8 Easy Steps Effective Time Management

Who among us doesn’t wish they had MORE TIME to do the things they enjoy? Yet every day there seems to be a mountain of things to do. Whether it’s a tower of bills to pay or a closet bulging with clothes, here are 8 easy ways to create more space and free up more free time!

1. Buying a file box and a pack of multicolored folders is a great start to setting up a regular organized schedule. Create folders for monthly bills, bank statements, medical bills, miscellaneous items and so forth.

2. If you don’t have time to file something at a particular moment, create a “To Be Filed” folder and place it in the front of your file box. Then, when you have a spare moment (even just 15 minutes a day, or while talking on the phone!) sort through the front folder and put each document in the folder where it belongs.

3. For items that you may need again, such as warranties or instruction manuals, consider purchasing a three-ring binder with a set of clear plastic covers. These covers let you easily slide papers down into them, and you can quickly flip through the binder to find the one you need when you need it!

4. If you have children, setting up a weekly “Chore Chart” system can be an easy way to keep them organized and help them learn the value of hard-earned money (or good behavior) at the same time. Divide up the chores, color coding different areas for different chores and assigning the value to them (such as $X for mowing the lawn). This method helps keep kids on track and teaches them responsibility at the same time. Plus, if an allowance or reward is involved, they can see exactly how much work is necessary to reach that goal. Great for building motivation!

5. If you always find yourself running behind when paying bills, assign yourself a certain day of the week to take care of them. On the outside of the envelope, write a date at least a week before the bill’s actually due date to remind you to send it in on time (and you’ll actually be ahead of schedule this way!)

6. For seasonal clothes, holiday items or sports gear, see-through plastic crates can be a godsend. They’re easy to stow in an inconspicuous place (under the bed or in the top of your closet) and are easy to get to when the time comes. Printing out a sheet of paper with the name of each boxes contents makes finding them even easier!

7. Purchase a couple of dry erase boards and markers. Keep one on one side of your refrigerator as a grocery list (since 9 times out of 10, you’ll be in the kitchen anyway when you realize you’re out of something), place the other dry erase board on the other side of the refrigerator for important announcements. Even better if you can purchase one that serves as a tack board on one side. This makes it easy to pin up important notes and keep track of appointments.

8. If you’re just wondering where all the time goes, or how to schedule your time more effectively, buy (and USE) an appointment book with hour-long or half-hour long slots for each day of the week. Schedule “to-do’s” within these time periods and stick to them. Don’t fill up the whole day, though. As much as you might think that this would make you more productive, it will actually tire you out quicker, and, if something comes up, leave you feeling like you have unfinished business to take care of!

And what do you do with all the time you’ve saved? How about taking a break and doing something you enjoy? Yes, you really can schedule “nothing” on your calendar. If you’ve followed these organizational tips, chances are, you’ve earned it.

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