time management

20 Organizing and Time-Saving Productivity Tips for the New Year

20 Organizing and Time-Saving Productivity Tips for the New Year

1) The hanger helper: when hanging your clothes up in your closet, put the hanger facing backwards. After six months, whatever still has hangers facing backwards, it's time to purge those items from your closet.

2) Music mess: alphabetize your CD collection A-Z by last name in the following genre categories: pop/rock, classical, soundtracks and compilations.

3) Tame the crazy cords: When storing cords or cables, bind each one up with a rubber band first. It helps keep them tidy.

4) Buy a label maker: It is vital to help stay tidy and know what you have. It’s an organizational must-have.

5) Reduce paper clutter: Sort out junk mail immediately and recycle it before it even enters the house.

6) Keep reducing paper clutter: Shred all paperwork except for financial statements, legal documents or income taxes. 8 out of 1 O pieces of paper you save will never get touched again; and if you do accidentally toss something you may look for later, most likely the information is available on the internet.

7) Work on decluttering: Don't be afraid to re-gift or donate things you don’t want, need or use. Cluttering up your home with unused or duplicate presents is not what the gift-giver intended. Pass it on to someone who will enjoy it as much or more than you will.

Applying the 80/20 Rule to Organization and Decluttering

Applying the 80/20 Rule to Organization and Decluttering

Have you ever heard of the 80/20 rule, also known as the Pareto Principle? I learned of it years ago, and I think it really can apply to the process of getting your home and/or office more organized, and also, re-examining your schedule to be more productive. In essence, the 80/20 rule says that 80 percent of results will come from 20 percent of action.

Applying this principle to all of your “stuff” works like this: many people only use 20 percent of the things they own on a daily or even semi-daily basis. For example, owning 10 pairs of shoes but reliably only wearing two. 20 cookbooks sit on a shelf but only 4 show quality kitchen love.

Back in terms of time productivity, I flip this explanation a bit and approach it from one other perspective as well. Oftentimes, when I am working on something, the last 20 percent of the work, takes 80 percent of the time! Many times I will think “oh, it’s only going to take me 10 minutes to finish the last of this project.” Only to realize that is actually going to take twice as long, or more. Some how what should be the easiest “finishing” part always turns out to be the longest last mile.

And when it comes to a big organizing or tidying project, inevitably, only in the last 20 percent of the project will 80 percent of the result be realized. That is why it is so hard for people who don’t truly have a passion for organizing (like me or Marie Kondo who says herself, she “loves messes”) have such a hard time staying motivated at the beginning—or even middle— stages of an organizing task. It’s because it looks like no progress is being made.

The Strategy and Value of Time Blocking

The Strategy and Value of Time Blocking

Time blocking is finally productivity technique that seems to be sticking with me for the long-run.

If you can read through my words to hear a sense of exasperated relief, you are spot on. I've tried so many different time-saving tips, apps, worksheets, planners, etc. over the years. And nothing really seemed to ever find my sweet spot.

Until I learned about time blocking. Time blocking is where you set a specific allotment of time to do a specific task or set of tasks. Generally, why it works is because it debunks the myth of multi-tasking. It is simply a more efficient, and I would argue, less stressful way to be productive.