I left a big, big element out of my plea to get my 312 hours, or 39 days back. I just wrote about the direct time that is lost to hunting for stuff. The bigger time waster is in what happens to my focus.
Here I am keyboarding away happily. Shall we say, brilliantly? I need to check the quote in the article that inspired me to write. If it is on the desk, it is at my finger tips. I simply flip to the page I need and sail on with my central thought.
Ah, but it is not on the desk. I don’t like to file. It is not going to be easily retrieved from a known location. Well, where is it? The search begins. My progress on my writing stops. It more than stopped. It is completely derailed. I am not even doing the same kind of thinking.
I have switched from an integration mode of bringing many different elements into a single piece of writing. I am now in a totally different thought mode. I am trying to recall where I put it. I am looking around trying to spot it. My focus on the article is gone. My focus is now bouncing back and forth between remembering and searching.
It typically takes a human 15 minutes to focus on a task. That number is the same for refocusing after switching off a task. 15 minutes is a significant time loss. Just once a day is 105 minutes a week. That is 11.3 days a year.
Let’s say I would pay myself $25 an hour for what I am doing when I stop to look for something. The once a day loss of focus and time to refocus costs $25 x 11.3 days x 8 hours = $2,260. That probably happens more often than once a day.
Looking at a mess distracts my mind. If there is a bowl of fruit in the middle of my butcher block counter, it looks like it belongs there. The sight comforts me. If there are empty pizza boxes, zip lock bag boxes, spray cans, honey jars, library books, etc. on it, the sight distracts me. It breaks my focus.
I decided to invest some of my time in organizing. I am clearing the clutter that hides stuff. I am creating empty surfaces will make my mind quiet. I am filing both paper and digital documents. I am going to get those hours and dollars back . I am making a very small investment.
If the idea of doing this overwhelms you, or if you just know you will never do it, contact my friend, Connie Ellefson.
She will not only do it for you. She will work out a maintenance schedule to come back and set right what we all let slide. You can reach her through her blog http://clearthespace.com/blog/ The blog has great tips.
If you are lucky and live in the Denver, CO area, you can hire Connie to clear your space. If you are too far away for her, she can help you find an organizer.