Love for Unclutterer

July 14, 2009 at 6:13 pm (Helpfulness, How-To, office, paperless)

I love Unclutterer. It’s possibly my favorite place for regular reading. I stare at my RSS like a junkie waiting for my Unclutterer fix some days.

Yesterday was no different. Yesterday, they ran this tasty morsel:

Professional organizer Deb Lee runs a neat feature on her organizing blog every Friday, titled “Fact Friday.” This past week, she featured a statistic from 1992 that I found to be fascinating:

“In a recent survey of 200 executives of 1,000 of the nation’s largest companies, respondents were asked: ‘What percent of time do executives waste because they or their assistants can’t find things?’ The median response was 4.3 hours a week, based on a 40-hour week.”

[When Time’s Money, Organizing Pays Off · Penny Singer · New York Times · November 29, 1992]

Computer usage and digital search functionality have certainly increased and improved since 1992, but I doubt that this statistic is much different today. Now, we search for things like old e-mails and mis-named documents instead of paper memos and proposals.

While I mean this with the most love possible, I have to politely disagree. My paperless functions have saved me an unreal amount of time. The trick is proper implementation. If your processes are poorly implemented then of course you’re going to mis-name documents and emails- which is why I’d like to highlight today my file naming system that helps me stay organized.


Everything I touch gets named in this format. We use Sunbelt Office Supply for great prices on our regular day-to-day office supplies. I place an order and get an invoice back then it’s named something along the lines of this:


or this:


This way even if I were to mis-name something, in the file name I can still visually cross reference and ID what I’m looking for. Typically if AP has a question about an invoice they’ll give me the amount or the invoice number, possibly just the vendor and the date. I can do a simple, easy search for any of those items and pull the requested invoice with ease. My boss, the VP of Operations, seems pretty pleased when he asks something of me and I’m able to produce it in a little under a minute and have it to him via email in less than 5 minutes. Repetition of this type of activity, at least for me, HARDLY adds up to 3-4 hours a week. By my estimate I’d say procurement of documents takes me a total of 30 mins to 1 hour a week, if that.

I’m a bit more anal-retentive/organized than most so I have all of my paperless information sorted out by vendor  then year then paper type (invoice, work order, packing slip, etc) but the argument could be made that even organization such as this is but a luxury with indexing.

Anyhow, call me blindly optimistic but I will be a sad, sad GenY employee if my paperless functions didn’t save me time and, in a round about way, increases my productivity. When I come across a more updated statistic than one from 1992, I’ll post it without a doubt!

Have a happy and productive week!

The Paperless Assistant


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De-motivating reading du jour

July 9, 2009 at 7:19 pm (office, paperless, Rant)

Today over at Productivity501, one of my personal favorite blogs I have on RSS, they did an informal study of bloggers to see which areas they still prefer to be “low tech” in. The resounding answer?

An old-fashion book is still better than an MP3 or a PDF. There’s just something inexplainable about holding a good, hard-cover book in your hand. It feels more important. It feels like there’s actual knowledge contained within.

And it’s easier on the eyes too.

Michael Morton from Marketing Monster (rss)


Absolutely!  I use a paper calendar.  I just could not give up being able to see everything at a glance!

Ariane Benefit from Neat & Simple Living (rss)


My To Do List! I’ve tried numerous online apps as well as the usual Outlook/Note functions but what has always worked best for me is a simple spiral bound notebook in which I can write my to do lists, then tear them out when I’m done or need to re-write one.

Plus I can carry it everywhere easily and it takes 2 seconds to open up and scribble something in, instead of the time it takes to power up the laptop.

Lea Woodward from Location Independent Living (rss)


People just do.not.want to give up paper.  What suprised me is the number of people who are very tech-centric, such as bloggers, who should well know how to accomplish the same things without the use of paper. But yet, it continues.

I’m ready for the culture change though I don’t think it’ll come anytime soon if people who have all of the tools at their fingertips to perform their functions paperlessly simply aren’t because it’s not as convenient. Of course changing habits isn’t convenient!


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