Deal with chronic lateness.  Commit to be on time to your appointments.  Leave early so you can arrive early, and plan to use the extra time you’ll spend waiting on reading something you enjoy.  Prepare well in advance (such as getting everything ready for a morning appointment the night before).

Create healthy habits.  Adopt habits that will help you manage your time better, such as: doing any job that takes 30 seconds or less (like discarding junk mail or hanging up a coat) immediately, putting items that you get out quickly back in their proper places, and keep surfaces (like your kitchen counter, desk, floors, etc.) clear.

Organize your space.  Deal with clutter at home by following one of three courses of action for every item: giving it away, selling it, or recycling it/throwing it away.  When trying to decide whether or not to keep a particular item, consider whether it’s valuable enough to keep, whether it’s useful at this time, and whether it has become a burden for you.  Store like items grouped together, locate them close to where they’re going to be used, and place them in labeled containers where you can easily see them. 

Get rid of one item every time you buy something new to bring into your home.  In your office, arrange your files and furniture so that the items you most frequently use are close to your work station.  Deal with each piece of paper by either: throwing it away, acting on it, or putting in a file for future reference.  Save only important documents and let go of the rest.

Enjoy new opportunities.  Managing your time well frees you from a chaotic life so you can take advantage of opportunities to align your activities with your real goals and desires.  When you pursue what matters most, you’ll enjoy true fulfillment.

Adapted from Organizing Your Day: Time Management Techniques That Will Work for You, copyright 2009 by Sandra Felton and Marsha Sims. Published by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, Grand Rapids, Mich.,

Sandra Felton, who is known as “The Organizer Lady,” is a pioneer in the field of organizing. She is the founder and president of Messies Anonymous and the author of many books including Organizing Magic. Sandra lives in Florida.

Marsha Sims is a national speaker who has taught seminars on time management and organization, managing the front desk, and projects and priorities. She has been a professional organizer for 15 years as the founder and president of her Miami-based company, Sort-It-Out, Inc.