Peace of Mind Organizing

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Articles tagged with time management

The beauty of an uncluttered calendar

16 September 2019 | Comments [0] »

The older I get the less I want to book myself solid with appointments and activities. An uncluttered calendar, where I’m able to pick and choose what I want to do each day, rather than rush from one appointment to another, has become my ideal.

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I'm quoted in USA Today (sort of)!

22 August 2019 | Comments [0] »

A couple of months ago, I was interviewed for an article on time management in USA TODAY’s Best Years magazine. Best Years is a newsstand magazine for people over 50. It went on sale on August 22.

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Worth repeating (again): Using my early-morning time

13 August 2019 | Comments [0] »

I originally ran this post in 2016, but I wanted to run it again because just yesterday on our podcast my co-host Shannon Wilkinson and I were talking about setting yourself for success. That’s what this three-year-old blog post is all about! If you’re interested in hearing us talk about that topic, the episode will drop on Thursday, August 15. Go to the Getting to Good Enough website (or wherever you get your podcasts) that day or after to give it a listen.

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Send to Trello Safari bookmark

29 July 2019 | Comments [0] »

Trello became even easier to use when my friend Shannon Wilkinson clued me into the Send to Trello bookmark shortcut for Safari. I use Safari for most of my browsing and was happy to learn that with this little tool any website I’m visiting can be turned into a Trello card and placed on a board.

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Nine ways I use Trello

11 June 2019 | Comments [2] »

I’ve been noodling around with Trello for about a year now. I’m still using Evernote for keeping track of lots and lots of things but I’ve always found its user interface to be something to be tolerated, not embraced. Trello is quite the opposite—it’s lovely and provides tools to make it even lovelier.

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Keeping a humane task list

13 May 2019 | Comments [1] »

One day last week I had a long list of work- and home-related things I needed to get done. I created a list in Trello, using my Time Block board. With this board, I divide the day up into two-hour time blocks and assign tasks to accomplish in each block.

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Letting laundry help me get things done

28 March 2019 | Comments [0] »

Back in 2010, I wrote a post called Laundry as a time-management tool. I thought of that post yesterday morning, when I realized I needed to fit laundry into my work-at-my-desk day. I ordinarily do laundry on the weekend but I was out of town this past weekend—and I didn’t have enough pairs of underwear to tide me over.

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Using Trello for task management

30 July 2018 | Comments [2] »

Trello consists of boards (you can have many boards) that contain a series of lists, organized in columns. The lists contain notes. That simple format is extremely flexible.

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How Todoist helps me achieve Inbox Zero

5 April 2018 | Comments [1] »

I’ve written before about the benefits of emptying my inbox every day. Inbox Zero feels like an unachievable—or perhaps even undesirable—goal to some. But I know from my experience that when I can empty my inbox each day I am more on top of my work life. And that makes me not only more productive, but happier.

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My adventure with Todoist

26 February 2018 | Comments [0] »

Todoist, which I use primarily on my computer but can also use on a mobile app on my phone or iPad (it syncs automatically), has a simple elegance about it. It allows me to enter tasks and subtasks and assign them projects, effortlessly set deadlines and reminders, and attach notes to the tasks.

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Put tiny tasks on your to-do list

7 December 2017 | Comments [0] »

I don’t know what I’d without a task list. I’d probably go crazy worrying about forgetting to do stuff.

Over the years of honing my own task lists and also working with clients on their task lists, I’ve come to believe in one important truth If you want to create an effective list—and by that I mean a task list that you actually cross items off of—you need to do this:

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Worth repeating: Using my early-morning time

6 October 2017 | Comments [0] »

I’m a morning person. I know that I’m most productive in the morning. Especially first thing in the morning. My brain is turned on and I can be pretty focused when everyone else in the house is asleep. (And by everyone else, I mean my husband and dog.)

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Gaining focus when I'm feeling distracted

24 August 2017 | Comments [0] »

I’m thrilled to have a two whole days at my desk this week (today and tomorrow) and a light client load next week. It’s after 3 pm and while I have created some order, not a whole lot else has been accomplished. I’m particularly distractible today—I’m finding myself bouncing from small task to small task and website to website. I have a task list, but I’m not exactly plowing through it.

When this happens, I know that it’s time to pull out my secret weapon: My timer. I know from experience that when I set my timer for just a few minutes—as little as five minutes—I get stuff done. I like playing beat the clock, and knowing the clock is ticking in the background tends to keep me focused.

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Worth repeating: Visual task management

31 July 2017 | Comments [0] »

Last week, I took an ICD tele class on Personal Kanban for people with ADHD. I was familiar with personal kanban, having tried it out myself a few times over the last seven years. I was happy to hear Jim Benson, who gave the talk, state that while there are plenty of platforms in which to do kanban digitally, he recommends that people start out with Post-It® Notes and a whiteboard, like I’ve always done.

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Worth repeating: Finding time to feed your soul

20 July 2017 | Comments [1] »

I wrote this post in 2014 and I’m happy to report that I’ve managed to make doing genealogy research part of my morning routine so I’ve succeeded in finding time to feed my soul. If there’s something beneficial you’d like to start doing regularly, this post might help you find a way to find time.

I love doing genealogy research. It’s a fairly big part of my life—I blog twice weekly (most weeks) at my genealogy blog, Organize Your Family History, so I actually think about my family research quite a lot.

But I don’t actually research as often as I’d like. And that’s a shame, because researching my family history feeds my soul.

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Do you know your prime time?

22 June 2017 | Comments [0] »

This month, my personal theme is discipline and I’ve been working hard to keep up with the 30-day challenges I set out for myself on June 1. It’s going well. I’m particularly proud of the fact that I’ve done at least 30 minutes of genealogy research daily and that I’ve blogged four times a week (twice on this blog, twice on Organize Your Family History) every week this month.

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The hallmarks of a good task list

22 May 2017 | Comments [0] »

Do you keep a task list? I’m surprised by the number of people I meet who don’t. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that my memory isn’t what it used to be, but I think I’d be lost without my task list. And certainly I’d be less productive.

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Worth repeating: Making mornings more productive

27 February 2017 | Comments [0] »

I wrote this post in October 2014 and I think it’s worth posting again. Over the couple of years, I’ve really noticed that what I decide to do first in the morning is the thing that actually gets done. I’ll blog, if blogging is a priority. Sometimes I make sure to do family history research first (because sometimes that’s a priority). I’m happy to be posting this at 8 am, so I can move on to a great day!

I don’t know about you, but if my mornings don’t go well, the rest of the day usually follows suit. I’m a morning person and I typically can get a lot done in the morning. But if I don’t, it’s hard to reboot the day and make up for it in the afternoon.

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Keeping the important top of mind

28 October 2016 | Comments [0] »

It’s so easy to focus on urgent tasks, rather than important ones, isn’t it? Every day I create a list of tasks I want to accomplish that day. (When I’m on my game, I do it the night before.) I try to keep the list short so I have a fighting chance of actually accomplishing all of them.

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Worth repeating: Getting and staying on task

14 July 2016 | Comments [0] »

Effective task management is a moving target for me. I’ve come to accept that I need to switch things up in order to keep myself engaged and get stuff done. So I vary my systems according to my need and mood. This post, originally published May 22, 2013, describes a sort of emergency intervention I use when I just can’t get myself to get anything done.

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Using my early-morning time

11 July 2016 | Comments [0] »

I’m a morning person. I know that I’m most productive in the morning. Especially first thing in the morning. My brain is turned on and I can be pretty focused when everyone else in the house is asleep. (And by everyone else, I mean my husband and dog.)

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What will you do with your extra day?

25 February 2016 | Comments [2] »

This Monday is February 29. I love leap year because we get a whole extra day in the year. What a gift!

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Transpose + Kanban = Great task management

29 October 2015 | Comments [0] »

For the last month or so, I’ve been using a template I created on the fabulous form-making making website, Transpose, to manage my daily tasks kanban style.

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Transpose helps you create forms easily

10 September 2015 | Comments [0] »

I love creating forms and have been making them for years. I used to use Word, then I moved to Excel. But now I have a much easier way to create forms: Transpose.

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Worth repeating: Chipping away at a project

29 June 2015 | Comments [0] »

I wrote this post a couple of years ago, but I really needed it today. I’m once again a bit behind on my Quickbooks data entry and have entered a recurring daily task in my task-manager app to spend 15 minutes working on the backlog. This post is strengthening my resolve to get caught up a little at a time.

Sometimes projects, big or small, feel too overwhelming to even start. Sometimes tasks are ongoing or recurring and we have a tendency to let them build up before starting to tackle them.

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Creating a buffer

13 April 2015 | Comments [4] »

I just spent a week with my 20-year-old niece and 17-year-old nephew, which was a rare treat. They live in Australia, so I don’t see them often. In fact, the last time was when I visited them in Australia in 2009. They’ve grown up a lot since then.

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Revisiting personal kanban

24 October 2014 | Comments [2] »

Back in 2010, I discovered personal kanban , a system of visual task management that I used for awhile. In a nutshell, I divided a large whiteboard into three sections, Backlog, Doing, and Done. Then I’d use Post-It® notes to write down individual tasks and move them through the process.

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Finding the time to feed your soul

17 October 2014 | Comments [0] »

I love doing genealogy research. It’s a fairly big part of my life—I blog twice weekly (most weeks) at my genealogy blog, Organize Your Family History, so I actually think about my family research quite a lot.

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Making mornings more productive

15 October 2014 | Comments [0] »

I don’t know about you, but if my mornings don’t go well, the rest of the day usually follows suit. I’m a morning person and I typically can get a lot done in the morning. But if I don’t, it’s hard to reboot the day and make up for it in the afternoon.

So I got to thinking today about optimal ways for me to spend my valuable morning time. And I also thought about strategies for getting right to it in the morning.

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Getting back to basics with task management

3 October 2014 | Comments [1] »

Six months ago, I had a great task management system going. I was using Springpad’s Ninja Task Manager notebook to create a running list of tasks and, from that list, selecting three to five priority tasks per day.

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Worth repeating: Getting started

15 August 2014 | Comments [1] »

I love this trick from Mark Forster about tricking your reactive mind into doing things that you have trouble starting. I shared it first in 2008 (!) and thought it was worth repeating today.

Do you ever have items on your to-do list that just loom there? You know you need to do them, you think about doing them, but you just can’t get going on them?

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Working during times of stress

21 July 2014 | Comments [4] »

Since my schedule lightened up a couple of years ago, I’ve lived with relatively little stress. I work hard, which is occasionally stressful, but it’s good stress, since I love my clients and my work. Everything else has been on a pretty even keel. I know that I’m very fortunate.

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Mynd makes your iPhone calendar better

20 June 2014 | Comments [6] »

I’m an Apple fangirl. As I’ve written here many times, I love love love my iPhone. (I currently have a 5S). I’ve been using iCal for my calendar ever since I got my first Mac in 2008.

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Worth repeating: Finding time to do the things you love

24 March 2014 | Comments [2] »

I wrote this post in July of 2012 and it still rings true. When the fun or rewarding parts of life become just aspirations, rather than reality, we miss out. The special project that I referred to at the end of this post was my blog, Organize Your Family History that I debuted that summer. It has provided lots of motivation for me to pursue my genealogy research!

For more than ten years, I’ve been interested in doing family history research. I would dip my toe in the water every now and then, but would get overwhelmed and withdraw it. Mostly, I just didn’t feel I had the time to do it properly. So I didn’t do it at all.

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Adding structure to an unstructured day

21 March 2014 | Comments [2] »

The other day I found myself with a work day with no appointments in it all. Nothing to structure the day into chunks. I had a task list, but I found the lack of structure made it a little hard for me to focus on what I needed to get done.

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Getting past the barrier to getting started

16 December 2013 | Comments [2] »

I’m always amazed at how powerful it can be to start on a project I’ve been putting off. Even the tiniest bit of effort is like a dam breaking; the resistance vanishes and then I can get going on it.

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More wisdom from Mark Forster

16 October 2013 | Comments [0] »

Over the years, I’ve written 47(!) blog posts that mention Mark Forster, my favorite time-management guy. Mark really enjoys thinking about things like time management and productivity. I’ve been a fan ever since I read his book Do It Tomorrow and Other Secrets of Time Management seven years ago.

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Chipping away at a project

16 September 2013 | Comments [0] »

Sometimes projects, big or small, feel too overwhelming to even start. Sometimes tasks are ongoing or recurring and we have a tendency to let them build up before starting to tackle them.

For either of those types of projects, one solution is to do a little. Just do something. Because a little effort on a regular basis will get the job done, eventually.

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Getting and staying on task

22 May 2013 | Comments [0] »

For the last two days, I have had such a difficult staying focused and productive at my desk! My day yesterday was completely unstructured, which is sometimes a recipe for disaster for me. Without an appointment looming, it can be really hard for me to get started.

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Getting a handle on task management

27 February 2013 | Comments [3] »

I’m a bit obsessed with trying to find a great way to stay on top of my tasks. I find that when I’m a task-management groove, life is good. But when a system stops working for me and I get into task-management limbo, I feel out of control and tense.

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On my reading list

2 January 2013 | Comments [0] »

I’ve accumulated a few books I keep meaning to read and write about here. But even though I had loads of indoor time over the holidays, I still haven’t cracked them. It’s not for lack of interest, I promise.

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Juggling task-management systems

8 October 2012 | Comments [4] »

I know that somewhere around here I have a list—actually I think it’s more than one list—of potential blog post subjects. The idea is that if I sit down to blog without knowing what I want to blog about, I consult the list, where I capture ideas as they come to me, and voila a blog post presents itself.

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A great time management class for organizers

17 September 2012 | Comments [0] »

Julie Morgenstern is somewhat of a rock star among professional organizers. She wrote the books, Organizing from the Inside Out and Time Management from the Inside Out more than ten years. Those books helped many, many people (including me). Since then she’s gone on to build a high-profile, successful organizing company. She develops products, like the new “Circa Balanced Life Planner”: from Levenger. And she trains professional organizers through the Julie Morgenstern Organizing Institute.

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Turning temptations into rewards

7 September 2012 | Comments [2] »

It’s 4:46 pm and I’m just now writing today’s blog post. I meant to do it earlier in the day, but other things (like lunch with a friend and a haircut) took precedence. I also had promised to get answer reader questions for Rubbermaid by the end of the week and all of a sudden I was staring down that deadline.

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Saying yes can be a very good thing

4 September 2012 | Comments [0] »

About a month ago, I wrote a blog post called The Value of Saying No. In it, I talked about the freedom and relief I’m feeling now that a variety of volunteer professional commitments are behind me.

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The value of saying no

6 August 2012 | Comments [5] »

On her Facebook page my buddy Gerailn Thomas shared the following words of wisdom this past Friday: “It’s Okay to Say No.”

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Two apps to help you get things done

25 July 2012 | Comments [0] »

I was perusing one of my favorite blogs, Unclutterer and saw my colleague Deb Lee’s recent post about two new-to-me productivity apps, Wonderful Day and iDone This

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Finding time to do the things that you love

12 July 2012 | Comments [0] »

For more than ten years, I’ve been interested in doing family history research. I would dip my toe in the water every now and then, but would get overwhelmed and withdraw it. Mostly, I just didn’t feel I had the time to do it properly. So I didn’t do it at all.

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App of the Week: Reminders

29 June 2012 | Comments [7] »

One of the built-in features of my beloved iPhone 4S that I have taken most advantage of is the Reminders app. Since my phone has Siri, all I have to do is activate Siri and dictate a reminder.

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Mark Forster's latest task-management system

30 April 2012 | Comments [0] »

If you’ve been reading my blog awhile, you know that I’m a big fan of Mark Forster, one of the most creative time-management gurus out there.

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Breathing space

3 January 2012 | Comments [0] »

I’ve been given an amazing gift. The gift of time.

From January 2010 to December 2011, I worked 20 hours a week (two 10-hour days) at the International Institute of St. Louis. I had a great administrative job, one that allowed me to pay off all my business debt. At the same time, I was running my business full time and serving on two boards of directors of professional groups. I felt like I was on a treadmill, under constant time pressure.

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Facing down my to-do list

5 December 2011 | Comments [2] »

I’m just returning from a five-day trip to visit my parents. (I’m blogging from 30,000 feet in the air!) I realized as I was getting into the mindset of getting back to real life that I was afraid to look at (or even open) my to-do list.

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Make your weekend count

14 October 2011 | Comments [1] »

At a meeting at the headquarters of the Institute for Challenging Disorganization the other day, the ICD executive director, Beth Quick-Andrews, paid me a big compliment. She mentioned a blog post I’d written a year and a half ago and how she thinks about its message often. She even told me when I’d posted it.

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Spreading the gospel of bingo

22 August 2011 | Comments [2] »

I wrote almost a month ago about how much I love the concept of using a bingo card to motivate me to do tasks that are important to do regularly but don’t have deadlines.

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Need some help with time management?

17 August 2011 | Comments [0] »

If you live in or near St. Louis, there’s a great opportunity to learn about time management from one of the world’s experts. The St. Louis chapter of the National Association of Professional Organizers is bringing renowned time-management expert, Harold L. Taylor to St. Louis to give a public workshop.

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Renowned time management expert coming to St. Louis

6 May 2011 | Comments [0] »

Twenty years ago, I read Harold L. Taylor’s book, Making Time Work For You. At the time I was in a 9 to 5 job and I remember this time-management book rocking my world.

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Give yourself a power hour

27 April 2011 | Comments [0] »

I had a client cancellation on Monday and found myself with about six hours of desk time that I hadn’t been expecting. Bliss.

Thanks to Mark Forster’s Superfocus task-management system (of which I’m an unabashed fan), I didn’t have to try to remember all the stuff I needed to do.

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SuperFocus rocks

23 March 2011 | Comments [0] »

Mark Forster, my favorite time management guru, introduced a new task management system, SuperFocus, on February 7 of this year. I’ve been using it since that very day and I’m ready to weigh in on it.

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Mark Forster does it again

16 February 2011 | Comments [0] »

Every now and then I write here that my time management guru, Mark Forster has created a new task-management system and that it’s awesome. In fact, last April I wrote a love letter to DWM, which at the time was his latest system. And then just two months ago, I wrote about a new tweak to Autofocus, which has been my favorite of his systems.

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The promise of a snow day

21 January 2011 | Comments [0] »

Like much of the country this winter, St. Louis experienced a big snow storm. Over a 24-hour period, it snowed nine inches, which is a lot for us. St. Louis sort of grinds to a halt when snow is falling, and all my obligations for were canceled.

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Mark Forster helps me keep my sanity

7 December 2010 | Comments [0] »

I’ve been a follower of time-management expert Mark Forster for years now. When he develops a new time-management system, I sit up and take notice.

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I love my timer

3 September 2010 | Comments [2] »

I’ve been keeping sort of a crazy schedule for the last week. Lots of work outside the home, lots of phone time at home, quite a bit of fatigue. The result is that my email inbox, which I usually try very hard to keep under control, has grown and grown.

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Visual task management

18 August 2010 | Comments [3] »

As I blogged last month, I’ve been experimenting with personal kanban for task management. It’s based on a Japanese model of project management, adapted to personal tasks.

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Personal Kanban for task management

28 June 2010 | Comments [8] »

For several years I’ve been using the various task management techniques created by Mark Forster. The most recent has been DWM. But life and work got sort of crazy and I spent a few weeks doing nothing but putting out fires. I ignored my task list in my DWM planner. These task lists are calendar based, so I needed to figure out how best to get back in the saddle.

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Don't squander the holiday

28 May 2010 | Comments [2] »

It’s a long weekend in the U.S. Memorial Day weekend typically marks the beginning of summer. It’s been feeling like summer here in St. Louis for the past week or two, so it feels like it’s about time.

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DWM: My latest task-management passion

7 April 2010 | Comments [0] »

If you’ve been reading my blog awhile (or if you’ve heard me speak), you know I’m crazy about Mark Forster and his time-management principles. One thing I love about him (besides that he thinks in unorthodox ways) is that he’s always dreaming up new ways to do things. It’s not that he’s just improving upon systems he’s invented in the past (though he does do that). Sometimes he just comes up with something completely different.

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I'm digging the desktop writeboard

3 March 2010 | Comments [0] »

At the Container Store the other day, I discovered the Cocoa Desktop Writeboard a rewritable surface that sits on your desk, allowing you to jot notes. I was intrigued. I balked at the $24.99 price tag, but went ahead and purchased it. (It helped that I used the 10 percent discount I’m offered as a NAPO member.) I’ve since discovered it’s available via Amazon for $17.99.for $17.99.

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Laundry as a time-management tool

2 March 2010 | Comments [0] »

I admit it. I’ve let the laundry pile up over the last week to ten days. (We have a laundry chute, so the dirty laundry accumulates in a big laundry bin in the basement. Out of sight, out of mind.)

So today, when I had the day free to work at my desk, I knew I had to do laundry. And I was kind of dragging my feet about it, because I didn’t want be distracted by this task.

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Yet another new task-management system from Mark Forster

10 February 2010 | Comments [0] »

Mark Forster is my time management guru. As I’ve blogged about before, I loved his book, Do It Tomorrow and Other Secrets of Time Management. I used his DIT system for managing tasks for a year or so, and then he introduced Autofocus in January 2009. I was a little reluctant to switch at first, because DIT was working for me, but I decided to try it. I was over the moon. (I’ve blogged about Autofocus many times.)

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Salvaging the day

25 January 2010 | Comments [0] »

My standard poodle, Pip, is out of sorts today. She keeps coming up to me to ask for something. I feed her and she doesn’t eat. I let her out and she doesn’t want to come in (which is unusual, since it’s a very blustery day). It appears she wants something, but doesn’t know what. And she’s having a little trouble getting comfortable.

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I wrote a novel!

30 November 2009 | Comments [5] »

I finished my novel on Friday, November 27, three days early. I wrote a few hundred words past the 50,000-word goal. And my book had an actual plot that came to a graceful conclusion.

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The disruptive nature of disorder

9 November 2009 | Comments [0] »

I’ve always been open on this blog about how things can get out of control in my house. Even though I have homes for almost all of my things (which isn’t to say there aren’t storage areas that need to be weeded out…I’ll be blogging more about that in coming weeks), I have a hard time putting stuff away. And when things get busy? Forget about it.

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What will you do with your extra hour?

30 October 2009 | Comments [1] »

In the U.S., we gain an hour on Sunday as Daylight Savings Time (finally) ends. I always love this day because I’ve been given the gift of an extra hour. Rather than setting my clock back before bed, I do it after I wake up so I can actually experience gaining an hour.

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Getting back on task

29 October 2009 | Comments [0] »

Over the past ten months I’ve written here about my love of the task-management system Autofocus a lot. I do love it. I’ll let you click on the links and learn about it, but, in a nutshell, it involves one long, bound to-do list upon which you dump all your tasks, in no order, and work through it in a particular fashion. There’s no prioritizing, no rewriting the list.

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Getting things done with Autofocus

17 September 2009 | Comments [0] »

I’ve written quite a bit about Autofocus, the task-management system invented by my favorite time-management guru, Mark Forster. The original Autofocus debuted on January 5, 2009. I was an eager beta tester and became an enthusiastic user.

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Brand-new, revised instructions for Autofocus

4 August 2009 | Comments [0] »

I’ve written in some detail about time-management guru Mark Forster’s new task-management system, called Autofocus. I’m a giant fan.

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Update on my punctuality pledge

20 May 2009 | Comments [0] »

A week ago, I blogged about how my aversion to being early (and tendency to be late) almost cost me my life when I started driving down the wrong side of a downtown St. Louis road, thinking I’d turned onto a one-way street.

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Paper or plastic?

15 May 2009 | Comments [0] »

No, this isn’t a post about green organizing (though I am doing a free talk on that topic next month…you might consider coming if you live in St. Louis). Today I’m thinking about keeping track of things using a paper planner/notebook versus an electronic device.

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On being early

13 May 2009 | Comments [7] »

I’m punctuality challenged, as I’ve blogged about in the past. This is not a desirable quality in a professional organizer. Or anybody, really. I always try to do too much before getting myself out the door to the appointment.

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Confessions of a time-management-system junkie

21 April 2009 | Comments [0] »

Through the years, I’ve tried many time- and task-management systems. Like many people who are into this sort of thing (the type of people who enjoy walking the aisles of an office-supply store), I was always drawn to new, shiny systems. I’ve used the FranklinCovey® system, Daytimer®, Day Runner®, QuoVadis, the Planner Pad®, even dabbled in GTD. About 18 years ago, I was practically apoplectic with excitement when I purchased a European-style planner called Time/Line. (Does anyone remember that? It was a lower-cost version of Time/Design, which is now apparently called Time/system. It’s possible I’m remembering the name wrong.)

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Free talk: New ways to get more done

7 April 2009 | Comments [0] »

If you struggle with getting things done and you live in the St. Louis area, you might want to take advantage of the free talk I’ll be giving on April 22 in Webster Groves.

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2 April 2009 | Comments [0] »

It’s so interesting to me how in control I feel when I have (and take) the time to keep my systems going, and to maintain order. And it’s also interesting how quickly those systems can break down.

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Free talk on time management

12 March 2009 | Comments [0] »

As part of my plan to present a free organizing-related talk to the public every other month in 2009, I’ve scheduled my April event.

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The weekend work/rest balance

16 February 2009 | Comments [0] »

On Friday I wrote that I was overwhelmed with tasks and clutter and that I really wanted to put my feet up this weekend, but had so much to do that I feared that wouldn’t be prudent. So I decided to create short task lists for each weekend day and relax only after I’d completed all the tasks on them.

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Feeling overwhelmed

13 February 2009 | Comments [2] »

So far this year, things have been running really smoothly. I’ve been gliding through the days, getting lots done, meeting some terrific people, making some money. Kind of idyllic, in fact.

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Excited about my to-do list

9 February 2009 | Comments [0] »

Last week was one of those weeks I wasn’t at my desk much and when I was I had to be focused on urgent items. I’m not sure I actually looked at my to-do list all week, except to add to it.

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Little and often

15 January 2009 | Comments [0] »

We organizers like to talk about breaking big projects down into small steps in order to make them feel less overwhelming. That’s solid advice.

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Last chance to sign up to test Mark Forster's new system

2 January 2009 | Comments [0] »

As I blogged about two weeks ago, time management guru Mark Forster of whom I’m an unbashed fan, has developed a new system for time management (it may be limited to task management, I don’t know). On January 5, he’ll start beta testing it.

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A full day's work in half a day

24 December 2008 | Comments [0] »

Even though I’m not going anywhere or doing much for Christmas (besides being a dinner guest), I woke up this morning thinking, “Hey it’s Christmas Eve Day. I don’t want to work.” So I decided to take a half day off.

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Wanna test a brand new time-management system?

23 December 2008 | Comments [0] »

If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you know that I’m a big fan of “Mark Forster”. The principles in his book Do It Tomorrow and Other Secrets of Time Management have been really helpful for me and I credit them with helping me get a handle on time (or at least task) management as well as procrastination.

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"The simplest time management method"

3 December 2008 | Comments [2] »

I’ve written here before about my love of Mark Forster’s book Do It Tomorrow and Other Secrets of Time Management (there’s a link to the book on the right hand column of my blog). For at least a year now, I’ve been working on integrating elements of his system into my life. One of those elements is to create a “will-do” list of tasks that I actually expect to accomplish on a given day. These are individual tasks, as well as daily tasks like responding to yesterday’s email, voicemail and snail mail.

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Declare a backlog

27 October 2008 | Comments [0] »

One of the many strategies offered by Mark Forster in his time-management book Do It Tomorrow and Other Secrets of Time Management (link at right) is the concept of declaring a backlog. (I wrote about some of his other strategies last June in the blog posts, Getting started and Keeping going.)

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Get Everything Done: Blog of the Week

22 October 2008 | Comments [0] »

If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you know that I’m a fan of Mark Forster. He’s a time management and personal organization guru who wrote the time-management book I most adhere to, Do It Tomorrow and Other Secrets of Time Management (link at right).

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My latest toy

20 October 2008 | Comments [0] »

I know that new technology is supposed to enhance productivity. That’s usually why I buy it. But if you’ve ever purchased a new computer, you know that setting up and getting used to the new technology can really eat up time.

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The value of the to-do list

30 September 2008 | Comments [0] »

Yesterday I blogged about how I couldn’t get anything done. The basic culprit was fatigue from attending back-to-back conferences and sleep deprivation from a needy poodle. But after a good night’s sleep and a little reflection, I identified another reason for yesterday’s lack of focus: I didn’t have a to-do list.

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Check out these productivity tips

19 September 2008 | Comments [0] »

This morning I read this interview with Gina Trapani, the lead editor of Lifehacker on Zen Habits. It’s an interesting interview. In addition to the many posts a day Trapani writes for Lifehacker, she’s the author of a paper version. Her book, which is now in a second edition called Upgrade Your Life: The Lifehacker Guide to Working Smarter, Faster, Better is a compendium from the best hacks from I haven’t read it yet, but I do believe I’ll be purchasing it.

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Jott: Free no more

22 August 2008 | Comments [4] »

One of my favorite free services, Jott, is now out of beta and is no longer available as is free of charge. Jott allows you to dictate messages via your cell phone that are then emailed to you. I first blogged about it last January and posted a somewhat amusing cautionary note in March.

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Just a few minutes

21 July 2008 | Comments [1] »

Some days I look around my home or office and say to myself, “I really need to xxxxx” and it’s a general task like, “get organized” or “reorganize my closet.” Sometimes it’s just “create some order around here” when things have gotten out of hand.

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My punctuality solution

11 July 2008 | Comments [0] »

Being on time to client appointments has been a challenge for me. I blogged about this three months ago, at which time I vowed to make some changes to my morning routine, including implementing some checklists, so that I’d be on time instead of rushing like a mad woman in the morning.

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The week of barely being home

19 June 2008 | Comments [3] »

I’ve devoted an extraordinary amount of time this week to my vision. I spent all day Monday looking for my old glasses before my eye appointment (and I never found them). Between Monday and today, I’ve been to the eyeglass place three times. I got new glasses (progressive trifocals…I’m officially middle aged), as well as new prescription sunglasses. I’m on my second pair of regular glasses. I love Lenscrafters 30-day satisfaction guarantee. I think these will actually work out well. I must say, it’s nice to see well again!!

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Keeping going

10 June 2008 | Comments [1] »

Yesterday I blogged about overcoming the reluctance to get started on a task, citing Mark Forster’s tip on fooling your reactive mind. Today, I’d like to share some of Forster’s advice about keeping going on tasks once you’ve started.

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Getting started

9 June 2008 | Comments [10] »

Do you ever have items on your to-do list that just loom there? You know you need to do them, you think about doing them, but you just can’t get going on it?

Sometimes, you just need to get started and once you overcome the resistance and do the task, it turns out that it’s not so bad. This happens to me all the time. I build up tasks in my mind, thinking they’re going to take forever, then they take no time at all.

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A couple more free services for your cell phone

6 June 2008 | Comments [3] »

I love David Pogue, the technology columnist for the New York Times. Sometimes what he writes is over my head, but often I get great nuggets of information. I share his love of the MacBook, so I feel warm and fuzzy toward him.

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Just fifteen minutes

3 June 2008 | Comments [0] »

I’m constantly amazed at what can be accomplished in just 15 minutes. I often advise my clients (and I do this myself) to set a timer for 15 minutes and focus on one task: decluttering, filing, sorting, etc. As long as they keep going until that timer dings, they’ll get a good amount done. It’s astounding what can get done in such a small amount of time. (As an aside, that’s one of the ways I use my beloved Time Timer.)

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The Time Timer

8 May 2008 | Comments [4] »

Are you familiar with the Time Timer? It’s a tool, often recommended for people with ADD, that gives a visual representation of the passage of time.

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How do you eat an elephant?

7 May 2008 | Comments [4] »

I’m going through one of those periods again where I completely empathize with my clients. I had a very busy March and April (I was out of town half the month of April) and now that I have a little time to breathe, I look around my house and think, “I need a professional organizer!” There are no shortage of wonderful organizers here in St. Louis I could hire for help, but I’m going to try to economize and do the work myself.

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Back to reality

14 April 2008 | Comments [0] »

After a glorious time at the NAPO conference in Reno (best part: interacting with fabulous organizers, worst part: staying in a hotel and casino full of smoke!), I’m home. I arrived home about midnight on Saturday night.

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The morning rush

2 April 2008 | Comments [0] »

I’m a punctuality-challenged person. That’s not a great trait for a professional organizer. My clients have a reasonable expectation that I’ll arrive on time. And besides, it’s just good business to be respectful of your clients’ time.

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Oldies but goodies

31 March 2008 | Comments [1] »

I like sharing new websites and shortcuts for making life a little easier. But there are some older sites that you may not know about that I’d like to share. These are sites I use regularly to make my life easier and more enjoyable. I hope you will too.

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Beware Jott playing cupid!

27 March 2008 | Comments [6] »

As I’ve written here before, I’m a big fan of It’s a service that allows you to send emails from your telephone while you’re on the go. You register on the Jott site, give them your cell-phone number, input a list of people you’d want to email via Jott (including yourself). Then you program Jott’s phone number into your cell-phone autodial.

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Recharging the batteries

24 March 2008 | Comments [0] »

I took the day off yesterday. Completely.

I hadn’t had a day off since March 6 and I was feeling the need to recharge my batteries. Yesterday was the first day I didn’t have a client appointment scheduled in a couple of weeks and I just wanted to hang out. So that’s what I did.

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Priority management

19 March 2008 | Comments [0] »

Time management isn’t about managing time. It’s about managing priorities. We all have the same amount of time in a day to deal with. How we use it is an indication of our priorities.

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The tyranny of the blog

18 March 2008 | Comments [0] »

I love having a blog. The freedom to write whatever I want is wonderful. (Way, way back in the day I had a column in PetLife magazine in which I could write whatever I wanted. It was exhilarating.)

But that freedom is a two-edged sword. With little structure surrounding what to write, and no deadlines, it can be very difficult to (1) take the time to post to my blog and (2) come up with something remotely meaningful to write.

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Do It Tomorrow really works

22 February 2008 | Comments [3] »

As I’ve written here before, I decided on January 1 that 2008 would be the year that I take control of my time-management issues. That day, I selected probably a half dozen time management books from my shelf, each one espousing a different philosophy. I thought I’d make a commitment to a single system and really try to adhere to it for a month or so.

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A couple of time (and money) savers

17 January 2008 | Comments [1] »

This year I’m a quest to save time and be more productive. It’s going well. Thanks to the techniques found in Mark Forster book, Do It Tomorrow (link in the Links section at right) and Don’t Break the Chain I’m more productive than I’ve been in a long time.

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The amazing power of a clean desktop

13 January 2008 | Comments [0] »

The habit I’ve been trying to instill with the Don’t Break the Chain method that I wrote about in a recent post is clearing my desktop at the end of the workday.

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"Don't Break the Chain"

9 January 2008 | Comments [0] »

As part of my new emphasis on time management this year, I started off the new year by checking out some productivity blogs. I came across this great post on the wonderful blog Lifehacker that introduced to me a concept that in just a few short days has really had an impact on me.

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Happy new year!

1 January 2008 | Comments [0] »

But here it is the first day of the year and I find myself wanting to write down goals, figure out systems for making life easier, and (still) cleaning out/cleaning up.

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Must-watch TV

9 December 2007 | Comments [1] »

If you like watching organizing shows on TV, you’re in for a treat. Fine Living Network has a new show called Time Makeover that focuses on time management.

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10 July 2007 | Comments [2] »

Isn’t balance always such a struggle? I think in my dream life I’d effortlessly balance work and play, solitude and company, relaxation and housekeeping, client time and desk time. And I’d do it with ease and grace. In my current reality, I’m feeling torn in several directions most of the time.

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How do knitters get anything done?

2 April 2007 | Comments [0] »

I swear I could spend entire days weeks months reading knitting blogs and patterns, shopping for yarn, organizing my stash and needles and, oh yes, knitting. When I win the lottery, I might just do that.

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The cobbler’s children…

25 January 2007 | Comments [3] »

I’ve been spending my days helping my clients create order, which I love doing. Meanwhile, my own house seems to be devolving into chaos. Between the rapidly piling up mail (I can’t seem to get caught up), and the laundry that’s not getting done, my home looks like it could use the help of a professional organizer.

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Where does the day go?

2 January 2007 | Comments [0] »

Today was the one day this week where I planned to get a lot of stuff done. I have client appointments each day the rest of the week and while they’re just half-day appointments, I find it’s hard to be ultra-productive the second half of the day. I had big plans for getting so much accomplished in the broad expanse of time available today.

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Do it tomorrow

28 November 2006 | Comments [4] »

I was a writer for many years (mostly magazine articles and books) and I couldn’t work without a deadline. The deadline would dictate when I started working on a story and, to be honest, there was usually a lot of procrastination involved.

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