Get and stay organized. Get a book on the subject.

Organizing aids and tips:

  1. An 'alarm' on your watch. Get used to setting it for those vital appointments that you can't afford to miss or when pressure is off and you are relaxing but need a reminder of some type. You can also use your PDA or cell phone for this purpose. However, your alarm watch is always with you whereas you might leave the other devices in your car etc. Your track record of kept on time appointments will determine which device is best for you.
  2. Kitchen timer. Set it on your desk and work in one hour chunks then take a break. This device will help you develop time consciousness, an important factor in learning to manage time. E.g. I did what, and a whole hour has gone by?
  3. Keep plenty of blank file folders at your desk ready to label. Promptly file all paper that it is NECESSARY for you to keep. (This will help you find files quickly and reduce paper accumulation). Take our "Making time for time Management"™ course to learn how to set up a comprehensive, yet simple filing system - for your lifetime.
  4. Keep a few blank '3 ring' 8 1/2 x 11 or 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 binders handy to set up a permanent or semi permanent file when necessary.
  5. A box of labels ready to rename file folders as you begin to discard items. (Culling).
  6. Buy a headset for your existing phone. Most newer phone have a small jack which you can add a head set into. You can walk around and talk hands-free. Telephone head sets are also available in wireless. Also headsets enable you to type, while you talk, when necessary. Also useful for getting your database up to date while on hold-type while waiting. At least log all the numbers related to the immediate call into your data base.
  7. Magnifying glass. Check the fine print carefully - will pay off handsomely at some point in your life.
  8. Battery tester. Small enough to be thrown in your briefcase for trips. Spare batteries (chargeable) for your most important electronics.
  9. Battery charger re: above. I have a very small charger (no cord) that plugs into the wall. Compact and light. If you can, buy your electronic items with Lithium or other high tech batteries that can be charged in the units. For PDA's only use the manufacture recommended batteries. The electronics in these devices function on exact voltage and current. There is less likelihood of losing all your data if you use the correct batteries.
  10. Stamps in the back of your Day planner. Getting the mail out on time may be contingent on your on-hand stamp inventory.
  11. Spare keys for everything. Set up a key cabinet in your house and office.
  12. Car keys. If you still use a key to get into your car key, keep one spare key on you to open the driver's door. Spare ignition keys can be hidden in the car. If you prefer to have a spare set hanging or with magnets somewhere under the car be prepared for the conditions you might experience when you need to retrieve them.
  13. Spare briefcases. If you belong to a club or group and attend meetings, keep the files for that group in a briefcase dedicated to them, when it is time to go to the meeting bring the briefcase with you. Never any forgotten vital files for the meeting.
  14. Coin (change) receptacle. Never spend time looking for change for phones or parking. Keep a good supply in the car and extra in your briefcase. I keep change in a very small nylon travel bag that goes into my briefcase or knapsack.
  15. A digital camera to keep records. E.g. before taking something apart photograph it. Rather than keep paper copy, digitize it. Photograph signage - which floor in the public garage were you parked on?
  16. Paper cutter (inexpensive but commercial type-board with a guillotine cutter). Can make your own day planner inserts using plain paper.

Stackable files. If you have attended one of my Time Management seminars; these are the plastic filing draws that I have referred to. They can be purchased at Staples/Business Depot or as indicated. These products are intended to help you get started on time management at a reasonable cost. There is a molded track inside the ridge of each box holds hanging file folders. The unit shown is priced at under $30. CDN . These file draws may only be a temporary aid to help start getting organized. Your objective should be to reduce the amount of paper in your life to the point where you are efficient. The maxim, "A place for everything and everything in it's place" relieves a lot of stress caused by looking for missing documents.

In our seminar we name all the filing boxes and what goes into them. Rather than buying a large number of these or other commercial products, you use cardboard boxes while you decide what can be discarded or kept. When you have decided what to keep use your stackable files or traditional filing cabinets. You can roll these boxes up to your desk when working or keep them out of sight when it's time to quit. The top filing box is where you might keep all the prioritized projects you are working on.

If your top filing box starts overfilling then use a Desk Topper (see below) to help you stay focussed.

Desk Toppers. These are small plastic vertical trays that hold about ten hanging files and folders. You might want to place your high priority file folders into the Desk Topper and work from it during the day. End the previous day or start the new day by putting the file folders you will need for your projects that day. If you get distracted keep coming back to the desk topper. It is easy to sort them into a priority order that saves you doing this in your Day Planner. If you need to leave the office to travel just bring the contents of the Desk topper with you (without the holder) and you will have your most pressing work at your finger tips where ever you go.

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