Archive for Time Management – Page 2

Paper or Electronic To Do Lists, What Keeps You Organized?

Check Your List

People have tried to find electronic solutions for most things that used to be done by paper.  However would a paper To Do list work better for you than an electronic one?  Here is a thought provoking blog post on the topic.  Which ever system works best for you, you must check your list. People will make lists but not look at them.  Use a system that keeps your to do list on your mind.

Why the Old-School Paper To-Do List Is Superior as a Productivity Tool (& How to Make It Work for You in Under 5 Minutes)
 There are lots of styles of To Do Lists, let me help you find the one the works for you during an in person or virtual appointment.

 

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

Manage Technology Before It Manages You

By Harold Taylor

One of my favourite newsletters is by Harold Taylor.  He is a Time Management Expert.  Sometimes I feel like I am old and live in the past.  This article  so clearly states my views about technology that I see that my past helps me to manage my future.

An online poll of over 1000 Canadian adults (Angus Reid/Vision Critical Toronto Star, January 26, 2013) revealed that 90% of the respondents believed their smartphones made their lives more convenient. So convenient, evidently, that 30% of them went online before getting out of bed, 31% at the dinner table, 29% in the washroom and 42% before falling asleep at night,

Smartphones may be smart, but they lack intelligence. Why are we so willing to be at the beck and call of an idiot? The Internet leads anywhere, which for the undisciplined means nowhere. Why browse away the hours? Email, computer games and social media are endless, but our time is not. Why do we behave as though we will live live forever?

Research shows that the Internet and digital technology can have a negative impact on our ability to learn, focus, pay attention, memorize and relate to others on a personal basis. It also gobbles up our time, encourages busyness and multitasking and stifles creativity.

The futures of our business, personal lives, and our nations do not depend on the development of technology, but on our ability to manage the technology we develop.

If you need help with time management routines please contact me. We can discuss different methods of time management during an in person or virtual appointment.

Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

What are you worried about? Don’t worry; take action!

Don't worry. Take action.

Which path will you take?

What are you worried about?

I think we all worry sometimes, don’t you? We worry about our health, and the health of our loved ones. About our appearance, and how we measure up to others. About money, and how our businesses are doing. About whether or not we’re being good parents. We worry about (fill in the blank).

And what does worrying do to us? It causes stress, sleepless nights, stomach aches, arguments, etc., and sometimes it causes us to not enjoy life’s pleasures…..yes?

So, who am I to tell you to stop worrying?

While I’m not a therapist or a psychologist, I am a professional organizer who sees clients everyday who are worried about all sorts of different things. I’m also an engineer. Therefore, I make no judgments on my clients’ clutter, and I don’t see disorganization as a character flaw: I only see it as a problem to be solved. You’ll be relieved to know I only try to solve it for you if you ask! Friends say, “I don’t want you to come over and see my mess!” To which I reply, “I don’t care about your mess unless you are paying me to care about it!”

Naturally, I have problems too, and I worry about them, but I think I worry less than others do because of the methods I use that I will tell you about.

But first…

I want you to start thinking about worrying as a form of clutter.

What is Clutter? Here’s what I believe:

  • Clutter is anything that stands in the way of the life you want to live.
  • Clutter takes many forms. Little things like paper; big things like furniture; negative thoughts; and unfulfilling activities.
  • Clutter weighs us down. Physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
  • Everyone deserves to feel lighter. My logo, the egret taking flight, represents the freedom of rising above your clutter!
  • Less clutter in your home, your office, your schedule, and your mind means more room for the life you want to live. Less clutter. More life.

So, it’s easy for me to say that worrying is just Mental Clutter, but what do I propose we do about it?

Now let me ask:

Do you believe in the power of words?

Let’s talk about positive words first. I’m thinking of positive affirmations, inspiriting quotes, prayer of all kinds…do you believe in those things? Do they help motivate you, and encourage you, and lift your spirits?

Now, what about negative words? How about verbal abuse from others? And what about negative self-talk? Do you think negative self-talk tears us down and affects us as much, and possibly more, than negative talk from others?

Here is a quote I like, which has been attributed to many, but I like the way Meryl Streep said it in her portrayal of Margaret Thatcher in the movie “The Iron Lady”:

She said:

Watch your thoughts, for they become words.
Watch your words, for they become actions.
Watch your actions, for they become habits.
Watch your habits, for they become your character.
And watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.
What we think, we become.

Do you agree with that? I sure do!

So, now, back to worrying…

If you think you can manifest something positive by thinking, and talking about, and envisioning it, do you believe you can also manifest something negative by thinking, and talking about, and envisioning it?

Or as I like to say:

Worrying is like praying for something you don’t want.

 

And why on earth would we want to do that?

If you believe in the power of thoughts and words, that’s what you’re doing…aren’t you? Paying undue attention to, and repeating over and over, the thing you don’t want?

If worrying helped, believe me, I’d recommend doing it more often!

With that in mind…

The first step in dealing with Mental Clutter is to identify what you are worried about.

It could be fear, regret, anxiety, shame, guilt…and, actually, it’s fear about a thing, or regret about a thing.

It’s that thing you need to identify, and the more specific you are, the better your chances are of doing something about it.

The next step is to decide: Can you do something about it? Or not?

The Worry Matrix will help you decide what’s worth worrying about.

(Click to read more and download your free copy of the Worry Matrix.)

The Worry Matrix

This is probably the hardest part of the whole process. Because sometimes we feel powerless. We don’t know if we can do something about it or not. Sometimes we need help figuring that out. Sometimes it’s become such a habit to worry, and we are so busy worrying, that we don’t stop to think whether maybe we could do something about it.

Or, maybe something’s changed. In the words of Maya Angelou,

Do the best you can until you know better.

Then when you know better, do better.

Part of this step can include determining whether or not your fears are realistic. If you’re anxious about the future, being prepared for actual, likely events is the key to a peaceful mind.

But the bottom line is:  If you are having persistent, worrisome thoughts about something, ask yourself: Can I do something about it? If you aren’t doing anything about it — or if you can’t do anything about it — it’s just Mental Clutter.

If you think you can do something about it – great! Take action!

The pure fact that you are doing something about it will help you to not worry about it so much.

Here are some examples of actions you can take:

Research your situation; Make a plan; Set some goals; Do or delegate a dreaded task; Document vital info; Save money, Make that appointment, Have that awkward conversation.

Forgive someone. Forgive yourself. It’s not easy, but this rationale for forgiveness makes sense to me:

Forgive others not because they deserve forgiveness, but because you deserve peace.

Also:

Refusing to forgive someone is like drinking poison, and waiting for the other person to die.

Um…right?

If you regret the past and feel guilty about something, but there’s nothing you can do about it, forgive yourself and move on. Remember, you know better now.

One of the reasons why it is so hard to part with your mental clutter is that you’re afraid of not having, or being, enough. Is this because you are comparing yourself to others? Stop it! Have a little faith in yourself.

Here are a couple of quotes I like about not being envious of others:

Grass is greener where you water it.

and

Don’t compare your bloopers to someone else’s highlight reel.

(Especially on Facebook!)

If you’re concerned about what others think, try following Dr. Seuss’ advice:

Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.

Here’s another quote I love about having faith in yourself:

A bird sitting in a tree
is never afraid of the branch breaking
because her trust is not on the branch,
but on her own wings.
Always believe in yourself.

What does this mean? Some people would rather trust in God than to trust in themselves. For those of you who want to trust in God, that won’t hurt either. But you still need to do your homework and take action.

Have you heard this expression?

Trust in god but lock your car.

I also like the Middle Eastern version:

Trust in Allah but tie up your camel.

If you really think you cannot do anything about it, then stop worrying about it!

It’s Mental Clutter.

A good example of something you cannot change is someone else’s behavior.

Are you familiar with The Serenity Prayer?

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

The courage to change the things I can,

And the wisdom to know the difference.

That’s what I’m saying too: Accept what you can’t change, and change what you can’t accept. Get help if you really don’t know the difference.

Focus on things you are grateful for, and on the things you can change (such as your own behaviour).

Examples: preparing for emergencies; planning for your financial future; repairing (or releasing) damaged relationships; and addressing health issues head on.

If the task ahead seems daunting, break it down into smaller steps. Do them one at a time until you are finished, or you feel prepared, or you have established the new habit that will improve your life and help you worry less.

So, what if, despite your best intentions, you are still living with Mental Clutter? If you have tried taking action on things you can change, and you have tried not worrying about things you cannot change… and you are still worried, ask for help from a friend, therapist, clergy member, or someone who can help with your specific situation – like a doctor, a financial planner, a personal trainer, an attorney, or a professional organizer.

Worry less. Prepare more.

Have those difficult conversations! Make that appointment!

Believe in yourself. And live your life free of Mental Clutter!

What are you worried about? What action are you going to take?

Please share with me in the comments!

Let me know if this helps you, and share it with your friends who may need it.

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Copyright 2015-2016 by Hazel Thornton, Organized For Life.

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Julie Stobbe is a Trained Professional Organizer who brings happiness to homes and organization to offices, in person and virtually. She enjoys working with her clients to provide customized organizing solutions to suit their individual needs and situation. She reduces clutter, streamlines processes and manages time to help her clients be more effective in reaching their goals. Contact her at julie@mindoverclutter.ca

The Fatique Factor affects Productivity

The fatigue factor affects productivity

By Harold Taylor

Working long hours makes you good at one thing – working long hours. It does not increase either your efficiency or effectiveness. Any anticipated increase in personal productivity is usually offset by a lower work pace, additional errors, more frequent self- generated distractions, decreased creativity, and a decline in energy and motivation.

Long hours can reduce productivity

Long hours can reduce productivity

If the increased working hours, reduces the total amount of sleep that one gets, it could also impact their physical and mental health – causing obesity, diabetes, memory impairment, high blood pressure, heart disease, and a weakened immune system.

Sleep deprivation can affect your health

Sleep deprivation can affect your health

Total output does not vary directly with the amount of time worked. If you cut one third off your working hours for instance, you would not cut one third off your output. In fact, for those people working 12 hour per day, a reduction to eight hours may not result in any perceivable drop in total output. Productivity, (output per hour) would actually increase.

Overwork, lack of sleep and energy drain can cause accidents as well. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the US estimates that drowsy drivers cause 100,000 accidents, 71,000 injuries and 1550 fatalities each year.

In January of 2011 an Air Canada flight from Toronto to Zurich made a sudden descent, injuring 14 passengers and two crew members when a fatigued pilot mistakenly believed the plane was on a collision course with another aircraft.

In general, people need to shorten their working hours and lengthening their sleeping and resting hours – and this usually entails turning off their electronic devices sooner at night

How Can I Become a Better Housekeeper?

Find the motivation and you can learn it.

Find the motivation and you can learn   it.

How can some people learn to be better housekeepers? The optimal word is learning.  Keeping a house organized is a skill that can be learned like any other skill, reading, skiing, or social media.  There needs to be a motivation to want to learn this new skill. If you can decide that adding organization to your life will make you feel less anxious about your home, provide you with a system that allows you to get everything done and still have time for yourself or live in a space that you love and enjoy you can take on the task of being less messy. So here are 3 tips:

  1. Schedule everything. Decide when you will do each of the household tasks you are responsible for eg, laundry, grocery shopping, bill payments, meal preparation, driving children, cleaning, doing the dishes. Look at your week and add it to your schedule and consider it an appointment with yourself and complete the task.
    Treat all task as an appointment with yourself

    Treat all tasks as an appointment with yourself

     

  2. Make the space look better than when you started working in it. The old saying “if you get it out put it away” works. Don’t set it down; put it back, in the desk drawer, in dishwasher, in the laundry hamper, in the refrigerator. In addition put one more thing away too.  This helps you to slowly get rid of the “mess”.  You are not creating more mess and you are reducing any mess that has accumulated. Your space will continue to look better.
    If you take it out, put it away and one other thing as well

    If you take it out, put it away and one   other thing as well

     

  3. Get help to be successful. Your may find you don’t have time to do it all yourself. Delegate it to other family members. At first it may take longer to get things done as they learn how to do things.  Stick with it and soon it will no longer be your responsibility.  Hire help for the things that are the most difficult for you to complete.  You may want a cleaning service, lawn care service, share carpooling for your children or Professional Organizers.  Consider your budget; you may not be able to have them come every week but what if one service came each week.

    You may not be able to do it all yourself so get some help

    You may not be able to do it all yourself so get   some help

At the end of each month you would have most things under control   with the help of your scheduling, putting things away as you use them and involving others in sharing the work.  Tell me how you become better at keeping your house in order.

Is it Possible- Family and Running A Business?

Time to schedule, words on blank board hold by a young girl in the outdoor.

Scheduling helps you to use your time in blocks and avoid scattering single tasks throughout the day leaving small segments of unproductive time.

My tip for moms running their businesses from home is about time management.

Running a business and organizing a household is a complex task.  Time management is the key to success and sanity.  Scheduling everything will help:

  • tasks to get completed,
  • commitments to be honoured
  • and make arriving ontime possible

However scheduling everything can be overwhelming initially.  Start by using only one calendar, paper or electronic, for all the activities in your schedule. Try a “clearing your mind” task.  This involves writing down everything you have to do.  Record one task per line on your paper or one  task per entry until you have everything recorded.  Include, exercise, work appointments, social commitments, bill payments, household tasks, children’s commitments, social media, doctor appointments, marketing, networking, trip to the park, birthday parties etc.  After you have them recorded, go back to the top of your list and write the date and time (schedule) when you will complete the task.  Put all of these dates on your calendar remember to include travel time when you schedule tasks.  As you look at your calendar you will be able to determine how much time you have each day, month and year available for the activities that are important to your life, family and business.  It will help to put time into perspective and help determine why you might be feeling:

  • overwhelmed
  • overworked
  • bored
  • tired
  • successful
  • energized
  • excited
  • frustrated

Once you start to schedule everything, it will become easier because many of the entries will be recurring each day, week, month or year.  They will be in your calendar and only new items will need to be add to your schedule.  This will provide a structure that you can rely on to help you with the complex task of running a business and organizing a household.

 

Make a Decision and Learn from Your Mistakes

Harold Taylor is a time management specialist.  This article appears in his June 2015 Taylor Time newsletter. Contact him to get on his mailing list and receive other great information on organizing time and space. Harold Taylor Time Consultants Inc  | info@taylorintime.com

Slow decision-making wastes time, as do spur-of-the moment decisions, which usually result in costly and time-The Thinkerconsuming mistakes. But the worst thing you can do is to procrastinate on decision-making. Napoleon Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich, once conducted a survey of successful people and found all of them were decisive. Don’t be afraid of being wrong. We learn from our mistakes; but if we do nothing, we neither accomplish anything nor learn anything.

Delay until you have enough information, but don’t wait until you have all the information. If you have all the information, the course of action becomes a foregone conclusion: no real decision is necessary. Have the courage to make decisions with only 70% to 80% of the facts. When you have mulled over the facts and considered, the alternatives, sleep on it. Decisions are usually better after a good night’s sleep.

Spend time in proportion to the importance of the decision. For instance, don’t waste a lot of time discussing the menu for the staff Christmas party. The decision to close down an operation or expand the product line warrants a greater expenditure of that costly commodity called time. Make minor decisions quickly. If the consequence of the decision is not important, it is not worth much of your valuable time.

If the decision is yours alone to make, and you seem to get bogged down in the process, and get frustrated by your lack of progress, it’s frequently faster in the long run to leave the problem for a short period of time. Work on some unrelated jobs for a few hours or even a few days and then tackle the problem anew. The change in pace will revitalize your thinking. But delay it only once or you will be tempted to procrastinate.

Always make short-term decisions with long-term objectives in mind. Don’t make a band aid decision that solves the immediate problem, but results in time-consuming problems further down the road.

And above all, don’t waste time on past decisions. Instead of saying “I if only I had done such and such,” say instead, “Next time I will ..”

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/53326337@N00/4473565014″>Well, that’s perplexing…</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/”>(license)</a>

 

Making Networking Work for You

There are many networking groups available to business people to make connections with potential clients and Meet with others to build relationshipsbusinesses.  Groups meet for breakfast, lunch or supper.  Some groups have an educational component.  Most networking groups are based on building relationships with the members in the group so to be successful choose a group that you can attend regularly for two years.  If you are looking for a networking group go to the Meetup.com site to find a group in your area.

Networking can happening at breakfast lunch or supper meetings

Some people do find that they don’t have enough time in their day to exercise.  Here are 2 ways to combine networking and exercise.

1. Netwalking – Instead of meeting for a coffee , meet while walking.  During the good weather walk outside during cooler weather walk inside on tracks, malls hallways.  Most malls open early and have mall walking programs.

Netwalking

2. Sweatworking – Fitness clubs are starting networking groups.  In this environment you naturally have a common interest, health exercise. This is a  more relaxed atmosphere to build relationships with other networkers.  Here is a great article describing  sweatworking. http://www.forbes.com/sites/learnvest/2015/06/01/sweatworking-the-new-way-to-advance-your-career/2/

Networking while exercising

 

Is Multitasking Productive?

People believe they can multi-task because the body can do a physical activity and a cognitive activity at the same time.  So people are able to walk and talk, run and listen to a book etc.  The brain does not do two cognitive tasks at the same time.  The brain switches between tasks, very quickly.  Every time the brain switches task it must determine how much  of the task has been completed and what the next step would be and then continue with the task.  This time contributes to the slowing down of completing the two tasks.  If the brain works on one task at a time it completes it without delay.  Try it, put an article in front of you and something to write.  Do them both at the same time and time how long it takes you  to get the two tasks done. You will notice that you will keep going over the material to see where you left off as your concentration shifts between the task.   Next do each task separately and time how long it takes to complete both task.  In order to stop multitasking, plan your work schedule and remove the distraction of other work, e-mails, twitting, phone calls, televisions, music etc.

Bar graph showing error made during multitasking activities

More errors are made when people multitask

 

Organizing Your Mind

In Harold Taylor’s newsletter www.taylorintime.com , May 2014,  he talked about Organizing your Mind to create the life you want.

By Harold Taylor

It’s more important to organize your mind than your desk or house. You can always walk away from your desk or house; but you can never walk away from your mind. We must first accept the fact that time is not life, as many of us in the past may have suggested; it is merely the medium through which life passes. And life, as you experience it, is not something that happens to you, but something that happens because of you. You create the life you will experience – good, bad or indifferent – by what you believe, how you think, and what you do.

To create the life that you want, you must first organize your mind. And you do this by clearing it of all the worldly clutter that keeps it preoccupied and constantly distracted. One way of doing this is to engage in a 15 or 20-minute mind-clearing session each morning after you get up and are fully dressed. Don’t do it while you are still in bed and half asleep. This is too important. It will determine how the rest of the day goes. And life takes place in a series of days.

Complete your morning ritual of breakfast, getting the kids off to school, putting out the garbage or whatever your morning routine entails. Then sit comfortably in your favourite chair, and without trying to rid your mind of the random thoughts that will invariably invade it, do the following six things in succession.

  1.  Relax, close your eyes, breathe deeply, and just be aware of the miracle that is you.
  2. Give thanks for all that you have and have had in the past. Don’t rack your brain trying to think of everything – just those that come to mind quickly.
  3. Forgive anyone who has hurt or offended you.
  4. Offer up ten-second prayers, blessings or good wishes for at least three other people each day.
  5. Think positive thoughts about all your future plans, opportunities and endeavors,
  6. Decide and confirm how you will spend the next hour of your life. This may already be scheduled in your planner or you may choose something different.

The reason for doing these six things will be explained in the next article in this series on holistic time management. But the reason will probably become clear to you as you progress through each day.

Whether you call this session meditation, mindfulness, or “being in the now” is immaterial. What is important is that you continue to do it each day, modifying it as you go along, until it becomes your unique morning routine. And how you spend the next hour of each day will eventually create the life that you will lead.

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