The Weekend Wendy: Organizing Chaos

Ten tips for effective time and home management.

Getting organized doesn't mean transforming yourself into an uptight, compulsive neat-freak. It simply means being able to best utilize time and space to save yourself from constantly saying things like, "Honey?  Have you seen my keys?" or, "Where on earth is that file?  I know it was around here somewhere!"

According to organization experts, the average person spends 45-60 minutes per day looking for lost items.  Here are ten tips to help you take back that precious time. 

10. Go Green

How many minutes per day do you spend sifting through pounds of bills, bank statements, and account summaries? Most credit card companies and banks offer the option for paperless statements which not only save the environment but save you a lot of time sifting through. Check your bank or creditor's website for options and save a tree while you're at it.

9. Opt Out

According to newdream.org the average American receives 41 pounds of junk mail per year.  Not only is this bad for the environment, it takes time to sort through and adds to the piles of clutter some people are drowning in.  Opt out by clicking here

8. Do Not Call

Time wasted on telemarketing calls can also suck our time (and patience). To get on the government "Do Not Call" list click here

7. Weed Out Dead Weight & Drama Mamas

Is there a coworker or an old friend who calls often to take about themselves, their recurring problems, and other negative issues?  Do you have a friend who calls constantly to dish the dirt? These people can not only be time killers but can also zap you of precious energy needed to get through your own day. Time to cut those ties that bind and get rid of the dead weight.

6. Limit the Net

Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking sites can be a valuable marketing tool for networking and business but it can also be a huge time waster.  Is it really important to comment on all 172 of Aunt Suzy's pictures of her cats and their cute new outfits? Limit your time on the net and use the time elsewhere on something more productive like volunteering at a local animal shelter.

5. Set Patterns

A regular routine with scheduled slots for downtime can make a big difference in effective time management.  Too busy for scheduling? Hire a personal assistant to do it for you.

4. Cash for Trash

Go through your closets at least twice a year.  If you haven't worn it, touched it, or used it in over a year, get rid of it. Decide which items to donate, what to hand down to neighbors or friends, and consider which to sell. 

Many local consignment shops will play you for items you no longer need.

Don't have time? Hire a professional to do it for you. 

3. Set Up Systems

You've heard the expression "a place for everything and everything in its place." Find a place for everything. Have a specific place you put your keys, glasses, mail, or your child's backpack. People waste hours of time each week looking for lost or misplaced items.

A professional organizer can help with proper floor planning, managing files and other paperwork as well as closet organization.

2. Use Technology

Learning how to use the calendar and other applications on your Blackberry or other device can seem like a daunting task, but one that can help you save time in the long run.  

Use your scanner for files and papers you want to keep and store them on a disk. Then you can shred and toss out the papers.

1. Slow Down To Speed Up

Take a moment each morning to breathe deeply, collect your thoughts, and focus on prioritizing.  Having a plan of attack will enable you to best manage your time and space.

Ask yourself how much is your time worth? Is it worth paying someone to help you take back control of your life?  We don't all need to become Felix Unger to effectively organize ourselves.  Finding a system that works best for you and achieving balance amidst the chaos is the key.


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