Could you use an extra thirty minutes? Do you have the kind of job where you can’t get seem to get caught up between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.? You are not alone.

Most of us suffer through chaotic days with very little time for planning, organizing or even thinking clearly. We come in to piles of paper and an inbox full of email, and we leave with the same. In between, we get enough done to survive, but not enough to feel like we’ve made much progress. Then we start the entire process over again the next day… phone ringing, email beeping, co-workers questioning. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a little quiet time?

What you need is just thirty minutes in the office before the day begins. These are your time-management and organizing minutes. These thirty short minutes will help you to find additional hours in your day.

Your first thought is probably this: “thirty minutes… I don’t have thirty extra seconds in the morning. How can I possible get to work thirty minutes early?” There was a time when those exact words came out of my mouth. I was already rushed in the morning, and couldn’t imagine “hurrying up”. I was feeling overwhelmed and not in control of my situation. I am not a morning person and this is not a nice feeling.

With the help of some insightful words out of my many personal development and self-help books, I decided to evaluate my morning and see just how many minutes I could possibly save. I spent a few days timing my morning activities. The list looked something like this:

6:30 alarm and hitting snooze,

6:40 alarm again, long hot shower, brush teeth, moisturize,

7:00 wake up hubby, and spend another 5 minutes while he gets to hit the “snooze”,

7:05 put on make-up, do hair, decide what to wear, get dressed,

7:25 check email, take medicine, pack up briefcase,

7:40 drink coffee, eat granola bars, empty cat litter,

8:00 leave for work.

I realized that my morning routine is 90 minutes filled with bad habits and it was robbing me of precious productivity time. I didn’t see it before listing it out, but there it is in black and white… wasted moments.

My new morning schedule looks like this:

6:30 alarm, hot shower, brush teeth, moisturize (no snoozing),

6:50 wake hubby, put on make-up, do hair, get dressed (again, no snoozing, and decide on outfit the night before),

7:10 take medicine, pack up briefcase (check email when I get into the office early),

7:20 pour coffee into travel mug, grab protein bar to have at office, empty cat litter (can’t avoid the cat litter),

7:30 leave for work.

This extra half hour gets me on the road before the height of rush hour and actually saves me about ten minutes in my commute, giving me an extra forty organizing and time-management minutes in the office.

You can do the same analysis and, I’m willing to bet, can find your thirty minutes. If you only find 15, try getting up 15 minutes earlier. If you find more than 30, use the extra time to stretch, walk or do some yoga poses.

Now the task is to decide how to best use our new-found 30 minutes in the morning. The idea is to organize our day in a way that allows for maximum production in minimum time.

Two early morning activities should be checking our calendar and to-do lists. Make sure that everything on today’s to-do list has a time slot on your calendar. Also make sure to put your lunch and breaks on your calendar.

For tasks requiring extra concentration, put a note on your door or cubicle explaining that you are busy from “blank” to “blank” but will are glad to be of assistance after “blank”. The sign will help to avoid unnecessary interruptions. Next, check your email and sort it by priority. Trash all spam. Put time on your calendar at various intervals in the day to answer email, and try not to look at it outside of those time slots. Much of our time is lost in ramping up, starting, stopping, and having to ramp up again for many of our daily tasks. If we start and complete something, we regain some of the ramp-up time.

After spending a few days with your extra 30 minutes in the morning, you will begin to see an increase in productivity. The feeling of accomplishment that comes from that productivity will quickly begin to infect other areas of your life. This, my friend, is why we call it a thirty minute miracle.

Christine Simiriglia is a Professional Organizer, Organizational Management Consultant and Chief Operating Officer for a non-profit corporation. Her free monthly e-zine, Organize More, is a compilation of the best the web has to offer. You can subscribe at http://organize-more-stress-less.com/about.html

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