You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘Time Management Tips’ category.

This is an article written by a local Life Coach who helps people find their passion and transition from overwhelm to a sence of peace. We all deal with some sort of overwhelm on a regular basis. Keep reading to learn how you can reclaim your power! There is a special offer at the end.

Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements

SuccessI am returning from a little blogging hiatus. Over the past month I have been coordinating a community Back-to-School Clothes Swap, organizing workshops for students, and getting my daughter geared up for kindergarten. It’s been hard not to feel guilty when all those little things I wanted to accomplish didn’t fit onto one plate (i.e. blogging, social networking, household projects, personal goals, etc). However, the guilt lessened when I reminded myself of the things I did accomplish and that life wasn’t a race.

This past month I have made a point to acknowledge my achievements by patting myself on the back and doing a little ‘happy dance’. It didn’t matter if the task was large or small, I did a ‘happy dance’. Boy, does it feel great! By being aware and acknowledging my ‘gold stars’, I have felt my self-confidence increase as well as a sense of success. The need to beat myself up over not getting to a task/project has decreased.

If you are tired of feeling like a failure at the end of the day for not completing your to-do list, make a point to shift your thinking and focus on your successes. Reward yourself for the simple, little things in life that get accomplished.

Examples are:

  • You ate lunch: not many people take the time to eat lunch these days!
  • Brushed your teeth: you are taking care of your teeth and smile.
  • Cleaned the dishes: keeping the kitchen clean and decluttered leads to healthier meals.
  • Took your multi-vitamin: giving your body the nutrients it needs to thrive!

To get started, create a journal of your daily achievements. Post everything you completed that day – big or small, even itsy bitsy things. Don’t save the gold stars just for the children, use them for yourself too! Give yourself gold stars and do happy dances throughout the day. If you forget to journal one day or for the whole week, don’t beat yourself up. Start again the next day (make sure to give yourself a sticker for starting up again!). It is amazing how great you will feel in only a few short days. Focus on your successes and not your failures!

I’d love to hear your feedback. Take a moment to comment on how you celebrate your successes. If you currently are not acknowledging your achievements, start the journal and report back with your comments.

For more tricks and tips on organizing your time, goals, priorities, and life, sign up here to gain access to my ‘Organizer’s Tool Bag’. It will offer you inspiration and keep you motivated monthly.

Join me on Facebook!

Grace

mondayWhy do Mondays get a bad rap? It appears that many people struggle with getting up and getting moving on this first day of their work week. They wish to still be relaxing on Sunday, doing what makes them happy.

Not too long ago I struggled with Mondays as well. It was difficult for me to go from ‘lounging’ to ‘rushing’ overnight. I would wake up on Monday morning excited about the new day. However, I felt overwhelmed that I had to get two children under 5 yrs. old dressed, feed, and make sure all hair, teeth, and bodies were clean, my darling Dave’s lunch made, and that I looked professional and pulled together by 9:00am. My Monday’s ‘to-do’ list was filled with deadlines, appointments, and projects that set me up for failure at the end of the day. I didn’t like starting the work week off this way. I needed change!

After making minor changes to my schedule and Monday’s ‘to-do’ list, I started enjoying Mondays more. With the simple alterations to my Mondays, I was able to reduce stress and create a less-hectic work week. Everyone in my life benefited from these changes…my children, spouse, business clients, family and friends. Here are a few steps I took to escape from my Manic Mondays.

  • No appointments for myself or the kids are schedule before noon
  • I don’t meet with clients on Mondays
  • I make sure to sleep in (I get up at 8am as oppose to the usual 6:30am)
  • Prepare what I can the night before to ease Monday morning routines
  • Simplify my Monday ‘to-do’ list to only include easy-to-do tasks that only take minutes to complete
  • Use my children’s nap time to get small business projects completed
  • Make sure to do something fun for myself and my children 

It is amazing how altering my Monday’s schedule to eliminate or minimize what overwhelmed me has greatly improved my productivity for the rest of the work week. I encourage you to take a good look at your Monday schedule and ‘to-do’ list and see what steps you can take to simplify & thrive. It will lead to a happier, more efficient YOU!

For more tips and ideas on simplifying your world, visit my website at www.YourEfficiencySpecialist.com. While there, I encourage you to sign up and gain access to my ‘Organizer’s Tool Bag’ which is filled with even more great ideas for simplifying your life.

Simply Yours,

Grace

Need help managing your daily to-do list? Feeling overwhelmed and frustrated at the end of the day? If so, check out my recent video which will help you simplify your list and feel good at the end of the day!

Vodpod videos no longer available.

 

more about “Managing Your To-Do Lists“, posted with vodpod

 

 

These days it is convenient to purchase necessities and luxuries right from the comfort of your own computer/desk/home. Some websites make it even more convenient and save your credit card information right on their secured site. For the websites that don’t save your information (or if you prefer it not to be saved) and the times when you need to renew your membership, update account information, or purchase more organizing supplies, keep a copy of your credit card right at your workstation.

I use to have to get up from my desk, walk into the other room, and get my credit card from my wallet. I was always feeling annoyed that I had to stop what I was doing, get up, and retrieve my card information. It was more of a hassle. One day (years ago), it dawned on me. Make a copy!

I now have a copy of each of my credit cards stored (securely) at my desk. Don’t forget to make a copy of the backside as well. You often need the 3-digit code to make a purchase. By simply making a copy of my credit cards and keeping them conveniently stored at my desk, I can be more efficient and eliminate the interruption of having to leave my desk. It is a simple tip, but can make a big impact in your efficiency and moving forward with a task.

It is also wise to keep a copy of your credit cards in a file or fire-proof safe in case of emergency or if they are stolen.

Last year I read the book, The 4-Hour Work Week written by Timothy Ferriss. Timothy has some great ideas for cutting down on working hours and increasing relaxation and travel which he refers to as ‘mini retirement vacations’. He speaks a good deal on eliminating time-wasters, being productive, and making wise choices with your time. In the chapter, The End of Time Management, Timothy asks a question that really stuck with me. In fact, I have the question printed and hanging in my office as a visual reminder. The question is this, “Am I inventing things to do to avoid the important?” In other words, Am I being productive or just active?

Before reading the book, I thought that cleaning my house was ‘being productive’. Instead, I was cleaning my house to avoid the ‘important’ things (the action items that would push my career forward and continue to grow my business). I now ask myself each morning, “What am I going to do today that will make me money?” (As a small business owner working out of my home, making money is important!) I still clean my house, but I make sure not to clean it during business hours. This simple question has really helped me make wiser choices with my time. chasing the dollar

So I ask you that same question now, “Are you inventing things to do to avoid the important?”

picture1One of the toughest parts of the day is when get off work, pick up the kids, rush home to throw the chicken in the oven, deal with homework meltdowns, feed the pets, check personal email, and attend to your spouse’s needs. We are juggling multiple tasks in a very short period of time (usually 2 or 3 hours). Usually when we are hungry, tired, and in dire need for some relaxation. Getting behind schedule is a major factor which leads to the chaotic evening routine. This is a tough time of the day, but with these time-management tips you will be able to improve your early evening hours and enjoy your family.

 

Work Backward
Start with the end of your day in mind and work backwards.  If your objective is to get the kids in bed by 8:00pm, you need to finish dinner by 6:30, which means the kids should be finished with homework and the food on the table by 5:45, and so on.

Not ‘To-Do’ List
If you don’t already have a ‘not to-do’ list, create one! This is a great list to have posted as a reminder of what you won’t/shouldn’t/don’t want to be doing, especially during the most chaotic part of the day. One example would be not to answer the telephone, but instead let your voicemail do the work.

Add Some Cushion
Always include a 10 to 20 percent time cushion for mini emergencies that cause a hiccup in your day and make you late. Those hiccups may be heavy traffic, a last-minute phone call, misplaced handbag, or parking headaches.

 And, of course, PLAN
A man by the name of Victor Hugo once said, “When disposal of time is surrendered to chance, chaos soon reigns.” Start the day off with a ‘plan of action’. Make sure to not over-commit yourself. You can do this by having no more than 5-7 tasks on your ‘to-do’ list and adding some time cushion (10-20 percent) to each item.

I read an interesting article today in the Bottom Line Personal written by Gary Bencivenga on ways to boost your productivity. Lately, I have had a personal struggle with being too productive and not giving myself permission to relax and do nothing. I was drawn to the title ‘Why Your Not-To-Do List Is More Important Than Your To-Do List’. I was hoping Gary was going to tell me it was OK to sit back and not do anything with my days…that wasn’t the way it went.

I wanted to share an interesting topic within the article that I have heard before, but found it to be a great reminder. It is on applying the 80/20 rule to everything you do. Are you aware that 20% of your daily activities are responsible for 80% of your happiness, success, and even your income? These are considered your ‘big-payoff’ activities. At the same time, 20% of your activities are causing 80% of your wasted time. These are your ‘low-payoff’ activities.

To increase your productivity, always look for ways to free up more time to do your big-payoff tasks/activities by eliminating the many low-payoff ones that keep you from achieving your desired goals and dreams.

Your ‘Not-To-Do’ list can be more important than your ‘To-Do’ list! You must constantly be working to minimize or get rid of those 20% of activities that are wasting 80% of your time. You can do this by maintaining your ‘Not-To-Do’ list…

Here are some examples for your ‘Not-To-Do’ list:

  • Never answer email in the morning – Reserve this cherished morning time for your highest payoff activities.
  • Don’t answer phones just because they ring– take advantage of voice-mail, text messaging, and caller ID services. Answering a phone can distract you from doing your current high-payoff activity. It may just be a sales person looking to waste your time and ruin your focus.

Gary suggested asking yourself two questions for every task. Here they are: (1) Does this have to be done? (2) If so, does it have to be done by me? Don’t just be efficient, but be effective too. Do the right things and not just do them right!

So each day when you are creating your ‘To-Do’ list, think of creating your ‘Not-To-Do’ list as well.

Does your family or household have a central location which is designated for incoming & outgoing mail, calendar/schedules, phone with answering machine, and a tickler file (refer to Organizing Tools – Tickler File)? Every household should have something I call a ‘Command Center’. This is where each member of the family or house posts appointments, birthdays, important events, etc.. and temporary stores documents that need action taken. This is also the location to take and leave phone messages and other notes for members of the house. It could be as simple as a countertop in the kitchen.
It is important to have one member assigned as the manager of the Command Center. There is usually only of caption on a ship and one manager of a Command Center. Often this role is given to the mom. If there is another person that is responsible, good with following through on chores and/or projects, and enjoys managing schedules, give this person the role of Command Center manager.

Here are a few items each Command Center should have:

  • Phone with answering machine
  • Large calendar with room for multiple schedules
  • Various colored pencils/markers with one assigned to each member of household
  • In and out box for mail
  • Trash can with shredder
  • Office supplies (pens, tape, stapler with staples, stamps, rubber-bands, return address labels, envelopes, scissors, etc.)
  • Tickler file
  • Some kind of magnetic or cork board for posting memos, notes, shopping list, etc.
  • Chalk or white board
  • Frequently used and important contact names and phone numbers

This center can be customized to your family’s needs. With a system such as this setup and used regularly, your family will not miss appointments, forget important dates or events, bills will be mailed on time, and everyone will be well-informed of the whereabouts of other family members. The benefits are endless!

 

 

One thing I like to do every morning when I wake up and every evening before I go to bed is something I call the 10 Minute Roundup. I give myself 10 minutes in the morning to make beds, pick up water glasses, and anything that was left out after I went to bed (sometimes that involves straightening the pillows on the sofa). In the evening, my 10 minutes is used to pick up stray toys, clothes left on the floor, put dishes in the dishwasher, and straighten the pillows on the sofa. You can use a laundry basket or tote of some sort to help you roundup items that are not in their place. Get the kids involved and have a race to see who can pick up the most misplaced items the fastest! You may get this down to a 5 Minute Roundup!

This 10 Minute Roundup gives me the opportunity to maintain my space and a sense of order. It helps me to sleep better and start my day on the right foot.

Think about your space and all that can be done in a 10 Minute Roundup. Start this evening before going to bed. When you have a maintenance system setup, your space won’t be quite as overwhelming.