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Seven Steps for Saving Time (by Organizing Your Life)

Jan 17, 2008
We all wish we had more time to do the things we enjoy. But the list of things to do seems to never end. Here are seven simple organizing techniques that can save you a few minutes every single day or week, and that's time you can spend doing absolutely anything you like.

1. Get a portable file box (which you can generally purchase for $10 or so) as well as a box of letter size hanging file folders. Create a separate file for monthly bills, bank statements, medical bills, a "To Do" file, and so on. Then hang these files in your file box so you can move your "file cabinet" to the area where you pay your bills. This type of box is easily stowed out of the way when you are not using it, too.

2. Stand in front of the shredder, recycling box, and file box when you go through the day's mail. Make a point to touch each item only once. Each piece of mail gets recycled, shredded, or filed in the "To Do" file of your file box. (You can save yourself even more time by reducing the amount of junk mail you receive. Simply send your full name and address, along with a $1 check or money order, payable to DMA to: Mail Preference Service, P.O. Box 282, Carmel, NY 10512). You will also want to place in the "To Do" file any documents that need your attention in the short term, such as rebate offers and newsletters from the church or children's school.

3. Designate a particular day each week to handle the items in your "To Do" file. Pay the bills, catch up on your filing, and write down deadlines in your calendar for bills you aren't going to pay right away. For credit card bills, for example, I write down the payment deadline, and I also make a notation in my calendar ten days before the deadline (to make sure that I send it off in plenty of time for it to arrive by the deadline.) Store everything you need for paying bills in a separate file of your file box so you don't waste any time looking for the essentials: stamps, address labels, envelopes, calculator, and pen.

4. Organize items that you will need to reference occasionally, such as warranties and instruction manuals, in a three ring binder with clear plastic covers (which will let you slide papers inside). This will allow you to easily flip through the binder to find the one you need.

5. Set up a Chore Chart to help your kids learn the value of being organized. Assign each child's chores on an age appropriate level. You may even want to ask your kids how they would like to divvy up the chores. (Kids love to give their input.) Make a table in your word processing program for each child, so they can put a checkmark when they have completed each task on each day. We have our chore chart posted on the refrigerator, and I'm always amazed by how excited the kids get to check off their chores (even though they are earning nothing but a checkmark).

6. Keep a grocery list and a pen on the fridge. Don't use a dry erase board for grocery lists because you want to be able to rip off the list and take it to the store.

7. Make sure you have a good appointment book and write all of your commitments and deadlines on one calendar: work engagements, important things to do with the kids, carpool schedules, birthdays, due dates for bills and library books, etc. Schedule your daily workout, too.

Now take a break and enjoy the extra time you have saved by being organized.
About the Author
Jamie Jefferson writes for Susies-Coupons.com where you can save on office supplies with the latest Office Depot Coupons and Quill Coupons.
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