8 Tips for Effective Time Management

Who out there does not wish they had more time. Yet everyday it seems like our task list grows longer. Whether it’s a house to clean or bills that need paid, it seems like we are always running behind on something. Here are several easy ways that will help you manage your time and have more of it to spend doing the things that you love.

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 that time, 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 have to keep for reference, 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. This is a great motivation builder.

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. Doing this will actually put you ahead of the game.

6. For seasonal clothes, holiday items or sports gear, see-through plastic containers can be a lifesaver. They’re easy to store 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 box and its 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. You may want to look for one that has a bulletin board on one side of it, so that you can pin up appointments and announcements

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. Making a plan for your time can prove to give you extra time in the end.

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