I Crossed This Off My List This Week

Time Management ChecklistSaturday was February 1st. Not only was it the beginning of a new month, but it marked a deadline I have had lingering in my head for a while. I finally accomplished something I’ve thought about for weeks and I’m afraid I simply won’t get the credit for it I deserve. So what did I do?

…I took the Christmas wreath down off my door.

This may not seem like a big deal to you, unless you’ve also put off a tiny task for way longer than you’d like to admit. We all know we should adhere to The 5 Minute Rule: if it takes less than 5 minutes, just do it now, but sometimes that’s easier said than done.

I’m not even going to pretend that this Christmas wreath was affixed to the house in any sort of complicated manner. It was on a nail. One silly nail. But every time I passed by, I found some excuse to do anything other than take care of the stupid wreath.

It’s easy to see how senseless this type of procrastination is when someone else is doing the procrastinating, however, I’m guessing there is a task on your to-do list RIGHT NOW that’s been sitting there for months and would take less than a few minutes to complete.

Is it something for work? A task around your house? An email you’ve been meaning to send? A phone call you’ve been meaning to make?

Do it today.

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How To Hold a Time Management Garage Sale

PrintAre there things on your schedule that are cluttering your day? Are they getting in the way of things that actually matter to you?

This week, I cleared out all the clutter in our house and had a garage sale. Getting rid of the extra junk was so freeing, but I realized that I probably had some clutter lurking around my to-do list also. Have you held a “time management garage sale” lately? Here are the four steps:

1. Take an inventory

Much of what we do all day happens on autopilot, so we don’t realize how we’re really spending our time until we look at it. This week, pay close attention to how you spend your time and how long you spend on each task. Sometimes tasks that we think only take a few minutes, actually consume hours of our week.

2. What is important to you

Take this opportunity to reexamine what’s important to you. Is it family? Friends? Is it spending time outside? Is it having a salary that supports going on yearly vacations? Is it eating dinner at home every evening? Is it the satisfaction you get from your job? Reflect on what’s important and how it aligns with your goals.

3. Do they match?

Now, revisit your “time log” from the week. Does how you spend your time match up with what’s important to you? You might not love your job, but if it’s moving you toward a more broad career goal, maybe it’s fine. You might realize you’re spending way too much time on email when instead you could spend a few extra minutes enjoying your morning coffee. Or perhaps you say that being active is important to you…and yet you put pretty much every other obligation in front of exercising.

4. Ditch it

Just like my house only has room for a finite amount of “stuff,” we only have time for so many things during the day. If we fill it with things that don’t either give us enjoyment, move us further toward a goal, or better the world in some way, we’ll have less room for the things that actually matter. Don’t live your life on autopilot. Make purposeful decisions with your time and change course when needed. Put those unwanted tasks out on your driveway and let them be someone else’s problem.

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3 Tips for Speedy Spring Cleaning

TIme Management Spring CleaningI hate spring cleaning, so when we begin that yearly chore, I want it done fast. Try these three tips to streamline your efforts and get rid of that dust and dirt as efficiently as possible.

1. Tackle Clutter First

It’s really hard to clean your counters and closets when there are piles of junk in the way. Your massive cleaning spree will go much faster if you get rid of the clutter first. Put two large bins in the middle of the room: one for trash and one for donations.

For me, it’s hard to motivate myself to take a trip down to the thrift store to donate one or two items, but if I have a whole car full of stuff, that’s a different story! Have a hard time parting with things? Rather than asking yourself, “Will I ever use this again?” ask yourself, “Is it worth taking up space in my house on the off chance I will need this in 5 years?

2. Pack Your “Toolbox”

Once you begin your cleaning adventure, it’s most efficient to methodically tackle one room at a time. Instead of cleaning all the mirrors in the house, then all the doors, then all the sinks, pack all of your cleaning materials in a cleaning caddy and carry it with you from room to room.  Once you finish a room, close the door and move on to the next. Seeing that one room is done is motivation to start the next one.

3. Start With the Most Noticeable Room

Results inspire us to keep working. Start with the room you use the most so you’ll see the most dramatic and immediate impact from your efforts. For us, that means tackling the kitchen. Once the kitchen is clean, the whole house feels more organized and I feel motivated to keep going. There is nothing worse than spending the whole afternoon cleaning, and then looking around to see  that it didn’t seem to make much difference!

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