Time is one directional. Once it is gone, it is gone. You cannot get it back. You cannot make it up. However, what you can do is get in control of your time by making the best use of it. The number of books written on time management is endless. Therefore, there is no loss for words on how to manage time. I have identified seven effective ways individuals can get control of their time.
Donate, Dump, Store
The very first step to get in control of your time is to get organized. Try getting rid of items you do not need or do not use and then create ‘homes’ for items you choose to keep. You can spend several hours a day searching for misplaced items when there is disorganization. This can result in frustration, tiredness, and eventually you will give up. How productive is that? So, donate it, dump it, or store it – in a home.
Buy Out Time
Anytime you make a purchase there is an exchange. You give the sales associate or clerk the money and then you get the goods. So what are you willing to exchange for time? If you watch television for several hours a day, why not buy two hours of time from that? Do you text, talk, or hang out on social media for hours at a time? Perhaps you can buy two or three hours of time from that. Think about the things you are spending a lot of time on that is less important than what you truly want to do or need to do, and buy time from it.
Set specific times for each day of the week for when you will check and respond to your email, voicemail, and mail. Do the same when working on minor or major projects. Use the batman rule of thumb – Same bat channel. Same bat time. Same bat station.
Build in Variety
When planning your day, if the first two hours will have you sitting, schedule the next hour or two for things that will have you moving about. It keeps the energy flowing. With your energy level up, you will obviously get more done.
Plan Your Calls
If you have to call a long-winded colleague, plan your call. Many time management experts agree it takes about eight minutes to complete a planned called. However, it takes about 15 minutes to complete an unplanned call. On the other side of that coin, if you’re on the receiving end of the call, tell the caller that you have two minutes to spare, but if you can call them back, you’ll be able to talk longer.
Use the 10-Minute Response Rule
If you have a coworker who is constantly interrupting you and asking for your assistance, use the 10-minute response rule to keep control of your time. Tell the coworker to give you 10 minutes and you will be right over. Now, I ask you – What usually happens when you ask someone to wait for you to assist them? Most of the time, they will figure it out for themselves.
Just Say No
No explanation needed.
Whenever I meet with a client to discuss their organizing needs, I will always ask – What’s working? That question is so important because usually whatever is working you can rest assured organizing principles are being applied. However, because they may not be aware that they are applying organizing principles, the connection is not easily made when trying to get other areas in their lives organized.
Let’s take doing the laundry as an example. Unless you have drop off service for doing your laundry, it is a chore, although not loved, you must do on a regular basis. The kitchen is disorganized, the bedroom is disorganized, and the closets are disorganized. But, start doing the laundry, regardless of how mundane it may seem, and it is a one, two, three, done. You gather those clothes, sort them, and throw them in the washer. A no brainer, right? Wrong. It is an application of organizing principles at its best. There are four organizing principles that are applied when doing the laundry that if applied to other areas of the home or our office space could help reduce the stress of getting things done. Let’s see how easy that can be.
Gather the Laundry
Our first step in doing the laundry is to gather it from our room, the kids’ rooms, and the hamper. This is the first organizing principle of getting organized. Gather the items to be organized whether it is shoes, books, files, supplies, etc.
Sort the Laundry
When sorting the laundry we separate the coloreds, the whites, hand washables, linen, etc. It is the same process when organizing our home or office space. We sort papers, files, magazines, etc.
Once the laundry is sorted, we take action. We wash, dry, and fold the laundry. The same process is applied to items we sort in other areas of the home or our office space. We take action by deciding where these items will be stored.
Put Similar Items Together
The final step in taking action with the laundry is to put it away. Without thinking, we put all the towels together, all the sheets together, blouses together, and even the socks are put in its own drawer. The same thing is done with the items in our home or office space. Once we have finished the sort, and we have decided what to do with the items, we will then store similar or related items in the same location for easy access, and to reduce the stress of looking for these items in various locations.
So yes, when applying organizing principles, getting organized can be as easy as doing the laundry.