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Monday, October 22, 2012


Next in my AWESOME ORGANIZERS IN OCTOBER SERIES is one of my most favorite organizing friends and an all around lovely lady.  Please welcome Martha Clouse from Columbus, Ohio...

Sierpinski Cookies-11 by L Marie Flickr/CC-BY 2.0
When I grew up we were only allowed to eat 2 cookies for desert. With a family of seven, that still meant a batch of cookies was gone in less than 2 days. I learned to bake watching my mother do it constantly.
Nowadays we have the option to prepare the entire batch of ready-to-bake cookies, or fire up the oven for just one. Which saves time and energy? The batch still wins. Then freeze and thaw whenever the mood strikes.
The same is true with other everyday activities. When we identify tasks that are similar in nature we can batch them and do them all at once. This works at home with cleaning tasks, at the office with follow-ups, and at meetings when sharing or discussing business.
The way to tell what tasks to group is to ask questions like:
  • What action(s) do I have to take with this information?
  • Where will I go to complete this task?
  • What tools must I gather to aid me in this activity?
When you see a pattern of like actions, locations or tools you can try to batch those tasks.
These are some specific examples where you may want to use batching to save time on a weekly basis. (I agree with Julie Morgenstern and others that having a weekly time template helps tremendously in managing your time effectively! This is the ultimate in batching.)
Errand day – rather than make individual trips, map out a circular route to run 4-5 errands at once.
Laundry – on the 1-2 days a week that you will be at home for several hours straight, plan to do 2-3 loads.
Making phone calls – keep an action file with all phone calls you need to make. Schedule an hour twice a week and force yourself to do only the calling!
Writing thank you’s – Address the envelopes of people you need to write, add stamps and return address labels. Write a quick outline of the message you want to deliver. Then write each note using your outline and personalizing as needed. Put in correct envelope and seal immediately.
Email followup – Set a time in the middle of your day and again at the end to briefly answer emails.
Right before lunch and before you go home from work are great times, since you will be motivated to keep it short.
You can probably think of more ways you can bundle like activities and do them at one time as a batch.
This is an especially good technique for those tasks you avoid at all cost. My least favorite activity is cleaning toilets. When I do them all at once, cleaning the rest of the bathroom is a piece of cake.
Speaking of cake… think I’ll go bake a batch of something sweet.
From her experience moving 11 times in 20 years as a military wife, Martha shares with you what she learned "under fire" about coping with change, using time to your advantage, and how to create a calm oasis out of chaos. 

To learn more about setting up rooms for maximum utility while retaining a spacious feel, the basic systems you need in your home office to guarantee productivity, how to save an hour a day consistently, and to receive access to the free e-book 60 Tips to Organize Your Life!, visit

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