Tips to Save One Hour Per Day

At Home

? Keep related items together, for example the coffee filters and coffee "live" above or near the coffee maker. (saves 2-5 minutes a day)
? Create a communication center on the fridge for messages, chores etc. (saves 5 minutes a day)
? Keep the grocery list posted where all family members can add items as they run out. (Saves 10 ? 30 minutes a week, depending if you forget something and have to go back to the store!)
? Create a checklist for groceries arranged in the order of your grocery store aisles. (saves 5-10 minutes shopping)
? Create recipe categories that make sense to you. (saves 5 minutes a day)
? Identify a place to put car keys, gloves, umbrellas etc., for easy access when you leave the house (saves 5 minutes a day or a lot more if you really can't find your car keys!)
? Use an answering machine or service to control calls. Return calls at your convenience. (saves 10-20 minutes a day)
? When opening your incoming e-mail, apply The FAT System? (File-Act-Toss). If you aren't sure you need it, toss it! (saves 5-10 minutes a day)
? Create an address book for quick reference. Outlook Express, ACT!, and Quicken all come with address books, or you can do it the "old fashioned" way and input info by hand in an actual book. Keep it updated. (saves 5 minutes a day)
? Put daily grooming/make-up needs in a single container easily accessible. (saves 3 minutes a day.)
? Make a habit of looking when you go from one place to another, and see what needs to go with you. (saves 3 minutes a day.)

Family

? Teach your children to use an alarm clock or clock radio. (saves 5 minutes a day)
? Choose clothing and accessories the night before (saves 5 minutes a day)
? Pack lunches the night before (saves 5 minutes in busiest time of the day)
? Designate a place where family members can check to see if they have messages. (saves 5 minutes a day per person)
? Start a child's file system with a simple container, basket, file or shelf. It may contain information about their medical records, medicines, education, extra curricular activities, memorabilia, etc. (saves 10-15 minutes a week)
? Designate a "special place" for your child to put the papers they bring home from school. (saves 5-15 minutes a week)
? Run errands at non-rush hour times if possible. Keep stops sequential to avoid driving in circles (saves 15-45 minutes a day)

Work

? Avoid an overflowing e-mail In Box, by creating folders. Create a folder for each committee, project, person etc. (saves 5-10 minutes a day)
? Attach the old message when replying to an e-mail to help the recipient remember its original content. (saves 5-10 minutes a day)
? For lengthy or complicated e-mail, create your message in a word processing program and attach it to your e-mail. This allows you easy access for editing and retrieval. (saves 10 minutes a day)
? If you need a copy of an e-mail, print it and then delete it! Remember to file your e-mail hard copy in your paper management system, such as The Paper Tiger?, so you can find it again in 5 seconds or less! (saves 5 minutes a day)
? Keep your filing system simple. Don't create too many categories, it's better to put information into the largest general category first. (saves 10 minutes a day)
? Organize computer documents. Put into one folder. Your computer already has it for you - "My Documents". Then create subfolders for each program that you use, such as Word, Excel, Power Point, etc. Then save it. (i.e., My Documents/ Word/Mary Stowe letter/Marketing for book. (saves 10 minutes a day)
? Practice the Art of Wastebasketry®. Take a minute to clean out whenever you can. (saves 5-10 minutes a day)
? Let calls go into voice mail. Don't allow the phone to interrupt your work unless it's truly necessary. Return calls when you have a set time to talk. Checking messages can also give you time to prepare for what the caller wanted and avoid having to return calls back and forth. (saves 15 minutes a day)

© Barbara Hemphill is the author of Kiplinger's Taming the Paper Tiger at Work and Taming the Paper Tiger at Home and co-author of Love It or Lose It: Living Clutter-Free Forever. The mission of Hemphill Productivity Institute is to help individuals and organizations create and sustain a productive environment so they can accomplish their work and enjoy their lives. We do this by organizing space, information, and time. We can be reached at 800-427-0237 or at www.ProductiveEnvironment.com

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