Saving You Time / by Chel Wolverton

I'm going to try something a bit new here. Every so often I'm going to post some time saving tips for you. It won't always related to your business. Sometimes they will address personal and not business time but all in all I want to help you shave off a few minutes here and there so you have more time for doing what you love. And now the list...

1. Filter your mail smartly. Don't just create folders and rule after rule. Do the smart thing and create rule by domains. Get organized. Once you have your rules and folders up, it'll take you far less time to answer your email in the morning. And don't feel bad for putting off that email from Aunt Lucy until you actually have time to answer it. Just remember to go back and check the folders to resolve waiting tasks.

2. Invest in a system. Systems are the backbone of how we get things done quickly. When there is a smart system in place, we are more productive. When there is chaos in place, we get less done and feel less motivated. Use what software works for you and ignore the rest. I use Gmail, Gcal, Remember the Milk and have all notifications sent to my phone. Perfect set up for me. What works for *you*?

3. Establish a routine with the system you chose. You can put a system in place, but until you are using it faithfully it won't work for you. A lot of us work better when we know what comes next. Email, coffee, Skype conversations, RSS (while on Skype), to do list, and processing socnets are how I begin my day. Doing this every morning let's me process information and then get down to work. If I don't have time to do this in the morning, I get cranky. Routines work.

4. Multi-task but keep it to a minimum. Focus on 3 tasks at a time at the most. Multitasking is great, but it creates a great potential for mistakes because your focus is everywhere. Less mistakes mean less time to fix them.

5. (10 + 2) * 5. 10 minutes of work time, 2 minutes of break, repeated 5 times in an hour. Stay on task. Complete those ten minutes of work, set a timer and take a two minute break. When those two minutes are up then go back to work for ten minutes. You'd be amazed at how much more you'll get done. This process will have you quickly moving through tasks that are driving you crazy on your to do list. (Here are a couple of timers for Macs.)

If you are having trouble getting started with these organization/time saving tips please feel free to email me. I'm a virtual assistant and would be happy to help!