Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Time Savers

Every minute is precious.
 It's also an opportunity to
get something done!

When you have young kids, people frequently admonish you to enjoy the time because children "grow up so fast". It's especially fast when you are the parent. Unfortunately, I don't know how to put life on pause.

There are a million things that drain your valuable time each day. How can you capitalize on what feels like wasted time?

A few ideas that will hopefully get your organizational juices flowing:
  1. Multitask when you are on the phone: unload the dishwasher, throw in a load of laundry, wipe the counter. These all take little concentration and won't distract you from your conversation like, say, replying to an email would.
  2. Keep mail, a magazine or other reading material that isn't time-sensitive in your purse or diaper bag. Look over it when you are waiting at the doctor's office, in line somewhere, or waiting in the pickup line at your child's school.
  3. Keep a microfiber cloth or swiffer in your car. When you are stuck at a light or getting gas, give the dashboard and console a quick swipe.
  4. Use any time you are sitting and waiting as an opportunity to clean out your purse.
  5. I check my pockets and purse when I'm in line at the grocery store, and toss any trash on my way out.
  6. Keep a pad and pen handy to write down things you need to do. You can refer to this list when you have a few minutes for a project; you can probably find one that will fit into the time that you have available.
  7. I find myself wasting a lot of emotional and mental energy saying, "I need to remember to ______". If I don't have paper handy, I often email myself, or call and leave myself a voicemail at home. Those are easy to delete and they're paperless, too!
  8. If you find yourself a few minutes early for an appointment and need to kill time, stop to get gas. Even if your tank isn't empty, you're less likely to run out or need a special trip later.
  9. Find some time to put your most frequently called service contacts (hair stylist, dentist, physician, pharmacy, etc.) in your cell phone so that you can call for an appointment any time you have a spare minute, no matter where you are.
  10. Waiting in the kitchen for a dish to finish cooking? Use that time to straighten items in a cabinet or glance through your fridge to see what needs to be used up, put on the grocery list or tossed out.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Room by Room: Office

Well, we have exciting #2 is due in November! I guess this is a partial excuse for my infrequent posting the past few weeks.

As we prepare to welcome a new little one, we will soon say goodbye to our office (the third bedroom). Truthfully, we've been working towards this goal over the past year. We have gone virtually paperless, paying bills online and scanning documents that we want to save. Still, losing this space has me thinking about what is really essential when there is limited space.

For my home office needs, I've narrowed it down to a laptop and mouse, flat workspace, a file box, a safe, a scanner, shredder, router and one shelf of a cupboard for office supplies. I really didn't think we could pare down from two desks to this little. It was refreshing to cut down on files and realize that I really only need to save the most recent bill from the water company, the electric company and so forth.

One tip from a friend: Lest you become too zealous in getting rid of paper, make sure you have at least one copy of recent bills (electronic or paper). If you need to call for service, they will want your account number, and you don't want to be left without it.
Do you have pictures of a condensed workspace that you want to share? Please post a comment; I'd love to spotlight some of your ideas!