SHELBY TOWNSHIP -- Managing your time is the key to organizing
your life, according to professional organizer Debbie Tebbe.
Tebbe spoke recently at the public library to some 50 people who came
for a workshop called "Clutter's Last Stand: It's Time to Organize."
"Clutter has a lot to do with time management," Tebbe said. "Everyone
has 24 hours in a day. Think of Donald Trump. Think of the president."
"But they have help, we don't," replied an audience member.
Tebbe replied that even without help, many people can use their time
"If you watch a lot of TV, that's a 'time thief,'"
Tebbe said in the sunlit atrium. "You could be doing crafts or other
things. You first need to make time to find a home for everything. Then
you don't have to figure out later where to put it again."
A St. Clair Shores resident, Tebbe said she worked for years in the
Her bosses noted that she was "very organized." Her own company,
"Organized Happy Helper," helps clients plan special events, clean and
organize their homes and offices, and update computers.
At the workshop, Tebbe recommended keeping appointments, to-do lists,
menus, and donations to charity in a planner or organizer. "Writing it
down reduces the stress of trying to remember plans or finding notes on
Tebbe recommends planning an errand day once a week to consolidate
trips and save gas. She also suggests spending 15 minutes each day
prioritizing work and personal plans. "And don't forget to schedule some
time for yourself."
Tebbe offered ways to avoid "time thieves":
• Say "no" more often. Useful lines: "I'll check my schedule" (even
if you have a calendar with you); "I'll get back with you after I check
with my wife/husband;" "I'll think about it and call you back;" "I'll
take it if someone else can take this other job off my plate."
• Multitask while exercising: read or talk on the phone.
• Record a television show. Watch it later, zipping past commercials.
• Screen calls with an answering machine.
• Return calls and e-mails in one time block instead of individually.
• Find related papers quickly by using color-coded files for
different categories, such as family members, finances and clients.
"People called us to say they would take time off work to come" to
the workshop, said library Director Judi Chambers. Reference Librarian
Sue Ferrell arranged the weekday event.
"The best tip I got from the workshop was to use colored folders,"
said Becky Thompson of Shelby Township.
Another township resident, Sue Frailey, said she wanted ideas to help
deal with her husband's medical appointments. Now, she said, she's
thinking about "time thieves, especially phone calls, and ways to say
'no' and how to use a planner."
Cindy Hampel is a Metro Detroit freelance