Monthly Archives: November 2010

Get Organized and Create More Time

You’re always declaring you want more time. Are you willing to do what it takes to make it happen? This is not a complicated thing to do folks. You just have to stop long enough to make it happen.

The number one reason people give for not getting organized is that they don’t have time.
The reason they don’t have time is because they’re disorganized.

Organize your files. Use your local grocer as an example on how to organize anything. They use broad categories to separate the products, giving everything a home. For example, Meat Department, then poultry, then chicken/turkey, then by parts, then by brand. You can always go to exactly what you need by starting with a category first. You organize everything this way, putting like items together. Your system will be logical so you’ll start to remember where you put it. You need to organize everything from your paper files to the computer files to the Inbox. The quicker you can put your hands on what you need, the quicker you’ll be able to leave work.

Organize how you remember. You want to use your brain for thinking and external cues for remembering. Every time you know you have to do something, ask yourself, “How will I remember to do this?” You’ll use different systems for remembering based on what you’ll be doing when you need to the reminder. It could be a shopping list on a notepad in your jeans pocket or on your PDA. Or a computer reminder if you know you’ll be at your desk when you need to remember. Checklists, to do lists, computer reminders, tickler files, etc., will help you remember.

Organize your processes. If you do something more than three times, you need a process for getting it done the simplest, quickest way. Take something you do often. First, does this work actually need to be done? If yes, develop a better way to do it, especially if it’s something you dread doing. Write down everything that needs to happen from beginning to end, eliminating wasted steps as you go. Document the process.

Organize with technology. Don’t try to use technology to get organized before you’ve dealt with the chaos and clutter. That’ll just make it worse. Get your clutter under control, use external cues to remember when to do something, streamline your processes, then figure out what technology will make work even easier and learn how to use it.

Spend some time now working on all this. For more help, check out my book, The Time Management Memory Jogger or enroll in one of my time management workshops.


Going Digital and Dumping that Paper Calendar

I’ve written before about dumping paper management systems and going digital. I recently received this testimonial from Peg Corwin of SCORE Chicago on her experiences doing that, using my book on Outlook 2007 as a guide.

The following is Peg’s experience in her own words. If you have any questions, please leave a comment.

You are transforming my life.  You have pushed me from paper to paperless with the task and calendar management chapters in your Conquer Email Overload.  I must have read both three times already, and I pick up additional tips each time.

I decided to tackle the changeover when I had an opportunity to install a second monitor.  For me, this was essential.  I need quick access to my to-do list and calendar without interrupting my work.

I love your suggestion about using the Notes section of a contact for passwords on my airline accounts, for example.  And I’m now creating a task and chunking it into subprojects in the text area, crossing them off and moving the task forward to the next deadline.  I’ve always been a big list maker, and now I love adding new tasks quickly in calendar view.  I’ve also finally got the hang of dragging an email to the task list and calendar.

While email overload was not my problem, taking advantage of tasks and the calendar was.  And you explained it all.  A BIG thank you for making me more focused and productive.

Peg Corwin, Counselor with SCORE Chicago