Friday, October 23, 2009

Simplify Your Time: Part 1

A few months ago, my friend Rebecca recommended this book. My mom loaned me her copy, and I've just read the first week of the 30-day challenge. What an inspiration!

In the introduction, author Marcia Ramsland says that we run out of time "Because life happens to us. Because we get fuzzy and unfocused. Because we get tired of the 'have-tos' and prefer the 'want-tos' but get trapped in the 'never-get-around-tos.'" I get that!

Here are some of the tips I took away from the first section of the book:

*Plan to arrive 5 minutes early for every meeting/app't. Give yourself ample "transition time" to get ready to leave. (Easier said than done with a baby and a toddler, but I'll keep working at it!)

*"Learn not to put things down but to put them away all day to simplify your life." (Yikes--any other pile people out there?!)

*Bring to-do items to closure quickly--if it takes two minutes or less, do it immediately instead of adding it to a task list. (Ironically, sometimes the jobs I put off the longest take the least amount of time!)

*Interesting e-mail tips the author suggests: don't check e-mail in the morning; improve sorting by dealing with e-mails systematically and trying to keep your in-box empty. (I could definitely use improvement in this area--I just checked and I have 99 messages in my inbox!)

*Prepare for tomorrow the night before. (This is something I really want to work on to make mornings go more smoothly. Specifically, I want to start setting out my clothes the night before, and also make sure all dishes are cleaned up in the kitchen before I go to bed.)

I needed the advice on planning ahead more than I realized: earlier this week, we hosted a few people for dessert. I'd decided in advance what I was going to make, but the morning of the event, I suddenly remembered that one of our guests is diabetic. Nothing I'd planned to serve would be suitable for him, and I had to figure something else out, which required extra time and energy and an additional trip to the grocery store. While this example is certainly not extreme, I'm learning that I need to prepare more things in advance to lessen stress and hurry!
This book is organized into chapters that can be read daily for a month--I'm only a week into it, and you can see I'm already learning a lot! Now I just have to stick with it. As the author writes in the book, "You will change when your desire to change is greater than your desire to stay the same."

Do any of the tips above "speak" to you? I'd love to know I'm not alone in all this!


...they call me mommy... said...

I identify with ALL of these! YIKES!! Sounds like a good book! :)

mer@lifeat7000feet said...

I can identify with almost every one of them, Carrie. Lots of areas I can definitely use some improvement.

BTW, I've kept my inbox below 10 for about 5 weeks now. It requires a 15-20 minute chunk of time each day (or every other day), but it makes me so happy to see things under control in one small area of my life! ;)

Do you have a dishwasher? One thing that has helped me over the years is to run my dishwasher at night (before bed) and unload it first thing in the morning. That way, I can fill it up during the day as we "dirty" our dishes. Keeps my kitchen clean too! However, I have a lot of things I hand-wash too, which I tackle after dinner. I can't go to bed with a messy kitchen...been that way my entire life. The bonus is waking up to order.

Debbie J said...

Sounds like my kind of book! I will check to see if I have enough swagbucks to buy it from amazon.

I would also recommend "How to have a 48 hour day" by Don Aslett. It really inspires me to get things done!

Carmen said...

I need to read this book. I have not figured out how to simplyfy at work but the preparing the night before piece I have been doing for several years. While I don't lay my chothes out (I have in the past though) I pack my gym back, briefcase and lunch cooler the night before and it makes a huge difference in the morning.

Good post.

Kendra said...

I also identify with them all. Just the other day, M & I talked about making a better effort to be on time to events. I'm also really trying to be better about maximizing my time, checking things off my list as soon as I can, etc. I don't want to share my inbox number...embarrassing! I have a long ways to go!

Mom said...

My e-mail inbox is my biggest challenge right now -- I can't seem to get through all of the e-mails every day, so pretty soon, there's too many. (Like Kendra, I'm not going to reveal the actual number!) I've unsubscribed to some regular things so that can reduce the number of incoming messages. This is definitely something I need to work on.

On the positive side, I'm doing better at preparing for the next day the night before. I set out my clothes, clear the kitchen, get the coffeepot ready, and have the next evening's supper planned. It makes a big difference in my stress level!

I'm glad you are enjoying the book -- love you, Mom

gail said...

sounds like a great book. and yes, i need to do better in the put it away, dont' pile it category.

i've always been a be there 5 min early kinda girl, just my personality.

my inbox is a nightmare! but i'm ok with that =) hee hee

LS said...

Yes!!!! Thanks for this recommendation! I will try to get my hands on a copy!

debra said...

Of course you're not alone - but I know I sometimes feel like I am. :) Love the one about tasks that don't take too long - I do the same thing - put off the shortest tasks- not sure why but when I do them finally I think 'that only took 5 minutes- why didn't I do it sooner?'

I am looking forward to reading this book. Thanks for sharing.

Rebecca said...

I'm glad you are enjoying the book. I am finding that some of the areas are such a different way of thinking for me that it's taking much longer than a month to work my way through it.

I kinda feel that I have to master one area before moving on to the next. I have thought about just reading the whole book cover to cover and then prioritizing what I need to work on.

It's a great resource and very encouraging!