Clutter and Disorganization are an enormous problem in the workplace and in life in general. Although it may be difficult to actually measure the monetary cost of it’s effect at home or in ‘life’ in general, it CAN be measured in the workplace.

Keep in mind that clutter comes in many forms.  In the workplace, clutter may come in as: actual stuff; co-workers; papers; commitments, calendar, obligations, technology, social media, noise, types of chaos, and much more.

One way the actual ‘Clutter’ that comes in can be measured financially is by how many interruptions one experiences during a workday. Each interruption costs a business 6-10 minutes.  If one is an employee with a set job, it costs around 6-8 minutes depending on the person. If one is an entrepreneur or small business owner, the costs soar from 8-10 minutes.  The reason is that the later group tends to wear ‘more hats’ and is spread out doing several jobs at once.

Here is one hypothetical example of how this translates to MONEY LOST for a business:

The task in this scenario is an employee prioritizing his tasks and sitting at a desk typing up a detailed proposal for a client.  Normally, this particular exercise will take 1 hour.

 8:00AM- Sitting at desk working on contract.

8:10AM- Phone rings. It is ignored.

6 minutes

8:16AM-Sitting at desk working on contract.

8:20AM-Facebook notification sounds. Someone messaged. It is ignored.

6 minutes

8:26AM-Sitting at desk working on contract.

8:29AM- Phone beeps. A text was received. It is ignored.

6 minutes

8:35AM-Sitting at desk working on contract.

8:40AM- Fellow employee pops in to say ‘good-morning’

6 minutes

8:46-Sitting at desk working on contract.

8:49- E-mail message received. The sound is heard.

6 minutes

8:55- Sitting at desk working on contract.

8:57- Work stops so a message can be scribbled down on a sticky note of the milk that must be picked up on the way home

6 minutes


 Obviously, the contract is NOT completed. At this point, on a good day 27 minutes

of work have been spent on the contract in one hour and 3 minutes. 36 minutes have been spent switching gears and trying to get refocused after a distraction. Normally, there are many more beeps and alarms and sounds that occur that listed in this hypothetical scenario.


It is also important to note that an attempt was made in this scenario to ignore the distractions or not respond. IF an email or a Facebook message was addressed, that time spent on addressing the message would be added onto the 6 minutes it takes to get back on track.  In addition, if one were a small business owner or entrepreneur, the time spent on trying to get back on track would have been 60 minutes and it would be 9:27AM with the contract unfinished.


How does this ‘CLUTTER’, in this case of simple interruptions or distractions translate to MONEY for a business?

If one is paid $30 an hour, (or $.50 a minute), the following would be true in this scenario:

A contract that should cost the business $30 to have written will actually cost $65 to write at this same rate.

This is just a simple example of the costs of interruptions or ‘clutter’.  Unfortunately, in today’s workplace, a person rarely has the luxury to sit down and focus on or two hours on a contract. Many times they are expected to be doing much more or ‘multi-tasking’. Meetings are attended. Conference calls are had. Fires are put out.

It is painfully obvious to see how a company looses productivity and efficiency of its employees by ‘clutter’, chaos and interruptions.

Clutter in the form of 'stuff'

Clutter in the form of ‘stuff’


Missy Bystrom is the owner of The Organized Connection located in Cleveland, OH and Orange County, CA.  Missy’s  blog gives weekly tips and tricks on becoming more organized and having a more peaceful household.  If you would like to become a certified professional organizer, follow this link.  If you would like to get more extensive information on organizing your household, business or personal, follow this link