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Blog: Making the most of your Time
Time Wasters

Today I worked with a client that had a lot of paper to sort and most of it was from 2001 2005. I noticed that throughout the piles there were folders titled 'To Do' or 'Misc.' These folders are such a time waster and it got me think about other time wasters that people commonly do. In Harold Taylor's book Making Time For You, Taylor lists 64 time wasters. Below I've listed a few of the most common wasters that I see in my work with clients and how I help them with these issues.
#3 Not scheduling priority tasks in your planner
        I ask, if you have 14 things to accomplish, how do you decide which one to accomplish first? You must prioritize. Remember to include amount of time, input from others, resources available and importance in relationship to other 'To Do' items when creating a priority system. Then work off that priority list staying focused will help you manage your time.
#27 Filing too much, throwing out too little
        I see this all the time and the tough part is, we rarely look at the majority of items we file. So why waste time filing them? I had a client that wanted a file called 'Stuff' for the items that didn't have a specific subject. My response is, if it's not important enough to have a subject title and its own file, then it probably isn't worth keeping.
#31 Keeping separate 'Things to do' lists
        This is one of the biggest time wasters I see with my clients. We come across several 'To Do' lists, often times with the same things on each list. Keep your 'To Dos' or project lists in one place and cross off or add as you go. I'm a big fan of doing this electronically in my Outlook software. However, if you are a paper and pen kind of person, keep a notebook and jot down your lists in this one notebook so that you don't have to recreate the lists over and over.
#58 Having more than one 'junk drawer'
        One of my clients had 6 junk drawers in her kitchen. As you might suspect, she and her family members had a hard time find things in the kitchen. I set up 1 junk drawer and gave the items in the other drawers appropriate homes. If you have this problem, empty everything out and put like items with like items. Then think about if there are other places in your home or office that has similar items and group them together. Also, toss out anything that hasn't been used in over 2 years. Just because it's in the drawer, it doesn't mean you should keep it.
#59 Writing messages, notes on scraps of paper
        Ah, yes the attack of the sticky notes. This is like the 'To Do' lists. Jot your notes in one place (electronically or paper notebook) and you will spend less time looking for phone numbers, measurements, gardening ideas and so on.
#34 Having separate planners for business and home
        By far the biggest time waster I see with clients. If you have a calendar for work and a personal calendar you are doubling your time to maintain them. Combine them and keep one calendar. You will be on time to meetings, spend less time rescheduling and be more in control of how you spend your time.
If you recognize some of these time wasters as things you do, take a few minutes to make the appropriate adjustments and earn a little more back into your life.

posted on: 1/16/2008 9:30:00 AM by Brita Bolane
category: Time Management

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Making the most of your Time

by Brita Bolane

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About Brita:

Brita Bolane is the President of pare it down, inc. a professional organizing service in the San Diego area. Brita helps people streamline their lives through residential organization and time management consultation. Brita's first introduction to time management was when she attended college on a full atheltic scholarship (volleyball). She went on to play professionally on the beach and in Italy. Today, Brita is a business owner, wife and mother and understands the challenges of keeping a busy schedule and an organized life.

Brita's Website:


Time Savers

  • evite
    If you don't have time to get traditional invitations out in the mail, this is a great resource for quick internet invitations. They also have information and suggestions on entertaining.
  • shutterfly
    Digital, it's the way to go. Sites like shutterfly help you organize and arrange photos without having to print them first. They offer free, unlimited photo storage and if you do want to print pictures, you can print them to your local Target store. In addition, you can create wonderful gifts for family and friends in a reasonable amount of time.
  • Sunday
    Sunday is a virtual assistant service. Depending on how busy your life is, this could be a useful service and a real time saver. I love the concept but have not tried it yet.

Resources for Life

  • Martha Stewart
    I am a long time fan of Martha Stewart. Her website, magazines and TV program offer so many different and fun ideas. It's inspirational on many levels.

Tasty Treats

  • TasteSpotting
    Interesting site that people can post food ideas and blogs, recipes or places to buy the best tasting treats. The pictures are mouth watering!

Technology to love

  • oovoo
    I'm a big fan of face to face or internet to internet phone calls. Our family does this and it's amazing how much more you get out of the call when you see the person you're talking to. oovoo is a free service you can download to your computer that let's you have video converstations.
  • skype
    skype is an internet based phone service that let's you call computer to computer for free! Who doesn't love to talk for free?!

Books I Love

  • The Success Principles
    Jack Canfield is the cocreator of the Chicken Soup for Soul series. This is his book on how to achieve your goals in an effective and measurable way. I really like this book
  • Getting Things Done The Art of Stress-Free Productivity
    Author David Allen provides a great approach to managing all your to do lists and how to focus on the most important tasks each day.
  • The 4-Hour Workweek
    Timothy Ferris writes a revolutionary book and makes you rethink how you use your time.

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