A Misplaced Piece of Paper Costs You $12,000 Per Year

How much time do you waste during the course of an average day?

Can you quickly get your hands on anything you need to find in your office? An important phone number, a document you need to use with a client, the notes from your last meeting?

When you work for yourself, you wear a lot of hats.

You likely spend time working with and servicing clients, marketing, sales, business planning, networking, and managing yourself and your team (if you have one).

But you also probably spend a lot of time doing things that don’t do one single thing to add to your bottom line.

According to the National Association of Professional Organizers, the average American wastes about an hour a day looking for misplaced information.

So let’s do the math.

In fact, let’s be super conservative with our numbers.

Say you work 5 days a week, 48 weeks out of the year.

And let’s imagine that you’re more organized than the average small business owner, and you lose just 30 minutes a day searching for lost papers on your desk or trying to find an important email.

5 days a week x 30 minutes per day x 48 weeks per year = 7,200 minutes

7200 minutes / 60 = 120 wasted hours per year

So what do those 120 hours of lost time mean?

According to Mavenlink, a project management software company, one in four small business owners believes that just one extra productive hour in the working day is worth more than $500 (and 95% believe that extra hour is worth at least $100).

Again, being super conservative, let’s use the low number in their figure:

120 wasted hours x $100 per hour = $12,000 lost per year

If we use the higher number, here’s what our numbers would look like:

120 wasted hours x $500 per hour = $60,000 lost per YEAR


$60,000 in wasted time!

Just from one stinkin’ misplaced piece of paper. 

Even more importantly, what’s the wasted opportunity cost? In other words, instead of looking through the piles on your desk, what if that time were freed up for you to be creative, brilliant, and focused?

What if you used some of those 120 lost hours and came up with an unexpected idea that transformed your business?

What if you used some of those 120 hours to bring in a new high end client who doubled your profits?

What if you used some of that lost time and came up with a way to get twice as much done in half the time, giving you more freedom in your life?

Imagine if you got back some of that lost time and used it productively instead, say 2-3 hours a week. That’s not a lot, but it adds up big time over the course of a year. Would that extra “brilliance making time” make a difference to your bottom line?

This post was written by my friend Sue Rasmussen who graciously agreed to be our “guest blogger” this week while I work on my new book.

If you answered “yes” to the question above, you might want to grab your free copy of her book My Desk Is Driving Me Crazy: End Overwhelm, Do Less, and Accomplish More. Her new book, Unclutter Your Spirit published on Amazon on February 9!