March 7, 2011

Take Time to Make Time

Ask and you shall receive, bene-fitters: the feedback from our "Top 10 Wellness Tips" blog post was so great that we decided to do a second installment this week!

However, we wanted to put a distinctly different spin on this week's entry.  One of the crucial factors to any type of long-term success is time management - the organization and planning of one's time in the most efficient fashion to ensure completion of necessary tasks and allow freedom for pleasure and relaxation.

Almost nowhere in our lives is this more important than in regard to our health - yet often, this is the first consideration to go when our days get busy.  Do you ignore sniffles until they turn into a full-blown flu?  Do you put aside your workout to chug through a couple extra hours at the office?  Do you spend money on dinners out and designer clothing only to find your gym membership dues going into default?  All of these are signs that your healthy time management might be suffering more than you think.

Thus, today we bring you the top 11 (yes, 11 - we couldn't resist that extra tip!) tips for managing and organizing your daily life to maximize your healthy potential and find time to breathe and prioritize your overall well-being:

Do you waste time moving between the bedroom, kitchen, and bathroom because the items you need are spread throughout the house?  Start off by placing the items you use ONLY in the room in which they are used (i.e., no random blowdryers strewn about the living room!).  Second, place a small bowl, tray, or other container in each room to capture items that need to be removed and put back in the room in which they belong.  At least once a day, check to make sure that container is empty. :)

Visual clutter often translates to mental stress - when we see a mess, we internalize that messiness.  Take the time to rearrange stacks of books, DVDs, or other clutter, and create a system (alphabetic, by color, or by size) to make organization easier in the future.

(3) CAN IT
Sick of lingering garbage odors because you stuff the bag in order to avoid emptying it?  Place 5-10 empty garbage bags folded in the bottom of the can.  This way, when you lift a bag out, the other one is waiting - no time lost fumbling through your box or other storage area when you really just need to take out the trash.

Sick of half-empty shampoo, conditioner, and body wash bottles littering up the peaceful retreat of your shower?  Invest in some uniform glass bottles so that you can a) see how much you have left of your products and know when to restock, and b) find what you're looking for without fumbling through a mess of plastic.  Then once you're got your bottles, take 'em off the ledge in a stylish and simple shower caddy.

Clothes threatening a takeover on your bedroom floor?  Make your hamper accessible and skip the step of sorting by keeping a multiple-sectioned hamper wherever you need it most - i.e., not just stashing it to the back of the closet if you need it right next to the bedroom door when you walk in after work.  Toss and sort in one step - keeping those stinky gym clothes away from your delicate intimates.

The same rules that apply for a serene bathroom are the ones that will help calm a chaotic kitchen - place foods in clear, airtight storage containers to make sure they're accessible, keep track of when you need to restock, and even make healthy foods seem more appealing (studies show that attractively presented foods are more likely to be eaten that those kept in opaque boxes or hidden away in drawers).  A bonus is that these eco-friendly containers can be washed and reused as your tastes and foods change!

Let's admit it: finances can be sticky even for those of us with the most well-kept schedules.  Keeping a budget through a free managed website like or makes bill paying, expense tracking, and even future financial planning a breeze - and one less source of confusion in your busy day.

Ever had to tell someone you missed their email because it was lost in a sea of junk?  No more excuses - you can take a few seconds to stop the flood of promos, coupons, and "daily deals"  (in both your email and snail mail) by signing up at and - and of course, there's always the one-click "unsubscribe" options that are required by law on any promotional email you receive to your Inbox.  Online peace of mind can be just a click away!

Are you one of those women who skips putting on your makeup some mornings just to avoid rummaging through your bottomless, powder-caked makeup bag?  Refuse to cave in and start organizing your brushes, most-used products, and pencil instruments in a flatware caddy - great in the kitchen, but even more stylish on the vanity.  This one's for guys too - the caddy is a great solution for razors, Q-tips, combs, and more!

Just because an item has outgrown its usefulness in your life doesn't mean it wouldn't fill a need in someone else's  - which is why donating clothes, appliances, dinnerware, outerwear, and toiletries to charity is such a great idea.  Not only are Goodwill donation centers easy and plentiful, you can even turn your donation into a viable deduction (taxes are due in just over one month, you know) by recording the value on

(11) IN A BIND
Whether the dog gets sick, your child breaks a bone, or your teenager gets in a minor accident, you want to be prepared to move quickly when there is a family emergency.  Keeping important information photocopied and in a three-ring binder or other bound folder can make response times shorter and stress levels in check.  Make sure to keep medical records, drivers licenses and passports, social security cards, and birth certificates on file and easily accessible for times when a few seconds can make all the difference.

Remember, while exercise and a nutritious diet are great benchmarks for a healthy lifestyle, we here at bene-fit emphasize total body wellness - which includes the mind, body, heart, and spirit.  Take the time to make a few small changes in your time management this week and enjoy the many bene-fits of a calmer, less stressed schedule in the weeks to come.