well, hello there

i feel like a bad boyfriend. heavy client load + dwell on design week + working on peter walsh show this week = zero time for blogging. and while a newly created pinterest account feels a little like cheating on my blog, i have started to create some fun content over there. and i can usually find time to link to some fun stuff on the Bneato facebook fan page and twitter. so if you need a little organizing love that you’re not getting from the Bneato blog, come and hang out with me elsewhere on the blogosphere. i’ll be back here soon (like next week) with some cool stuff and a link to the july newsletter.

talking clock (it’s awesome, i promise)

i find that time management is super important when getting ready in the morning. if i spend too long covering up a pimple, straightening my hair or picking out the perfect outfit–i’m bound to be racing out the door. just the other day, i found myself checking my cell phone constantly–just to make sure i wasn’t running behind while getting ready. there are other times when i can’t find my cell phone to check the time and have to run all the way to my computer to double check the exact minute. then it dawned on me, wouldn’t a clock that rattled off the time be the perfect antidote for managing my morning routine. after a few quick web searches, i found this helpful info on how to make your mac clock talk (they have male and female voices to choose from–awesome)! i went with vicky’s voice but may change it up depending on my mood. for pc users, check out this link right here

Save Time, Money and Keep the Weight Off…

I am very good at cleaning the house and really bad at cooking a meal.  Actually, it’s not that I’m a terrible cook, I just never practice.  I get confused about how long things take, the bread always burns and since I never have the staples on hand for a fancy meal–cooking at home can get expensive.  A little backstory–when I was growing up, I was always more interested in getting quarters to bounce off my bed than spending time in the kitchen.  That being said, I do have a few dishes in my arsenal that I can make on a Sunday evening for the upcoming week.  I won’t bore you with what I cook for myself (it’s bland and always the same).  Anyhow–I started cooking recently on Sunday evenings to save time (and money) during the week.  Lately, I’ve been extremely busy and running to Trader Joe’s every day to pick up a salad can get expensive (not to mention drives me insane as I try to maneuver my car in the TJ’s Silver Lake parking lot).  So I’m saving money and time by prepping in advance but I’ve also noticed that I’m able to maintain my weight much easier.  If I have food ready to go in the fridge, I’m less tempted to roll up to Del Taco (don’t judge) and order really bad fried food that tastes really, really good.  

(Image: MonkeyCat)

Dealing With Distractions

Because I work from home, I encounter a lot of distractions on a daily basis.  Not that people who “go to” work don’t (it’s just that I’m all by my lonesome with no one to call me out or check up on me to see if I’m doing my work).  Anywho–when I find my mind wondering (or daydreaming about a far away land or wanting to take a nap) I try to do a task that requires little thinking.  Some examples: washing dishes, sweeping, laundry, cleaning off my desktop, etc.).  Once I’m done with a simple task, I feel accomplished, re-energized, and more willing to go back to work (which most importantly, helps me keep the focus).

(Image: alaskaval)

Busy Bee

Warning: Excuses, venting and reasons ahead…. Okay. So I typically post Sunday thru Friday on this blog. While I’ve never written that down or stated that in a post–those are my goals. Yesterday=no post. And I felt soooooo guilty. I’ve been beating myself up all day (and it was worse because I didn’t have access to my computer until right now). Back to back clients (one on the west side and one on the east) puts me nowhere near my computer. What are my excuses/reasons for not posting?

  • Adam’s best friend is in town from NYC so I’ve been busy picking him up from the airport and hanging with the boys since his best friend and I had never met. 
  • Went to see Inglorious Basterds on Friday evening
  • Instead of working all weekend, I helped Adam prep for his birthday bash Saturday night and then attended the coolest couple wedding shower on Sunday for a big chunk of the day.
  • Watched 3 hrs of TV last night.  I don’t even have cable but I somehow managed to fit in True Blood, Mad Men and Big Brother.
I know for a fact that if I worked on Apartment Therapy last evening in addition to other tasks, I could have gotten my Bneato post up for yesterday.  For most of my clients, TV does take up a lot of time–so it’s important to choose wisely how you spend your time.  Never aimlessly sit down in front of the TV.  If you have Tivo–use it to your advantage.  Tape your shows and watch them when you have the time.  If you aren’t getting things done–something has to get cut.  Whew.  I feel much better–and next time, I’ll have to wait until later in the week to catch up on all my programs.
(Image from Flickr Member The TruthAbout used under Creative Commons License)

Time Management Tips

I recently worked with a client on improving their time management skills and passed along a few of these tips on what not to do. From Tim Ferriss (author of The 4-Hour Work Week) these time management tips are priceless. My favorites are numbers 1, 2 and 5 (especially #5). How many of these “Don’ts” do you practice? Are you surprised that they’re on a time management list?

1. Do not answer unrecognized phone calls
2. Do not e-mail first thing in the morning or last thing at night
3. Do not agree to meetings or calls with no clear agenda or end time
4. Do not let people ramble—forget “how’s it going?” and embrace “what’s up?”
5. Do not check e-mail constantly—”batch” and check at set times only
6. Do not over-communicate with low-profit, high-maintenance customers
7. Do not work more to fix overwhelm — prioritize
8. Do not carry a cellphone or Crackberry 24/7, seven days a week—make evenings and/or Saturdays digital leash-free.
9. Do not expect work to fill a void that non-work relationships and activities should

via Tim Ferriss

(Image from Flickr Member, rajue used under Creative Commons License)

How To: Increase The Odds You Won’t Get Called For Jury Duty

I have postponed jury duty twice since January. So when my newest jury summons arrived in the mail on Tuesday, I was less than thrilled. And while I’m fully aware that jury duty is a good thing for society, I can’t help but feel it’s a huge time waster. The last thing I want to do is get stuck in a room full of other potential jurors and not get paid (especially because I’m a freelancer). So this morning, I decided to call in and see what I could finagle. I ended up speaking with the most helpful woman at the courthouse. She suggested I choose a holiday week for jury service. She mentioned the week of Thanksgiving because the courthouse is closed on that particular Thursday and Friday. The nice lady also disclosed that nothing really happens during the week of a big holiday. Score for me (and how did I not think of this sooner)!! Hopefully it all works out and I’ll be sure to keep you posted.

(Image from Flickr Member Nogwater used under Creative Commons License)

Extra Time…

Oh extra time–you had me at hello. I love finding myself with extra time. It doesn’t happen that often but when it does, it makes me very happy. But since it usually only comes on the weekends (when my body would rather not be so productive) I’ve had to work hard at creating extra time. Take for instance, washing the dishes or watering the plants (just a coincidence that they both involve water). Busy individuals are likely to say, I don’t have time to wash the dishes or I can’t keep plants alive because I always forget to water them (forgetting is often a byproduct of poor planning). Because I like to come home to a clean house and succulent plants that thrive, I need to create time to take care of them. How do you create time? Mark out time on your to-do list. Oftentimes, to-do lists get bombarded with to-do’s (and leave little time to do things just for yourself). Your extra time might involve reading a book or taking up knitting. Whatever time you carve out for yourself, don’t forget to include the thing you’d like to get accomplished (otherwise you’ll forget).

(Image: Flickr member RBerteig licensed for use under Creative Commons)

Errand Day!

When I was 15 and had just earned my license (in SC they let you start driving young), I loved running errands. Need milk from the store? No problem! Jacob needs supplies for an art project? Done. Until recently, errand day wasn’t such a thrill until I got a handle on a little bit of time management know-how. Now, my errand days fall on either a Monday or Friday. If they don’t get done then, errand day falls on the weekend which sucks (for lack of a better word). What I like to do is look at my calendar for the upcoming week on a Sunday. If I need to pick up supplies for a client, go to the bank, grocery shop, etc. it all goes on my to-do list for errand day. Once you pick your errand day, try not to schedule anything for that morning (or afternoon) whichever you prefer. That way, your day to run errands will likely be free (not to mention you’ll get stuff done).

(Image: The Slow Lane)

Finding Time For Activities

So in addition to running my business, Bneato (professional organizing) and blogging daily for Apartment Therapy, I also play drums for a Los Angeles band called Kissing Cousins. First, a little bit of background on the drumming. I had always wanted to play an instrument so at the age of 27, I started taking lessons. Ridiculous? Maybe, but I thought I’d be decent if I practiced. At the same time, my best friend asked me to be the drummer of her newly formed all girl band. In the beginning, I was terrible (but we were just starting and it didn’t really matter). It was all in the name of fun and I was having a blast. I practiced on Monday nights (when we had band practice) and that was about it. Slowly, over time, I learned a few things but I still wasn’t very good.

Then, last Fall, Richard Swift (amazing musician and producer) agreed to record our first full length album. While I didn’t record drums on the record, I had to start learning all of the songs for upcoming shows and the CD’s release. The songs were a lot harder which meant I really had to bring it (practice, practice practice). Because I wasn’t used to practicing, there would be days that I’d drag my feet to get to the practice space, talk myself out of going and altogether forget to practice for the day. So I decided I needed to start applying things from my time management background to become more productive with my drumming practice.

1. Put the activity in your schedule. Always take a look at your schedule the night before and make sure your to-do list allows you enough time to fit in your (drumming, blogging, writing etc.).

2. Create accountability. I borrow cymbals from another band that shares my practice space. In total, there are 4 bands that use our practice space. Music equipment (esp. cymbals are super expensive). So when I do borrow them, I’m supposed to take them off each stand and return them to their case. But, if I know I’m going to practice the next day (and no band is coming in that evening to practice, I leave the cymbals out). That way, if I try and talk myself out of going downtown to the rehearsal space the following day to practice–I can’t. I have to drive down to play drums because I’ve given myself the accountability of not returning the cymbals to their case. For you–accountability might be promising a friend you’re going to do something. Whatever it may be–hold yourself accountable.

3. Write your activity down on a bright colored post-it and display it in a place you’ll see it daily.