Jedes Ding in Seinem Ort Spart Viel Zeit und Boeses Wort

By June 24, 2009General

That’s a German saying that means, “Everything in its place saves time and angry words.”

Just came to mind when seeing this new Spiegel article, “German Researchers Tackle Untidy Desks“:

It’s the same problem everywhere: Overloaded desks aren’t just frustrating for their owners — they also make employers unhappy. Academic researchers have long been studying the issue and have reached some surprising conclusions. According to a study on the “lean office” by the Stuttgart-based Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation, a good 10 percent of working time is wasted through “superfluous or missing work material” or “constant searching for the right document in chaotic file directories.”

The researchers found that wasted time in poorly organized offices could eat up nearly one-third of annual working time. Over a year, that means there are 70 days in which employees are — as [Juergen] Kurz puts it — “engaging in pointless activity.” It’s a statistic which would shock any personnel manager.

Kurz, an efficiency expert, recommends:

  • Take a digital photograph of your current desk. The photo shows how visitors, suppliers, customers and the boss see you.
  • Buy a container for wastepaper. Feel free to buy one larger than the area of your desk.
  • Only keep on your desk the materials you need for the current task. Staplers, punches, adhesive tape and other office supplies belong in a drawer. Transfer the sticky notes on your monitor to a separate file.
  • Put anything you haven’t used for a while into a box. Label it with a date a few months into the future. When that date comes around, dispose of anything you haven’t used in the meantime.

Ack. Here’s our gesture of the day: We are throwing away the media badge from the 2008 Chicago Auto Show. Out it goes!

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