The Secret to Having More Time and Being More Organized

by David Ning · 16 comments

Just when you move along and think everything is going smoothly, you fall into a ditch. No, I’m not talking about the stock market, I am talking about being organized.

A few months ago, I had a demanding day job that required traveling every other week, my blog which I was writing everyday for and a pretty active social life all while being pretty much top of all my finances and to do lists. Actually, I had to.

Now that my blogs became my primary field of work and my friends and I don’t go out as much because everyone is trying to save more money, I’m less organized.

More Time Doesn’t Equal More Time To….

You would think that I should be more organized when I work at home and have a ton of more free time. After all, I don’t need to spend at least 9-10 hours at the office everyday (Note to old boss if you are reading: You should feel bad for not giving me the raise that I asked for back then) as well as many days of the month out of my house. But in reality, more time saved doesn’t mean more time to be organized. So how did I manage before?

Here’s how.

  1. I Didn’t Think About It – I never wasted too much time thinking about how much I needed to do since I never thought I had time for that. All I was thinking about was what I needed to do and how I could get it done.
  2. I Took Care of Things When It Presented Itself – Taxes? I filed them the first day I received all the information I needed. Bills? I paid them the minute they came into my mailbox (inbox). Again, I told myself that I couldn’t afford having them pile up.
  3. I Forced Myself to Have a Schedule – Everyday, I needed to get everything done. Everyday, I log my bills and everyday, I made sure I didn’t fall behind.
  4. I Was Focus – I was on a mission. The TV wasn’t on when I write, and the phone wasn’t ringing while I was paying my bills. No distractions, no productivity lost.

Learning Time Management from the Pass

Okay, this seems easy enough. In order to have more time, first you don’t tell yourself “I don’t have time”. Next:

  1. Just Do It
  2. Do It Immediately
  3. Keep a Schedule
  4. Put All Distractions on Silent

Got that? Yes (promising myself to be more organize at the same time now).

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Calvin March 13, 2009 at 7:54 am

Well said. Sometimes the distractions are hard to ignore though. For instance, I’m at work right now and the guy outside is mowing the lawn (read: loud noise). My coworkers are chatting and others are talking on the phone while I type away on a blog. I know some people put on headphones just so they can concentrate but I don’t even think my boss would like that.

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UH2L March 13, 2009 at 10:47 am

Sometimes “Just Do It” is the hard part because what do you do first? Big things or little things? When do you reserve time for long term stuff when there’s always urgent things to get done.

Also, I find that people who do all their work right away take longer to do it and then have less time to do enjoyable activities later. Or, they don’t have full information which may come later to do the best job. Those are some advantages of procrastinating.

I wish I could keep a schedule, but I don’t like structure. I also think it thwarts creativity and creativity is important to me in what I do personally and professionally.

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Craig March 13, 2009 at 11:48 am

So true, the busier I am, the more I can actually get done. I can get the same amount of work done in a 2 hrs as 1 usually because if I know I have more time I procrastinate and and unorganized. When I am busier and rushed I do a better job at time management and using my time wisley.

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Jodi March 13, 2009 at 12:27 pm

I agree that having time never means having productive time. A little pressure is always good to get things done.

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marci March 13, 2009 at 1:01 pm

I get back from vacation on Sunday…. I’m going to keep in mind #2 – Do it Immediately – as that seems to be my main problem…. Thinking I’ll get around to it later, and I don’t, and it just piles up…. OK – focused. Starting Sunday (after vacation.)

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Play Games Win Prizes March 13, 2009 at 1:45 pm

David, you make it easier than it seems :) It’s so hard for me to keep on schedule :(

-Mike

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Dominique March 13, 2009 at 4:25 pm

Having a schedule really does help to free up your time and make you more efficient however sticking to it can really be an issue if there are many distractors( kids) around who need your immediate attention.

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Dividend Growth Investor March 14, 2009 at 7:22 am

I am exactly like you. Whenever I have a lot on my plate I deliver the most results. When I have just one project to work on, I tend to procrastinate.

Anyhow, is this the reason why you now have 3 websites under management?

DGI

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Dana March 14, 2009 at 2:49 pm

Hey David,

Great job. Here’s an article I across that may (or may not) be helpful for you getting even more efficient.

http://www.dumblittleman.com/2009/02/accomplish-more-work-at-your-peak-times.html

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MoneyNing March 14, 2009 at 8:55 pm

Dividend Growth Investor: I have more than 3 you know but I spend most of my time here. :)

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Scott @ The Passive Dad March 14, 2009 at 9:11 pm

Staying focused and organized is one of the toughest things to do when working from home. Each day I have distractions from the kids or something that needs to be fixed around the house. When I worked at an office, I could at least forget about the house for a few hours.

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TStrump March 14, 2009 at 10:25 pm

Since time is such a scarce asset, being busy means you have to manager it better.
I’d still take not having to work and be ‘busy’ any day.

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Perfect-Money March 15, 2009 at 1:14 am

I agree with the idea.Get focus on what should and get away from what should not,is the best way to be more organized,however I think I am not that agree to Turn off the music and being silence is the good way to focus,for me ,”crowd make me focus”and I think I love in that control “surfing over the traffic and focus on the target ,is like a another recreations for me during my bussy day,well I hope I am not kind of Freakin guy here ,or,do you think I am workaholic,Perhaps

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Eve June 14, 2012 at 11:40 pm

I tend to focus when I’m alone and the surrounding is cosy, I could not totally disagree with the idea of “Keep a Schedule”. With that point of view, I actually tied up with my work and done it on time. Procrastination would not do any good, the quality of your work will be affected, so for me, it’s better to do it ahead of time then later you can have your leisure time.

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@pfinMario February 8, 2013 at 7:53 am

I need to put dates and times on tasks, otherwise I’m less likely to feel urgency to get them done

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Katie December 6, 2013 at 9:41 am

You are right on. #1 is the key. The minute I have any free time, I instantly think to myself, “Oh good, I have some free time, I’ll do that later then.” I long for free time, yet it almost does me no good. It’s the bane of my existence I suppose! Idle hands and all that.

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