“startsmart day”

startsmart is my log-in for the MSN money boards and Women in Red. I chose it because I truly believe that if you start smarter there’s a lot less heartache later on. While I was extremely fortunate to have a lot of older, wiser people helping me from an early age I still see opportunities where I could have done better.

Anywho, someone on the No Spending Challenge coined the term “startsmart day” to denote a day spent being insanely productive.

See, I often get blank stares when I recap my day; people are usually left wondering how I can get so much accomplished in 24 hours. Or what drugs I’m on.

I’ve never understood the question because, to me, I don’t do anything extraordinary in a given day. Nonetheless, here are a few things that help me be extra productive with my time:

*A small living space. My house is just under 1,100 square feet so even a top to bottom wall to wall cleaning won’t take me too long. Also,

*Eliminate clutter. If you’re moving junk out of the way to clean a counter off or vacuum the task takes twice as long. Which corresponds to,

*Everything has a place. Even if it’s temporary, just about everything in my house has a set place. I don’t have a lot of garage storage for small things (nuts, bolts, etc) so instead I keep everything in a large tub. When it’s needed I can pull everything out, find what I need and pack it up again. Because I’m fitful those places may change but I can quickly adjust. This is easy because I,

*Live alone. No one comes in to muss up something I’ve cleaned. It’s handy. And a convenient threat for those folks you live with who are constantly messing up the place! I also,

*Have a general schedule. I feed my dogs in the same place twice a day and use the same food scoop. They get the same command word and when they’re done go right outside. I wash their bowls every weekend and fill up the water bowls every other day. Having set routines saves me time from looking for lost bowls or a new food scoop. This has to jive with:

*be flexible. Groceries go on the kitchen counter until they’re put away. If I don’t have a chance to wash all the apples right away it’s fine. If I need to stack recycling by the garage door to move later, it’s fine. I try to be flexible enough to keep my blood pressure low. Since I’m easily bored I learned to:

*entertain myself. When I’m doing dishes (a hated chore) or sorting through papers in the living room I’m often watching a movie or tv series. I like to watch something I’ve seen before so I don’t have to pay close attention.  Right now I’m taking a break from mopping and straightening up the living room. My DVD player is on and playing a new CD.

Finally, if you want to have a startsmart day just remember that it’s not a contest.  I have much more experience with this type of focused productivity and my house often falls into disarray. It’s natural.

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