Overwhelmed with your email inbox? Try these steps to declutter: Step 1: Purge – delete, spam, unsubscribe. Step 2: Mark action items “unread” – Schedule time on your calendar to act on those items. Step 2: Create email folders to file messages that are not urgent or time sensitive and may be read at a later time. Schedule that “later” time once a month.
Do you plan what you are going to do with all of the time you that you save? We often talk about not having enough time, using time savers, and multi-tasking to get more done. That’s great if you are going to do something with all that time you’re saving, right? Here are 3 factors Outside In Organizer and Makeovers would like you to consider when managing your time: #1: Time savers- when you are using or doing something to save yourself time does the time factor have the intended benefit? For example, when you choose to send a thank you note via email rather than handwriting and mailing one will the recipient feel as appreciated? This is not about one option being “better” than the other. Rather, it is about creating awareness of our choices. Sometimes, the immediacy of the response takes priority over the personal touch (but not always). #2: Multi-tasking – Do you find yourself driving somewhere, talking on your hands-free phone and eating at the same time? When you arrive, is the sense of accomplishment a good feeling? Do you sometimes feel like you are on auto-drive and don’t even remember how you got there? Here is another alternative…next time you are going for a short drive turn off your phone (completely, not just on vibrate). Take the 10-15 minutes to notice the things, sounds and people around you. Notice the weather, road conditions, new stores or restaurants you’ve meaning to visit. Then notice all of the other activities people engage in while driving. Do they look content, attentive, or relaxed? Being more present will always outweigh the benefits of multi-tasking. #3: Saved time – We all want to be more productive and efficient. List 3-5 things that you will do with the time that you… read more →
Do you share a common frustration…not enough time to do it all? Try these 3 ways to manage your time: 1. Overestimate how much time a task will take you & then plan for that much time. 2. Select the one thing that must get done today. Do that one thing; everything else that gets done will be a bonus. 3. Follow the 1-at-a-time rule. Try mono-tasking to improve your productivity.
Make your tasks more manageable by applying the “1-at-a-time rule”. What does that mean? Work on 1 task at a time. Work in 1 space at a time. Talk to 1 person without distraction. You get the idea. The key is to focus, be present, and more efficient. Not only will you shorten the amount of time it takes to get it done, but you will be able to do it better. So start planning for all that extra time!
Your desktop is a surface that is primarily a space to work on rather than a storage space. Are you afraid that if you don’t leave papers out that you will forget to do something? As an organizing and productivity expert I can assure you that that strategy doesn’t work. In fact, it creates mental confusion and stress. Consider these factors: 1. How your desk top makes you feel? 2. What type of impression does it have on your prospective and current clients? 3. What message does your desk top give to your supervisor, colleagues, or employees? To solve the problem of desk top clutter and disorganization, have an effective filing and tickler system. Everything needs to have a designated place. Tasks and project due dates need to be aligned with your calendar.
Professionally, I do not advocate for a paperless office for my clients (or myself). My experience as a former educator strongly suggests that the very act of writing something down adds benefits both in learning and memory. I advocate for a balance (see TIPS below). That said, paper clutter in the office or home has no benefit. As a Professional Organizer in San Diego I am witness to the pitfalls of excessive paper…health problems (piles of paper collecting dust and impeding a clean office)…safety problems (heavy piles of unfiled papers, injuries related to lifting or tripping over piles)…stress-related issues (constant complaints of overwhelm and frustration)…and financial problems(late or duplicate bill payments, lack of productivity, lost time looking for important papers). Before I share the Outside In Organizer Approach’s TIPS I want to share an interesting article: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/09/jobs/pen-and-paper-still-practical-in-the-office-workstation.html?ref=global Outside In Organizer and Makeover TIPS: 1. Purge unnecessary papers. Ask yourself these 3 questions to help you decide: What do I need to keep the hard copy for? Is it something I need to act upon, or is it for information purposes, only? If it is informational, only, can I access it when I need to refer to it in an electronic file or the internet? 2. Sort the papers that you need to keep. Create an easy to maintain file system so that every piece of paper has its place. Streamline your system and use broad categories to avoid files that only contain 1 or 2 pieces of paper. 3. Create a tickler system for action items. A lot of my clients are afraid that if papers are out of their sight they will forget to act on them. Admittedly, leaving them out doesn’t insure that they will work on them! The answer? A dated tickler system that aligns with your calendar. This allows you… read more →
How many messages are in your inbox right now? Are most of them opened but you don’t know what to do with them? Outside In Organizer and Makeovers shares these tips about how to manage your email and in essence…improve your time management. First, treat your inbox like any potential source of clutter. The process of organizing it is the same: PURGE, SORT, ORGANIZE. Second, delete any junk mail and unsubscribe from unnecessary sites. Tip three, create files to store messages that are for future use or reference. Purge these at least once a month. Tip four, designate action items that are already overdue. Tip five would be to mark those items that require your action or response within the next week. The next tip is the most important one…schedule 1 time in the morning and 1 time later in the day to read, organize, and respond to your email. Commit to this rather than checking your email throughout the day, you will increase your productivity.
Getting organized before you travel allows you to save your time for enjoying your destination. Outside In Organizer and Makeovers has 5 tips for organizing your travel: #1 – Pay bills early and online #2 – Use a packing and to do list #3 – Have the concierge make reservations for spa appointments, tours, and meals prior to your arrival #4 – Locate a grocery store near your hotel; purchase the basics on the first day you arrive (ex: bottled water, snacks) #5 – Keep duplicates of some items in your luggage so you only need to replenish rather than unpack and pack them Safe travels from me to you!
Love to travel but hate to pack? Here are some organizing tips and ideas that promise to lighten your load: 1. Use a backpack for your carry on. The weight will be distributed evenly and allow your hands to be free. 2. Bring an e-reader instead of books and magazines (don’t forget your charger). 3. Find multi-use products such as lotions and makeup with of an SPF 15, or more, conditioning shampoo, lip gloss with color, and so on. 4. Email yourself (cc: others) necessary documents rather than print them out and carry them. For example: your itinerary, emergency contacts, and presentation materials. 5. Ship items you purchase or pick up at conferences to your home or office rather than try to pack and carry them.
Make a list of 3-5 things you would do with an extra 15 minutes in your day.