Powerful productivity come when we create an environment that works with our strengths. Improve your effectiveness and efficiency with these tips.
- Your planner is the visual guide to your productivity. Use it like a map, writing in what your destination is for your day, your week and longer. When you write tasks and projects into your planner, you are making yourself accountable and breaking the job into smaller, manageable pieces.
- Use paper management skills to go from overwhelmed to in control. Break down the flood of paper by eliminating first what is junk and recycle this. Create a command center where you drop recycling in and separate the paper into actions. Your command center should be at the spot where paper comes to you and you drop it in a pile. Create a fun and inviting command center using color! Not sure what decisions to make about paper? Be brutal and just keep what you absolutely need to work on, not maybe, someday projects.
- Turn overwhelming email into 10 in your inbox by taking time three times a day to sort and clear email. Color code your email and important email stands out. Designate a power period to work on email that needs lengthy responses and relates to projects. Your paper and email folders should be named the same to keep consistent and find what you need.
- Add routines to your week to consolidate activities. Even grocery shopping is less stressful if you tack it on to an existing weekly activity.
- Too much to do and too much on the brain? Use a notebook to capture your lists, dating the top of the list. Then choose 3 – 7 tasks to do that day.
- Use technology to help you increase your productivity. Turn off alarms, email, texting and more when you really want to focus on a project.
What success tips do you have for plentiful productivity?
- I link two activities back to back that I love. (Or at least love one of them!) I will file when I watch foodtv.
- I will support a cause when I add in another team member that I work well with. I have joined committees and become a board member because it was fun, easy and rewarding to be a valuable team member.
- No one wants to be left in the kitchen alone. My DH and I partner to unload the dishwasher, fold the sheets, and make dinner. You can create all different partners in your family to get this done.
- Double up dinner recipes! Freeze part of the recipe for another week.
What is one way you get the little stuff done? What organizing strategy works best for you?
There is nothing more important for organizing our time than a great calendar/planner. You can use this tool to incorporate planning as well. The strategy of not only recording dates can be the key to making your life more organized and less stressful.
- Choose a calendar/planner that works for you. It’s a calendar/planner that makes it easy to record dates at any time. It also helps you view time the way you think about time, at a month at a time, throughout a week, or just in a long string. Your calendar can be as simple as a yellow pad, very exact like Franklin Covey planners, or with technology on your smart phone.
- Create a habit of recording dates as soon as possible. There are always lots of dates swirling n your head for you and your family. By entering these on your calendar/planner asap, you won’t have to remember them, there will be fewer conflicts of dates and activities, and you will start to grasp a greater sense of due dates and upcoming events.
- Refer to your calendar/planner diligently. How often? At least in the morning and evening, but also throughout the day to keep you on track with appointments and projects.
- Use your calendar as planner for big and little tasks. Breaking down big projects with your own time line, creating accountability dates to complete a project, and adding in baby steps makes your planner a strategy to get things done.
- Post a family calendar for your kids and partner to add dates. Keeping everyone in the loop and keeping everyone communicating keeps your family organized.
- Have a weekly review to get ahead of the game. Once a week, make a date with your calendar to look ahead, see what is coming, prioritize and get in gear.
Using a calendar/planner eliminates the mental clutter of remembering dates and times and helps you focus on completion of a project. The more you use your calendar/planner, the more indispensible it will be!
Image courtesy of The Container Store www.containerstore.com
Save your sanity and get organized in 2013!
Is getting organized one of your New Year’s resolutions? Then Join me this January for 10 amazing webinars from a dream team of presenters for Get Organized month. These classes will help you focus, plan, and organize your time, space, and information.
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Webinar classes include how to organize your time, your paper, your kids, your students, your technology, hoarding and more!
- Classes offered share specific tools and techniques to impact your daily life.
- Nationally known professional organizers and productivity coaches available to you in your home by webinar.
- Affordable solutions to learn about organizing and take that next step in your home or office.
Classes begin January 3 and run all through Get Organized Month 2013. Take a step to make 2013 your most organized year yet!
Home should be where we feel the most nurtured and in control. However that is not always the case with too many papers coming in, too many toys and too little time. Follow these 10 tips to make a difference in your home.
- Start with a place for everything and everything in its place. Every item in your home should have a home.
- When shopping, know where the new stuff is going in your home when it arrives
- Set a timer to declutter. Just 15 minutes makes a difference!
- Set a time each evening for the 7 minute sprint. During this time, your family gets everything back to where it goes and everyone works together.
- Establish a paper command center with your calendar, slots for paper (action, pay, file) and a bulletin board for invitations and reminders. Set a time weekly for your admin time to go through and work through your papers.
- Lists make a difference in keeping clutter out of your head. Keep your list in a notebook in categories. Go back and prioritize what’s on the list before starting to tackle it. Decide on 3 Most Important Tasks to get knocked out early in the day.
- Create routines for each day to conquer the regular stuff like laundry and dinner. Decide if you are doing one load daily of laundry or assigning days to colors of laundry. Make dinner early in the day with a crockpot or do a series of dinners on Sunday. Routines should fit your personal style.
- Host a family meeting weekly to communication and collaborate. At the meeting write in activities on the family calendar, talk about upcoming events and have some family fun!
- Ask for help! Whether it is clearing the table or cleaning the toilets, ask your family to be a part of the organizing and cleaning. Post a chart with everyone’s responsibilities, including deadlines.
- Once a season, set a Saturday to do a little catch up. Busy families need a day to restore order in their homes, in their closet, and in their pantries.
Share your tip for home organizing too!
So much to do and so little time to do it all! It is no wonder we feel drained, unproductive and overwhelmed at work. Follow these 10 tips to make a difference in your efficiency and effectiveness at work.
- Choose a planner that works for you. It can be as simple as a spiral notebook or a Google calendar. Having one place to consolidate dates makes it easy to keep up with activities, projects and tasks.
- Use lists. Consolidate your list in one spot. Making the list is the first step, prioritizing your activities is the next step.
- Set your day’s priorities the night before. When you come in to work and you know your focus, you get started right away.
- Choose 3 Most Important Tasks and get these done early in the day. Every day is filled with distractions and interruptions. Getting the most important tasks done early helps you feel productive!
- Establish times to work hard. Have a power period in the morning and the afternoon. These are times where you just work on one project. Turn off all distractions, including your cell phone, email, and post a note on the door for your colleagues, to keep this time sacred.
- Keep your action items in a desktop sorter in files. Finding papers you need to work on saves time and energy.
- Delegate lower level tasks to an assistant. Know what is worth your time and what is less important. Set up a process for your assistant to check back in with a time line and specific deliverables.
- Take a break during the day to eat, walk a little and get refreshed. You will work better with brain food. You may think you have too much to do, but a break will help you be more efficient.
- Set specific times for email. Do an email triage, with a quick scan and filing, and then consolidate projects and tasks on your list to work on during your power period.
- Set a time to end your day. It’s important to get out of your office and connect with others too.
What are your tips for time management at work?
Our students have a lot on their plates! There is homework, sports, homecoming, church and more! Time management is an important skill for them to develop early on to be sure they feel successful academically and personally. Follow these tips to help you do your best!
- Write in your assignments in your planner in each class. Check your teachers’ websites to be sure you have all your assignments too.
- Check your planner each afternoon, write in what you missed.
- Review your out of school activities and write these in your planner.
- Keep your papers in your homework folder that need action, keep your papers in your binder that are reference
- Prioritize and plan the week out. What is most important to do on what day? Anticipate the next test.
- Plan your week by working around existing activities. Wednesdays are especially busy!
- Break big projects into baby steps. For example, flashcards written, study for short periods, review with someone.
- Get started and work hard during homework time, from 6 – 9 pm. Take breaks when your concentration stops, but get back to work in 5 minutes.
- Pack your backpack and your homework before bed.
- Wind down and get in bed by 10 pm. A good night’s rest makes all the difference.
The hardest part of any project may be to get started or get done. This is especially true with your papers! Choose one of these ten tips to help you make a difference, get going and get finished.
- Put your perfectionism aside. Set a minimum expectation for yourself that can be accomplished by creating a project scope that allows for success.
- Instead of creating the “perfect” filing system, work with the big picture and use general, larger categories such as home and auto, finance, and personal. Or just have one box marked 2012. There is no one perfect way to file, so design what you need.
- Make the project less overwhelming by making a list of the steps and products needed. This will make the process more manageable. Start by getting the first step going and then the task falls into place.
- Make a list of the tasks for paper work. The list may include: pay bills, sort papers by alphabetical groups, file papers, eliminate junk for 5 minutes, or purchase extra files.
- Break your work into smaller steps. Use a timer and work just 15 minutes.
- Have a quick file group set up in the desk file drawer instead of the file cabinet. For papers that arrive very frequently or that you use frequently, it is easy to just reach in.
- Set a deadline to start or finalize your project and write it on your calendar. As busy as we all are, there is never enough time to do all we want to do.
- Set a date on your calendar that is your administrative day to work on papers.
- Give yourself permission to take all the time you need to work on papers.
- With a realistic time frame, you will get more accomplished on discarding, sorting and filing. Assess your schedule and double the time you think it will take to finish.
- Set the mood with music. Having a soundtrack gets us moving.
- Choose your favorite background music, whether it is a playlist, country or classical. Making it more fun makes paperwork easier.
- Partner with someone who has the skills that match your skills.
- You pay the bills, your husband files the papers. You can delegate filing to your very organized teen too!
- Make it routine. Set the time aside and work regularly at your admin tasks with weekly admin time.
- Start with small bits of sorting and filing regularly and once the routine takes hold add on more.
- Start when you are high energy. Get a good night’s rest, have a small snack and work at your best time.
- Work at a time that works best for you, morning or evening.
- Re-frame the work. Get a new perspective on why and how to work with your papers.
- Know what papers you want to keep and why. Keep only what you need and be brutal about eliminating other papers. The best resource for this is Oprah.com ABCs of Important Papers. http://www.oprah.com/home/The-ABCs-of-Important-Papers/
- Papers are like laundry! You are never done and there is a constant incoming stream. Having a regular, consistent strategy keeps them under control, but not eliminated.
Filing! Everyone hates filing! However, you can make filing less painful with a few simple solutions.
- The easiest way to file is to have one box for a one year’s worth of paper. Have an easy to access, attractive box to drop in paper as it arrives. You can find what you need by going through the paper in chronological order. It saves time and energy to have just one box for all papers.
- Have big categories for your files. Remember that filing is for retrieval! Having categories that include important areas can help you file quickly. Categories include home and auto, financial, personal and work. This filing is best accomplished with hanging files. But don’t just file everything. Be sure to keep just what you will want to retrieve.
- Make a list of your files. Often we are not sure where a paper goes, so we don’t file it. With a list, you have choices of where to file and what the options are.
- File for fun! (Really!) Add music, your favorite tv show, with a friend, or with an adult beverage to add fun to your filing.
- Use filing products you love. I recently found the filertek dry erase hanging file tabs. Having dry erase tabs means you can add names to your files easily. Also having lots of colored hanging files or beautiful file folders makes your work lovely to look at. Companies like www.officecandy, www.seejanework.com and www.containerstore.com make fabulous products for you to love and use.
I love to share my personal filing secret! I file 4 times a year and when I file I watch foodtv. What is your personal filing secret?