Reclaim More Than 30 Minutes of Your Day by Doing Less!
Pick out your clothes the night before
You would think that choosing your outfit would take the same amount of time in the morning as it does at night. Not so, says Julie Morgenstern, author of When Organizing Isn’t Enough: Shed Your Stuff, Change Your Life. “You actually take less time deciding the night before because you’re not as stressed. I think when we’re stressed, we freeze, we get paralyzed, we can’t think, we start making mistakes and keep repeating them.” She recommends going as far as hanging the planned outfit—down to underwear and jewelry—outside your closet.
Find your go-to outfits
You probably have a go-to LBD in your closet that always makes you look and feel fabulous. Morgenstern suggests you find a few more fail-safe fashion choices that work for daytime, too. “Invest a couple of hours one weekend or one evening coming up with four or five standard outfits that you know always work,” she says. “You do that for work outfits, and you should do that for going-out outfits as well.”
Curb your addiction to e-mail
One of Morgenstern’s mantras: Break the mindless e-mail habit. So basically, stop checking e-mail every 10 seconds! “Every time you’re bored, every time you’re facing something difficult, you’re like ‘Let me just check my e-mail first.’ You’re using e-mail and even the Internet as a kind of procrastination device. If you can eliminate that habit from your day, I guarantee you will regain a minimum of an hour of productivity a day. Minimum.” To kick the habit, she suggests setting regular e-mail check times, as well as not checking your e-mail for the first hour you’re at work, when possible.
Organize your home by the way you think
Organizing your mess of a closet can save you at least a half hour per day, but that doesn’t mean you have to color-code your clothing like your type-A friend does. “You should organize your clothes in the way you reach for them, the way you think,” says Morgenstern. “Not everybody thinks the same way, and I believe the zones of your closet should reflect your unique association. When some people go to get dressed, they think in terms of garments; others think of their clothes more by occasion: work clothes, weekend clothes, dress-up clothes.” For more tips on organizing your closet, visit juliemorgenstern.com.
Buy nice hangers
Your closet is a reflection of you, says Morgenstern. “It’s where you start and end your day, and you want to feel good when you reach for something and when you put it away.” In her own closet, she uses slender wooden hangers. “I think they bring an elegance to your closet that makes it exciting to open your closet and motivate you to hang things up again.”
Create a last-minute checklist
There are few things more satisfying than ticking off items on your to-do list. Get that feeling every time you leave the house by creating a cool-looking checklist to keep right by the door. On it, put all the things you need for the day: wallet, gym clothes, phone charger, iPod, etc. It will save you time trying to remember everything and running back every time you forget something, says Morgenstern. Plus, once you’ve mentally crossed each thing off, “you’ll leave feeling like a million bucks and full of energy.”
Go to the digital supermarket
If you can, order your groceries online so you don’t have to go food shopping, says Morgenstern. “It will cut time from your weekly errands and chores, and the program will save your shopping list—a big, really helpful time-saver for the household stuff.”
Make your coffee to go
Pay attention, Starbucks addicts. “We waste a lot of time going and getting coffee somewhere,” says Morgenstern. “If you invest in a coffeemaker with a timer, you can set it the night before and wake up to the smell of coffee.” Stock up on a few cute refillable travel mugs and you’ll save time by avoiding that coffee-shop line . Or, if you always forget your mug at the office, consider buying to-go cups and lids to keep at home.
Leave work 30 minutes early
This tip is going to sound counterintuitive for those of us trying to get more done each day, but Morgenstern swears by it. “Shorten your workday by 30 minutes and you will achieve as much as, if not more than, you currently do.” By leaving early, you’ll have that feeling of being on a deadline, when you don’t have time to spare on perfectionism, procrastination and interruptions.
Set aside time for social networking
Assign yourself time to check your Facebook, MySpace, Linked In and other social networking sites. They are tremendous procrastination devices, as well as easy entertainment. “But they’re like TV,” says Morgenstern. “You turn it on and three hours pass, and then you’re like ‘Where did my day go?’” By carving out set times to spend on them, you’ll be more productive when you’re focusing on other tasks.