When you only have a few minutes before going to lunch, attending a meeting, or leaving for an appointment, it often seems useless to start any important or involved task. But those few minutes could be a great start to getting yourself organized or chipping away at a larger project.
Instead of wasting this time, take the 10 minute challenge! Try some of the following suggestions when you have a few minutes to kill. You can even get the kids involved by setting a timer and making it a game.
- Make a list of the first few steps you need to take for a large project and, if you have time, you can start the first step. This could be making a list of materials you need or notes on who you need to call. You can take a few minutes to gather everything you will need so that the next time you have another few minutes you can dig right in and start another step with ease.
- Make an appointment with the dentist, doctor or other practitioner.
- Sort through the mail, open everything and discard all the envelopes and non essentials to recycling.
- Tidy up your email- deleting and filing.
- Straighten your desk.
- Look at your schedule for the next month and find a good time that you could see a friend you haven’t seen in a while. Make a quick call or email to see if they are available.
- Decide your meals for next week and make a grocery list.
- Organize your briefcase, purse, book bag, or gym bag.
- Grab a donation bag or box and look around the room or in a closet for a quick pick of some things you no longer use or love and pass them along.
Waiting time can also be used to further your life goals. For example you can use commuting time to read a book or learn a new language (on audio for those who are driving). Research a topic of interest on the internet, start the plans for your next vacation or check schedules for a recreational activity you were only pondering.
The ten minute challenge is a great way to squeeze a little more activity into your busy schedule!
Ways to prepare for the Unexpected
No matter where you live, or the time of the year, you and your family should be prepared for emergencies. Not just big disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes or fires, but medical and personal emergencies as well.
Organize Anything understands that no one wants to think about emergency situations, so we’ve come up with 5 easy, stress free ways to prepare for emergencies before you have to deal with them.
1. Cover it in ICE. ICE stands for In Case of Emergency and Emergency Service Providers (paramedics, police and firefighters) will use your phone to contact your next of kin. Make it easier for them to contact the right person by including “I.C.E” at the end of their name. It is a universally known acronym in emergency services.
2. Pick your emergency contacts carefully. So often we make our emergency contacts a loved one, not taking into consideration that we are often with our closest family and friends when things go awry. Pick an emergency contact who lives in another city or province/state. This way, your person can be a hub of contact if you and your family are separated during an environmental emergency.
3. Keep your documents in one, easy to grab place. Store photocopies of the ID, Passports, credit cards, health cards, SIN cards for every member of the family in the back of the home manual. Keep it in a central place and make sure it’s easy to see. This way, if a family friend has to run into your house to pick up important documents, they can find them quickly.
4. Know where your first aid and overnight kits are. Do you have a fully stocked first aid kit in your house? Does everyone in your family know where it is? We often forget to keep our bandages and antiseptics stocked. Check the kit when you check your fire alarm batteries. Keep your overnight kit stocked with bottled water and anything else you will need to keep your family fed (and entertained!) for at least 3 days.
5. Plan for the weather. Every where has unique weather and natural phenomena that can cause major problems for you and your family. Hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, mudslides, floods, and wild fires are all elements human beings have to combat. If you live in an area where these occur with frequency, create a plan with your family and you’re out of town emergency contacts. Schedule in you calendar an annul review and discuss with all those involved.
The most important thing to remember about preparing for emergencies is not to stress out. If you are prepared with a game plan, then you’ve done all you can do. Clear communication, simple planning and an open mind will keep you safe when the unexpected happens.
>Exam time can be a stressful time of year, especially for new college and university students. For most students, it’s not WHAT they have to study that gives them the stress, but HOW to study it. Organize your study time and exam-writing strategies to have a calm and collected exam period.
1) Make sure you have sufficient time to study everything: Review chapters every week so that you don’t have to cram everything in the night before. This is why attending class is so important. If you have questions, go to the instructor weeks before the exam, not the day before.
2) Attend all tutorials: If there aren’t any, find a tutor; it is worth the money. Most instructors will be able to provide you with a list of tutors. Arrive with a list of questions to ask, and make sure the most important ones are covered. If you are still unsure about anything, ask the instructor.
3) Ask the instructor what to expect: Are there multiple-choice or essay questions? If you know what to expect, you are less likely to panic and go blank during the exam.
4) Get copies of past exams: Even if the questions aren’t recycled, the format may be similar. It can give you an idea of what questions might be asked and which areas to focus on when you’re studying. Save one old exam that you haven’t even looked at to use as a pre-test. How well you do on this will give you an indication of how prepared you are.
5) Study in the library or someplace quiet: Sit alone at a desk or in a cubicle. Leave your cell phone, laptop and anything else that will distract you at home. If you aren’t the type who can learn by yourself, bring a friend to quiz you.
6) Make a list of all the topics that you need to know: Cover each of them one by one and cross them off of the list as you become an expert on each one. If it helps, make up a list of possible questions and have a friend quiz you.
7) Create acronyms: If the answer is in a list, use the first letter of each word. For essay questions, you can either make a list of the key points or key words to use throughout the essay.
8) Go to bed early: It is important to be well rested for an exam. Any time spent studying while you are exhausted will be wasted anyway, as you are less likely to retain the information. Wake up early, have a well-balanced breakfast and review your notes before the exam.
9) Read through the exam before you start: Sometimes, later questions can give you hints or trigger your memory for earlier questions. Answer the easiest questions first. Don’t panic if you don’t know the answer right away; move on to the next question and come back to the ones you missed later on.
10) If time allows, make a brain map before you even look at the exam: Take the first five minutes to write down everything you can remember, including all of the acronyms you created while studying, on a scrap piece of paper or the back of the exam.
11) Use correct grammar and write legibly: If the instructor cannot understand what you are trying to say, he or she cannot grade your exam.
12) If you are unsure of what a question is asking for, ask the instructor to clarify: Don’t be afraid to ask, because other people are probably wondering the same thing.
13) Divide your time and don’t rush: Some instructors will even give you suggested time allotments for questions. Spend the most time on the questions that are worth the most. Make sure to leave enough time to answer all questions.
14) Even if you only know part of the answer, write it down: Most instructors give partial marks, and sometimes that partial mark can be the difference between a pass and a fail or an A and an A+.
Remember to plan ahead so that you aren’t cramming everything in at the last minute. Over preparation for an exam trumps under preparation every time.
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© 2010 Colette Robicheau
The Organizing Coach
Phone: (902) 233-1577
Permission to reuse or redistribute these materials is hereby granted provided they are reproduced or redistributed in their entirety with full attribution.
>Here are some tips to get you that extra shut eye and reduce the anxiety in the morning hours.
The night before…
-Set table and prepare breakfast items.
-Have vitamins and medications ready to be taken.
-Use a coffee pot with a timer.
-Prepare lunches when making dinner.
-Have a basket by the door labeled for each family.
-For children, get home work together and in knapsack
-For adults have briefcases, purses, gym bags at door.
-Know where your keys are.
-Create checklists for different bags or activities.
-Review your calendar and know what’s up for the following day.
-Prepare the clothes to be worn the next day.
-Take a shower or bath the night before.
-Get to bed at a reasonable hour.
-Simplifying your toiletries or cosmetic routine.
-Carpooling or sharing some other duties
-Getting a real sense of how much time things take.
-Organizing closets, bathrooms, kitchen cupboards and pantries.
Start your day off on the right track with some new organizing tips and tricks that give you the extra sleep you and your family crave.