So Many Books, So Little Time: Time Management for Reading

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They sit there, strewn on a coffee table or on a shelf. They mock you; taunt you. You look away in embarrassment and shame. Yep! These are the books that you’ve either:

Stopped reading.

Haven’t read yet.

In the middle of reading.

But projects are due, phones ring and laundry needs to get done.

Who has time to read?

When you muster up the courage, you stand defiantly in front of these books and proclaim:

One day you shall be read!

Only “one day” never comes and the books collect dust.

If you are like me, you have your hand in several books at once.  I have a tendency to read one book for a long period of time, forgetting about the other books that need my attention. So, I’ve devised a simple, yet effective plan that works for me. It may also work for you.

CATEGORIZE!

First, I’ve categorized my reading into 3 main areas:

FUN:usually novels or short stories

BUSINESS: reading I do to become more knowledgeable in my area of expertise.

FAITH/PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT: Religious or spiritual books or books that will help me grow as a person (hint: books in all 3 categories do the latter!)

SCHEDULE-IZE!

Okay, so I made that word up.  Seriously, I schedule my reading time into my planner( I use Planner Pad, btw.)

My schedule really only allows for about 15 minutes of dedicated reading time at a sitting. If I can do more, I do more, but as of right now, 15 minutes is it.  I don’t read every category every day, but I schedule each category several times a week. For example, FUN reading might be 3X a week. BUSINESS reading might be 3-5X a week and FAITH/PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT might be 5-7X per week.

As with everything else in my planner, as I complete my reading task, I check it off. So far today, I have completed my BUSINESS reading. If I get a quiet 15 minutes after posting this, I will delve into my FAITH reading. If not, no worries, I will schedule that into tomorow’s plans. I’m okay with not getting to my FICTION category today because I know it’s scheduled throughout the week.

Here is what I am currently reading, with links to purchase:

FUN: Doctor Sleep, by Stephen King

BUSINESS: The Organized Mind, by Daniel J. Levitin

FAITH/PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT: Disarming Beauty, Essays on Faith, Truth and Freedom (Catholic Ideas for a Secular World) by Julian Carron.

Try this method. See if it works for you.

Happy Reading…and Organizing!

 

Mental Clutter II: Knowing When to Quit

 

When we clear the physical clutter from our lives, we literally make way for inspiration and 'good, orderly direction' to enter.Julia Cameron

I did it. Today,  I took a leap of faith and left a job.  I worked at Target and I loved it. It was a great way to help pay the bills while building my organizing business.

The decision to leave was not an easy one. And it is one that I do not take lightly.  Business-building wisdom maintains that you keep a day job while you work your passion as a side gig. Do this until you can transform the side gig to your main gig. Good Orderly Direction Professional Organizing Services is my side gig, and, God-willing, it will soon become my main one. It is my passion.

My main source of income (aside from my husbands) is through babysitting\housecleaning, so Target really was a second job. I had to take the Target job last year when the family I work for added another little bundle of joy and Mom took maternity leave. It was perfect timing–late September through mid-January they wouldn’t need me. Enter seasonal employment at Target. That job worked so well, I decided to stay on.

And it all worked until this Summer. Not only was the youngest crawling around, but his brothers were home. Now I was responsible for all 3 boys plus cleaning the house.  Add to that another 10-20 hours a week at the store.

Exhaustion set in.  Even as the 2 older guys returned to school, I was still tired all the time. Something had to give. My mentor and friend Eileen Koff (of To The Next Level Professional Organizing Services and Eileen Koff Ministries) gently told me, “Follow your passion.”

How could I follow my passion for organizing when bills have to be paid, was my immediate thought.

How could you not, was my answer.

I was staying at the second job because of the money, or so I thought.  It hit me: I continued to work at the store out of fear, not money. Fear of economic insecurity. Fear that God would not provide a way for me to bring income into my family. Fear is the opposite of faith.

And so what started out as a safety net turned into a crutch, and then finally, a wall.  A wall that blocked the path to following my passion. A wall that blocked the way to true success.

As soon as I realized that the job no longer served it’s original purpose, I decided to eliminate it. It became unnecessary. Now, with the job gone, the way to following my passion is cleared. That way is paved with good and orderly direction.

De-cluttering rule #1:

Getting rid of objects and other that no longer work or serve their intended original purpose opens up the space in our hearts for the things that matter.

 

Happy Organizing!

Kim

 

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On-the-Spot Time Management

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We’ve all had them. You know what I’m talking about–the days we have planned just so. Then, an item we didn’t know we needed is nowhere to be found. Or an unexpected call comes in and we have to change our plans.

 

All hell breaks loose, right?

That’s how my day was yesterday. Or rather, that’s how it could have been.  That’s how it would’ve been if I had not already realized that I get easily overwhelmed when my day is too scheduled for my comfort.

THE PROBLEM:

THE UNEXPECTED TIME CRUNCH

My plan yesterday was to go to my local yarn store and knit all day, and then go home to chat on the phone with a local professional organizer. I wanted to pick her brain about starting a new career in the organizing field.

But then I realized I didn’t have a crucial item I needed to knit for the day. As if that weren’t bad enough, I’d forgotten I’d told Dad I would stop by in the afternoon. A brief wave of panic set in.

THE SOLUTION:

ON-THE-SPOT TIME MANAGEMENT

When this happens, I ask myself two crucial questions:

  • What’s important for me today?
  • What can I release?

 

WHAT’S IMPORTANT?

The knitting class was already paid for, so I needed to attend to that. It meant purchasing an item I needed before the 10:30 class time.

My father is 85 and very independent and maintaining a relationship with him is important, so I needed to attend to him.

The phone call to the organizer can be potentially life-changing, so I needed to attend to it.

WHAT CAN GO?

As soon as I figured out what was non-negotiable (the class, my dad, and the phone call) what was unimportant became self-evident–as beneficial as it might be for me to knit beyond the  ninety-minute class time, it was not crucial. It had to go.

HOW TO MOVE FROM THE PROBLEM TOWARD THE SOLUTION

Still, I needed to make an unexpected trip to the store. How can I accomplish this without feeling harried to get to class? I like to use two simple time management strategies–buffering and boundaries.

TIME BUFFERING

Time buffering is nothing more than creating space in the day for the unexpected. It can be as simple as leaving for work 5 minutes earlier than the usual time in case you run into traffic, or as challenging as getting up an hour earlier than you do now. The important thing is that you decide what’s best for you.

For me, being dressed, fed and having the bed made by 8 AM is pretty important, even on my days off. So, when I found out I needed to get to a craft store before class, I was ready. I was able to buy what I needed and still be the first one to show up.

Time buffering has worked amazingly in my life. I’m never late for work, even on days when I have to go through a bottleneck of cars.

I’m not yelling for a red light to hurry up and turn green! Thus my stress level is turned down several notches. Who doesn’t want that?

TIME BOUNDARIES

Setting a time boundary around a task or an event can not only help prioritize your day, but can also keep relationships healthy. Sometimes, we even need to set time boundaries around difficult people. This is another way of creating space, or breathing room, in the day.

Yesterday, I had to set a time boundary around my knitting so that I could visit with my father. I had to set a time boundary on my visit to dad so that I could devote the proper time and attention needed for the phone call to the professional organizer. See how this works? There’s space to get the important things done; space for the unexpected; space to breathe.

Who doesn’t want that?

 

Have a great time-management tip? We want to know! Share it in the comments.