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  Category: Articles » Self Improvement » Organizing » Article

Take Back Your Time

By Julie Anne Bonner

Your time. It's yours you know. I know it may not feel like it, but it really is yours. Yes, you can give it away. It's very easy to do that. But to take it back, now that can be a hard one!

I am always amazed at how differently people look at time. I am sure you have heard this at least a hundred times, "We all have 24 hours in the day." But it's true! It's what we do with those 24 hours that can make such an incredible difference in our lives.

I love helping people get organized. It's a passion of mine and the biggest complaint I hear is that they don't have the time to get organized. That's why I believe that if you want to live a more simplified, organized and productive life, you must start with the way you spend your 24 hours.

Here are a few steps for you to Take Back Your Time:

1. Buy a spiral notebook.
Don't go out and buy a Day Planner just yet. You may not even need one. Get a spiral notebook and use it for about a month. I will give you a list at the end of what kinds of things to write down in this notebook.
If you find yourself not using the notebook but heading to the computer to jot some things down, you are probably the electronic organizer type. After a month, you should definitely know if you need a Day Planner or a Palm Pilot. Or, you may be completely satisfied with your spiral notebook. My number one organizing rule: Don't do what your neighbor does. Organize according to YOUR personality.

2. Write down everything that you do throughout the day.
This means the little and big things like making your kids lunches to volunteering at the school to that business meeting.
This is to help you see how you fill your day, your week and your month. Are you spreading yourself to thin? This will help you find that out. You may be shocked at how much you do or you may be shocked at how much time you are wasting on the little things here and there.

3. Evaluate your list. Learning your ABC's.
Put an A next to all the things that you absolutely have to do and that ONLY you can do. Here are some possible examples: going to church, getting your haircut or volunteering at your child's school. Now really think about this list. Volunteering at your child's school is important, but are you doing too much of it? Are you doing all the parties yourself? Can you delegate some things and ask for help?

Put a B next to the things that have to be done but that you can possibly delegate to others. Also put a B by the activities that you can possibly combine in one trip. Here are some examples: going to the grocery store every day after work, going to the post office, the dry cleaners, etc. Can someone else do this for you or can you make one afternoon your errand time and get all the errands done for that week all at once. Can one of your children, your spouse do some of the grocery shopping? Can you hire someone to clean your house? Really stop and think about the items you put a B by and see how you can so them faster or hand them off if you can.

Put a C next to the things that you can probably take off your list and not do at all. Here are some examples: Volunteers jobs I am not saying to not volunteer. I am saying to take a look at how much of it you are doing. Can you do one volunteer job a month and basically rotate them? How about driving your kids all over town to all of their practices - Can you trade off with another parent and take turns? Can your spouse help? Those are some ideas to help get you started.

4. Some other ways to use your notebook for the month.
Here are some other things you can write down in your notebook:
Grocery list when you open a new container of something, write it down.
Family and friends' birthdays
A daily to-do list: for work and home
Important dates to remember appointments, deadlines

When you feel that your time is in control, then you can start tackling those areas of your home and office that are filled with clutter. Un-clutter your time first and then start to take care of the rest. Alright, are you ready? Now go Take Back Your Time!
About the Author
Julie Bonner is a wife and mother of three. Her passion is helping people save their spaces; which in turn helps save their relationships, save money, and save their health.

You can get more great organizing tips at: http://www.organize-your-home-and-office. While you're there, be sure and grab a free copy of her e-booklet "35 Tips for Saving Your Spaces".

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