If you are trying to STREAMLINE your routine and find more time in your day, here are some handy tips for managing your time more effectively at home and at work.
Consider investing in a good quality planner or handheld. Keeping your goals, daily to-do lists, bills and phone numbers in ONE place will decrease time expended looking for the information you need to complete your daily tasks.
PRIORITIZE AHEAD OF TIME
Make it a habit to REVIEW and plan each evening for the following day. Use this time to assess your accomplishments for the day, and plan for the next. Failing to plan the evening before for the next day can result in lost time. You will have a greater idea of what you have to accomplish, and your day will begin with a sense of DIRECTION if you plan the prior evening.
COMBINE LIKE TASKS INTO ONE
Try to do everything in one geographic area or related to one type of taks at the same time. For example, schedule a meeting with the teacher the day of soccer practice. This will not only save you time, but gas as well. When you assess what ERRANDS you have to run for the week, plan all errands within the same vicinity on one day. You’ll get more done in less time and save money as well.
DO ONE LOAD OF LAUNDRY PER NIGHT
While you are fixing dinner, throw some towels in the wash. Doing your laundry this way will save time by not having to spend an entire day doing nothing but 7 loads of laundry. You might also consider investing in a laundry SORTER. This will save you from having to spend extra time sorting out the different categories of clothes before you wash them.
MAKE GOOD USE OF IDLE TIME
If you are waiting for the doctor, make out your grocery list, next day’s plans, or write out your bills. If you are stuck on the train or subway, bring some reading you needed to get done. If you have unexpected free time because someone canceled a meeting, use that to get ahead on your to-do list. FOUND time like this can make all the difference in the world when it comes to your productivity level.
RETURNING PHEON CALLS
Make all phone calls in one sitting. Schedule time into your day to make and return phone calls. To prevent potentially lengthy calls, make it a point to say that you have only five minutes and then address the issues you for which you called. Have all the necessary MATERIALS in front of you before you call.
DELEGATE NON-IMPORTANT TASKS
Realize you cannot do EVERYTHING; consider delegating some tasks at home to your children, or work tasks to assistants. You will not only be saving time, but helping to train others with handling greater responsibility. Be sure to follow up at a later date and evaluate the task’s completion.
PUT THINGS AWAY
Spend 15 minutes at the end of the day returning items back to their HOMES. Following this method of decluttering your home and workspace will save you time by always knowing where something is and not having to spend extra time looking. Studies show that employees spend 60 minutes per month looking for paper. That’s not only lost time, but lost productivity as well.
PLAN YOUR MEALS FOR THE MONTH
Advanced planning of meals will save time deciding what to fix, and what to buy at the store. Many times individuals go to the store without a list, and no idea of what they are going to buy. This results in purchasing the wrong items or too many, and usually necessitates ADDITIONAL trips. Planning family meals will save not only time, but money as well.
STORE SIMILAR ITEMS TOGETHER
If you scrapbook, store all materials in one bin, label the bin, and store it where you do your scrap booking. Group all foods in your pantry together -- vegetables in one area, pastas another. Additionally, store pots and pans near the stove, dishes near the dishwasher. This will make kitchen tasks faster and simpler if the items you need are close at hand. Keep your office supplies that you use all the time by your desk. Follow this METHOD throughout your home and office.
KEEP A RUNNING GROCERY LIST ON THE FRIDGE
When you notice something is gone place it on the list. Make this a responsibility of each person in the home. Whoever uses the LAST of an item is responsible for putting it on the list. By the end of the month or week you already have your list and do not have to spend time meandering thru the cabinets taking stock. And you can actually do the same thing with office supplies and other personal/household items.
DO YOUR SHOPPING AT SUPER-CENTERS
Consider doing your shopping at large super centers where you can drop off the prescription, do your shopping, pay on the layaway, and get the oil changed the same trip. Since these places buy in such bulk, their prices and services are usually lower. So you will not only save time by CENTRALIZING tasks at one location, but money as well.
HANG CLOTHES BY OUTFIT
Hanging clothes by outfit save time and also closet SPACE. If you know you always wear the same pants with a certain top, put them on one hanger. That way you will spend less time trying to find the components to put the outfit together in the morning. Additionally, clothes you haven’t worn in a year, donate to charity. The more space in your closet, the faster you will find clothes.
KNOW YOUR ENERGY PERIODS
Schedule difficult tasks during your PEAK time. Every person has a predictable “peak” time during the day when they have more energy and are more alert. Do your most difficult tasks within this block of time. You will complete the task faster and have energy left over for others.
Simple almost always saves time. The more ELABORATE something is, the more time it takes to maintain and implement, and the less likely you will be to follow it. You will be more likely to maintain habits and time management systems if they are simple.
Carol Halsey is Founder of Business Organizing Solutions -- and her products are available directly through www.OnlineOrganizing.com. She is a professional organizer, consultant, speaker, and author. Visit her web site at www.PilesToFiles.com.
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