Structure Sunday: Things that help keep me organized

I am not naturally organized. If left to my own devices, I would go deep. For example, I would knit for a whole day. I would read entire books, workout a little too much, or cook overly complicated meals. I don't lack for inspiration or tenacity. What I work towards, is balance and rhythm in my schedule. 

I am almost 53 and smart enough by now to seek outside advice. Lots of it. All the time. I have learned that I need it. At this point in my life, a big source of inspiration are my co- workers. They are the common sense ones. A person always needs that kind of people in their life. If you don't have any, I suggest you find some. 

Beyond that, my books and other media are very important for me. I read a self improvement article from one source or another two to three times a week. I have a couple solid go-to books on time management, and they never cease to help. Finally,  I listen to a selection of podcasts when I am in the car or doing things like folding laundry. These are weekly audio blogs on various topics, all collected for my listening pleasure by subscription, for free, on my smartphone, which hooks by bluetooth or cord into the stereo of my car or my house. I can set the settings to keep only the recent episodes, so there are no worries about all my space getting used up. To get podcasts, at least in the apple world, you go to the app store, or open the podcast app on your phone. I am sure it is just as easy for other platforms ( yeah right ; ) You'll have to pick your own topics. I defy you to find a topic that is not without a podcast. From chess to chocolate you will not be disappointed. 

For books, I recommend The Everything Time Management Book. It is clear and fun to read. My favorites are from the Harvard business review series ( the HBR series) and my favorite of those is Getting the Right Work Done. I will make sure to include these in my Amazon store which is under the Retail Therapy link in the left menubar. 

Bute even better and more up to date are articles in key magazines. I like learning about the science of human productivity and how it informs the way we conduct our lives. What does science say about habits ? What does it say about sleep or the way we study ? There's a lot to learn even in the social sciences about things like how to manage our feelings, and how we should communicate in order to get along. 

It takes a lot of reading to follow all this, and so I try to chose strategically. First, I set up a good home page on my laptop. My current one is through Yahoo, and I have it customized to the hilt. I also have a good few news reader apps. My faves are Flipboard and Currents, and these are also highly customizable. 

I still crave some paper, so I get a selection of key magazines, like Wired, Scientific American and Real Simple, to name a few. But more and more, I am choosing digital magazine versions. Oftentimes, but not always, digital versions come with the paper subscription, as long as you can log in with your subscription number. ( You all know that a subscription is much much cheaper than buying individual issues, right ? ) Digital magazines allow you to have all of your reading with you all of the time. 

Make sure there is a time for everything important in your day. Whether you are a stay a home mom or a busy executive, you should prioritize and block it out like the president. Just don't forget to block out some time every week to reassess and improve the way you keep yourself organized.