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Friday, March 6, 2009

Organization 101

I saw an article on MSN the other day the piqued my interest. It was titled

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


jill said...

i read that article and felt like i had wasted 5 minutes of my day. it didn't really offer anything that i thought could help my need for more minutes in a day.

can't wait to see pics of the mancave.

Suldog said...

Some of the suggestions make sense. As with many lists to improve oneself, though, I find that I already do most of what is suggested, and thus am already (saving time, saving money, losing weight) as well as can be expected. Oh, well.

Sheri and George said...

Felt like I wasted more time reading her list of helpful hints than I saved time.
I don't think my boss would like it if I left work 30 minutes early- I would be fired! Gotta check my e-mails regularly or I wither away. Not really too helpful here

A Woman Of No Importance said...

Can I have one of those tequila machines, and please don't say I have to give up the Internet, please?!

Deedee said...

"Now if someone offers online toilet bowl cleaning - THAT I want to know about"... me too! Hahaha!

Anonymous said...

Hmmph. I think it's kinda arrogant for people to pretend that every frickin' moment of their day is that damn important. I mean, come on!! Lighten up. I am absolutely unproductive for a great portion of my day and I feel fine with that. I don't know what my boss thinks about it but that's something I won't waste my time find out. Ha!

Lorrie Veasey said...

I can find an extra thirty minutes a day anytime I want to. But do i really want to give up passing out after a two martini lunch, i gotta ask myself. Because you can't discount the productivity that occurs later when you wake up, all cotton mouthed, with file folders sticking to your cheeks...wait a second: is this just me?

gail said...

This author gets paid/payed )I never know which it is)for this? I really missed my calling.

Hope you have fun this weekend. Please try to not kill or maim Homer, okay?

hugs, g

thesleepdeprivedmomma said...

Oh Jane, the things I could do with an extra 30 minutes . . . hmmmm, let's see:
*hunt rodents
*study, while chaos and madness ensues around me
*More laundry, since I'm the only one that knows towels don't wash themselves
*answer inane questions about random BS while trying to watch the ONE FREAKING TV SHOW I HAVE TIME FOR ANYMORE
*Go the the grocery store AGAIN, because no one mentioned yesterday while I was there that we were running low on bread, toilet paper, milk or all of the above
*fend off personal attacks by the perpetually immature BEE-ATCHES in my freakin clinical group while trying to maintain a level of professionalism they've never aspired to much less achieved.
*sleep, more than 4-6 hours would be so very nice, or attempt it with Hubby strumming one of his guitars (though he does wear headphones) on the bed next to me, or playing a first person shooter game on the computer IN THE SAME ROOM AS HIS SLEEPING WIFE!

No, I'm afraid only 30 more minutes would just PISS ME OFF to the point of an illegal though justifiable act.

Lisa said...

that sounds like a perfect way to totally over organise my life.......
so much preparation for 30 minutes r&r
Lisa x

Lucky Wife/Bookaholic said...

I think it would be easier to just stay up a little longer at night.

binks said...

That Julie bitch needs a serious clubbing.

The freaking best part of the day are checking email and social networks.

Laoch of Chicago said...

I have been desperately looking for ways to be less productive.

Becca said...

I am unproductive all the time..so? :-)

Jan said...

This is hilarious! You really outdid yourself on this one. Think I will read it again. And I really love the suggestion that you should leave 30 minutes early. All that would get me is dirty looks and a talking to by my supervisor. Don't think I had better try that one! I can feel a new post coming on for me..... I remember back when they used to tell us how much free time we were going to have in the future with dishwashers, microwaves, etc. Where is that time now? No one thought about Twitter, e-mail, blogging, etc. The internet alone just sucks you in and 3 hours later, the floor isn't vacuumed, the groceries aren't put away, the cat is still hungry....

Debbie said...

Give up my addiction to email? Who are these people? I will NOT cave to their demands:)

lizspin said...

The outfit chi is very important.

And so is the dinner chi. . . and the bill-paying chi . . .and the gas-tank-filling chi. . .

I ask you. . . how could any of these tasks possibly be done in advance?

Comedy Goddess said...

You know, these kinds of lists show up all the time. Is it fair to say that if the first one actually worked than it would not have to be updated time after time?

Love your comebacks!

The Lady in Pearls said...

I can top this! If I could find my camera....... :-( It's buried somewhere on this desk of mine!

The Lady in Pearls said...

Ok, clearly I am completely un-organized. My last comment was supposed to be on Kat's blog. Now I'll have to go and leave a comment for you on her blog. To even things out.

Did Whatsherface say anything about how much time you could save if your blog friend had her shit together and didn't leave comments on the wrong blog?? I hate Mondays.