I signed up for the email newsletter from the website ineedmoretime.com and received the following time-management tips:
12 Top Time Savers
1. Reserve an hour each day. Close your door, turn off the phone and concentrate on priorities. It's amazing what you can accomplish in one uninterrupted hour.
2. Write it down. Making a master list of everything you need to do will declutter your mind and reduce your stress level. Each day, move a few of these items to your daily to-do list.
3. Keep a running list of errands to do. Group them together by location and do everything at once. Learn more at www.ineedmoretime.com/affoffice.htm.
4. Delegate! Taking the time to teach someone else to complete a task for you will ultimately free up your time for more important things. For one week, analyze each thing you must do and ask yourself, "Am I the person who must do this or should I find someone else to do it?"
5. Develop forms. Is there a sales letter that you write every week? Make a master on the computer. Think about things you do daily and ask yourself if there is a way to standardize those tasks.
6. Make a list of things you can do in five minutes or less. (Examples: write a note to a friend, straighten a drawer, make a quick phone call). The next time you have a few minutes to spare, choose something from your list to do.
7. Prioritize, Prioritize! It is better to accomplish three very important projects in a day than it is to finish 20 low priority tasks. Think about this as you plan your days.
8. Stock up on supplies. Keep the basics such as stamps, envelopes, notepads and favorite pens in your desk and ready to go. Buy in bulk to save money and time.
9. Keep a reading file. Place letters, memos, reports, newspaper articles (cut out of the paper), magazines articles (removed from the magazines) in it. When you are stuck in traffic or sitting in a doctor's office, pull out your file and read something meaningful to pass the time.
10. Do like tasks together. Make all your phone calls together. Run all your errands during lunch hour one day per week. Write thank you cards to customers once a week. Have a daily, 15-minute meeting with your assistant.
11. Reduce interruptions. Have everyone in the company learn and use these time-saving tips. Some businesspeople put a flag on their door or their cubicle when they are not to be interrupted.
12. Get organized! You can save an hour per day by decluttering and organizing your desk, files and paperwork.
Organize Your Desk in 8 Steps
13. Start at the beginning. Remove everything from your desktop. Put back only the necessities and keep a large clean space for current projects. What are the necessities? Phone, notepad, calendar, step file organizer, current project. Keep cutesy items in sight but off your desk.
14. Place your phone. Put your phone on the left side of your desk if you're right handed and on the right side if you're left handed.
15. Keep a spiral notebook by the phone for messages. Start with the date each day. By doing this, you will have reference info when you need it.
16. Keep or delete? If you use something every day leave it in your desk; if you use something once a week, you should be able to reach it from your chair; if you use something once a month keep it in your office or work area. If you use something less than once a month, keep it elsewhere.
17. Look for ways to daily improve your life. Www.ineedmoretime.com offers various organizing services and products to help you have a better quality of life.
18. Keep your office supplies in one drawer. Keep only the supplies you use frequently in your desk. Do you really need 25 pens and 15 packages of salt?
19. Sort through your desk files. Keep only personal files and files that you refer to weekly in your desk drawers.
20. Look around. End each day (or at least each week) by tidying up your desk and returning everything to its place. (Yes, everything should have a place.)
Dealing with Paper Overload
21. Read with a highlighter in hand. Highlight any actions required (due dates, calls to make, appointments, etc.) or important information as you read your mail, reports and articles.
22. Keep a file of quick tasks -- catalogs to review, short articles to read, forms to sign--and take
care of them while you wait for something to print or for a meeting to begin.
23. Sort through large paper piles efficiently. Sort them: priority mail, junk mail, magazines, bills, etc., before acting on any of it.
24. Deal with paper as you receive it. On an everyday basis, go through your mail, in-box, e-mail, etc., and sort into the following files: trash/delete, to do, to file, to read and to delegate/refer.
25. Establish a place just for paperwork. Keep it accessible and free of clutter.
26. Make a holding file. Use it to store information when you are awaiting follow-up from someone. if you need to follow-up with someone, mark the folllow-up date and name in your calendar with an (H) after it.
27. Schedule a certain amount of time every day. To keep up with your ever-growing paper piles, set a time each day, without interruptions, to process.
28. Use a master list. Get rid of those small slips of paper and sticky notes that accumulate on your desk, in your car, on your computer, and add all information to your master list. Review it daily.
29. Think about it. As you go through your day, really think about the way you do things and ask yourself if there is a better way.
30. Utilize lists. Keep running lists in your planner or in a notebook of the following: gift ideas, i.d. numbers, books to read, clothing needs, Websites to review, general ideas.
31. Make a list of your current file headings. Can you delete or combine any? If a file is over 2" thick, break it down into sub-headings.
32. Start each file heading with a noun. For example, "insurance, house" instead of "house insurance."
33. Think about where you would look to find a certain piece of paper. That should be its file heading.
34. Keep an alphabetized list of all your file folders. Attach it to your filing cabinet for easy reference.
35. Buy a step file organizer for your desk top. In it, place files labeled "to do," "to file," "to read," etc. Other options include: "E-mail to send," "to enter" (computer), and reference files for associates, employees, spouse.
36. Keep any current project or work in progress in your standing vertical file. Out of sight many times means out of mind.
37. Treat your computer files (especially e-mails) like paper files. Delete if possible or separate into "folders."
38. Remember this rule: The important part is not how you file but being able to find what you want when you want it.
Managing at Home
39. Make a phone binder at home. Include: phone numbers, emergency information, schedules and take-out menus. Keep it by the phone.
40. Take some time out on Sunday. Make sure everyone in the family has five clean, pressed outfits for the week ahead. This will save headaches during the week.
41. Make a menu once a week. Then make a grocery list and go through your coupons. Go to the grocery store at an off-peak hour. Learn more at www.ineedmoretime.com/ultimate_kitchen.htm.
42. Make each family member responsible. Have everyone put away their own clothes and belongings each night. Even a toddler can throw clothing in a hamper and help clean up toys.
43. Store items where they will be used. Keep one extra set of sheets in each bedroom. Buy a pair of scissors for each room. Learn more at www.ineedmoretime.com/affhome.htm.
44. Buy work clothing in 3 or 4 colors only. Almost everything will go together and you'll feel less stress when dressing. You can still be colorful on the weekends.
45. Make a gift wrap center. Buy a large, clean plastic container and fill it with wrapping paper, scissors, tape and ribbon. Keep it stocked.
46. Make a commitment. Take a walk for five minutes today and every day. You'll find that it is a great tension reliever and many times, you won't stop after five minutes.
47. Make a bill paying center. Buy a clean plastic shoe box and fill it with your checkbook, a pen, address stamper, envelopes and stamps. Throw in bills as they arrive.
48. Buy a small hook today. Screw it into the wall next to your door at home. Always place your keys on it when entering the house.
49. Don't be afraid to get rid of things. If you don't love it or it's not useful on a regular basis, why keep it?
50. Keep your clutter if you love it -- just find ways to work around it so you can still be organized, productive and efficient.
Copyright 2001-2007 Barbara Myers. All Rights Reserved.
About the author: Barbara Myers is a mom, professional organizer, author and speaker. Enjoy free tips and articles to help you take control of your time by organizing your life. Visit www.ineedmoretime.com.