Reclaim More Than 30 Minutes of Your Day by Doing Less!
I thought cool, I could use another 120 minutes each day at a minimum but 30 is a start. I decided to read on.
Organizational expert Julie Morgenstern’s top tips for streamlining your routine to give you more “me time” and less stress. Me time! Yay! Wait, what's 'me time'? And wasn't Julie Morgenstern, Rhoda's sister on the Mary Tyler Moore show? Frankly, besides being extremely depressed, she didn't seem all that organized.
Pick out your clothes the night before.You would think that choosing your outfit would take the same amount of time in the morning as it does at night. Not so, says Julie Morgenstern, author of When Organizing Isn't Enough: Shed Your Stuff, Change Your Life. "You actually take less time deciding the night before because you're not as stressed. I think when we're stressed, we freeze, we get paralyzed, we can't think, we start making mistakes and keep repeating them." Boy howdy, am I the poster child for that statement as evidenced by the dozen pieces of discarded clothing piled on the bed every morning. She recommends going as far as hanging the planned outfit -- down to underwear and jewelry -- outside your closet. Thanks, Julie, but I already do this - yes, down to the lingerie and earrings. Trouble is, what I pick out the night before is not always what I feel like wearing the next day. My clothing has a huge impact on my day and if my outfit chi is not flowing, my day will be shit. I'm not a clothes horse by any means. I just need what I'm wearing to feel good and look good and be the right color for the right day. Don't ask. I have rules.
Find your go-to outfits.You probably have a go-to LBD (little black dress, I assume) in your closet that always makes you look and feel fabulous. Um, sorry, no little black dress in my closet, but I have some pretty awesome little black pants. Morgenstern suggests you find a few more fail-safe fashion choices that work for daytime, too. "Invest a couple of hours one weekend or one evening coming up with four or five standard outfits that you know always work," she says. "You do that for work outfits, and you should do that for going-out outfits as well." Going-out outfits for...? Wait. If I devote two hours of my weekend to this, my net gain for the week will only be 30 minutes. I knew it was too good to be true.
Curb your addiction to e-mail. One of Morgenstern's mantras: Break the mindless e-mail habit. So basically, stop checking e-mail every 10 seconds! "Every time you're bored, every time you're facing something difficult, you're like 'Let me just check my e-mail first.' You're using e-mail and even the Internet as a kind of procrastination device. If you can eliminate that habit from your day, I guarantee you will regain a minimum of an hour of productivity a day. Minimum." To kick the habit, she suggests setting regular e-mail check times, as well as not checking your e-mail for the first hour you're at work, when possible. This is not one of my problems but if it truly is a kind of procrastination device, sign me up because I would LOVE to regain an hour of productivity a day.
Organize your home by the way you think. Organizing your mess of a closet can save you at least a half hour per day, but that doesn't mean you have to color-code your clothing like your type-A friend does. Excuse me Ms. Julie but not all people with color-coded closets are Type-A. "You should organize your clothes in the way you reach for them, the way you think," says Morgenstern. "Not everybody thinks the same way, and I believe the zones of your closet should reflect your unique association. When some people go to get dressed, they think in terms of garments; others think of their clothes more by occasion: work clothes, weekend clothes, dress-up clothes." And some of us like to mix it all up - work/weekend/dress up. My little brain is spinning out of control just thinking about how to classify my clothes by THAT system. For more tips on organizing your closet, visit juliemorgenstern.com.
Buy nice hangers. Seriously? THIS is going to get me more minutes in the day? Your closet is a reflection of you, says Morgenstern. "It's where you start and end your day, and you want to feel good when you reach for something and when you put it away." In her own closet, she uses slender wooden hangers. "I think they bring an elegance to your closet that makes it exciting to open your closet and motivate you to hang things up again." I have a big problem with this one because my favorite hangers are not for sale as far as I know. I do have several of the nice padded satin ones that I use for sweaters and jackets but they take up too much space to use for everything. The hangers I really like are Old Navy hangers. They are white plastic with a metal swivel hook, strap grooves and the ends are skid resistant and curve nicely downward so you don't get shoulder nipples in your knit tops. When they ask me if I want the hangers I'm all 'Hell yeah' and then I do my Joan Crawford wire hanger tirade. Sometimes they even throw in a few extras.
Create a last-minute checklist. There are few things more satisfying than ticking off items on your to-do list. Get that feeling every time you leave the house by creating a cool-looking checklist to keep right by the door. On it, put all the things you need for the day: wallet, gym clothes, phone charger, iPod, etc. It will save you time trying to remember everything and running back every time you forget something, says Morgenstern. Plus, once you've mentally crossed each thing off, "you'll leave feeling like a million bucks and full of energy." How about I just make a pile of all the things I need to take so I don't have to run around checking off my list in the morning? Better yet, I think I'll throw all my stuff in my backpack and just make a note to grab my lunch out of the fridge. Oh wait. I already do that. I wonder why I don't feel like more than 20 bucks when I head out the door.
Go to the digital supermarket. If you can, order your groceries online so you don't have to go food shopping, says Morgenstern. "It will cut time from your weekly errands and chores, and the program will save your shopping list -- a big, really helpful time-saver for the household stuff." My supermarket doesn't offer this and I am pretty darn loyal to my supermarket because it is locally owned and has very nice meat and produce. Anyway, with online shopping can you ask them to dig way to the back for the bread with the freshest date or to stream a live feed from the meat counter so I can see if the pork chops look lean enough? Besides, food shopping time is almost like 'me time'. Now if someone offers online toilet bowl cleaning - THAT I want to know about.
Make your coffee to go.Pay attention, Starbucks addicts. "We waste a lot of time going and getting coffee somewhere," says Morgenstern. "If you invest in a coffeemaker with a timer, you can set it the night before and wake up to the smell of coffee." Stock up on a few cute refillable travel mugs and you'll save time by avoiding that coffee-shop line . Or, if you always forget your mug at the office, consider buying to-go cups and lids to keep at home. Blah, blah. I don't drink coffee unless it's iced with milky, flavored goodness. Is there somewhere I could get a tequila maker with a timer?
Leave work 30 minutes early.This tip is going to sound counterintuitive for those of us trying to get more done each day, but Morgenstern swears by it. "Shorten your workday by 30 minutes and you will achieve as much as, if not more than, you currently do." By leaving early, you'll have that feeling of being on a deadline, when you don't have time to spare on perfectionism, procrastination and interruptions. And I'm sure not one of my co-workers would be bitter if I started walking out the door half an hour early. At my spreadsheet sweatshop, I think they can fire you for that. Why don't I just quit my job and then I'd have an extra EIGHT HOURS every day? And think of all the time I'd save not grocery shopping and not cooking and not sleeping when my whole family is hungry and homeless. I think maybe Julie has a major (employed) sugar daddy who is keeping her out of touch with reality.
Set aside time for social networking.Assign yourself time to check your Facebook, MySpace, Linked In and other social networking sites. They are tremendous procrastination devices, as well as easy entertainment. "But they're like TV," says Morgenstern. "You turn it on and three hours pass, and then you're like 'Where did my day go?'" By carving out set times to spend on them, you'll be more productive when you're focusing on other tasks. Okay, I've already cut back to the point that most of my fellow bloggers probably resent my lack of visits and snarky comments. And TV.... well, what's TV again? Oh yeah, the box with the colorful pictures and the sound that I can't understand.
And now I'm like 'Where did my day go?' because I've just spent too much time trying to learn how to save some time.
Have an wonderful weekend. I'll be spending mine working on the mancave project. I might even have some pictures by Monday.
Peace, Love, Home Improvement