting. It’s difficult to focus on what you should work on and to prioritize activities when you are distracted.
It’s also embarrassing to have co-workers, superiors or clients watch you clear a chair so they can sit down in your office. And, no matter how good you are at your job, the visual appearance of clutter can make you appear scattered and leave a negative impression.
For every single one of us that are doing a job or running a business, there is someone else out there doing the exact same job. If you appear unorganized, if you aren’t calling people when you say you will, if you don’t get questions answered, if you forget to cash checks (or worse, lose them), you can lose business. When you don’t perform with excellent service, clients can easily take their business elsewhere. Not only will you lose their business, you will lose the potential for referral business from those same clients.
According to a statistic from the Delphi Group, “30 percent of all employees’ time is spent trying to find lost documents” (2.4 hours per day). If you are a sole proprietor invoicing at $60 per hour and you lose two hours per day, that adds up to $28,800 annually. If you have a team or staff, the numbers grow exponentially. To plug in the numbers for your particular situation, go to www.thegosystem.com.
Cold, hard cash
I think it’s safe to say that most of us are in business because (hopefully) we love what we do and we need to get paid to do it. The ironic thing that I see is how common it is for business owners not to send out invoices in a timely manner or they don’t require payment at the time of service. On the other side of the transaction is usually an honest client who wants to make sure they pay up for services rendered. I have seen repeated instances of clients inquiring about their invoice and that is something that should never happen. Business owners can use tools as simple as carbon-copy invoice forms from an office supply store to a Square to swipe credit cards. Don’t get in the way of your own money flow.
The other thing that I see is money that has been displaced in piles, from cash to gift cards to large checks. That’s money that could be making even more money in your bank or investment account. It can also make for a frustrated client if they’re waiting for you to cash and clear a check.
The flip side to all of these points is that getting organized will reduce your stress, help you find papers quickly, save you time and save you money. It’s well worth the investment and your energy to get organized.
Monika Kristofferson is a professional organizer and productivity consultant who owns Efficient Organization NW in Lake Stevens. Reach her at 425-220-8905 or firstname.lastname@example.org.