Have you ever asked yourself, “How did my life get so out of control?” I know I certainly have – more than once, unfortunately. If you ever happen to find yourself in this situation, or if you’re just spending some time reexamining your life and looking for areas to improve, these books and organizing tools should help you streamline, pare down, rearrange, and take control your life. They’ve made a world of difference in mine.
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Busy women generally have way too much on their plates! You’ve got things to track at work and at home, and you’ve got lots of people counting on you to be organized. But some days you feel like your jugging skills are at their limit.
Related Post: 7 Reasons You Absolutely, Positively Must Get Organized!
I have to admit that I’ve spent a big part of my life trying to get my act together since I was the head juggler in my own family. But in that quest, I’ve run across a lot of good books and organizing tools that have helped me put systems in place and focus on priorities.
Since starting this blog, I’ve been utilizing more technology. I’ve become a convert and love being able to keep track of things and be productive even when I’m not at home. Talk about finally feeling like your act is tied up with a red bow!
Each of the items I’m listing here is something I’ve read and used. All of the books were helpful enough that I put them in my personal library.
Related Post: 4 Reasons To Get Organized
Books to help you get organized
The 10 Natural Laws of Successful Time and Life Management – Hyrum W. Smith. This is a book I spent a good amount of time with at a point in my life when I was trying to clarify my values. The lesson I learned from the book is this: figure out what’s important in your life, prioritize your time by focusing on what’s important, get rid of everything else.
One of my favorite authors in the organizing genre is Julie Morgenstern. Here are several of her books that are in my personal library.
- Organizing From The Inside Out is the first book of hers that I read.
- Never Check Email In The Morning: And Other Unexpected Strategies For Making Your Work Life Work is a book I read a few years ago. I needed to streamline things at work and honestly, email is one thing that seemed to ding at me all day long. Getting a handle on my email has made things less hectic and I feel more in control. It’s easy to fall down a rabbit hole when you get on the internet. Surely I’m not the only person who has ever looked up and been horrified at how much time I’ve wasted.
- Time Management From The Inside Out is another good one. Most of us could use some idea to get our time under control so that we can get more done.
- SHED Your Stuff, Change Your Life is one to check out if you struggle with too-much-stuff-itis.
Related Post: 5 Ways A Life Planner Puts You In Complete Control
Eat That Frog! 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time – Brian Tracy. One huge lesson from this book is to get the worst thing off your list first. Once you do that, the rest of the day goes much better and you don’t spend time dreading something.
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change – Stephen R. Covey. I still refer to the time management matrix to help me determine the importance and urgency of particular tasks. Just because something is on your list doesn’t mean it’s worth doing.
I make no bones about the fact that I am a huge fan of Peter Walsh. I’ve probably read every book he’s written and I think he’s a genius when it comes to getting your home organized.
Here are a few of my picks of his:
- How To Organize (Just About) Everything – it’s the closest thing to an organizing bible I’ve ever seen.
- Let It Go – because I doubt there are many people who don’t have more things than they need.
- Enough Already: Clearing Mental Clutter To Become The Best You – One of the most important lessons I learned from Peter Walsh’s books (and I have several of them) is that stuff can weigh you down and make you feel like you’re drowning. Most of us keep way too much stuff thinking that it’s important, sentimental, and that it makes us happy. As a result, stuff takes over and deprives us of our best life. The test for me became this question: do I love this enough to display it, use it, or wear it? If the answer is no – out it goes.
- It’s All Too Much – and yes, I really do learn something new from each of his books!
Less stuff = a more organized me!
One of my new favorites that I tell all my friends about is The 12-Week Year (1) by Brian P. Moran & Michael Lennington. This book has really helped me focus in on what I want to accomplish by helping me get from a big conceptual goal down to the actual tactics that move me towards completing that goal. It has made a huge difference in my productivity! In fact, I bought the companion workbook (2) to accompany it because I want to dive deeper into this system.
While the books contain great advice, we still need tools to help us put that advice into practice and make it work for us.
Organizing Tools Help You Get It All Done!
In addition to the great books I’ve shared above, these tools help you actually GET things done using technology, systems, calendars, and planners.
Technology to help you get organized
cozi.com – I discovered Cozi several years ago and used it primarily from the website for a long time. But it’s also got a mobile app that makes it even more convenient. The thing I like most about Cozi is that I can color-code each member of the family in order to keep track of their activities. I also love that it sends text message reminders to my kids of events I want them to remember (like birthdays). Gone is the “I forgot” excuse! You get the benefit of reminding your kids (or spouse) or something without actually having to nag them in person about it. This feature alone is priceless.
Google Docs – I have used Google Docs a lot in this past year. I know there are still applications that I haven’t explored, but for easy cloud storage for folders, it’s super easy…and free.
Trello – I’ve always been a paper planner girl, but I’ve learned to love Trello! It’s a project organizer that allows you to break projects down into smaller pieces. You’re able to add checklists, due dates, and attach files. Trello can be used by teams (or families) so it would be good to consider if you’ve got others involved in helping you get something done.
These days I’m using Trello to organize my recipes, track my Christmas spending and keep track of wish lists, and virtually everything related to my business is kept here. It’s one of the first tabs I open on my computer every morning. Even though I’m primarily a paper girl, anything that’s a big project goes straight into Trello.
Toodledo – I primarily use this for the list making function (did I ever tell you that I’m a compulsive list maker?) It’s a good place to capture all those miscellaneous things that cross your mind and cause you to say, “I need to remember to do that (clean that, buy that, etc.).” Whether at your computer or on the go, add that pesky thing that’s big enough to annoy you, but small enough that you don’t always remember it, to your list. Then when you’ve got a few free minutes on your hands you can check the list and check something off. You can set due dates and assign priority levels to items and you can sort according to each.
Planners and calendars to get you organized
Full disclosure here: I am a paper girl. I love calendars, planners, notebooks. If it’s paper then I love it.
Franklin Planner Pages – They make a variety of planners in different sizes and bindings. I’ve used these planners for years and they’re great for people who have lots of appointments or meetings.When I worked as a school administrator being able to see all my daily commitments at one glance was crucial and this is still the planner I recommend for folks who work outside the home at any job that requires they be in lots of different places.
This year I’m trying something new. I’ve heard about Lara Casey’s Power Sheets for a couple of years but had never taken the leap to give them a try.
I ordered mine in the pretty pink color and have started planning my goals so that I can break them down in to the steps I need to actually achieve them. I gotta admit that I’m super excited about this coming year and will report more on how they worked for me.
There you have it. While this doesn’t list every book or tool that has great information or organizing ability, it’s a good list to get you started. I personally do not believe that there is such a thing as TOO organized. The truly organized person achieves so much that they can take over the world – or at least their world.
What’s your favorite organizing tool or tip? Is there something you have learned or implemented that make your life run smoother? Please share it below because I’m always looking for a new idea. And if you know someone who could use a little nudge in the organizing arena, please share this post with them. A shared blog post is so much better than nagging, don’t you think?