We are all crunched for time, especially during December. If you would like more time for the things you love to do, here are three time-saving tips. Several years ago, after reading ORGANIZING FOR THE CREATIVE PERSON, by Dorothy Lehmkuhl and Dolores Cotter Lamping (Three Rivers Press, NY, 1993), I found these suggestions and more. I was elated to discover a few simple changes could help me overcome some of my scattered ways and save time.
1. Write a plan in pencil. We are sometimes reluctant to write plans down because we think things might change, which they do. If we don’t write them in cement or announce them to the world we can easily make adjustments.
Planning helps you focus on priorities. Write down everything you’d like to do, then cross out, rewrite, rearrange, or start over. You don’t have to show the plans to anyone unless you’d like to.
2. File things vertically, not in horizontal piles on the kitchen table or desk. It’s much easier to find things when they are stored in file folders, in a file cabinet, in a desk-top file organizer, or “loose-leaf” notebook with separators. Compare it to trying to find a book at the library. If all the books were stored haphazardly in large horizontal piles instead of on shelves in an organized manner, you’d waste hours finding what you wanted.
3. Manage the mail as it comes in the door. We often spend extra time going over and over mail. Keep a recycle bin handy and as soon as the mail comes, go through it and discard what you don’t need. Don’t put it down to go through it again and again, zapping away extra minutes. File the bills and other correspondence in their respective vertical files and deal with them at a more appropriate time if you don’t have time at the moment.
Remember, a Maine Warmer is easy to order online or over the phone and solves many of your gift giving dilemmas for co-workers, teachers, great aunts, and the kid (young or old) who has everything. Consider giving one to the person who is always borrowing yours, saving the time it takes you to look for it.
Published in the Maine Warmers’ e-Newsletter, Dec. 2012