10 Tips: Time Management and Organization

The issues of time management and organization are the twin demons that plague most writers. We generally have lots of papers, lots of great ideas and no time in which to get everything done that we'd like. So, to help us all out, we've got some great tips on each from Boston columnist Penelope Trunk and workflow consultant Matthew Cornell. (Found via Lifehack.org)

5 Ways to Stop Being Late, from Penelope Trunk

Schedule the event into your calendar. I discovered I had enough on my schedule to last 48 hours a day. It would have been impossible for me to be on time for anything.

Practice saying what you need to say. Here’s a great thing to say: “Excuse me, I hate to cut you off, but I have an appointment.” It is hard to cut someone off, but they will respect you for sticking to a schedule.

Be a time pessimist. Assume everything will take a little longer than your first estimate.

Prioritize. Face the reality that you cannot get your whole list done. Figure out what’s most important and just get that done.

Be honest with yourself. Often, we are scared to make the decisions that we must make in order to get control over our time and become someone who runs on schedule. But there is no other way to run a life. To run on schedule is to plan the life you want to live and execute that plan.

5 Filing Hacks, from Matthew Cornell

File Bookmark
When you pull a file, simply lift up the file behind it a few inches and let the remaining files in front of that one lean back. You’ll find they keep the bookmark file up above the rest until you’re ready to return the pulled file.

Fold Crease
Have you ever noticed that set of horizontal creases at the bottom of most file folders? Guess what - they’re amazingly useful! When you have a file that’s grown to more than a dozen or so pages, it starts to bow outward, messing up your nice filing drawer. Terrible! To fix the problem, simply open the file flat on your desk, choose a crease that will give you enough extra room, fold the crease, and - bingo - neat, expanded file.

Staple, Don’t Clip
To keep your files as thin as possible, replace paper clips with staples. For thick bundles that you don’t want to staple, you might prefer the so-called “ideal clamps” (such as these) rather than paper clips.

Unfold Before You File
This one is real simple: To keep files thin and make easier future perusals, always unfold any papers before you file them. Also, take them out of the envelope if you feel the need to keep it (staple it to the pages if you like.)

Magnetic Bookend
Trying to keep files condensed and neat? Try one of these magnetic bookends. You can adjust them easily, and they help things stay put.

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