Archive for To-Do List

Are you too busy to live your life?

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-images-chicken-image15981374Once upon a time I was taught the Transcendental Meditation technique. It’s a mantra-based meditation that is done for 20 minutes twice a day, but that is not my point. The thing about the training that keeps coming back to me is this frequent admonishment:

If you are too busy to meditate, then you are too busy.

As a time management consultant I now believe this concept can be applied to ANY activity in life that is important to you:

If you are too busy to _________, then you are too busy.

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Wanna know my #1 time management tip?

Time Management TipI love helping my clients spend more of their time doing what they want to, and less of it doing what they have to!

I give them lots of time tips (well, I actually coach them through a whole customized program), such as:

 

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10 Silly Things Organizers Argue About

Signpost My Way your wayWhen professional organizers argue, it’s often just a matter of semantics. And when I say argue….well, that’s just semantics too. Disagree and misunderstand might be more accurate terms. We are, mostly, a congenial and supportive bunch! Sometimes we don’t even truly disagree, but we’re playing devil’s advocate; or exploring a new twist on an old theme for the sake of a great blog post title; or forging a new market niche by using a unique phrase.

The reason for this post is that I imagine the public, and new organizers, must sometimes feel confused. “Hey, wait a minute, this experienced organizer is saying just the opposite of what I always thought, and the opposite of what this other respected organizer said!?”

Here are some examples: (more…)

The Chinese Menu Time Management Technique

Chinese Menu Time Management fortune cookieAre you familiar with the Happy Family Chinese-American restaurant meal? Choose one item from menu Column A, one from Column B… and with six you get egg roll…?

Well, that’s how I manage my time. Allow me to explain…

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Getting Things Done (GTD)

200px-Getting_Things_Done GTDHave you ever procrastinated doing something because you were afraid it might take a long time,  or lead to even more work, or make your brain hurt? And then, when you finally did it, it was easier and faster than you thought it would be, and you wondered, “Why didn’t I do that sooner?”

I just read Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity (affectionately known as GTD by legions of followers), by David Allen. No, I hadn’t read it before, although I had certainly heard about it and seen his flow chart. When clients ask me what I think of it I say, “Um… it’s very popular…and it’s compatible with what I am going to teach you.” And then I hope I’m right. (more…)

Clear Your Mind and Get it All Done… Sooner or Later

2013-05-21 06.40.52I know how to get stuff done, and I can teach you how, too. I have tools and systems for all the stages of workflow (collect, process, organize, review and do). I have an inbox and project lists which I clear and review weekly. I say no to activities that don’t support my goals and priorities. For the most part I capture and process new tasks as they occur to me, adding them to my Master Project List or scheduling them on my calendar. I have a notebook handy for capturing stray thoughts when I want to stay focused on my current activity and not worry about losing the thought.

But life happens. Sometimes I get lazy, or sick, or preoccupied, or I’m traveling, or busier than usual, and stuff piles up (physical and mental clutter), and I start to get overwhelmed. (more…)

How to Live and Work by Design, not by Default

Living and working BY DEFAULT means choosing the easiest path, either by unconsciously resorting to bad habits, or by maintaining the status quo. Sometimes we seek to avoid the conflict that can come with making a change. Sometimes we feel we have no choice in the matter. But I’m with Henry Ford, who said, “Whether you think you can, or think you can’t, you are right.”

Those who live and work BY DESIGN notice when things aren’t going well, and make adjustments accordingly. They live more calmly, purposefully, and mindfully.

Here are some examples: (more…)

How Can Less be More?

I have always struggled with the phrase “Less is more.”  I suppose I have taken it a bit too literally, thinking, “Less is NOT more. Less is BETTER, in many cases, but it’s not MORE, so why would anyone say that? “

But now, from an organizing perspective, I understand the phrase to mean that the less stuff you have, and the more organized it is, the more easily you can find it, make use of it, and enjoy it. Having access to more of your stuff is better than literally having more stuff buried under other stuff that you don’t even remember you have… right?

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The Fractal Planner: An Electronic Task Management Tool Review

Several years ago, before I moved to Albuquerque (a detail which will be important here in a minute), my neighbor called to ask if I would come over and help her middle-school-age boys with their math homework. Their father wasn’t home, and she was at a loss. I agreed because: 1) I loved my neighbors, and 2) I have a degree in Mechanical Engineering, which, although I don’t remember much about calculus and differential equations, somehow made me think, “How hard could their homework be?” (more…)

Memory Tip: One is for Gun

One time on a cruise ship sea day, when there were only on-board activities to choose from, I attended a little seminar on improving one’s memory. Greg Gleason, who doubles as a stage magician at night, amazed and entertained us with his memory tricks and taught us “One is for Gun”.

“One is for Gun” is a method of remembering a list of words, items, tasks, or ideas. I thought it was silly, and doubted I would ever use it. For starters, I didn’t WANT One to be a gun! I can’t relate to guns; why couldn’t One be something else? (I don’t know…sun? fun?) And if I managed to remember what One was this time, would I get confused later when trying to remember a different One?

I must say, though, I have found it to be incredibly useful in situations where I don’t have my little notebook and pen handy. (more…)