The Little Bits Add Up

The little bits add up

The Little Bits Add Up!

Becoming more organized doesn’t always salvage big chunks of time. Organization tends to free up minutes. But the minutes add up. Here are five quick tips that conserve minutes that might eventually add up to hours.

1. If you think of things to do while you’re away from the office, leave messages on your own voice mail. I used to use an app called ReQall. It allows me to leave a voice mail that is converted into an email, that lands in my in box, ready for me to act on when I get back to the office. the app works on Android devices and I really miss it now that I’m an iPhone user.

2. Schedule off-site meetings at the beginning or the end of the day to avoid breaking up the day’s momentum. It may also help you avoid rush-hour traffic.

3. Schedule a “throw-out date” to purge your files. The beginning of the year or as soon as you pay your taxes are great times to do this task. This is a must to keep your file drawers workable.

4. Print or send out meeting guidelines and agendas so that participants can review them before the meeting starts. If applicable, schedule time for each topic covered in the meet. This will assure that everything gets covered in due time.

5. Locate your in-basket outside your office so people won’t have to interrupt you when they deliver paperwork. Think exam room at the doctor’s office. You’ll be able to work uninterrupted.

So in conclusion, make small changes and you will see that the little bits add up.

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Janet Schiesl

Janet has been organizing since 2005. She is a Certified Professional Organizer and the owner of Basic Organization. She loves using her background as a space planner to challenge her clients to look at their space differently. She leads the team in large projects and works one-on-one with clients to help the process move quickly and comfortably. Call her crazy, but she loves to work with paper, to purge what is not needed and to create filing systems that work for each individual client. Janet is a Past President of the Washington DC Chapter of the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO) and was voted 2016 Organizer of the Year by the Washington DC Chapter of NAPO.


  1. Diane N Quintana on January 25, 2021 at 8:37 am

    Each one of these tips is fabulous, Janet. I agree that all the little things we do to create better flow or better systems helps to make the most of the time we have available.

    • Janet Schiesl on January 25, 2021 at 11:15 am

      Changing one thing at a time and working it into your routine works best!

  2. Kristin Zucaro on January 25, 2021 at 8:47 am

    I need to implement #3!
    As it relates to #4 it drives me bananas when i create the timed agendas and colleagues ignore/extend. Let’s normalize the timed agendas, and speaking up to say, “we need to move on, let’s table that part of the discussion for another time,… or can we take it offline?”
    Great tips, as always, Janet! Thanks!

    • Janet Schiesl on January 25, 2021 at 11:11 am

      Every meeting needs a good moderator. I totally feel your frustration. Yes. Implement #3. The best time of year to purge files is now, as you are getting ready for tax season.

  3. Seana Turner on January 25, 2021 at 9:21 am

    I think tip #3 is particularly relevant these days with so many working from home. You absolutely have to have an agenda, and also someone who steers the meeting through it! Otherwise, everyone talks at once and you can’t hear anybody. One plus of the zoom meetings is that you have less “sidebar” conversation!

    • Janet Schiesl on January 25, 2021 at 11:10 am

      Seana, I think you meant #4. But I totally agree. Mismanaged meetings are the worst, but you stuck there watching the clock tick and not being productive. An agenda really helps.

  4. Sabrina Quairoli on January 25, 2021 at 11:04 am

    Great tips! We like to do the purging papers tasks each year around the beginning of January. Every few years, we do a more in-depth clearing out of papers and files to reduce the number of bins we have. We did that this year and we have so much room now in our storage area. WOW. I am so happy that we took the time to do this.

    • Janet Schiesl on January 25, 2021 at 11:07 am

      I also purge papers at the beginning of the year. This makes so much room. I’m trying to go more paperless, so now I can fit all my personal and business papers in one drawer!

  5. Linda Samuels on January 25, 2021 at 11:54 am

    These are excellent tips. The app ReQall sounds great! I started using “Siri” on my iPhone to help, especially when driving or walking. I say, “Hey Siri. Email me.” She asks me for a subject and then the message. I talk my message or idea out loud. Siri emails it to me to refer to it once I’m back in the office. I love that! It’s a time saver and much safer than trying to write a note while I’m driving. 🙂

    • Janet Schiesl on January 25, 2021 at 12:10 pm

      Linda, I have to try that. I often think of things while I’m driving and I have a terrible memory!

  6. Melanie Summers on January 25, 2021 at 2:58 pm

    I’m downloading this app IMMEDIATELY! This is the thing that’s missing in my life I didn’t know was missing, hahaha! Great post, thank you.

  7. Julie Bestry on January 26, 2021 at 12:44 am

    These are all superb tips. I’ve never tried ReQall, but I will check it out. I use a landline in the office and my cell is mainly for personal usage, so it’s easy for me, when out, to call to leave voicemail for myself back at the office. But I also send texts to myself. Because I’m in an all-Apple environment, if I send a text from anywhere, it not only shows up on my phone, but also is waiting on my screen of my Mac when I get back to my desk, and is on the lock screen of my iPad, so I can’t possibly miss those reminders. (I often think of blog ideas when I’m in bed, text myself from the iPad, and in the morning, the messages await me everywhere!)

    I love the “in-box out-there” idea for people with offices where others bring things to you. It ensures you won’t get overwhelmed or distracted, and works on the same principle as not having email notifications. I love this whole post!

    • Janet Schiesl on January 26, 2021 at 7:25 am

      Julie, a few years ago I consulted with the manager of a big museum in DC. It was very clear to me that boundaries were part of her issue. We didn’t even make it from the reception area to her office without several staff stopping to ask her questions. Then while we were in her office we were interrupted several times again. I suggested closed door hours for her and the in-box out there as quick ways to have more control of her time.

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