10 tips for better time management, efficiency and organization

1. “Bookend” your day with planning and organization.
When you start your day with a plan and an organized office, you are able to hit the ground running and accomplish so much more. Each morning, review and revise your “to do” list. At the end of the day straighten up your work space and create your schedule for the following day.

2. Focus on the task at hand.
It is hard to do more than one task well at a time. Put your energy into doing one thing right and move on to the next thing when you are done. If necessary, keep a running list of what needs to be done as new tasks pop up.

3. Set aside a block of uninterrupted time during the day.
Let everyone you work with know that you are unavailable for phone calls, appointments or questions and during this time. Use your undisturbed time to reorganize or for catching up on tasks you usually don’t have time for.

4. Take control of your email.
Delete emails on a regular basis, check email only at designated intervals, and keep as little in your in-box as possible. If you feel like you are drowning in emails, set aside a block of time just for the task of getting them under control.

5. Develop a “short call” mindset.
Courtesy is expected in business conversation, but you can still make brevity your intention without being rude. Replace, “How are you?” with “How may I help you?” Open-ended questions like, “How are you?” invite lengthier responses.

6. Establish boundaries on how long you will allow meetings to last.
The key to an effective (and brief) meeting is preparation. Let everyone know ahead of time how long the meeting will last, the topics that will be addressed, and the information you expect each person to contribute. Stick to the plan and discourage sidetracking.



7. Make a single page list of frequently called phone numbers and post
it near your phone.
It takes more time than you realize to look up a number on your computer or rolodex. Have the numbers you need most often at the tip of your dialing finger.

8. Group similar tasks for maximum efficiency.
Returning phone calls, answering emails, writing personal notes, and running errands are all categories of tasks that are done more easily if grouped together. When you make one phone call it is easier to just keep moving down the list.

9. Keep separate in-boxes for different categories of papers.
Try separating your papers into these categories: items that are immediate and important; items that are “on hold” or pending; items that are ready to be filed, passed on to someone else or reviewed at a later time.  Keep the in-boxes on a surface near your desk.

10. Keep your desk clutter-free.
Keep your stapler, tape dispenser, extra pens and other supplies in a drawer rather than on top of your desk. Display photos, awards and knickknacks on walls or shelves, and reserve the top of your desk for the essentials – your telephone, computer, and today’s paperwork.

by Mary Sigmann CPO ® | Categories: For Busy Executives | No Comments

Many people entertain the idea of getting more organized. It’s well known that organization
is the key to growing business, creating more balance in our personal lives, using time to
the greatest advantage and managing resources for optimal benefit and return. Yet for
many, making time for getting organized hasn’t become a priority. Now is not only the
perfect time, but a necessary step to help move through the current economic downturn
and set the stage for the next chapter of life. Economic down times offer the perfect
opportunity to assess your current financial and business situation, make new plans and
cultivate gratitude.

In fact, right now, you can’t afford NOT to be organized. Not only has the time and
opportunity come, but the necessity for organization is greater than ever. In these times, it
is essential to make sure everything counts – money, time and personnel at the
business/financial level, and energy, attitude and action on the personal level. Unless you
are organized, you risk wasting precious resources, and may allow situations to dictate your
state of mind and keep you stuck in old patterns that are no longer working.
Here are five tips to be better organized as you navigate this economy.


1. Conserve & Manage Resources
Get a thorough idea of what you currently have – money, contacts, supplies, opportunities.
Take one sheet of paper for each category and make a list. Once you have a clear picture,
ask yourself where or how you can use what you have more economically or create new
opportunities. Use information for planning and take action. Redesign your spending plan,
reconnect with contacts, organize your supplies so that you no longer duplicate purchases,
and move forward on potential business.


2. Plug up & Prevent Leaks
Ask yourself where you are wasting money or time and plug up the leak. If a daily
cappuccino is busting your budget, start making coffee at home. If you are spending too
much at the video store, check out the DVD selection at the library. Prevent future leaks by
canceling subscriptions, catalogs, and stop using shopping as entertainment. Check out
opportunities for volunteerism and use your spare time for the greater good.


3. Become More Conscientious
Create a new mindset that says you will pay better attention to every action you take every
minute of the day. Pay attention to what you think, say and do. Watch yourself as you
spend money and time. Check yourself as you experience emotions, especially fear,
irritability, worry and anger. When you notice you are overspending or caught up in a
negative emotion, take out your journal and write a few sentences about it. This will help
you keep better control of your finances and attitudes and keep you on a more even keel.
Staying balanced is equivalent to staying organized.


4. Gain New Appreciation for What You Have
It’s easy to look at what you’ve lost, can’t do, aren’t getting, and want, but don’t have.
Focus on what you do have and use those assets to your advantage. You may have worries
and concerns, but you also have trusted and helpful people in your life to help you
brainstorm solutions to current challenges. Things may feel tough, but when you remember
that you have your health, your family and loved ones, friends and colleagues, hope is
www.organizer-coach.comrenewed and the future seems brighter. Look at the big picture. You know what’s truly
important and what’s not.


5. Utilize Down Time to Strategize
Use down time to review and refine your contact list. Write letters or emails to reconnect
with prior clients or colleagues. Update your website, rewrite your resume, and redesign
your marketing materials. Clean out your files, desk drawer, storage cabinet, closets,
garage, basement or attic. How many times in life do we get extra time to return to
projects, revisit a craft or go back to a sport? What about that book you were writing, the
business you thought about starting, the friends or family you’ve thought about visiting, the
topic you’ve wanted to research, the skill you would love to hone? While you are engaged in
new activity, that new prospect is emerging, new ideas are cooking and strategies are being
created. Let go of the old patterns, the and the disorganization, and you may just walk right
into a new world of opportunity.
Disorganization sends the message that you are unprepared, disheartened and befuddled –
you can’t afford that. Getting organized now will not only pave the way for greater income
and opportunity, but when new prospects start to emerge you’ll be more prepared than ever
to greet them.