Posts Tagged ‘how to organize your life’

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

The Top 5 Reasons Why You Can’t Get Organized

Tuesday, January 12th, 2016

The Top 5 Reasons Why You Can’t Get OrganizedYou can be an encouragement to others – share this on Facebook or share this on Twitter with your family and friends!

Getting organized means…quality of life…high levels of energy and productivity…creating space in your home and life for the things that really matter…being fully present. Getting organized is a huge part of being all you can be physically, mentally, emotionally, and more.

Given these amazing benefits, what’s stopping you from getting organized? Here are the TOP 5 reasons why you can’t get organized:

1 – Can’t break free from the daily grind

Whether you’ve got one small organizing project to tackle, or you’re looking to organize your entire house, the question becomes: “How do I fit in organizing in between breakfast and morning meetings…diapers and dinner…laundry and housekeeping…Scandal and bedtime?”

Being perpetually trapped in the day-to-day could mean another year (or two, three, or more) passes you by – and still you are no closer to your organizing goals.

2 – Not being prepared for common situations

There are some spots that need organizing regularly, like mail, toys, and clothes. I bet if I ask you to list off the clutter hot spots in your home or the ways in which you waste time, you could list them 1, 2, 3 – without much thought.

You likely know the moments that make you disorganized, and if you let them, these moments will continue to steal away your hope of getting organized.

3 – Not connected to your why-power

Just saying “I want to get organized” will not sustain you. Why? It shows that you are interested in enjoying the many positives that organizing affords, but you aren’t 100% committed to doing what it takes to fully realize those positives in your own life.

If getting organized – whether it’s your kitchen or your attic or your files – is not connected to your why-power (aka your deepest motivator), then you’ll easily fall off the get-organized wagon.

4 – Don’t know what you don’t know

In order for getting organized to work for you, you need a complete organizing system, or know-how. Know-how generally consists of more than just tips like “to organize your shelves do this”. These are what I call surface tips, since they tend to repair the surface of things, and often just for a short time.

If you don’t have the know-how or don’t have access to the know-how, then getting organized can be an uphill climb.

5 – Too many negative influencers

Negative influencers are anyone or anything that hinders your organizing progress, either intentionally or unintentionally (spouse, kids, parents, pets). Despite your best efforts to get and stay organized, these guys just get in the way.

Not understanding how to deal with negative influencers will have nothing but a negative effect on your organizing success.

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

Did you know…there are not just five reasons why people can’t get organized – there are 26 total? Good news! All of the reasons can be easily fixed. To learn more, go here http://bit.ly/GetTotallyOrganizedWebinar now. This free webinar will show you how to say goodbye to clutter and finally create the home and life you desire (and deserve)!

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!