Time Management

Time Is Money, So You Don't Have the Time to Lose Things

Guest Writer
CEO & Founder, Deborah Mitchell Media Associates
4 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

One of the ways I try to be efficient in business is to be as organized as possible. My rule, which I put in effect after reading an article about workplace efficiency, is to create a list of of eight things, six professional and two personal, to accomplish daily. So as I find myself spinning around wasting valuable time and sometimes money when I've lost something, it drives me crazy.

Recently, in two separate incidents, I misplaced my keys. First, it was when I was heading out the door to a meeting and I could not find my house keys. It happened again as I prepared for a trip out of town, I lost the keys to my storage unit with my luggage. The hunt for the keys ended up costing me 30 minutes of valuable time that almost made me late for my meeting and nearly miss my flight.

Related: Being an Entrepreneur Is Stressful But Don't Worry About It

A survey of 1,000 U.S. adults for Bluetooth tracking experts Pebblebee.com revealed that one in five people lose or misplace personal belongings every week. 

"It really doesn't seem to matter how young or old we are, how busy we become or how free we are, no one wants to be in this disruptive situation," says Nick Pearson-Franks of Pebblebee. "We spend a lot of time and money trying to keep track of all of our personal belongings, when really we could be doing other more important things."

While I rarely lose or misplace items, when I do, it becomes a distraction for me until I find it -- preventing me from focusing on the business at hand. When I left a favorite umbrella in a New York taxi, I was determined to get it back. I spent at least an hour that evening using the receipt to track down the yellow cab. It was a waste of time.

Fifty percent of the people in the survey said they became frustrated the last time they lost or misplaced an item, and 28 percent say they search for less than a week before accepting the item as gone forever. 

I admit to getting frustrated. I've spent a few hours out of a day searching before I give up, since I realize I should be spending my time in a more productive way. If an item (such as a set of house keys) can be easily replaced, then I will spend the money to have new ones made. Now, I've wasted time and spent money instead of making money.

Related: 7 Steps You Can Take to Stop Trading Time for Money

Car keys top the list of the most common items lost, followed by cell phones and house keys. The research revealed that the most valuable item people have lost is usually jewelry (25 percent), followed by personal technology such as phones, cameras and laptops (12 percent), watches (6 percent) and clothing (6 percent). 

A co-worker loses his cell phone on a regular basis -- maybe every three months -- and each time I cringe, since purchasing an iPhone at $300 to $600 a pop can really add up. But the value of his loss is right on track with the survey, which showed that on average, the estimated value of a lost item is $582.76 and that Americans lose an average of $5,591 over a lifetime.

This caught my eye in another survey of 1,000 people for TheTrackR.com, makers of coin-sized bluetooth tracking devices: 49 percent say they lose things when they are distracted, 36 percent blame multitasking, 26 percent are busy and 25 percent say they are just plain forgetful.

As I continue to search around my New York City apartment for the keys to my storage locker, I wonder, is this newfound forgetfulness due to being a multitasking entrepreneur, or I am just getting forgetful over time?

What item do you constantly lose or misplace? Let us know in the comments section below.

Related: Your Office Isn't Big Enough for Clutter and Productivity

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