The High Cost of Disorganization

August 3, 2010 | 35 Comments

Your disorganized actions may be costing you much more than you ever realized. There are many obvious costs of disorganization, such as a late payment for missing the due date on your credit card bill, but there are also a plethora of hidden costs you may not notice or that directly relate to your disorganization.If you are a chronically disorganized person, these costs will add up and compound making life in general much more difficult than it has to be. Despite your best efforts, a disorganized life may be standing in your way of happiness. Taking a look at some of the hidden (and some not so hidden) costs of disorganization may be just the motivation you need to begin organizing your life.
The most tangible and obvious cost of disorganization is the out-of-pocket expenses that are incurred due to disorganization. Bills that are tossed into a pile and go unpaid until after their due date will acquire a late payment. Do you often keep your grocery list in your head instead of writing it down? Multiple trips to the store to pick up items you forgot on your mental grocery list will eat up gas money.
The lack of a functional receipt filing system can make it difficult for you to track business expenses and mileage and prohibit you from claiming a potential tax deduction. Neglecting to regularly have your car serviced can lead to costly repairs.

The list of potential financial costs you could incur due to disorganization is endless. Take a few moments to write down several costs you bring upon yourself due to disorganization. Putting a dollar amount next to those figures and adding it up could prove to be quite shocking for some of us!


Being disorganized will almost inevitably cause you to spend more time completing tasks than you would if you were organized. Remember that mental grocery list? Not only will it cost you gas money, it will also steal time you could be spending with family as you travel back and forth to the store. Even a 5 minute search through a pile of papers each time you need to find something eats away minutes of your day and can add up to over 30 hours of wasted time in one year.

Your children will likely follow your lead as well. A disorganized morning with your children could lead to lost time as you drive your daughter’s forgotten lunch box or backpack to school.

Time is precious; there is no doubt about that. And certainly you would prefer spending time with your family to searching through piles of paperwork or spending unnecessary extra time driving here and there in your car.


Did you realize that office distractions add up to an average of 2.1 hours per day for each employee? Disorganization can easily be the culprit of these distractions.

Piles of paperwork, missing or being late to meetings, or the inability to find an important document can easily become a thing of the past if you take time to organize your workspace and keep and up to date daily agenda. Imagine all of the extra work you would accomplish if those distractions and disorganization didn’t exist.

Could your disorganization possibly be preventing you from a raise or promotion? Or even worse, will your incessant disorganization become so apparent to your employer that you are at risk of losing your job?


Stress will inevitably build up with persistent disorganization and it may already be taking a toll on your health. It is estimated by the CDC that 80% of all medical claims are related to stress. Annually, that leads to $26 billion in stress-related disability claims.

In addition to disorganization causing stress, it can become a factor in many other health ailments. A disorganized diet can lead to obesity. A disorganized home could lead to an unnecessary injury. Disorganization with your prescribed medications can lead to a very dangerous health situation.

There are many possible ways that disorganization can directly or indirectly affect your overall health and as health care costs continue to rise, your disorganization costs will continue to rise as well.

Your Personal Image.

Consider the image you want to project to others. Would you be happy to be known as the harried, disorganized soccer mom? Or would you prefer people to deem you as the one who has it all together. Your organization, or lack thereof, is generally apparent to those around you. If you are constantly 5 minutes late for playdates, forgetting Suzie’s cleats for soccer practice, or canceling your dinner date because you double scheduled, people will notice.

Your disorganization can lead to fewer invitations, missed opportunities, and in a worst case scenario, a failed relationship. Frequent disorganization will almost inevitably cause you to miss out on some wonderful events, hurt or insult friends or family, and develop a reputation you may not be proud of.

Fortunately, there is some good news in all of this. Despite all these costs incurred due to disorganization, most of them can be minimized by putting some effort into becoming organized. Developing filing systems, keeping an agenda, and training yourself to be organized in all areas of life can reduce or eliminate many of these costs.

While time lost to disorganization the past cannot be recovered, your health, image, productivity, and even your pocketbook can recuperate as you discover organization and begin to enjoy life with a less disorganization-induced stress.




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