Too Much To Do and Not Enough Time?

How often have you thought to yourself, “If I only had more time,” or, “I wish there were more hours in the day?”

Time Management

Do you think if you had more time that you would get more rest or slow down?

Well, chances are if you had more hours in the day, you would probably fill them up with more things to do instead of creating time to take a much-needed break.

The truth is you don’t really need more time in the day. What you really need are strategies to better manage your time.

The problem we face in this 24/7 world, is that we tend to forget to make time for ourselves. We forget that when we get run down, we put ourselves at a higher risk of being out of commission. Unfortunately, most of us are only willing to slow down and rest once we get sick or reach the point of exhaustion.

Here’s some Time Management Tips to help you avoid getting to that point:

MAKE A “TO DO” LIST:  

Do not rely on your memory.   Keep one, and I emphasize only one, “To Do” list!   This list should include all the tasks you have to do this week.

Because we are all so busy, you probably have a list that is way too long.  Choose what you can realistically handle. That does not mean you won’t get to other things, it just allows you to take some of the pressure off that comes with feeling like you have to do everything now.  You will need to consider which items on your “To Do” list are number one priorities. Those items that have priority could be highlighted, circled or underlined to indicate importance.

Remember to cross off or delete the items you have completed at the end of each day and add any that may have surfaced during the day.

By prioritizing you are wisely taking control of your time.

DELEGATE WHENEVER POSSIBLE:

Moms and Dads, that includes you.  Your children as young as 3 years old can get involved in cleaning up after themselves and should. Next time you tell them “clean your room” or “put your toys away” explain what that means.  Does that mean shoving everything in the closet? Throwing everything under the bed??  Piling things on top of one another?  Show them how to do it.  You will probably have to show them several times, but, like everything else, they will eventually get it.

Employers, you can delegate by allowing your employees to take on more responsibilities.  Take the time to train your employees and entrust them with a little at a time.  In the beginning, make sure to follow up, ask if they have any questions and periodically evaluate their progress.  Delegating will pay off enormously in the end as you will have more time to do the important things that only you can tend to.   Your employees will feel more valued as well.

OPEN YOUR MAIL EVERY DAY:

Open your mail every day and do one of following four things with each piece of mail you open:

  • Toss it – Throw away anything that you don’t want or need, like junk mail.
  • Shred it – Shred anything that has your personal information on it that you don’t want or need.
  • File it – File those things that you do need but not right away.
  • Take Action – These are the items that need your attention – like a bill to pay or a call that you have to make.

The longer you wait to open your mail, the more it’s going to pile up and become overwhelming.   So, open your mail each day, follow the above instructions, and you will be able to streamline your paperflow to avoid unnecessary clutter and piles of paper.

The goal is to touch each piece of paper just once and decide what to do with it at that time.

 PLAN YOUR DAY:

Begin your day with a plan and end your day with a plan.

Set aside at least 10 minutes at the beginning of every day to plan your day:

  • What calls and meetings do you need to prepare for?
  • What are the three top things you’d like to accomplish today?
  • What is the most important thing you want to accomplish this morning?

Set aside at least 10 minutes at the end of the day to wrap it up:

  • What important things did you accomplish today?
  • What meetings, calls and activities do you need to follow up on?
  • Who do you need to follow up with tomorrow?

Don’t forget to update your “To Do” list accordingly.

 RESULTS:

Managing time is more than just the ability to layout an organized schedule.  Time management means setting priorities that communicate clearly what’s really important, making wise decisions that help set realistic goals, and setting firm boundaries that allow you to keep the promises you make to yourselves and others.

By managing your time efficiently, you have the power over how productive you can be.

5 ESSENTIAL ORGANIZING TIPS FOR BACK TO SCHOOL

Organizing should really be part of each day.


P1010945Because mornings are usually the busiest time of day trying to get everyone out of the house on-time, set aside 10-15 minutes at night to make sure that everything is in place for the next day.

1.  Homework should be put in backpacks as soon as it is completed and has been checked by a parent;

2.  Backpacks should be packed and left at the front door or mudroom;

3.  Lunch should be made in the evenings;

4.  Clothing should be selected before bedtime.  Make sure they have included whatever clothing/instruments they’ll need for the next day’s after-school activities as well (uniforms for practice or instruments for lessons)

5.  Establish a routine that works for your family and stick to it .  It will make everything easier.

 

Remember to keep it simple! 

HOW TO ORGANIZE MAIL

Before you start organizing your mail, I recommend gathering a few important supplies:

  • A shredder
  • Recycling bin
  • Trash bin
  • Calendar
  • Two trays (one for incoming mail and one for outgoing mail)

I highly recommend setting up a mail station wherever you keep your files.

Keep in mind that there’s really only four options when it comes to incoming mail.  You can: Toss it, Shred It, File It or Put it in an action file (ie. To Do, To Read, To Pay, etc.)

If you are not in the habit of going through your mail daily, try scheduling a time in your appointment book or calendar so that you make the time to open your mail every day.  This will prevent the mail from piling up.

When going through your mail:

  • Immediately toss all junk mail
  • Shred anything that has your personal information on it that you are not interested in (ie. credit card offers)
  • File all statements or other mail in their appropriate files (which should be right there next to you)
  • Any items that need attention should be filed in your Action files.  If it is a bill then put it in your “Bills to Pay” file, if it is an invitation, put it in your Upcoming Events file,
  • Finally, don’t forget to put any important dates or due dates on your calendar!

This whole process should take a few minutes.  If you take just a few minutes each day, you will ultimately avoid having the mail pile up day after day.  It will also avoid needless late fees or penalties from unpaid bills.

Remember to keep it simple! 

HOW TO ORGANIZE AN ENTERTAINMENT CENTER

You may want to consider getting some supplies to help with the process or organizing your entertainment center.


 DSC05474I like to use pull out drawers, like the Elfa systems (you can find them at the Container Store).  They are easy to put together and provide easy access to everything.  Or, you can use stackable bins or baskets.

1.     The first thing is to empty it out completely.  Yes, everything out.  This is important as this allows you to see everything that was in there.  You can then determine what should and should not go back.

2.     Now that everything is emptied it out, start to purge!  Go through your old tapes, CDs, and DVDs. Toss or donate the old tapes if you no longer have a tape deck in your home or car; donate the CDs or DVDs that you no longer want or need.  While you’re at it, toss the clickers from old TVs or other electronics that you no longer own.

3.     The next step is to sort the remaining items into categories  keeping similar items together.  For example, keep all remotes in one place, all CD’s in another, on so on.

4.     You can now start putting everything back.  The important thing to remember is to keep similar items together.   Depending on the amount of room you have, you may want to use one shelf or drawer for your CDs and the other for DVDs so that you can find them easily.   You might even consider breaking it down further by alphabetizing your CD’s by the last name of the artist or sorting them into musical categories.  Again it should be organized in a way that is easy for you and makes sense to you.

5.  If possible, label the drawers or shelves so that keeping this space organized is easy for anyone in the house.

 

Remember to keep it simple! 

HOW TO ORGANIZE A BATHROOM VANITY

Before you start, make sure to have all of your supplies ready.


There are so many great organizing products on the market, however, I like to try and use items that I already have. For example, you can use a lazy susan to make things easier to reach under the sink. You can hang a hook instead the cabinet door to hang a hair blower; use empty bottles to corral small items, store toilet paper in a basket; use a bucket to corral cleaning supplies under the sink. Of course, bins are always a good option as well but make sure they’re clear so you can see the contents. If you’re handy you might even consider installing a roll out storage shelf under the sink.

1.   The first step is to empty everything out completely. Yes, completely.   Everything out!  This is important as this allows you to see everything that was in there and determine what should and should not go back there.

2.   Next step is to sort everything into categories keeping like item together: all lotions together, all hair products together, all grooming supplies together. You get the idea.

3.   Now go through everything and purge! Toss out any empty bottles, expired lotions and, of course, anything that you no longer need or use.

4.   Utilize your organizing products to corral the items that are similar (see #2 above)

5.  Now for the fun part, at least for me, is putting everything back in an organized way so that you can see what’s there and get to it easily.

Remember to keep it simple! 

HOW TO ORGANIZE A FILING SYSTEM

1.     Before you start, I suggest getting all of your supplies ready.If you’re starting from scratch, you’re going to need a box of standard hanging file folders, a box of standard hanging file pockets,a box of third cut manila “interior” files and a box of file labels or a label maker.

organizing files2.     The next step is to empty the cabinet completely. Yes, completely.   Everything out.  This is important as this allows you to see everything that was in there and determine what should and should not go back.  You can put everything into a bankers box while you’re going through your files.

3.     To create more space, look for any items that can be tossed,  shredded or archived such as old tax records.  Archived files  should be placed in a properly labeled Bankers Box and stored somewhere else.  If you are storing these boxes in a basement or attic or offsite storage facility, you might consider buying airtight storage bins to protect your archived items from the elements.  They cost more but it’s worth it if these documents are important and need the protection.

4.     There are many ways to categorize files, but what I think works best is to break things down into five or six major category sections for easy identification.

5.     I also recommend using different colors of third cut manila files so that it’s easy to differentiate between the different categories.  For example, for Active Files use – Red; Financial Files – Blue; Personal & Family – Green; Home & Personal Property – Orange, and Legal and Taxes – Purple.

6.     Each section is then broken down into sub-categories which can be alphabetized.  For example, under Active Files (Red files), you might have the following sub-categories: Bills to Pay, To Do List and Upcoming Events To Attend.

7.     Name your categories or sub-categories according to how you will look for them and try, whenever possible to use generic folder names.  For example, Under Utilities, name the file “Telephone” rather than “Verizon”. This is so that if you ever switch companies, you don’t have to create a whole new file. Simple, right?   One more important tip:  avoid vague names for your files.  For example, don’t name any file “miscellaneous”!  Why? Because it will wind up being a catchall for all items.

8.     Once you start putting files back into the cabinet, be sure to leave plenty of space so that you can easily find and file documents.

9.      Finally, go through the contents of your files approximately 2-3 times a year. This will help you to stay organized especially around tax season.

10.  The most important thing is that it should be organized in a way that is easy for you and makes sense to you.

 

Remember to keep it simple!