My first blog post is about time management tips – I found remembering these tips to be helpful when balancing my time developing PortaVault’s new website and everything else in our busy lives! Below are the tips I’ve shared with you…just in case you need that extra nudge to get your documents in order. Enjoy!
One of the most important things you can do for yourself is to get organized. Make lists, take a class in organization or purchase an organizer. Do whatever works for you. One word of advice:
- follow the KISS principle – Keep it Simple, Stupid
If your organization system is too complicated, it will become just another task to avoid. Below is my own system. You’re welcome to use what may work for your life.
- Make a list of what needs to get done. This will give you a handle on all you need to accomplish and needs to be listed in no particular order.
- Prioritize. My way of prioritizing tasks is to create deadlines. I arrange my list by due date; however perhaps ranking tasks by level of importance is more relevant. For example, paying your bills on time may be more important than cleaning out your closets. Do that first.
- Get yourself a calendar with room to write notes. I use a bound notebook and each day has enough room to jot down notes and appointments. I make pages for dates that require long-term planning and also keep a separate list to transfer my short-term goals.
- Take what’s at the top of your priority list and determine how long it will take to accomplish the task. If it’s a quick task, complete it the same day you write it down. If it will take a longer time, divide the task into smaller duties to spread out over several days. Make sure you set a due date for the task, and relay the information in your calendar.
- Balance the number of tasks with a realistic time frame to help meet every deadline. Be careful to not overbook yourself and allow extra time for delay to allow yourself to feel confident that you can accomplish all that you set forth. By creating realistic timeframes, you’ll have more time to relax because your responsibilities are managed and they’ve been given a specific due date.
Sherie’s PortaVault Tip: When putting together your PortaVault, I highly recommend breaking up the tasks by the topics listed in the six section dividers. Set yourself a one to two hour appointment to complete each section.
Bite Off What You Can Chew
- Break large projects up into smaller tasks. For example, doing your taxes can be broken up into several phases: pick up necessary forms, get records organized, fill in forms, double check forms for accuracy and mail. It won’t seem as burdensome if you tackle it bit by bit.
Sherie’s PortaVault Tip: If you are unsure how to organize the documents in your PortaVault, after locating your document, place it in a record protector and then insert it into the record protector to be placed behind the corresponding section divider. Later you can attach the proper labels to the record protector and reorganize as needed.
Just Do It!
- Next time you catch yourself saying, “I can do this later,” think Nike… Just do it! Push through those feelings and do it now! Feeling positive from organizing your important documents will relieve worry that goes into procrastinating.
Sherie’s PortaVault Tip: When a family emergency or disaster is happens, most of the time it’s too late to organize your documents. You may only have a few minutes to take action so…”Just do it!” I guarantee you will feel so much better.
Schedule Reward Time
- As you go work through your tasks, you may find your mind drifting off to all the activities you’d rather be doing. You will find it much easier to concentrate on your work if you know that you have scheduled time for these activities. Tell yourself, “I will work hard today to accomplish my goals because tomorrow is Saturday and I that’s my day to go fishing!” Knowing you have finished your tasks will make it easier to relax and enjoy your leisure time.
Sherie’s PortaVault Tip: You will have more fun playing when you know you are prepared – guaranteed!
Shift Your Expectations
- Perfectionism and feelings that things should be a certain way can be stumbling blocks, only influencing procrastination. Next time you catch yourself using language like should or must, evaluate if these expectations are actually restrictions you are imposing on yourself, or if they can be backed up by the reality of the situation.
Sherie’s PortaVault Tip: The benefit of the PortaVault system is that you can complete it any way you find most fitting – take a detailed or a more simple approach, both works because it makes sense to you! By simply identifying the important documents and placing them in one location is an accomplishment on its own. When you have extra time, you can organize it and make it the best, for you.
Mental Tricks to Give You Momentum
- If you have several small items to do which are directly related to the project at hand, do these first. Even though you have some larger tasks left, psychologically it feels as if you have less to do when the list isn’t so long. It gives you a feeling that you have accomplished something. Just remember, it must be a task that is relevant to accomplishing your goal. Raking the leaves may be a quick and easy task, but if what you really need to accomplish is a big term paper, you won’t be helping yourself by raking the leaves first.
- When you have accomplished a task, mark it out on your list with a pen. This gives you visual confirmation that you are getting somewhere, yet another psychological boost. Sometimes I feel as if I’m getting nothing done, but when I look over what’s marked out I see I’ve actually done, I realize its quite a bit. This leaves room to write down new tasks and accomplish them in a realistic time frame.
Sherie’s PortaVault Tip: Completing the PortaVault can be broken down into three steps:
- Locate the documents. Go through your files and pull all the file folders you think may relate to the items listed on the section labels.
- Insert the documents. Once you have located a document and inserted it into a record protector, check it off on the appropriate label. This indicates you have put it in the PortaVault.
- Organize the documents. Apply the labels which contain check marks to the record protectors and re-arrange the documents as you see fit.
The Best Laid Plans…
- Remember, if something can go wrong, it will. Allow yourself more than adequate time to finish each task. If you complete your task in less time than anticipated, you’ll be able to progress ahead of schedule! This is another psychological boost. And at the very least, you won’t feel rushed to finish.
- Don’t panic if you get behind schedule. If you’ve allowed yourself extra time each day, you will simply shift everything forward until you catch up. The key is to leave yourself room to be flexible.
- What if you really don’t have time to finish everything? Get creative. Request extensions on deadlines, get help from friends and relatives, delegate tasks to others, drop non-essential items from your schedule (the world won’t end if you can’t redecorate before your mother-in-law visits), or hire outside help. I haven’t found a situation yet that couldn’t be solved somehow once I let my expectations change about how it should be.
Sherie’s PortaVault Tip: If you need help call a Professional Organizer. Use www.napo.net to locate one in your area who specializes in home offices. They’re there to help. And remember to ask them if they are familiar with the PortaVault system…we have lots of fans who are professional organizers.