Archive for the ‘Time Management Strategies’ Category

3 Quick Clutter Solutions For Your Home Office

Monday, April 11th, 2016

You can be an encouragement to others – share this on Facebook or share this on Twitter with your family and friends!

3 Quick Clutter Solutions For Your Home OfficePiles, piles, and more piles! If this conjures thoughts of your home office, then here are three ways to get rid of office clutter – fast.

1. Pull double-duty.

Books are one of the biggest space hogs in any home office. Placing risers along the back of shelves, and then situating books on top of and in front of, with a little space in between rows, can easily double the storage capacity of a bookshelf.

Done-For-You Quick Clutter Solution: Drawer Organizer, flipped upside-down.

DIY Quick Clutter Solution: Find and cover a long box (such as one for waxed paper, plastic wrap, or foil) with acid-free paper. Leave the empty roll inside of the box for extra support.

Hint: For best effect, measure the length, width, and height of each shelf before you decide upon, buy, or make your shelf risers.

2. Find a quick hide-away.

Getting cords, cables, and wires under control can almost single-handedly transform the look of any office space. The fastest way to achieve this feat is by strategically (not lazily) hiding power strips and excess cords from view.

Done-For-You Quick Clutter Solution: CableBox.

DIY Quick Clutter Solution: Find a lidded, solid-colored container with similar dimensions to the CableBox. Using the CableBox as a model, cut holes where appropriate to guide the cords and cables.

Hint: For best look, tie together the cords extending outside of the cable management box with zip, twist, or Velcro ties.

3. Focus on the underutilized.

Not making use of vertical space like walls and doors is one of the top office organizing mistakes most people make. When used appropriately (and eye-pleasingly), vertical space can store office supplies, corral papers, and create more room to work and play.

Done-For-You Quick Clutter Solution: Magnetic Bulletboard, with Mini Bulldog Clips and Magnetic Spice Tins.

DIY Quick Clutter Solution: Find a large hanging frame that matches your office decor. Hang it, mark the opening, then remove. Cover the marked opening with magnetic paint, and rehang the frame.

Hint: For best use, display only things that inspire and motivate you, that you need to use or see often, or that keep you focused.

How’d you like to finally have the organized office you’ve longed for – in 24 hours or less? Join the Totally Organized Office™ Bootcamp by clicking here!

5 Timeless Lessons About Simplicity From Albert Einstein

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016

You can be an encouragement to others – share this on Facebook or share this on Twitter with your family and friends!

In today’s fast-paced world, it is normal to crave simplicity and serenity – and lots of it. The modern view of “simplifying life” focuses less on doing without (unless that is your preference) and more on slowing down, enjoying balance, and experiencing fulfillment. Here are five timeless lessons about simplicity from Albert Einstein – and how you can apply his genius to your own life, simplified.

1) Learn to say “no”.

Einstein’s connection with the Jewish people was said to be the strongest bond in his life, yet when he was offered the presidency of Israel, he politely declined the invitation.

[EINSTEIN-LIKE FIX] A lot of people say time management is getting more done in less time. Wrong emphasis! In reality, using time wisely is getting more – more of what is really important to you – done, and ignoring the rest. Only say “yes” to commitments that support your personal priorities and values, and say “no” to those commitments that don’t – even if it is as important as a presidency.

2) Change things up.

Einstein once explained his idea of insanity as: “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

[EINSTEIN-LIKE FIX] It’s true – if you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you always got. If you want to simplify and get organized, yet you keep doing the same things that hold your life in chaos, then your life will never change. Step out of your comfort zone and try something new, better, and different in the realm of simplicity – something that will stretch your idea of what is possible.

3) Use smart systems.

Witnesses claim Einstein did not rely on memory to recall his phone number – he referenced a phone book instead.

[EINSTEIN-LIKE FIX] With an estimated 60,000 to 80,000 thoughts a day, there is a lot of competition for attention inside your head. While your brain is an amazing organ, the odds are stacked against you that you will remember everything important. Find or create your own system to track essential information, even if it is as basic as using a phone book!

4) Take regular breaks.

It is believed that Einstein conceived the theory of relativity, not while holed up inside a high-tech laboratory, but rather while riding his bicycle.

[EINSTEIN-LIKE FIX] Although it may seem counter-intuitive, our minds need an occasional rest in order to remain alert, productive, and creative. Schedule regular 20-minute breaks into your daily schedule, using your break time to truly disconnect from your work with fun activities to boost your energy and cognitive power like meditation, a water-cooler chat, or a short Einstein-approved bike ride.

5) Visualize what you want.

Einstein’s greatest breakthroughs in science were born from Gedankenexperiment, or visual experiments carried out in his mind.

[EINSTEIN-LIKE FIX] For many years, visualization techniques have been used in areas like health, athletics, education, business, the arts, and science to break boundaries, create positive change, and facilitate success – amongst others. Visualize your path to simplicity, envision reaching beyond the grasp of chaos and clutter, and take your simplify-life results to the next level.

© 2007-16 | Carmen Coker International | All Rights Reserved

Carmen Coker is a former US Air Force officer turned professional organizer. Thousands of busy people have benefited from her expertise featured by CBS, NBC, The Washington Post, and Real Simple magazine – now it’s your turn! Take the FREE 3-Day Simplify-Your-Life Challenge™, and get more organized, find more time, and enjoy more simplicity in your life…in just 3 days!

If You Love Facebook, Then This Will Help You Get Organized

Monday, February 15th, 2016

You can be an encouragement to others – share this on Facebook or share this on Twitter with your family and friends!

If You Have Time To Facebook, You Have Time To Get Organized

This bull calls it like it is. If you have time to Facebook, you have time to get organized. NO MORE EXCUSES! #TidyUp

Carmen Coker is a former US Air Force officer turned professional organizer. Thousands of busy people have benefited from her expertise featured by CBS, NBC, The Washington Post, and Real Simple magazine – now it’s your turn! If you would like to find more time in your life, download your FREE copy of The Ultimate Productivity Planner™ right now, and start saving 90 minutes (or more) every day…even if you think time management is a myth!

© 2007-16 | Carmen Coker International | All Rights Reserved

How Productive People Deal With Interruptions

Tuesday, February 9th, 2016

How Productive People Deal With InterruptionsYou can be an encouragement to others – share this on Facebook or share this on Twitter with your family and friends!

Cave intermissio. Beware of the interruption.

Why? The statistics speak for themselves. Studies show, on average, that…

  • You experience one interruption every eight minutes. That’s up to seven per hour, and up to 60 per day.
  • Barely-noticeable interruptions of only two seconds are enough to throw your productivity off-track.
  • It can take up to 25 minutes to regain your mental focus and work flow after being interrupted, depending on the complexity of the task.

The Big Reveal

There’s no denying it! Interruptions are one of the most lethal time-sinks known to mankind. You don’t even have to be good at math to realize that these statistics spell trouble for your get-stuff-done factor.

The problem is this: Interruptions are inevitable, and they can come from anywhere with little to no notice. Your boss requests a hot tasker. Your spouse phones to say “hi.” Your office mate asks to borrow a dollar. Your kids call for you. Your assistant needs your signature. Your cousin pings you on Facebook. Your dog wants to play ball. Your friend texts with drama.

Then what happens? Human nature practically dictates that you give the interruption immediate attention, action, and precedence over whatever you were doing in the first place, no matter how important.

Even more dangerous are the interruptions you welcome, allow, or encourage. After all, who wouldn’t want to find out how your spouse’s day is going, share a memory with your child, or enjoy some fresh air with your dog? All good (and arguably necessary) things, but sometimes, these good intentions come with bad timing.

The Ins & Outs

Martin Luther King once said: “The major problem of life is learning how to handle the costly interruptions. The door that slams shut, the plan that got sidetracked, the marriage that failed. Or that lovely poem that didn’t get written because someone knocked on the door.”

As MLK so eloquently explained, no matter what the situation – pinning a simple poem or achieving a world-changing dream – interruptions should be avoided, if and when possible. Here are three strategies to do just that:

  • First, identify the source(s). Download this tool to help you analyze the who’s, what’s, and when’s of your daily interruptions, allowing you to either eliminate or reorganize to save time.
  • Second, have a game plan for interruptions you can’t ignore or delay. Bookmark your place; jot down your last thought on a sticky note; or, if appropriate, ask for 10 minutes to get to a proper stopping point. All of these ideas will make restarting your tasks faster and easier.
  • Third, have a game plan for interruptions that you can ignore or delay. Put to memory a script like: “I’d love to help you! But now is not a good time. Can we talk later today at 3pm? I’ll be able to give you my undivided attention then.” Being prepared to say “not now” with confidence and integrity means you can get back to being productive asap.
  • Plus, stop interruptions before they even have a chance. Of course, there is always the popular close-your-door approach or do-not-disturb hours. More importantly, however, is cultivating a work and home environment that eliminates interruptions where possible. Teach – and show by example – to interrupt only when it is a top priority, and when it is not, to find a way to honor the other person’s time.

The Bottom Line

Most people understand the importance of not letting interruptions get in the way of productivity. But it is only a highly productive person who follows through on this understanding and gives time and attention only to those who deserve it, not to those who demand it.

Carmen Coker is a former US Air Force officer turned professional organizer. Thousands of busy people have benefited from her expertise featured by CBS, NBC, The Washington Post, and Real Simple magazine – now it’s your turn! If you would like to find more time in your life, download your FREE copy of The Ultimate Productivity Planner™ right now, and start saving 90 minutes (or more) every day…even if you think time management is a myth!

© 2007-16 | Carmen Coker International | All Rights Reserved

A Ridiculously Easy Way To Save Time

Monday, February 1st, 2016

A Ridiculously Easy Way To Save TimeYou can be an encouragement to others – share this on Facebook or share this on Twitter with your family and friends!

Do you find that you are constantly tangled in a web of too-many-things-to-do, rush-rush-rush, and no-time-for-just-me?

You wouldn’t be alone. Studies show a whopping 78% of people wish they had more time to “smell the roses.” You also shouldn’t be surprised. With all the demands of a busy life, it’s common to feel that:

  • Your to-do list only gets longer, and longer, and longer.
  • Your home, work, and life responsibilities are overwhelming.
  • You can’t truly rest because there is simply too much to do.
  • You need a vacation, but who has time for that?
  • And the most common of all…You just don’t have enough *&%$#@! hours in the day.

Here’s the thing: I’m willing to bet, if you scrutinize your schedule, you will find tasks, projects, commitments, appointments, or other that are…avoidable. This could mean they are temporarily avoidable, allowing you to reschedule for a better time, or it could mean that they are permanently avoidable, allowing you to eliminate them altogether or delegate them to someone else.

“Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials.” ~ Lin Yutang

Today’s easy organizing challenge is to leave something “avoidable” behind. Look at your to-do list or planner, and ask these questions of each entry:

  • Is it necessary?
  • Is it urgent?
  • Is it important?
  • Does it support my priorities?
  • Does it support my goals?
  • Can it be deleted?
  • Can it be postponed?
  • Can it be delegated?

Warning: So this is ridiculously easy. Like, making a Pop-Tart®-easy! In fact, the more times you do it, the easier and faster it becomes. But, sometimes during this process, feelings of guilt, perfectionism, and ego may bubble up.

Recognize any of these? So-in-so is counting on me. I’ve done this for years, why stop now? I already gave my word. Someone else could do this, but I want to get credit for it. No one can do this better than me. I don’t trust anyone else to get this right.

These feelings can have a strong pull – if you let them. DON’T. Don’t accept your excuses, don’t give into your fear, don’t let the devil on your shoulder get its way. If necessary, drink some virtual Gatorade® and get a big kick of Win from Within. (Really, when you see what these champions have overcome, you’ll probably feel silly for even letting these feelings get in the way of your time-management success.)

Once you’ve made your wise decision(s) about your schedule, don’t look back! Simply relish the freedom of letting go…

Want bigger results? Instead of picking one thing to leave behind for just today, pick three things each day for an entire week.

Ready for more time in your life? Download your FREE copy of The Ultimate Productivity Planner™ right now, and start saving 90 minutes (or more) every day…even if you think time management is a myth!

© 2007-16 | Carmen Coker International | All Rights Reserved

All You Need To Know About Time Management

Tuesday, December 15th, 2015

All You Need To Know About Time ManagementYou can be an encouragement to others – share this on Facebook or share this on Twitter with your family and friends!

When it comes to your life, would you categorize yourself as…

a. A highly effective person?
b. A moderately effective person?
c. A poorly effective person?

Now, here is the cold, hard truth about your answer, no matter which it may be: YOU CAN BE BETTER.

Granted, this very truth brings up the million-dollar question: how?

The answer is simpler than you think! Better yet, the effects are immediate. Even better still, it is a rinse-and-repeat system that will take your time management and productivity skills to new heights.

The Big Reveal

In life, there are those individuals who are goal-setters and those who are goal-getters. A goal-setter is someone who either likes the idea of or is very good at setting goals, but doesn’t put the necessary actions behind them. As such, the goals never come to life and remain well-meaning (but worthless) words on paper. On the other hand, a goal-getter doesn’t just set and believe in goals, but also has the follow-through to achieve them.

Dr. Stephen R. Covey wrote about the secret of goal-getters in his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: “The key is not to prioritize your schedule but to schedule your priorities.”

A-ha! Much of what comes into your day – emails, text messages, phone calls, meetings, snail mail, conversations – they are just vehicles for other people’s priorities in your life. If you always schedule in “all that stuff” first, then there will always be little to no room for your own priorities, goals, and dreams.

The Ins & Outs

This is the very reason why you should trust your priorities to help you make decisions, infuse your priorities into your daily routines, and stick to your priorities, no matter what challenges you face. In the end, doing so is the best way to avoid common time-sinks like lack of focus and procrastination.

Here are three guidelines to defining your priorities and becoming a goal-getter who is the envy of everyone around you:

1 – Deep down, you are driven by a set of core values and principles. For example, maybe you are motivated by faith, family, excellence, independence, love, power, honesty, wealth – or maybe a mixture of. From the get-go, decide what these values are. They will set the tone for your goal-getting success.

2 – Brainstorm the wish list of objectives that you would like to accomplish, either in the short-term or long-term. Next, break this wish list down into projects and tasks.

3 – Calendar out the projects and tasks in order of importance and also set a date for project completion.

REMEMBER: act as the gatekeeper for your time. Before putting anything on your schedule, ask if it will support your priorities – fully, partially, or not at all. While there will be surprises and unavoidable hiccups here and there, stick to your schedule as much as possible.

The Bottom Line

Your priorities act as your internal compass, helping you to stay focused, make clear decisions, and feel balanced and fulfilled. A highly productive person uses his/her values to guide every step, including how and where to spend time. Here’s how you can learn more and get started today!

Ready for more time in your life? Download your FREE copy of The Ultimate Productivity Planner™ right now, and start saving 90 minutes (or more) every day…even if you think time management is a myth!

Get Motivated – 5 Rules To Organize (Everything) By…

Tuesday, October 13th, 2015

You can be an encouragement to others – share this on Facebook or share this on Twitter with your family and friends!

5 Rules To Organize (Everything) ByNeed perpetual inspiration? Download the above graphic here for your personal use.

TODAY IS YOUR DAY…

  1. To GET ORGANIZED now, not later.
  2. To MANAGE TIME carefully, not carelessly.
  3. To DECLUTTER big, not small.
  4. To SEEK SIMPLICITY, not chaos.
  5. To ENJOY your home and life, not let them pass you by.

…START FRESH!

Has this inspired you to get organized? I’d love to find out! Please share your thoughts, experiences, ideas, and other comments below.

© 2007-15 | Carmen Coker International | All Rights Reserved

Carmen Coker is a former US Air Force officer turned professional organizer. If you want to whiz through to-do′s quicker than ever before, she recommends (& uses!) this FREE MP3 to boost productivity. Try it, and…get stuff done!

[Hollywood Celebrities] Jerry Seinfeld’s Surprising Tip To Increase Productivity

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015

You can be an encouragement to others – share this on Facebook or share this on Twitter with your family and friends!

[Hollywood Celebrities] Jerry Seinfeld's Surprising Tip To Increase Productivity

Have you ever had to do something day-in and day-out, and you didn’t really feel like it? (Go to work, anyone?! What about organize the house…wash dishes…do laundry…mow the lawn?)

Betcha didn’t know that comedian Jerry Seinfeld, of all people, can help you out with your case (or cases) of the really-don’t-feel-like-it blues.

Seinfeld was once asked about his secret tips for success and productivity. To which he said: “Don’t break the chain.”

He went on to explain that, in order to be a good comedian, he needed to write every single day. BUT sometimes he didn’t feel like it.

So he would put a big red “X” on his calendar every time he sat down to write. Day after day, he would make the “X’s” across the board until, eventually, he had a long chain. His ultimate goal was to not break that chain, and this idea was enough to motivate him to keep writing the many jokes and skits that have made us laugh throughout the years, even when the desire to do so wasn’t really there.

Interestingly, there are lots of applications of “don’t break the chain” – daily, weekly, biweekly, monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, etc. For more, watch this:

Today’s easy organizing challenge is to follow in Jerry Seinfeld’s footsteps, considering where and how you aren’t being organized or productive in your home, work, or life. Then pick one area and create the longest chain of X’s possible! For example:

  • Environmentally…
    I haven’t organized my files in months. To declutter, I will spend 90 minutes each Saturday morning organizing my file cabinet until it’s complete.
  • Mentally…
    I could finish this project in a week’s time, but I’ve been procrastinating on it for ages. To get this off my plate (finally!) and clear my mind, I will spend an hour every night this week until it’s d-o-n-e.
  • Socially…
    I have so many people to email and call back! To be a better friend, I will make a list of these individuals, and contact one per day until every last person is checked off the list.
  • Personally…
    I want to lose 10 pounds. To get healthy, I will exercise every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday until I reach my goal weight – then keep exercising every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday to maintain.
  • Emotionally…
    I never take any time off. To get some much needed R&R, I’m going to plan one getaway each quarter, actually GO, and…enjoy!

Want Bigger Results? Instead of picking just one area where you aren’t being your most organized and productive, pick ten areas to “chain” one at a time. As soon as you complete the first chain (area), roll right into the second, then third, and so on.

© 2007-15 | Carmen Coker International | All Rights Reserved

Carmen Coker is a former US Air Force officer turned professional organizer. If you want to whiz through to-do′s quicker than ever before, she recommends (& uses!) this FREE MP3 to boost productivity. Try it, and…get stuff done!

Lazy Ways To Get Organized

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2015

You can be an encouragement to others – share this on Facebook or share this on Twitter with your family and friends!

Lazy Ways to Get Organized

Even if you don’t feel you have the time, money, motivation, or inclination to get organized, there are plenty of low-effort, big-win strategies for banishing clutter, saving time, and being productive.

Part 1: Shopping

Clutter starts at the store. You buy something you don’t need or even truly like … something you might need down the road, but never end up using … something you thought you would return if you didn’t like it, but you lost the receipt instead. Now, lots of these little “somethings” morphed from a good idea in the store to clutter taking up valuable space in your life.

1. Remove one.
On average, a shopper makes three impulse purchases during 40% of store visits. Before you head to the checkout, whether it’s online or in-store, look at your shopping cart and remove one item you grabbed spontaneously.

2. Walk away.
Everyone loves a good bargain. However, almost 90% of all impulse buys are made because the item is on sale. If you discover your favorite store is having a sale, and you know if you “check it out,” you’ll be tempted to buy yet another pair of cute shoes – walk away from the sale.

3. Pay cash.
According to the Journal of Consumer Research, it’s psychologically more painful to pay with paper, where the loss is more tangible, than it is to pay with plastic, where the loss is more abstract. Leverage this pain to crush the urge to go overboard on your shopping trips.

4. List it.
Stores know how to capture easy prey – you. Unplanned purchases are heavily influenced by the sights, sounds, and smells of the displays. Don’t get caught in the trap! Making a shopping list and sticking to it will ensure you make it safely to the checkout line without extras in your cart.

Part 2: Space & Stuff

While clutter starts at the store, it multiplies at home. It tends to slowly creep up on you. At first, it’s just in the corner or on the table. No big deal, right? Then it spreads … amplifies … irritates … embarrasses … disgusts … until you simply can’t “take it” anymore.

5. Move forward.
Whether you have high, medium, or low levels of clutter – no matter – it’s still easy to get overwhelmed by the thought of getting organized. Create a charity bin, and choose one thing each day to place inside of it. It’s better to focus on one piece of clutter a day and continually move toward your organizing goals, than it is to get overwhelmed and stop completely.

6. Smooth move.
In any given day, you typically putter from room to room in your house without a second thought. Instead, make a conscious choice to declutter as you go. As you leave one area, pick up an item that doesn’t belong and take it to the place in which it does. No extra steps necessary!

7. Stop mail.
The average American receives 49,060 pieces of mail in their lifetime, and one third of it is junk mail. Save your counter space and time by using a free service like Catalog Choice, which streamlines the opt-out process for you so that you don’t personally have to contact each company individually.

8. Skip traditional.
People tend to write or type lists, instructions, or requests. The process to do this – as well as any resulting paper required – takes up valuable minutes and space. Use your cell phone to record, save, or send out grocery lists, after-school chore instructions, or honey-dos via free mobile apps like Dragon Dictation. It’s much faster than traditional options, plus you won’t lose the note!

Getting organized takes work – but the time you dedicate to the process doesn’t need to feel like a second job. If you make these behaviors into habits, think of the space (and money! and time!) you’ll save in the end.

© 2007-15 | Carmen Coker International | All Rights Reserved

Carmen Coker is a former US Air Force officer turned professional organizer. Thousands of busy people have benefited from her expertise featured by CBS, NBC, The Washington Post, and Real Simple magazine – now it’s your turn! If you want to get organized and calm the chaos in your life, go to CarmenCoker.com for her free video how-to called the Secrets of the Super Organized™.

The Worst Can’t-Get-Organized Excuse You Can Make

Wednesday, September 9th, 2015

You can be an encouragement to others – share this on Facebook or share this on Twitter with your family and friends!

The Worst Can't-Get-Organized Excuse You Can MakeNeed perpetual inspiration? Download the above graphic here for your personal use.

Has this inspired you to get organized? I’d love to find out! Please share your thoughts, experiences, ideas, and other comments below.

© 2007-15 | Carmen Coker International | All Rights Reserved

Carmen Coker is a former US Air Force officer turned professional organizer. Thousands of busy people have benefited from her expertise featured by CBS, NBC, The Washington Post, and Real Simple magazine – now it’s your turn! If you want to get organized and calm the chaos in your life, go to CarmenCoker.com for her free video how-to called the Secrets of the Super Organized™.