Posts Tagged ‘Saving Time’

Getting Organized?

December 31, 2013

It’s almost the New Year and time to begin again. Is one of your resolutions to finally get organized? If it is, you’re not alone. Many people say they want to get organized. January is National Get Organized month – a perfect time to start.

How should you begin? The first thing many people do is go shopping for organizing supplies. Now, if you’re organizing a filing system I would say ‘great’! Go ahead and get manila files, hanging folders, a shredder and perhaps extra tabs for the hanging files and a few sharpie pens. You absolutely need those supplies when organizing a paper filing system.

If you’re organizing a closet you might go ahead and get some hangers. However, until you know how many sweaters, t-shirts, or shoes you are keeping (when you begin organizing one of the steps you’ll take is to sort through your belongings to determine if any of those items will be leaving your house to be donated, recycled, trashed, or consigned) you should not buy containers!

Let me say that again… Do NOT buy containers, baskets or bins until you know what you are putting in said containers. Are you thinking, why not? You save yourself time when you wait until you’ve completed the sorting process to buy organizing containers. When you buy them ahead of time you don’t know how many of which size, shape or style container you need. When you sort first you know where you will put the containers and approximately what the containers will hold. When you buy containers before sorting you will almost always have to return some containers and buy others of a different size and shape. So, you have to make a second trip to the store! When you sort first and have a good idea of the space in which you are putting the containers you usually go to the store once thus saving yourself a return trip to the store!

Now where to begin this organizing project? My advice is to start small. Start with a drawer or a small closet. See how much time that takes you. Then decide if there is a bigger organizing project in your house that you want to tackle. It’s important to finish one organizing project before beginning the next.

No matter the scope of the project being more organized in any area will give you satisfaction and hopefully encourage you to tackle another project in your home.

Let me know what you decide to organize and how it turns out!

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Take Time to Save Time

May 21, 2013

Quite often I hear things like this from my clients: I don’t know where to start; I have so much to do, I don’t know what to do first; I sit around and think of all the things I have to take care of and by the time I’ve decided what to do I don’t have time to do it.

Do any of these phrases sound familiar to you? Do you ever find yourself wondering what task to begin first or having so much to do that you spend all of your time trying to remember all those things and doing none of them. Then, perhaps, you feel a little guilty or unhappy with yourself because so much time has gone by and nothing has been accomplished.

I suggest that you take the time to make a list. Taking the time to write everything down (either on paper or electronically) will free your mind of having to remember all the tasks you want to complete. Then you can take a look at your calendar, review your schedule, and decide which tasks you have enough time to either complete or, at least, start.

When should you make this list? That’s up to you. What day and time makes the most sense to you? I make my master list on Sunday afternoons. I take a look at what I’ve accomplished during the preceding week and think about what I’d like to get done this week. Then I write everything down, recognizing that not everything will get done but if it’s on my list, I know I won’t forget! Every evening, after work, I make a short list for the next day. I first review my master list that I made Sunday afternoon, I look at my calendar see what time I have available to use and schedule my tasks accordingly.

I created the daily habit of doing this every evening because then I don’t worry during the night about what I have to do the next day. Taking the time in the evening saves me time in the morning – I know what I’m doing. I’ve already reviewed my tasks and prioritized them. This is not to say that I can always, everyday stick to my list and complete it – I can not. However, because I have this method and it works for me, when other unexpected things have to be taken care of first I am confident that I can juggle my schedule and manage the top priority tasks.

Are You Organized?

January 17, 2013

What does organized look like? I believe that being organized feels and looks different for everyone. Some people like having a little bit of clutter or disarray around. They are really O.K. with that. They know they are organized because they can find what they are looking for, the amount of clutter they allow to accumulate does not stress them out, and they feel in control of their environment. Other people get stressed when there are a few items lurking around without homes. These people like to have everything put away and do not allow any clutter to accumulate.

Part of my job as a professional organizer is to find out what organized looks like for each of my clients. Everyone of my clients has a unique definition. Helping each of my clients define organized and then working with them to achieve that sense and feeling of being organized is my passion.

This is not to say that you can work to become organized, achieve that feeling of being organized and then stop. Being organized is a constant work in progress. This is because life is constantly evolving. What works for you this month may not work for you next month.

Once you have your definition of being organized and you get organized then you have to have a strategy or system to maintain the organization. When your circumstances change or when life tosses you a challenge take a step back, reassess your defintion of organized and then work to achieve it again.

Here are a few tips to help you stay organized:
1. create a daily routine
2. Put things away when you are finished with them (later rarely happens)
3. Only have things in your home that you either love, use or both
4. If you don’t love an item or you don’t use it then let someone else have it!
5. Jump start your organizing process by hiring a professional organizer

Live Now

December 19, 2012

I was at my local grocery store earlier today. Grocery shopping was just one of the many errands I had to do today. I took some time last night to organize my grocery list. I went through the recipes of the special dishes my family has requested for Christmas Dinner. I wanted to include some of the non-perishable ingredients on my grocery list. This will save me a little time next week and I’ll be able to do a little pre-cooking! I love my neighborhood grocery store. I know many of the people who work there. They are always friendly and helpful! One of these helpful people came to help me unload my grocery cart. As is our custom, we had a little conversation. She said, ‘It looks like you’re getting ready for Christmas’. I replied, ‘Yes, I am. Are you ready or getting ready?’ She looked at me sadly and said ‘No, I’m not. I miss my family. It’s just not the same without my family. So, I’m feeling a little lonely and sad. It’s hard for me to get in the Christmas spirit.’  I told her that I was sorry she felt that way. Many of my family members are far from me so I can truly empathize with my grocery store friend. In fact, one of my sons will not be coming home for Christmas. I’ll be seeing him for New Year’s, that’s some consolation, but I will miss him on Christmas Day.

Many people, particularly at this time of year feel a little sad or lonely – missing family members and perhaps shared family traditions. I don’t have a remedy or solution but I do have a couple of strategies.

One strategy is not unique. It’s a mindset. I try to live in the present, to enjoy and remember what has come before but to really live in the now. There was a time when I was almost exclusively focusing on the future and living in the past. I can recall saying to myself something like: I love the way we used to be able to sit outside, I can’t wait until we move from this apartment and I can sit outside with my coffee again. I would say this alot when we lived in a small apartment in Hong Kong. Looking back I really liked our apartment. The photographs I have of it are lovely. I know now that I didn’t truly appreciate it at the time because I was not living in the present.

My other strategy is to be a volunteer. When you are volunteering on a project, helping other people, you can not help but be happier. First of all, you meet other interesting people – always a benefit, and you work to make something better. Sometimes the work is hard but then when you’ve accomplished a pre-set goal or task you can go home and be proud of your work. You’ll sleep well from the physical effort and knowing you’ve helped in some way. That’s a good, rewarding and happy feeling.

So, if you’re feeling a little blue try doing a some volunteer work this will help you to focus on someone or something other than yourself. Remember to live in the present and appreciate all that you have – no matter what that is. After all, we no longer have the past and the future is yet to come. So, live now.

Priorities

August 10, 2011

Do you ever say things with conviction and then not follow through? I know I do sometimes. I have made promises to myself and then, I guess, not made that promise a priority – so it never happens. I have done that regarding this blog. I have told myself time and again that Wednesday mornings I will take a few minutes and create a new blog post. As you can see from the date of my last blog post a full month has gone by. What have I done with my Wednesday morning blog time? I can give you lots of things, lists of things I have done other than write this blog. The fact of the matter is that I have not made this a priority. It’s really pretty funny because I think of lots of things to write about when I am out walking my dog, Mr. Miles, every morning. So, I can’t tell you that I don’t sit down to do this because I don’t have anything to say. Also, I really do enjoy the writing process – I have fun putting the sentences together to, hopefully, create a meaningful (or at the very least interesting) blog. What do I think is preventing me from keeping this promise? The answer to that question is that I have not made writing a priority. I have not put the other things that come up aside. Writing this blog must become a scheduled activity on my Wednesday calendar – I’m going to put it in at 9:30am and we’ll see what happens next week.

Sometimes people put off doing things for no real reason. It could be they don’t make time (or schedule the time) to do them. It could be they are not really interested in …(fill in the blank). It could also be that whatever it is has not be made into a priority, so has not been scheduled.

I’m interested to know if there is something you could make into a priority. Is there something that you really want to do but don’t? Could you write it into your weekly calendar on a specific day and time to make it happen?

 

Time Management

March 14, 2011

At the beginning of this calendar year I made a quiet little promise to myself that I would write a new blog post every week. As you can tell, since it is now the second week in March and my most recent blog post was the second week in January, I did not keep my promise. I got really busy and something had to fall by the wayside – I let that something be this blog.  One of the things I teach my clients is better time management. So, how is it that I didn’t have time for this? Honestly? I probably did have time. This is what I did not do – I did not schedule the time to attend to it. This blog has always been on my list but it was one of those things that was shifted over from one day to the next. Today, I decided that this was not going to happen any more so I scheduled the time into my day and look what happened! Good time management means that you actually schedule appointments with yourself in your planner or your electronic calendar to take care of those things on your ‘to-do’ list. Always allow more time than necessary. If you are finished early – great! Treat yourself, you now have time for something fun!!  Another tip is that if it is a recurring item (such as this – a weekly or daily thing on your ‘to-do’ list) you can program it that way in your computer or simply schedule it in your planner every week.

Procrastination

May 5, 2010

Do you ever put things off for another day or time? I know I do. I usually put off the things I would rather not do at all. I tell myself “I’ll get to it tomorrow” and guess what? Unless I plan the time in to take care of this unwanted activity I never get around to doing it. Sometimes it doesn’t matter. Sometimes these are necessary chores. When the chores are necessary(bill paying, cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping) I make sure that I schedule them into my day. Sure, it would often be easier to ignore the dust, let the laundry accumulate, or go out for a meal but I know that the longer I delay the more I have to do and the bigger the penalty. So, I generally opt to take care of things a little at a time. Let’s face it – one load of laundry is easier to do (wash, dry, fold, and put away) than 3 or 4 loads. If you have something you are avoiding ask yourself these questions. Will it be more or less onerous if I do this next week? What will the consequences be if I put this off for several days? Will my payment be late?  Be honest. An organizer friend, Julie Bestry, makes a ‘to-do’ list and then sets a timer for 45 minutes. She then sees how much she can get done before the timer goes off.  When the timer buzzes she takes a break and then sets the timer again. You could try a variation of this. Make a ‘to-do’ list, set your timer for 30 minutes and get to work. See how much you get done. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised!

August 29, 2009

As a professional organizer I am all about making the best use of my time. I like to think I practice what I preach in that I try not to overload myself with commitments. It can be really stressful when you overload yourself with commitments. I really wanted to sign up to be a volunteer maintenance gardener at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens. I even went so far as to go for training. Then I totally stressed myself out because I realized that the only day I could confidently give the garden 3 hours is a day that I have a regular business lunch meeting. They are on opposite ends of town. If only I could send myself across town at warp speed and in the process get cleaned up and ready for a business meeting. I had to make a hard choice. I know there will be a time in my life when I will not have business meetings and other related commitments. That will be the time for me to take on volunteer gardening responsibilities.

Saving Time

July 31, 2009

How often do you, when you come home, put things(like the mail or your briefcase, or a jacket) down and think ‘I’ll get to that later..’ ?  Maybe you need to empty your briefcase or tote bag. Do you ever ‘loose’ the keys because they are in the pocket of your jacket or the bottom of your bag? The things you put down stay where you put them until you take the time to go back, pick them up, and put them where they belong.  You can save time by completing the tasks. It takes longer to remember what it is you have left ‘to do’ than it does to just complete the tasks – hang up your jacket, put the mail in the mail landing zone, put your briefcase by your desk and empty it, put the keys in their place… 

Think about the things you would like to do when you come home to save yourself some time.

Close the circle – complete the task –  save yourself steps and time. Try it for a few days and let me know how it goes.