Good Reads – 5 Favorite Books on Organizing & Productivity

I’m often asked about what my favorite organizing and productivity tools are, and while the list includes some physical items like paper planners and digital items like task management apps, my favorite tool is probably my brain! There are lots of great resources out there to help simplify and make our work and home lives more efficient, but the most important key to improving your productivity and getting organized is your mindset. Sometimes, a good book can be the catalyst for change, provide the information and motivation you need to just get started, or urge you along when you’re stuck. There are several books on organizing and productivity that I recommend to clients and in my presentations that I’ve found to run the gamut from practical content to inspiration for change, and any one of them might be helpful in your journey to living a more productive and simplified life. These are five of my favorites: Read more

Starting Fresh

I can’t remember where I first stumbled across the phrase, “Don’t trip over what’s behind you,” but I recall that it made a significant impression upon me. We all struggle with letting go of negative stuff that has happened in our past, and have heard the “don’t live in the past,” “just let it go and move on,” mantras over and over again (at least I have!) Yet for some reason, this phrase resonated with me. It could have been that, at the time, I was trying to counsel my adult daughter who was heroically trying to move on after making a very difficult life decision to let a toxic relationship go. Or one of the many times I was trying to take control of my physical health by improving my diet and revving up my exercise after having given up so many other times. But I think this particular phrase took hold because of the work that I do with my organizing and productivity clients, many of whom have tried in the past to gain control over their space and time, and failed again and again. Read more

Is Minimalism Realistic, or the Impossible Dream?, pt. 2 – Time Clutter

Last month, I wrote about the misperceptions around minimalism as they pertain to our physical clutter. But many of us still struggle with overly full schedules, to-do lists, and commitments. Our lives are full of “time clutter.” A wonderful quote by author and organizer Peter Walsh addresses this issue: “Clutter is not just the stuff on the floor. It is anything that stands between you and the life you want to be living.” Perhaps we need to apply the questions that Joshua Becker ( asks about our physical stuff to the hours in our lives as well: Read more

Is Minimalism Realistic, or the Impossible Dream?, pt. 1 – Physical Clutter

Between “minimalism,” “sparking joy,” and “the magic of tidying up,” the organizing and productivity world is full of buzzwords these days. Of all of them, I think minimalism is the victim of many negative misperceptions. When folks conjure up minimalistic spaces, they see sterile and impersonal homes and offices. The process evokes feelings of extreme sacrifice and self-denial. For those who really enjoy their possessions and the comfort they can bring, it seems like a grim, joyless existence.

I’d like to challenge those stereotypes, because I’ve found they’re inaccurate and limiting. Read more

Doing the Digital Dump

Staying organized in your office, home or business, requires regular maintenance. Taking some time at least once a year, preferably once a quarter, to cull through and purge paperwork and files is an important step toward that end. While it’s usually easy to see paperwork and other physical clutter pile up over time, it’s often far more difficult to see the build-up of digital clutter. It’s largely hidden and doesn’t take up any physical space. However, clearing out your digital spaces is equally important to staying organized. Being able to find what you need when you need it in a timely manner is the key to maintaining productivity.

Digital clutter builds up in several places. At a minimum of once a year, perhaps after you’ve filed your taxes, or even better, once a quarter, take some time to do the following: Read more

Staying the Course

For the past few years at the beginning of each year, I’ve chosen a “word for the year” to inspire and motivate myself. It has helped me define my goals for the year and reminded me to stay the course throughout the seasons as the activity in my life waxes and wanes. I set out in January of this year to do the same thing, but struggled to find a word that resonated for me and clarified what I wanted to accomplish. So, I did what any intelligent person would do. I procrastinated. For two months. (And no, my word for 2019 is not Procrastination!)
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Organizing in Difficult Relationships

One of the most frequently asked questions I get in my presentations is about how to deal with the disorganization and clutter of someone else other than the person posing the question. Occasionally the guilty party is a co-worker (or a boss), but the majority of the questions are related to frustration with the people they live with and how to deal with their family members’ disorganization. Read more

Time Management Roadblocks: What’s Getting in Your Way? (PT. 2)

Keep it simple, keep it consistent! Three more stumbling blocks to increased productivity:

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Time Management Roadblocks: What’s Getting in Your Way? (PT. 1)

The path to productivity is often littered with roadblocks, and many folks deal with some of the same problems. For the next two articles, I’ll be addressing six common time management stumbling blocks that can stymie even the most hard-working and ambitious of us!

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Swedish Death Cleaning – Gloomy or Liberating?

About six months ago, a lovely little book with a rather morbid title was published and immediately exploded in popularity. The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning is a short, simply written book that seems to have resonated with so many in our stuff-burdened society. Margareta Magnusson writes of her journey with de-cluttering, Swedish-style, as she ages. The twin desires to downsize and not wanting to leave her loved ones with the burden of dealing with all of her physical possessions after she died inspired her to begin the process of “döstädning,” or Swedish death cleaning. Read more