{Time management} What does the bookshelf of your life look like?

I was recently going through some Kindle samples to delete or add to my wish list. I came across an author who described our lives as bookshelves. The sample wasn’t compelling enough for me to add to my “to read” pile but somehow that image of the bookshelf stayed with me.

I’ve since gone through all my browsing history on Amazon (!) but I can’t find the name of that book. If you know of it, please let me know so I can give the person due credit.

Your bookshelf of time | Organising Queen

The bookshelf of your life | Organising Queen


Your life can be represented by a bookshelf.

  1. If you think about your life right at this moment as a bookshelf, what does that look like?
  2. Is it crammed too full of books with random books shoved in any spaces you can find?
  3. Does it have lots of white space so that it’s no problem to add an extra book here or there?
  4. Are you able to comfortably move books around – either to other sections – or declutter them completely?
  5. Do you need to add some new books to your shelf?

Some of us try to cram our bookcases full of books when it’s clear that there’s no space. If you want another book on your bookcase, you need to take something else off.

What does the bookcase of your life look like at the moment?

If you need help creating a bookcase with some white space, Organise your Time will help you.

When was the last time you gave yourself a treat?

The picture is of some physical treats I bought myself over the last couple of months.
But that’s not really what I mean.
A treat for me is sitting with a mug of tea DURING THE DAY just reading (while the dishes are in the sink).
Or last weekend, taking 45 minutes to finish up my Project Life for 2013 while the kids ran around the garden (unsupervised – I do listen for “bad” screams) getting dirty and being kids πŸ™‚
Or buying yourself a more expensive diary because it gives you pleasure and you’ll enjoy using it rather than the cheaper, plainer, more boring one
You deserve little treats throughout the week, month, year, not only on your birthday or at Christmas.

Make time for daily treats (I’m telling you, 15 minutes with my cup of tea and a good blog does it for me) – you deserve it!

What are some inexpensive daily treats you incorporate into your life?

I don’t have time to….

I had the best time last weekend – meeting three friends for a late lunch. We’d been planning this get together for awhile so it was all the more sweeter.

But it would not have happened unless we stopped talking about doing it and just did it.

Often times (and I’m also guilty at times) we say to friends, “we really should get together” and we don’t.

Either you’re just being polite (don’t!) or you don’t really mean it (ooh, please don’t) or you’re just not getting organised.

If you say that, take out your diary or phone and agree on a tentative date there and then.

Superhero photo is going just beautifully and I’m so enjoying exploring and being curious without having perfectionism on my shoulder.

This is one of my favourite pics taken that same day and do you know what? I only bothered to take out my camera because I knew I needed a “sun” pic as one of my photo prompts.

I’ve since resolved to stop being so lazy to take out my camera and just do it – you never know what gems you may find.

As is usually the case, the minute I decide to Be Different, there’s an opportunity.

Yesterday I started rushing down the stairs at work to go to my basement parking and just outside the door I saw a peacock (I’m very blessed to work in absolutely soul-satisfying surroundings).

It was really beautiful and the light was also gorgeous but I was already pressed for time.

I did stop though, took out my small point and shoot and took some peacock pictures. I don’t even know if they’re any good but I’m glad I stopped and took the time to take those pics.


My coaching challenge for you this weekend:

If you’re thinking about someone, there and then send off an email, text, pick up the phone, grab a piece of notepaper or card and jot down a few quick sentences.Β  Better still, make some time to get together.

When you find yourself saying, “I don’t have time to ….” do it anyway. Read that magazine, play with your camera, play with your children, have a nap.



What’s your preferred working style?

I have a huge project at work getting to the point of implementation.

This is the best part of anything for me – the getting it done stage. However, it also means that it’s the busiest time and so it’s really easy to get to that uncontrollable stage.

The one where you feel like there’s way too much to do and not enough time.

Normally, this would not bother me because I have a ginormous master to-do list and I pull things off of there in terms of priority.

But when there’s a long weekend looming ahead (like there was last week) I just know I won’t be able to fully relax unless I make a sizeable dent in the to-do items.


My preferred working style is to work until done or until I’m no longer effective (!) but I’ve discovered that it’s a pure luxury to work like this these days.

You see, I have to leave at a certain time to get home so the nanny can leave.

Last week I asked my husband if he could get home for the nanny so I could work late.

Well, that extra hour made all the difference.

It sounds strange to say this but it was bliss working til I was done.

That hour was a gift of time.

I’ve since decided that I’m going to give myself the gift of {working until done} once every two weeks or so.

What small thing could you do to ease the pressure in your life just a bit?

What’s your preferred working style?

If you need some help, book a Success Strategy Session with me.

Are you a time optimist?

I loved all the comments last week on the “are you getting enough sleep” article.

It seems this is a problem we all share.

Not many people are getting enough sleep!

And we all wonder why we’re less productive than we want to be, or why we’re not quite happy and full of joy.

(Sleep is a huge part of happiness)

So then I got to thinking.

Why is it that we need to create bedtimes and routines to get us sleeping earlier?

My reason is that in the evenings, I somehow start thinking I’m a time optimist.

A time optimist is someone who thinks they can do more in a specific period of time than one can realistically do.

It’s really strange since I’m usually a time realist in my work life. I know how to organise my time.

– I know that things happen in the traffic so I need to leave extra time to get anywhere.
– I know that if I think I can run 5 errands in an hour, I’ll probably only be able to do 3 or 4 because of long queues, inefficient service, etc.
– I know that when arranging meetings, etc. people will typically not all arrive on time so I may have to leave off the least important agenda items if we run out of time.

A time realist is realistic about how long things take and buffers in time when necessary.

Back to my time optimism though.

I put 6 things on a list and get to only two of them even though I know full well I have a really busy day at work.

I’m a time optimist.

I think things will go quicker than they inevitably do, or that I’m Superwoman and can do those things quickly.

And yet I often tease my husband because he’s a true time optimist.

He always thinks he can get much more done on the weekends and is then disappointed when we only get to do one or two things.

Of course the time pessimist thinks there’s never enough time to do anything – read, organise, do fun things.

How about a quick example?

You have 15 minutes before a meeting.

Time optimist – “I can probably get 10 emails done if I do them really quickly”

Time realist – “I can answer 2 – 3 long emails or about 5 – 6 quick ones”

Time pessimist – “15 minutes? No point me starting an email. I’ll just get started and have to stop!”

So, are you a time optimist, realist, or pessimist?


Are you getting enough sleep?

I realised on Sunday night as I got into bed at 12:30 am that I’ve been slacking on my bedtime.

Yes, I’m a night owl so my natural tendency is to work late because my brain is most awake then.

However, I work full-time so I don’t have the luxury of living totally in tune with my body clock.

I used to have a rule about my bedtime and, to be honest, it still exists. I’m just not following it all that well.

I like to be sleeping by 12 so I need to be in bed by 11 since I read for an hour every night – bliss!

And here’s my rule – computer off by 10:30.

I found I’d be getting to bed at least 30 minutes later when I didn’t enforce my computer rule because I forgot about tidying the desk, doing my bedtime routine, etc.

So my question to you is this – are you getting enough sleep?

Most adults don’t get enough sleep and we’re all functioning (or not) at below-par levels of productivity and simply, life enjoyment.

I need 7 hours a night. On the weekends I get an extra hour and sometimes even an afternoon nap with the babies, also known as my two-year-old twins.

Do you know how much sleep your body needs?

The other day Gretchen Rubin, the author of The Happiness Project, wrote a post asking about bedtimes.

She said something interesting in that once you set a bedtime (we now know mine is 11 or 12, depending how you look at it), if you ignore your bedtime, you’re then consciously choosing to do what you were doing instead of going to bed.

I love it!

So here’s this week’s coaching challenge:

– What is your wake-up time?
– Work back at least 7 hours. That is the time you have to be asleep by.
– How long do you need before falling asleep? Subtract that time.
– Also subtract time for your bedtime routine – face, teeth, reading, etc.
– For the next week, set an alarm or reminder in your phone or computer that says “go to bed”.
– Keep track of your productivity the following day as you start getting enough sleep and let me know how you feel by posting in the comments.
– If you need help getting control of your time, let me coach you! Email me now.Google

Holidays and goals

We’ve been back home from our holiday for a few days now and the house is restored to order once again.

I said to a friend recently that there really is no point to going on holiday unless it’s for at least 5 days.

You need some time to justify all the packing and unpacking πŸ™‚

beautiful door at uShaka marine world in Durban

The holiday was better than I expected – the babies behaved themselves, the weather was “beach good” 9 out of 10 days and I relaxed a lot. I even read 4 books. I read the 4th one in the car on my way back home.

Now to start thinking about the next holiday. I’m the type of person who likes to have something to look forward to so I need to know I’ll have another mini-break in May to tide me over for the next few months.

And while we’re in forward-thinking mode, let’s talk a little bit about how to choose your goals.

Your annual goals are not just a to-do list.

Every thought that enters your head is not a goal. That’s just something to do.

A goal, on the other hand, is something that will compel, excite and motivate you on the way to your life purpose.

E.g. If you want to do this little project and that little project, ask yourself if it’s contributing to your life purpose and it’ll become very clear what stays and what goes.

Do you read Simple Mom?

She also writes at Incourage, a Christian blog I follow, and in the last couple of weeks, she wrote a post about her 4 main goals for the year.

I loved that for the simple reason (pun totally intended!) that there is no clutter in her goal-making process.

She had just one goal in each of these 4 areas of her life – fun, personal, family and professional.

I have 22 for the year πŸ™‚

Although I do have main goals and then some “cousin” goals (got that term from Jon Acuff). A cousin goal is one on the sidelines. When you achieve the main goal, you then start working on the cousin goal.

My main business goal for the year is to get my book published in print and on Amazon’s Kindle.

That’s it. Once that’s done, I have a few smaller cousin goals πŸ™‚

So here are just 5 guidelines when choosing your 2012 goals:

  1. do they excite and motivate you?
  2. are they big and juicy?
  3. are they specific?
  4. do they contribute to your purpose?
  5. given the right support, accountability and resources, could you achieve them?

If you get to answer them all “yes” you’re doing well.

Otherwise, let’s set you up with a personal goals session on Skype.

And if you haven’t yet downloaded your Jan goals form, it’s in your Time Management Purpose Pack on my website. What I really should call it is a mini goals form because these are the mini goals that will help you get to your (big) normal goals.

How are you doing on your January goals?



Google Maps

Reflecting on 2011

I like to think that reflecting on the year past is the same as tying a nice ribbon around a package – finishing it all off nicely πŸ™‚

It seems to me like I can’t get on with the new year properly unless I reflect on what went well, what didn’t go well and most importantly, what I want from my life for the next year.

Do you agree?

Well then, let’s get to it.

Grab a notebook and pen or simply open up a new doc on your computer (but please close all other sites – this is meant to be a time of reflection, not distraction).

What went really well for you?

Why do you think that is?

Is there anything you want to duplicate this year?

What was challenging?

What do you need to let go of to move forward?

What do you want more of in your life in 2012?

That’s enough to chew on for now.

I’ll share one answer to each question to give you an idea of how this works.

What went really well for you?
I wrote the book!

Why do you think that is?
I carved out solid blocks of time and just did it.

Is there anything you want to duplicate this year?
yes, how I created time pockets for self-care, relaxation, getting fit and creativity (self-expression)

What was challenging?
When things out of my control happened and threw me off course (gall bladder operation!)

What do you need to let go of to move forward?
Unrealistic expectations of myself – I may feel like Superwoman but I’m not

What do you want more of in your life in 2012?
Rich, meaningful relationships

Ready to have a go?

Have at it.

And remember to book your Personal Strategy Session with me to start 2012 on a great note.


Do you care to share any of your answers with me too?


PS thanks for the FABULOUS words of the year you’ve been sharing with me. If you haven’t read through the comments, please do – there’s gold over there.

PPS I have verrrry exciting news to share with you on Monday. I’m celebrating a friend’s success.

Set yourself up for 2012 with these free printables

Look what I found for you.

A gorgeous 2012 calendar over at Creative Mamma. I seriously love it πŸ™‚

Print out on card or paper, punch two holes on the top, hang by a ribbon on binder rings or through the punched holes just as is, if your ribbon is thin enough.

There are other calendar formats on that same page if this one doesn’t suit your style – it’s my favourite though because there’s enough space to write notes.

(if you’ve got a few minutes, go browse her archives – she has tons of free and gorgeous things. I’ve used her handmade circle stickers for months.)

And now… my contribution to setting up your year for success…

I set goals every month – no surprise there.

For 2012 I decided to make a cute goals page for every month. There are two forms on the one page – one page with all the goals listed (I’ve restricted them to 15 and I think even 15 is PLENTY) and another withΒ the goals separatedΒ into categories.

This free download will be available to all the subscribers of my list as I’ll be sending them out in the last week of the month, for the month ahead.

Go here to sign up and get your January pages.

The idea is to print, write and stick it up somewhere. If you see it, you’re more likely to do it πŸ™‚

What are your top 3 goals for 2012?

PS If you’re already on my list, you’ll get an email from me later today πŸ™‚


Writing a book while being a perfectionist

I’m learning a lot about myself through this book-writing process.

I’ve said often that I’m a recovering perfectionist and now I’m learning that when I’m under pressure, Perfectionism wants to rear her head.

An example…

When I thought about what I wanted to include in this book, I thought about who my reader might be. Someone who is likely overwhelmed due to disorganisation.

Such a person is not going to want to pore through every single thing I know about organising.

Bear in mind, I could quite easily write a short book about paper, another about email, etc.

So I purposed to keep it short and to the point.

I wrote the book and all was well.

Now in the reviewing process, I find myself wanting to add reams and reams more and I’ve had to reel in that perfectionistic streak and keep to my original purpose.

Just thought you’d like to know that I go through the same things you do.

Living an intentional life takes work. Hard work.

I’ve got some good momentum going now and I think it’ll only take another 4 – 6 hours before I am print-ready πŸ™‚

I could be wrong but I’m not going to put myself under pressure as it’s all self-induced πŸ™‚


Although it would be really nice to have this whole thing off my to-do list before the end of the year, right?!

Are you a perfectionist?

Do you still think it’s a good thing to be one?

Which of your goals do you want to cross off your 2011 to-do list?

PS Do you need help?

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