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January 4, 2014

It's about time: Expert offers tips for organizing your life

“Time flies,” “time is of the essences,” “time is money” and “time waits for no one,” are familiar phrases, but in reality time is none of these things.

Time should be managed and accounted for, and it is generally kept by those who are running on a schedule — but keeping time is only an agreed-upon formula for coordinating happenings. 

Time can no more be kept than the passing of the seasons can be halted. But well-managed time may prevent a frenzied, last-minute push that ends up making a task take longer than necessary.

Many people in the modern world do push themselves to accomplish more than their predecessors, and in doing so often create a bombardment of tasks that are impossible to accomplish. This can create unhealthy stress.

“You cannot really manage time,” said Jan Jasper, a productivity consultant in the New York area. “We just manage tasks and information. If we are efficient and organized, we can accomplish the tasks we need to and have the opportunity to enjoy our leisure time.”

Jasper, the author of “Take Back Your Time,” published by St. Martin’s Press, has been helping corporations, small businesses and private individuals manage their tasks and information in an efficient manner since 1988.

“Every aspect of your life can benefit from a thorough examination,” Jasper said. “In the home, a center of operations is essential. Most households with children, or families with several different age groups living together, will have their operation central in the kitchen. It is important to train the family to use the space for papers and coordinating events. Usually there will be a calendar, a drop box for paper and a filing system for planning purposes.”

Jasper recommends a tickler file. This file has 43 slots used for monthly, weekly and daily tasks. Tickler files are organized by the closest date. After a daily or a weekly folder is completed, it may be moved back to the next month. When the month is complete, it is moved to the back of the files. Jasper said tickler files may be purchased at most office supply stores for about $20.

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