Indiana University - Purdue University – Indianapolis
Human Resources Administration
Reduce/Eliminate Obstacles to Change
If obstacle relates to time management or failure to set time boundaries:
• When cooking, double or triple the recipe so you can eat one meal and put two or three in
the freezer for later use. Some good books on this topic are: Once-A-Month Cooking: A
Proven System for Spending Less Time in the Kitchen and Enjoying Delicious,
Homemade Meals Every Day, by Mary Beth Lagerborg and Mimi Wilson, and Month of
Meals: One Day to a Freezer Full of Entrées by Kelly Machel.
• Practice ingredient multi-prep. Ex: When cooking ground beef for chili on Monday,
brown extra for the tacos you plan to have on Thursday and the spaghetti you plan to
have Saturday or sauté enough chicken for chicken salad, chicken Caesar salad/wrap and
• Consider going to the grocery store once every two weeks or once a month, with a quick
weekly trip for perishables.
• Look for ways to kill two (or three) birds with one stone. Include the kids as you walk the
dog - this allows you to talk with your children, get exercise and walk the dog. Take a
project with you so that you can do it while waiting at the BMV, between classes, etc.
• Put a dust cloth in a sealable plastic bag and put it in the car. When stopped in traffic,
dust the dash, etc. Caution: Never do this WHILE in motion. Get a portable phone with a
hands-free headset so you can talk while dusting furniture, cleaning mirrors/windows,
making the kids' lunch or loading the dishwasher.
• Think about alternative ways of getting the work done. Search on "household timesavers"
on the Internet for a wealth of ideas.
• Make a list of all the errands you do (pick up dry cleaning, stamps, etc.) Figure out ways
to do get a task accomplished in a new way - order stamps by mail or online, use a dry
cleaner that offers pick-up/drop-off, group your errands into one trip and make a list to
keep you from forgetting a stop. Investigate ways to get personal things done on campus.
• Reevaluate activities that you/your kids are doing? Does the participant really enjoy the
activity? Should there be a limit to the number of activities each person can participate in
(teaches about prioritization)? In other words, learn to say, "No," to those things that
aren't REALLY important and move things of lesser importance to a more workable time
or cut back on the number of times you do them. It's not a matter of being mean but more
a matter of honoring your values by giving more of your time to those persons/things that
• If you have several stops to make, plan the best route and gather material needed for each
• Set up and maintain a set of folders (home insurance, bank statements, hobbies, kids'
sports, school calendars, etc.) to keep yourself organized. Here's a label list. When you
print out, use Avery 5160 or MACO ML 3000 labels, not plain paper.
• Use a packing list for trips. Click here for a list for women, men, children and what to do
before you go. These lists are very comprehensive, so simply pull up the list, delete items
you don't need for this specific trip, print and, when it asks if you want to save changes,
say, "No" to preserve your comprehensive list for future use. Always have your quart-
sized baggie of liquids packed and ready to just throw in your bag.
• Analyze the sources of interruptions that steal your focus (e-mails, phone calls, etc.) and
decide when to best handle these by forwarding/delegating to someone else, doing all at
set time, etc.
• Be an effective user of electronic tools. Learn to use electronic calendaring, including the
recurring appointment feature. Then, put birthdays, anniversaries, standard holidays,
dates to reorder mail-order prescriptions, dates to clean furnace/air cleaner filters, etc., in
the electronic calendar and set it up for the correct recurrence (yearly for standard
holidays and birthdays). Set it to remind you a week ahead so you can get a card/gift. If
you need to mail a gift, set the reminder for two weeks ahead to save on shipping costs. If
you have a synchronizable PDA it is even easier. These tools are, of course, also helpful
in the workplace.
• Set aside three times each day (e.g., 8:00, 11:30 and 4:30) to check e-mail and, as much
as possible, take action and then delete the item or save to a personal folder.
• When you leave a voice mail, give your name (and affiliation if the receiver doesn't know
you), state the information or your question and leave your phone number. That way,
when you get a return call, whether you're in the office or not, the person can leave the
information or an answer to your question rather than you having to call back again.
• Leave reminders to yourself on your own voice mail when away from the office.
• If you have extensive files, develop a computerized list of your files along with drawer
numbers. Then you can type in a keyword and determine which drawer the file is in.
• Keep an electronic or paper "Achievements" file and throughout the year save/throw in
items needed to do your performance review.
• Keep an electronic or paper file for your standard meeting time with your boss or those
you supervise and throw in thoughts when they occur to you. This will prevent last
• Sign up for the IUPUI HRA training, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People (offered
on periodic basis) at http://www.hra.iupui.edu/signup.asp . Visit this related Web site,
http://www.franklincovey.com/ez/index.html where you can take a stress assessment and
If the obstacle is related to living in chaos (a real energy/efficiency sapper), here are some ways
to tame the chaos, check out this page