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.

VENDOR_ITEM_REF#_DATE_AMOUNT

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:

SunBeltInv#COO15789_6.24.09_91.90

or this:

SunbeltPkSlp#COO16249_6.24.09_27.97

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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3 Comments

  1. Deb Lee said,

    I agree, proper implementation of any organizing system is the key. Unfortunately, sometimes the things we buy (e.g., gadget, software, storage bin, folder, etc) to help us be more organized/productive sit unopened – or are improperly used – because we can’t seem to find the time to get to them or to figure them out. But, once we do figure it AND make it a part of our daily routine (“repetition of this type of activity…”), what a difference! Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the Unclutterer post (I love “Unitasker Wednesday!”) and for including my comments.

    • Desiree Kane - {d.birdy} said,

      I completely agree! Part of being an Unclutterer lover is keeping my tools also un or de-cluttered. If I commit time to a tool and can’t commit to it beyond the initial introduction because it’s not intuitive enough or doesn’t serve the purposes I’d hope, it goes. I definitely operate on a one in-one out policy, especially with my organization tools. To me, disorganization, even in the realm of my productivity tools, creates so much mental stress its ridiculous so I prefer to run lean. 🙂

      Thank you for your comments! I’m excited to see you here on my humble little blog! 🙂

      Desiree Kane

  2. Lopimpeno said,

    hi. great article!

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