What is disorganisation costing you?

The hidden mental, emotional and financial costs

Hi friend,

This week I want to talk about the hidden cost of disorganisation.

Specifically the mental, emotional and financial costs that we don’t think about.

đź’ˇ Today at a glance

  • The three hidden costs of digital disorganisation

  • How disorganisation can impact others around you

  • What happens when we become digitally organised

  • Using the Goldilocks Rule to get organised (and design productive digital workspaces)

Before we dive into what disorganisation might be costing you, I want to share a small personal story.

I won’t pretend that my organisation is at the level of Marie Kondo or Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin from The Home Edit.

But my parents did tell me that as a young child, I had a bit of a knack for being organised, systematic and tidy. In reality that translated into a kid who loved playing with Lego (and tidying it away after I was done), and carefully folding my textbooks to the right pages so I could easily and methodically do my homework for the day 🤓.

Fast forward 20+ years, these traits have helped me immensely in my day job as a hospital pharmacy manager, a part time photographer working with clients and now as a Notion consultant and coach.

Looking back, even when I was experiencing burnout in my day job, being organised and approaching problems with a systems thinking mindset helped me to still be effective at my job, and maintain some sort of life outside of work during this difficult phase of life.

It was the times when life got too busy and I let the physical or digital clutter build up into a disorganised mess, that I experience the hidden costs of disorganisation and clutter.

The Three Hidden Costs of Digital Disorganisation

1. Mental Costs

Disorganisation can be a big mental distraction.

We can experience a drop in focus and feel more overwhelmed when we’re confronted by clutter and a disorganised state—documents in multiple locations, a lack of clarity on the status of a project, forgetting whether you’ve followed up on a project proposal you sent to a client.

It nags us at the back of our minds.

We end up holding onto these thoughts and direct our limited attention to this.

Instead of focusing on the important work that matters, or being present in the moment with our family and friends.

2. Emotional Costs

When we’re disorganised or see physical or digital clutter, it has an emotional cost.

We feel less at peace when we’re trying to be productive.

We feel more frustrated because we can’t find the information we’re looking for.

We might even feel guilty about the messy digital workspace we’re working in, leading to negative self-talk about why you’re constantly in this situation.

We might feel an urge to close the proverbial door and turn away from the clutter, because we’re just too busy to deal with it now. Shifting the problem to our future selves.

3. Financial Costs

If you run a business or have a boss, disorganisation can have a significant financial cost to the bottom line (or increase the cost of running the business).

Disorganisation can cause:

  • Inefficiencies in how you handle clients

  • Inefficiencies in your processes or procedures

  • A shift of time and focus away from high leverage work (e.g. finding clients, working with clients, strategic think times) → low leverage work (e.g. responding to emails, finding documents)

On the personal front, disorganisation might mean you’re paying for multiple apps for productivity (because you haven’t quite figured how you want to manage your work and life).

Disorganisation Impacts Everyone Around You

Whether you’re a solopreneur or a 9-5er, chances are you work with people in some way. They might be your colleagues, clients or customers.

When you’re disorganised, you might not show up as your best self and this can have a flow on financial cost.

On a personal level, disorganisation might cause unnecessary strain on your relationships with family or friends—forgetting where you put that grocery list, running late to dinner.

What Happens When We Become Digitally Organised?

You’ll experience more inner peace and calm.


Because we feel more in control of our life when we’re organised in both our physical and digital workspaces.

This inner calm frees your mind to focus on what’s truly valuable—Being present, working with clients, delivering on projects, developing your business strategy to find more clients.

Don’t know when to begin?

Yesterday was the best time, but the next best time is today.

There is no perfect system, right way or one way to get digitally organised.

In fact, I urge you not to spend any time on getting organised if you don’t experience the mental, emotion or financial cost of not being organised.

The time and effort you spend to digitally declutter and get organised is only worth it, if it brings you more calm, clarity, productivity and happiness in your professional, business or personal pursuits.

We achieve the right level of order and organisation when we can:

  • Quickly find what we need.

  • Productively focus on the things that truly matter to us (without delay).

  • Feel good about how we work in and interact with our digital workspaces.

To do this, we need to design workflows and digital workspace with the Goldilocks Rule in mind.

The Goldilocks Rule for Getting Digitally Organised (And Designing Productive Digital Workspaces)

Each time I hop on a Notion coaching call or work with a consulting client to design a custom Notion Workspace, I think about the Goldilocks Rule.

The Goldilocks principle is named by analogy to the children's story "Goldilocks and the Three Bears", in which a young girl named Goldilocks tastes three different bowls of porridge and finds she prefers porridge that is neither too hot nor too cold but has just the right temperature.

This mental model of “just the right amount” can be applied to science, psychology, economics, engineering… and even Notion workspace and workflow design!

Specifically, designing a Notion system that has the right level of complexity and simplicity for the Notion user.

At a high level view, when I’m designing Notion workspaces and workflows for myself or my clients, I’m:

  • Prioritising function and ease of use.

  • Aiming to reduce time spent in Notion.

  • Build a space to the “right level” of complexity and simplicity.

  • Creating a space based on the client’s specific needs and goals they hope to achieve with the digital workspace.

  • Leaving enough room for the client to “grow into” their system.

  • Keeping the aesthetics clean and simple, so that Notion is not a distraction but a space for focus and productivity.

You know I’m a fan of Notion, but honestly these 6 core ideas for designing a system can be adapted to any tool.

A fancy tool or the latest software isn’t going to magically create this for you.

You need to be intentional about your needs, pick a tool you enjoy using and then design a system and workflow that fits in with how you want to work within the tool.

Often it’s the simplest systems and workflows that actually get used in the long run.

Have you thought about what your disorganisation habit is costing you? Mentally, emotionally, financially or otherwise?

When things are organised and put in order, it boost our sense of inner calm, focus and feeling of being at peaceful with productivity.

🛠️ Interested in a custom designed solution in Notion?

No two people are the same.

A one-size-fits all Notion templates likely doesn’t work for you (it didn’t for me).

The biggest advantage of Notion is the ultra-flexible ability to design a productivity and organisation system that fits your work, life or business like a glove.

That’s it! Thanks for reading.

Hit reply and let me know if today’s newsletter’s on the hidden costs of disorganisation resonated with you—I respond to every email I get.

See you next week,

Janice CK

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