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.


Coaching Session Turned Into a Slideshow/Video

Monday Breakthroughs

I recently recorded a coaching session/Webinar I had with two clients who wanted to get organized at work (that’s the number one way of creating more time). One is a small business owner (events planner) and the other in hotel sales. Clutter was taking over their lives and blocking them from reaching their full potential.

The next day, as I was listening to the recording, the idea hit me to create a video of this call and include the slides.

I considered different ways I could create this video and ended up doing it as follows.

Step One

The first thing I did was to edit the audio to a tight conversation that’s the right combination of my tips and how my clients understood them and will use them. Once that was perfected, I made a separate recording of my introduction to the video (the next time I do this, I’ll include this when I record the phone call).

Step Two

The next step was to save each slide in my PowerPoint presentation as pictures (here is a previous post I wrote on how to Save a PowerPoint Slide as a Picture). So now I have my audio and my PowerPoint slides in a format I can use. Next, I had to sync everything.

Step Three

I use Camtasia Studio. I created a new project and added both the audio files to the timeline. I also inserted all the slides into the Clip Bin as separate pictures. As I listened to the recording, I stopped every time I referenced a new slide. I’d then add the appropriate slide/picture to the timeline and adjust the recording to fit.

Step Four

Once I had the project the way I wanted it, I rendered it as a Flash video and uploaded it to Techsmith’s Website,

Finished Resource

Now I have a product: Monday Breakthroughs. You’ll be able to view the full video/presentation/training at your convenience, then join me on the phone any Monday for live group coaching that’s only for Q&A. (In addition to the video and phone coaching, you’ll also receive my ebook, Get Organized At Work, and a set of free Word documents that make it easy to create a filing system and will save you hours of work.)

Here’s the trailer.

Get all the details and sign up right here.

I went from a coaching call to developing a new product using tools I already know. I spent one day developing this instead of outsourcing, waiting months, going back and forth until I could get exactly what I wanted, completely stressing out, and paying a ton of money.

My question to you: how can you take what you know and create products to sell while you sleep? Leave a comment with your ideas.

What’s Next?

I think my next project will cover how to improve your email habits and etiquette, and how to manage email overload using Outlook. I’ll keep you posted.


Use Rules to Delete Out of Office Replies

I use iContact to collect email addresses of subscribers to my private email list. One of the reasons I chose this technology is the ability to set up autoresponders that send emails to new subscribers at various intervals (a computer tip a week for four weeks).

When I set up the autoresponders, I used my main email address as part of the process. iContact handles all bouncebacks/undeliverables and automatically deletes them from my list. But the Out of Office replies came into my Inbox.

In my efforts to keep my Inbox lean, mean, and to one screen, I had to make some adjustments.

Problem: Every time an autoresponder was sent, I could easily receive 100 Out of Office messages piling up in my Inbox.

Solution: Set up a special email account for autoresponders only. Then create an Outlook rule to recognize the messages coming from this account and then permanently delete them if they are Out of Office responses.

Here’s what I did.

    1. Created a new email account with my ISP and in Outlook to only use with the autoresponders sent via iContact.
    2. Set Outlook up to not download email from this address when checking my other accounts. This way I decide when the messages come in (I might be traveling and on dial-up and don’t want the hundreds of Out of Office messages clogging the system).

To set this up, from the Inbox view, click Tools, Send/Receive, Send/Receive Settings, Define Send/Receive Groups, Edit All Accounts. Under Accounts, click the one to turn off, then untick the Include the selected account in this group box, OK, Close.

  1. Created a rule that permanently deletes all email coming to this special email account with the text, Out of Office or Out of the Office or On Vacation, in the body of the email.

Later, I’ll check this special account manually (click Tools, Send/Receive, point to the special account, Inbox). All email for this account is then downloaded from the server and zapped. If it’s a reply (usually praise for the tip) from a subscriber and not an Out of Office response, it’ll land in my Inbox. Works great!

To learn more about Outlook rules and managing email, it’s all in my book, Conquer Email Overload with Better Habits, Etiquette, and Outlook, or sign up for my training. See my training Website for details.


PPeggy Duncan, personal productivity expert