Paper Mess is Harnessed in Custom-Designed System; Free Report Shows Tips for Reducing Desk Clutter

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As summer turns to fall, change is in the air, and Chris Perrow is pumped. People are in clean-out mode at a company where the owner can’t find her desk. Elbow-deep in overflowing file cabinets, mountains of paper and personal junk littering every surface, Perrow is once more facing down the jumbled mess from an overloaded brain in a consumer-crazy, data-drunk society.

Common symptoms of office disorganization prevail in most workplaces: stress, poor productivity and financial loss. "We're all on information overload, working long hours without thinking about what we're doing, why we're doing it, and how. When we stop to analyze, much could be delegated, eliminated or done at a more efficient time. Without prioritization and a system, there is no starting place," says Perrow.

U.S. businesses spend more than $25 billion a year filing, storing and retrieving paper. Armed with a degree in psychology, a knack for process and a passel of sticky notes, folders and bins, Perrow’s company, Perrow Systems, fills a need for office organization, time and process management, productivity analysis, records retention and communications process.

Printed matter increased 36 percent from 1999 to 2002 according to a University of California-Berkeley study. But despite electronically stored data options, “There is a real fear of knowing how to file documents properly, both electronically and physically,” Perrow said. “People are afraid they’ll throw out something they might need later. You have two choices: control the information overload, or allow it to control you."

Perrow starts with a four-step STAF (Sort, Trash, Act and File) process for general organization, then creates a custom-designed, filing and storage system and finally a capture and retrieve system. When one Northeast Ohio company tripled in growth within a year through acquisitions, they filled eight storage buildings with unindexed paper. The nightmare ended only when Perrow developed and taught employees a system for document identification and recovery.

Kent State University’s Center for Executive Education and Development improved workflow and delivery complications using a color coding system Perrow developed. "We needed new perspective about the things that bottle-neck our organization. We fight the same things on a daily basis with mail, people, communications, deadlines and goals. When Chris helped us set up an organized, systematic, visual solution, it put everything in one place. It's my brain on a wall,” said program manager Cindy Welch.

For a free report on “The Clutter-Free Desk” and information on organization training workshops contact Perrow Systems at 1-877-686-0282; email: info@perrowsystems.com; or website: http://www.perrowsystems.com. Perrow was in sales for Clairol and Drackett Products before starting Perrow Systems in 1996. Her company sells organizational kits for family life, college, identity theft prevention, stop junk mail and desk organization at: http://www.perrowsystems.com/product.html

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Bonnie Hilliard