Category: Management

Aug 09 2012

7 Top Time Management Tips

1. Let other people know that you value your time. Don’t be afraid to turn down an invitation, reschedule or say no to an assigned task if you have already scheduled something at that time.

2. If it helps, set your watch alarm to go off at the time you’re supposed to finish a task or start on a new one. You can also set your stop watch on your phone or an alert on your computer to ring when your time is up.

3. At the end of each day, review your to-do list and cross off what you have accomplished. Then look it over and create a list of to-dos for the next day in order of urgency. Include any tasks from the current day that you were not able to finish and put them at the top of the list. Review this list the next morning.

4. Before heading to sleep, prepare your items for the morning. If you have taken work home, be sure it is all safely back in your briefcase. If you have been working on a great PowerPoint presentation, be sure you have the file safely on your thumb drive or email it to yourself. If you are going to be giving it on a different computer, save it to pack and go so that it can run on any machine.

Organize your packed lunch and that of your family and then put together two or three outfits to help you choose what to wear the next day depending on your mood and the weather. Doing as much as you can to prepare the night before will cut down on stress in the morning and eliminate time wasters.

5. Reply to emails promptly. If you don’t, you might forget about them.

6. Sync your office computer or your mobile PC to your home computer. That way, you can always check on important items of work easily wherever you are.

7. Keep calls, even business ones, brief. Get straight to the point, write down action items to follow up on, and conclude promptly. Confirm the action steps via email. Then add the items to-do list.

FURTHER READING:

How to Manage Your Time Each Day: Essential Time Management Skills

How to Create an Organized and Productive Home Office

Easy Brown Bag Lunches on a Budget: How to Pack Great Lunches Everyone in Your Family Will Eat and Still Save Money

Jul 15 2012

Personalize Your Time Management Techniques

A lot has been written and produced on the topic of time management techniques that are tried and tested, but every person is different in terms of lifestyle and character. A great book or video on time management can be a great starting point for giving you new ideas, but it will only be helpful if you try to implement the ones that work best for you personally.

There is really no one-size-fits all when it comes to time management. A busy businessperson in a Fortune 100 company will need certain time management and organization skills that will be different from those of a small business owner or a freelancer working at home. The time management techniques of a person who works in a service industry with shifts will be different from someone with a flexible timetable or who owns their own business.

Learn about the general principles of time management and scheduling, but adopt the strategies you learn so that you become more productive throughout your day no matter what your personal circumstances and responsibilities.

If you are willing to be flexible and creative, you can manage your time efficiently with tools and other items that you will enjoy working with. Some people love a paper day planner, for example, while others prefer to use their phone or Outlook. Some people love a whiteboard, while others are finding inspiration using Pinterest.

The most effective type of time management system is one that you will use, and enjoy using. It should not become a full time job itself. It should also not make you feel even more overwhelmed or depressed. As one executive said to us, “I loved entering all my tasks onto my digital to do list, but got depressed at the very thought of how much work I had to do, and how I would cross off one item and need to add five more.”

As you go about working out a time management plan and to-do lists, you need to consider what your own specific goals and objectives are when it comes to your career and your daily life. Are the things filling up your day essential, or just time fillers. Does the work only have to be done by you, or could you outsource some of it to another worker?

Asking these questions will help you pare down your schedule and to-do list to the essentials. It will also help you meet more deadlines and create a better working environment for yourself, which will lead to a less stressed personal life as well.

Further Reading:

How to Manage Your Time Each Day: Essential Time Management Skills

How to Create an Organized and Productive Home Office

Transforming Stress Into Success: How to Minimize Stress and Maximize Success in Today’s Economy”

Successful Outsourcing: A Step-by-Step Guide

Jul 09 2012

7 More Top Tips for Time Management

1. Set a specific time during the day to organize yourself, looking over your to-do list, and taking care of filing and so on. Close the door or put a note up that says ‘do not disturb’. Allocating this time ensures focus and can help aid in completion of all your tasks.

2. If you are not really sure where your time goes, try logging your time for a certain period, such as a week, writing down what you do each half hour. What you gather can serve as your basis for deciding what changes you have to make to manage your time better.

3. Take heavy traffic as a given. Don’t use it as an excuse for being tardy. Leave early for work or an appointment rather than waste time, make excuses, and look unprofessional. Getting into work early each day can also help give you at least 15 minutes of uninterrupted time at work when no one else is there yet.

4. Among the items on your to-do list, determine which ones should be finished within the day and work on those tasks first. Move on to the less urgent tasks towards the end of the day.

5. Maintain your focus. Many people claim that they can multitask, but studies have shown that his is not the case. Try to work on each task or project end to end rather than skip back and forth between tasks.

6. Observe your work habits. If you often feel restless during work hours and unable to focus, try taking several short breaks throughout the day. You’ll feel more refreshed and eager to finish the tasks at hand than if you are feeling chained to the desk.

7. Deal with interruptions efficiently. If something is not in your schedule of priorities and there’s still a lot to do, then it shouldn’t be allowed to take up your time. If a colleague pops in to talk, ask them if they can come back when you are less busy and ask what the topic is about so that you can prepare anything they might require beforehand. If they are just going to hang out and talk sports, remember that time is money and suggest you meet after work for a drink or go to lunch at a certain time and/or on a certain day.

FURTHER READING:

How to Manage Your Time Each Day: Essential Time Management Skills

How to Create an Organized and Productive Home Office

How to Work Smarter, Not Harder: 101 Strategies to Make the Most of Your Working Hours and Become More Efficient and Productive

How to Start Working as a Successful Freelancer

Jul 06 2012

7 TOP TIPS FOR A CLUTTER-FREE LIFE

1. Develop a passion for recycling.
Recycle bottles, plastic bags, paper and more. Know what things you no longer use can be made into new things. In case you can’t recycle the item any more, do not think twice: donate it or throw it away safely.

2. Losing keys all the time? Try putting them in the same place every time you come in, such as on a rack by the door, or in a tray or bowl. Keep a spare set or two around in case of emergencies. You can also get a key finder key ring. If you lose your keys, press the key finder and that will trigger a sound from the keyring so you can find them easily.

3. Remove junk from your trunk!
A full car costs more to run. Cut fuel costs and get rid of any items that are not essential. Declutter your car and it will be far easier to find things that you need, like your tools if you should ever end up with a flat tire or other unexpected situation.

As for your own trunk, even gaining a mere one pound of muscle can boost your metabolism and lead to greater weight loss. Clean out your car, vacuum and detail it, and you can keep fit at the same time., for no more junk in your trunk.

4. Spill-proof your paper clip and tacks container.
Put a magnet at the bottom of the container or at the lid. This works even for vinyl-coated paper clips and push pins. You can also buy one with a magnetized mouth that will stop spills.

5. Set a good example for the rest of the household.
If you have children, instill in them the importance of becoming organized by setting a good example. There is no use complaining about the way your home looks if you scatter things in every direction the minute you walk in the door, or can barely find things because you never put them back where you found them. Simple organizational tasks like putting dirty clothes into the hamper instead of leaving them on the floor, or hanging them up in the closet instead of draping things on the backs of chairs, can serve as a great example for your children to follow. It will also save you a lot of time getting ready for work each morning, so that you will be less stressed every morning as the whole family heads off to work and school.

6. Minimize you laundry time by using different hampers for your clothes. Use one for your light-colored clothes, another dark, and one for mixed colored clothes. You will still have to check through the white load just to be sure no one has put in a colored object that will run and ruin the whole load, but if everyone in the family sorts as they go along, it can save you a lot of time each laundry day.

You might also consider just doing a load of wash as soon as you see a full load has accumulated. Washing as you go will not only help your family keep clean, it will also free up your time at the weekends instead of allowing your precious days off being eaten up by chores.

7. Extend the storage capacity of your closets by adding attachments such as hooks and rods on the closet doors, where you can hang your belts, ties, scarves, ribbons and other accessories. You can get sturdy metal hanging hooks and use them on the inside and the outside of doors. Hanging shoe bags are another great way to get organized and save space.

FURTHER READING:

How to Create an Organized and Productive Home Office

Green Mother’s Guide: How to Raise a Child More Greenly and Naturally

The New Green Family Guide: A Beginner’s Guide to Going Green As a Family

Jun 27 2012

7 Top Tips for Time Management

1. Save time when banking
On your next visit to the bank, get copies of bank forms that are usually available at the counters. Store them in a place where you can easily find them.The next time you need to do another transaction, fill out the forms beforehand.

2. Consider your body’s “peak time”, the time of the day when you are at your best. Use that time to accomplish major tasks and do less important, shorter ones when you start to run out of steam. Even if you feel tired, you will also gain a great sense of accomplishment at how many things you have managed to clear off your to do list.

3. Start your day 15 minutes earlier.
If you can manage to get up 15 minutes earlier or shave 15 minutes off your schedule by getting ready for the morning the night before and/or cutting down on commuting time, you can become more productive due to less distractions during what are usually going to be the usual hours of 9 to 5 in the office.

4. Use your computer to create templates of documents you use on a regular basis, such as letters, reports, invoices, and other spreadsheets. You can always modify these templates according to your needs and have them handy in folders as well in case you ever have to refer back to the correspondence..

5. Locate your files faster by using different colored labels on your file folders. You will easily find the files you need because of the color codes.

6. Create a list of frequently called numbers. You can save a lot of time locating names individually. Your speed dial list should be for the most important people and clients in your life.

7. Create a list of things you can accomplish in fifteen minutes or less, such as writing a letter, clearing your drawers, using social media to promote your business, and so on. The next time you find yourself with time to spare, choose items from your list.

FURTHER READING:

How to Manage Your Time Each Day: Essential Time Management Skills

How to Create an Organized and Productive Home Office

Successful Social Media Marketing In 15 Minutes A Day

Your Green Business Start-Up Guide: How to Start and Run a Sustainable Business

Jun 15 2012

Effective Time Management Through To Do Lists

Time management is one of the most important skills any business person can possess in the 21st century. We are all very busy, so working smarter, not harder, is the only solution to get everything done and still leave time for the important things in life.

If you find yourself constantly crunched for time and feeling like you are running as fast as you can just to stand still, one of the best steps you can take in the direction of more effective time management is to create a to-do list that you will maintain on a regular basis.

There are a number of ways to do this. One is to simply write down the task as soon as it occurs to you, or enter it on a spreadsheet or in a wordprocessing program. Creating a digital to-do list can be extremely handy because you can reorder the information at any time.

Time management experts suggest that you try grouping together similar tasks and activities in order to increase efficiently and get all of the tasks and activities done in a timely manner.

Another tactic for managing your time and getting more done is to set a specific time for the activities on your calendar. Calculate how much time you will need and pencil it into your schedule. Deadlines can help you focus on the task at hand and not allow you to drift through the day, especially if you are working at home or run your own business and only report to yourself.

We all get different moods on different days, and have different scheduled weekly meetings and other events. If you have a lot of preparation to do for those meetings, do not leave the work until the last minute. Do not leave the tasks that you dislike the most until the last minute either. Make these a priority and you will soon be pleased with how fast you complete those tasks and will therefore be able to get on with other important items on your list. The stress of putting things off or resisting the tasks you hate but have to do can make you unable to focus on other things and prevent you from working at your peak efficiency.

Procrastination is extremely prevalent amongst even the smartest of workers. By setting deadlines, you are giving yourself little or no choice but to get on with the items on your list. It is also good discipline. If the date slips by an hour or two when you are the boss, that is fine, but if it does in reference to a project for a major client, it could mean disaster. Estimate how long a task will take, then double that time to give yourself a cushion for interruptions, computer issues and more.

This is an especially valuable technique if you are working freelance, since time literally is money when you are working on an hourly or per project basis. The challenge of freelancing is balancing the projects you have with seeking new ones and doing self-promotion in order to keep the cash coming in. Managing your time and your to-do list should be seen as your path to profitability.

Check your to-do list each morning when you start work, in the afternoon at lunch, and in the evening about an hour before you plan to stop work for the day. Pieces of paper that you jot down notes on are fine to help remind you of anything that pops into your head or comes up when you are talking to a colleague or client, but be sure to keep one master to-do list on a spreadsheet or wordprocessed document that you can refer back to, edit and change.

You can also print out a copy of it to take with you when you are out of the office or if you are commuting on public transport, to help you make notes, set deadlines, or make organizational plans.

For example, you might get a large project that seems overwhelming to even think about, but you need the money. The best way to handle large projects is to break them down into smaller ones that can be accomplished and keep you on target to meet your deadline.

To-do lists can be one of the most effective means of organization and time management if you use them in conjunction with your day planner/calendar to help keep your productivity level up and your stress level down as you complete all your work and meet all your deadlines with ease.

Further Reading
How to Manage Your Time Each Day: Essential Time Management Skills

How to Create an Organized and Productive Home Office

Transforming Stress Into Success: How to Minimize Stress and Maximize Success in Today’s Economy

Jun 12 2012

Dealing with Storage Problems in Your Home

Many people, especially city dwellers, suffer from storage problems in their home. But the truth is that even living in a large home can pose storage problems if you and your family are not organized and have a tendency to over-shop or to hoard.

A typical American family of two adults and two children can soon fill the average home with toys, games, DVDS, computer equipment, school gear, work papers, clothes, books and more.

It may seem like an impossible dream to get it all under control, but it is actually easier than you think. The first thing is to pare down the items that you have and stop shopping. You can sell or donate any items that the children have outgrown, and then resist the temptation to buy any more things.

It can be difficult because children grow quickly and burn through their clothes and shoes very quickly, but in terms of books and DVDS, you can use the library rather than buy. You can also sort through their toys to get rid of anything they don’t use. You can even have the children hold a garage sale to get rid of their items.

One thing that this recession has taught us is that money in the bank can be the only security, so putting money in an emergency fund is far better than buying even more material things to clutter your home.

Going to the warehouse club can seem like great savings, but if you use a credit card and do not pay off your balance at the end of the month, any savings will soon be eaten away. In addition, you will usually have to buy three of everything. With storage space at a premium in most homes, this can soon add up to clutter and disorganization.

Get rid of old newspapers and magazines and dust collectors. Then see what you have left to store, and find a place for everything. In some cases, you might find that you need more storage items. If you have to buy a new piece of furniture for any room in the house, be sure to buy one that does double duty.

For example, you can get a child’s bed that has storage drawers in the bottom. Bunk beds can sometimes come with drawers, hanging space for clothes, a bookshelf and desk, and more.
A large cushioned ottoman may be stuffed with fluff, or it may have a hinged lid that opens to reveal a storage cube inside.

Some sofas offer similar dual functionality, providing drawers underneath the actual seating section. If you have a sofa with long legs on it, you can get the same effect with the help of a long flat plastic box with a lid. These will also work well under a bed.

These storage containers can be used for anything, from shoes to photo albums and DVDs. You can color-code them, or you can buy the clear plastic ones, in which case you will be able to see easily exactly what is inside.

These boxes are also great for packing away Christmas decorations until next year.

When you visit a furniture store, look for other ideas by browsing around and noting any unique compartments or storage ideas.

Plastic bins, or laundry baskets, can help if you live in a house with more than one floor. If things have to go up or down the stairs, just put the items in the bin and then anyone can take it up or down the next time they use the stairs.

These bins also work well for storing wet or dirty shoes and wet umbrellas by the door. Training your children to use them might be a lot easier than expecting them to hang up everything when they get home.

Plastic storage bins are not much use, however, if you keep buying more items or cram them full and then put them in the garage. They should be an easy way to access what everyone in the family needs and then be able to put away after they are finished with it. If you see plastic bins stacking up all over your house, then you do not have a storage problem, but a shopping problem and will need to look at your spending habits.

Otherwise, start weeding out any items you no longer want or need, or have not used in a year, and start enjoying a cleaner, more clutter-free home.

FURTHER READING:

How to Become a Do-It-Yourself Mom: A Guide for Simple Home Decorating Ideas for Smart Women

How to Create an Organized and Productive Home Office

The Smart Woman’s Do-It-Yourself Guide to a Greener Home

The New Green Family Guide: A Beginner’s Guide to Going Green As a Family

Jun 09 2012

How to Manage Your Time Efficiently for Less Stress

Everyone is leading busier lives these days, so the idea of avoiding stress can sometimes seem impossible. Between raising the children, caring for aging parents, and dealing with work, life can seem like one huge juggling act that can leave you with soaring blood pressure and a backbreaking load of work and stress. Dealing with the day-to-day stresses and strains of your work schedule are bad enough, but if you are lacking in time management skills, you can add even more stress and strain to your busy day.

Perhaps the most important thing to remember is to avoid overwhelming yourself with too much work. This counts for both home and office. Don’t volunteer to coordinate your child’s class bake sale when you are already handling a vital office project. Don’t agree to take the family away on a vacation when you know those dates coincide with tax time.

The simplest way to keep up with your schedule is to use a planner to record all your responsibilities and activities. If someone ask you to do something, there is no harm in getting out the planner and looking, or simply saying that you need to look at it and will get back to them.

All of us want to be helpful to others, and we will often give a yes, of course reply automatically and then think better of it afterwards. We will also then try to soldier on in order to keep our word, but might also start feeling more and more stressed, frustrated and resentful in the process.

One new skill to develop, therefore, is to learn to say no. Particularly if you are running your own business, you need to remember that time is money. If you are a freelance with a flexible schedule, especially one who works at home, many people will start to think that you have “free time” to help them, when in fact you might really be struggling to make ends meet if you do not have enough projects on the go. You need to balance constantly home, work and marketing demands to keep the cash coming in without wearing yourself out in the process.

If you are considering taking on another commitment, look through your schedule and identify if and when you have time available. Remember, just because there is open time does not mean that you should fill it up. Everyone should schedule some personal time to relax and rejuvenate. Be sure to schedule time for a walk or trip to the gym, dinner with your partner, and a picnic in the park with your family.

Another key component of managing your stress is to know when to delegate your duties. If you have an assistant, s/he can be an immense help in minimizing work-related stress. Assess your workload and identify the responsibilities that can be delegated to a helper. If you have no in-house person, consider hiring an outsourced worker or a virtual assistant to help you with the menial tasks that need to be done but can eat up your time if you are not careful.

With so many people unemployed or underemployed in the U.S., offering people the chance to work at home for minimum wage cash in hand is an opportunity that they would be silly to refuse. Just remember that it will take some time to train them, and plan your schedule accordingly for the first two weeks.

But the investment in terms of time and money should more than pay for itself when you start seeing how much better you are able to manage your time and balance your family and business.

FURTHER READING
How to Manage Your Time Each Day: Essential Time Management Skills

How to Create an Organized and Productive Home Office

Transforming Stress Into Success: How to Minimize Stress and Maximize Success in Today’s Economy

Picnic in the Park: A Guide to Fast and Fun Picnic Foods

Successful Outsourcing: A Step-by-Step Guide