The OHIO Tip and Time Saver Tools

As I was reading through the dozens of blog I subscribe too (anyone else heartbroken about Google Reader going away?) and I found a post about cleanup/time management. The author used the OHIO rule and I LOVE it!

O – Only

H – Handle

I – It

O – Once

This is the easy way of summing up everything I talked about in my last post. For example, don’t just let you mail pile up – since it’s already in your hand sort through what’s junk and what’s important right away. Brilliant.

Time Saver Tools

I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that I live and breathe by a to do list and a calendar. If something isn’t written down (or I don’t do it right away) there is a 99% chance that I will forget about it. For many years I rejected online to do lists in favor of a good notebook. I spent an embarrassing amount of time at a Staples trying to find the perfect notebook only to leave empty handed. But in the past month or so I realized that a paper list wasn’t working for me anymore. I had too many different projects/jobs that I was working on and many of my tasks were things that repeated weekly or were long-term projects that I didn’t want to lose track of.

After some Google research and watching many demo videos I finally settled on a site that has worked really well for me. Wunderlist! It lets you organize items into different “in boxes”; break a task into smaller items, set due dates and reminders. This works especially well for me. Since I’m taking 2 classes for grad school, I was able to make a take for all my assignments. It will list the items by due date or by how you input them and you can view all your tasks in a variety of ways. For example, you can see everything you have to do for the day, the week, or by inbox. When you mark something completed it goes to a separate list on the bottom which makes you feel really accomplished!

wunderlist

I also love Trello. Trello is awesome for team projects, but it can also be used for keeping track of a big project with lots of steps. The tour does a better job at explaining all the uses of this program than I could. Below is a picture of a Trello board that I created when I was doing SEO consulting for a computer repair store. Trello allows you to add people to a board or project so you can assign team members to tasks and keep track of notes.

Trello2

The best part about all of these tools is that the basic version is free! Wunderlist and Trello all have beautifully designed websites and apps for the iPhone/ iPad which sync across devices.

I’m a bit of a snob when it comes to time saver tools. I want something clean, easy to use, which allows me to map/track things as I would with a paper and pencil. The more “tactile” the site is the better. All of these tools pass the test. Check them out!

Time Savers Around the House

So it’s ironic that as soon as I write a post about managing my time I run out of time to write. The last two weeks have consisted of traveling to VA for work, a presentation, and two papers for my MBA classes, as well as coaching my sister through her first real job offer (!!) and trying to enjoy some of this beautiful weather.

First time on the water this year!

First time on the water this year!

As promised, here is how I save time and managed the chaos around my house.

My Golden Rule: If it will take you less than 3 minutes to do – do it now! 

As you go through your day if something can be done in 3 minutes or less, just do it when you see it. The timing doesn’t matter, you can make it 5 minutes or 1 minute. You’ll be amazed at the things you can accomplish in 1-5 minutes. For example, when you change your clothes put the dirty clothes right in the hamper and clean clothes back in your closet, wash your bowl as soon as you’re done with your breakfast, or clean up your make-up as you put it on in the morning. Focusing on things that you can do quickly right away will prevent 1 minute worth of dish washing from becoming a 20 minute dish wash.

I’m also notorious for doing two things at once. Microwaves provide the perfect race against the clock to wipe down your counter-tops or wash the soup can and put it in the recycling basket, or go through your junk mail. I try very hard to not let things pile up because I know that I very rarely have chunks of time that I can dedicate to chores on a daily bases, but I do have spare minutes that can be used to JUST DO IT.

Do it at Night

Studying

I pack everything up the night before – lunch and/or dinner, workout bags, book bag, purse, and an overnight bag if I know I’m going to stay at my boyfriend’s house (I carry a lot of bags all the time). I’m a night person so this works for me. I would rather stay up late and sleep in a bit in the morning. This also ensures that I have enough time to get everything together in case I over sleep an emergency comes up. It also gives me time to sleep on it and remember stuff once I’m in bed (where I remember everything) or when I wake up. It works for me, but I appreciate that some people enjoy getting up early. My advice then is to walk through your day in your head and think of everything you’re going to need. Pack in that order.

I hope this is useful!

 

Controlling my Chaos

It’s a bit of an understatement to say that I enjoy being busy. Ever since I was little I balanced school, work, and several extracurricular activities without batting an eyelash. It was a similar experience in college, so it’s no surprise that even after I graduated I was going to load up my schedule.

My current load consists of a full time job (40 hours), a part time job (10 hours), a freelance job (2-3hours), volunteering on the committee of 2 events for the American Cancer Society (1-3 hours), 2 grad school classes (6 hours plus homework), 2 exercise classes (45 minutes, 4 times a week), helping some friends develop a marketing plan for an app, and of course my boyfriend, friends, and family.

Juggling all of this requires a good schedule and efficiency. My next few posts will be about the tips and tricks I’ve developed for being efficient and not going crazy. This schedule does have some flexibility because sometimes I say f* it and let my apartment become a war zone while I binge watch Netflix – we all have those weeks. But I know that I feel much more calm and in control when I can keep to a routine and keep things neat.

Mostly for my own benefit, I’m going to give you a brief taste how my weekly schedule is supposed to go.

MonTues

WedThurs

FriSatDun

(Sorry for the weird images. Word was giving my some trouble when I made this.)

Actually writing this down doesn’t make it seem so bad. Of course, things come up – for example this week was my brother’s birthday and a friend’s birthday so I went out two nights in a row. Next week I’ll be in VA for work Thurs/Friday.  But I find that I’m good as using my time when I have a schedule guideline and a good to-do list.

I also realized that I view Sunday as the end of the week rather than the start of the week, at least during the day. I use it as a “catch up” day/ “get ahead” day since I’m less likely to have plans.

I hope I don’t seem like a crazy person after posting this – but I know I’m not alone in my need to plan 🙂