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Put time back in your day by getting organized

Put time back in your day by getting organized

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The following article appeared in The Charlotte Ledger Business Newsletter, a digital publication with smart and essential local news from experienced journalists. Join 13,000+ people who get their Charlotte news from The Ledger. Find out more and sign up for a free or paid subscription

Put time back in your day by getting organized

by Brie Chrisman

It has been a challenging last couple years. So many of us were thrown into a world of chaos — a delicate juggling act of work meetings and childcare that could come crashing down at any moment. Simple organization can be the key to getting you that coveted “work-life balance.”

These tips are perfect for work-from-home life and can be translated to family life as well:

Time blocking can help you create pockets of productivity throughout your day. Add generic timeframes to your calendar. Here’s a sample day for working at home with a toddler:

6-8 a.m. = Work

8-10 a.m. = breakfast/family time
10-12 p.m. = Work/Nap

12-2 p.m. = Lunch/Outside Time

2-5 p.m. = Work/Independent Play/Nap

5-7 p.m. = Dinner/Family Time

7-8 p.m. = Work

This gives you 8 hours of “work.” Yes, it’s doable! Bonus if you break up your “work” pockets into actual tasks. That will take the guesswork out of “OK, what needs to be done next?” I recommend creating your calendar the night before so you can just wake up and get to work.

Use your folders. In your inbox, on your computer, everywhere. If you have multiple clients or multiple projects, use folders to separate all of your files. Just think for a second how much time you spend trying to find files every day. If you have folders for each client/project and then subfolders for different tasks or subjects, you'll be able to find things way faster.

Clear out your downloads folder. This one goes with the tip above. You may have a great organization system, but what does your downloads folder look like? If it’s a hot mess, here’s a tip: First you’ll need to clear out what you’ve got in there. Use the new filing system you just implemented (you did that, right?). Move files you need to the appropriate folders and delete the ones you don’t. Then, at least once a day, do that exact same thing. You'll be able to find all of your files AND it’ll take only minutes, not hours, to clean up that folder. 

Use your inbox as a to-do list. If the email is still actionable, keep it in your inbox. If you’ve handled whatever is in the email, you’re waiting on a reply or there is no other action needed, move it to the appropriate folder. If it’s something that’s done but you want to follow up on it, star it ⭐️ before moving it to its folder. This keeps your inbox from getting bogged down, and you’ll be able to see what emails actually need to be addressed.

Use a project management tool. Are you overloaded with to-do lists? If your brain is about to bust with all of the tasks that need to be done with work, plus everything to manage your home, e-learning, etc., a project management tool might be perfect for you. They can be tedious to set up, but it’s worth the time. There are so many products out there that you can use to help control your daily life with features like automations and recurring tasks. My favorite: ClickUp (free up to a point, then $60/year). Some others to check out: TrelloAsanaMonday.

Simple tweaks like these — apart from the project management tool, that’s a biggie — can go a long way in getting you time back in your day. 

Brie Chrisman is an expert in all things organization and systems, from cleaning out inboxes to building project management systems. Her company, BC Creative LLC, works with businesses to automate and organize their day-to-day operations so owners can get back to the more important tasks.

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Source : The Charlotte Ledger

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