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Five Ways to Simplify Your Life in Five Minutes

Alarm Clock Redux

Alarm Clock Redux (Photo credit: Gnu2000)

We’ve all heard it before, “I’ll be there in five minutes.” or “just give me five more minutes.” Everyone always throws around five minutes even if it’s going to take them 10 or 15 minutes. Throwing five minutes around annoys me. Maybe it’s the producer in me because I’m used to being very precise with time. I’ve been known to have meetings at odd times like 4:37 or 12:23 because I know exactly how long it will take me to get somewhere and every minute counts.

But if you’re smart enough, you can spend those “five minutes” actually doing something really productive. Five minutes is a very valuable chunk of time — if you know how to use it correctly. Here’s a list of things you should use those extra five minutes doing:

1. Prioritize and prepare: Before you go to bed each night, take five minutes to jot down the most important activities that you need to get done tomorrow. This will help you schedule your time appropriately and be productive from the start of your day. Once you have created your list, look through it and identify any ways you can make each task a little easier. If you’re planning on going for a run in the morning, lay out your workout clothes the night before to save you time when you wake up. Not only will this be time efficient, but this will also encourage you to follow through with your workout plans!

2. Refine your list: It’s easy to get caught up in miscellaneous tasks throughout the course of the day. If you find yourself straying from your ‘to-do list’, take five minutes to rework your list. Keep it as simple as possible—if you take on a new task; replace it with a different task on your list. This way, you won’t be taking on more than you can handle. And don’t be afraid to say no when necessary!

3. Limit your media consumption: From cell phones, to social media, to e-mail, it’s easy to get distracted. In order to ensure that you do not stray from your priorities, take five minutes to download apps, such as “AwayFind”, which will send an auto-reply text message stating that you are currently busy. It will also provide emergency contact information just incase. This eliminates the social distractions in your life and allows you to focus on what’s important so you can check another thing off your ‘to-do list’.

4. Clean out your closet: If your clothes drawers are so stuffed that you can’t close them, take a five minutes to give one drawer a once over. Pull everything out, set a timer and get rid of any items you do not use.

5. Eliminate any junk mail: If your email inbox is overflowing with messages, it becomes difficult to find that important email from a few days or weeks ago. Take five minutes to clear out any unneeded messages or spam from your inbox in order to make your account easier to manage. Next time you go to look for an old e-mail, it will be much quicker to find.

Hopefully, the five minutes you took to read these steps will buy you five extra minutes in the future!

5 Ways To Stay Productive While Sick

Woman with tissue and hot drinkWith winter cold season just beginning, it’s important to be proactive and boost your immune system with extra vitamins and get your flu shot. I got my flu shot last month but there’s always a chance that you’ll catch a bug at some point this season. Most of the time, it’s nothing a few wellness products and some concealer can’t take care of, but there have definitely been times when a cold takes me completely out of commission.

Here are a few ideas to boost your efficiency even when you’re feeling under the weather:

1. Sleep! Even when you’re not sick, it’s important to get enough sleep at night, but when you’re sick and your body needs to recover, sleep is even more important. Think it’s overrated? I was recently at an event with Arianna Huffington and she revealed that she’s crazy about maintaining her sleep schedule. She attributes a ton of her success to getting enough sleep so that she can be more focused and productive.

2. Outsource. With services like TaskRabbit and Wun-Wun, someone else can stock your medicine cabinet and pick up chicken soup for you. Simply send them your wellness list and wait, health is on its way.

3. Maintain your To-Do list. It’s always a good idea to keep a notebook next to your bed for late-night bursts of inspiration. When you’re sick, keep your to-do list bedside so you can easily add tasks you’ll need to accomplish when you’re better. This will allow you to easily prioritize these tasks and head back to work as if you had never been gone!

4. Delegate. Whether it’s your co-workers or family members, most of us have a team we “work” with every day. Delegating tasks to others allows us to stay super-productive while personally only focused on a few tasks. People understand if you lean a little more on them when you’re sick, especially if you’re someone who always makes sure to do a good job.

5. Use the buddy system. I once asked a co-worker to keep an eye on my email as well as hers when I was out sick and to call me if anything needed to be urgently addressed. I could sleep soundly knowing that not every ping of my cell phone meant I had to get up and attend to some task. Later, I was able to return the favor when she took a personal day!

Remember: the most productive thing you can do when you’re sick is focus on getting better. Take care of yourself and try a few of these tips and the rest will follow. Stay well!

Fab Find: Cross Off To-Dos with HandyBook

Handybook LogoIf you’ve ever hosted Thanksgiving, you know how much has to get done before the turkey gets served. This year, many will be celebrating the first night of Hanukkah on Thanksgiving as well, and that means double the prep! This is the time of year for long to-do lists, so it’s important to remember to get help to avoid getting burnt out and stay cheerful! Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. Get outsourcing! Read more

Four Ways to Refresh Your Closet For Fall

Clothes rack

Clothes rack (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

To me, fall means leaves changing color, pumpkin-flavored everything (including M&Ms, they’re new!) and that exciting moment when it’s finally cool enough to wear my favorite blazer. If you’re like me and you have limited closet space (thanks NYC,) reincorporating those fall sweaters into my wardrobe means cleaning out my summer clothes to make extra room.

After you’ve regained some precious closet real estate, take advantage of the time it takes to put away all your fall clothes and try a modern technique to be more efficient with your time and closet space. Check out this list of tips and tricks that you can try when reorganizing your closet for fall. Who said productivity couldn’t have style?

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8 Last-Minute Packing Reminders

English: Photo of luggage

English: Photo of luggage (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I don’t really need any excuses to make a list. But whether it is getting ready for a vacation or planning a major move, there is nothing like travel to send me into super list-making mode. I’ve made lists of:

But no matter how organized I am or how early I start packing, there are always a few things I can’t pack ahead of time because I use them so frequently.  I created a list of “Last Minute Packing Reminders” – may you never stress that you left the stove on or visit an airport convenience store again!

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