Terri Schlichenmeyer, The Bookworm Sez
The 8-Minute Organizer by Regina Leeds
c.2012, Da Capo Lifelong Books, $13.99, 218 pages
Somewhere on the top of your desk, you keep a calendar. The calendar is next to a few important files you need for work. You stash a dedicated pen with the documents, just so it’s handy, and you’ve paper-clipped some notes there, just as a reminder. You’ve even color-coded the folders.
And if you could ever find those folders, you’d find the calendar—which you haven’t actually seen since last Tuesday.
There’s a desk somewhere inside your mess, and now there’s hope for you, too. Read the new book The 8-Minute Organizer by Regina Leeds and you’ll reclaim your office in almost no time at all.
Have you ever noticed how, sometimes, you can’t think straight when you’re sitting at your desk? Regina Leeds knows why: clutter is noisy, she says. It “seems to emit a frequency that makes clear thinking virtually impossible…”
Yeah, you need to organize, but your mess may as well be a mountain. Leeds says that it needn’t be overwhelming, though. Clutter can be tackled in three easy steps, and you can do it in mere minutes.
Before you get started, try to understand how your office got this way in the first place. Was your childhood home in disarray? Were your parents messy or neat? Are you sharing office space with someone who’s also disorganized? Knowing these answers will help you break bad habits and determine where you’re headed.
Next, take stock and eliminate that which is unneeded, outdated, superfluous or redundant. Don’t be afraid to shred paper, and if there’s too much to comfortably do in 8 minutes, then spend 8 minutes looking for a shredding service. Toss old magazines, junk mail and catalogs.
Next, make a set of “action files” and start sorting. Categorize paper to create a system that makes sense to you (but don’t overdo; keep it simple). Store receipts and important information in a safe place, and if you don’t know what’s important, ask your accountant. Categorize office supplies, too, so you know what you’ve got. This step, by the way, can be done in 8-minute increments over several days’ time.
Lastly, organize what’s left. Archive. Scan to your computer. Rearrange. And once you’ve found your calendar, set a date to do it all again next month.
Pick up a copy of The 8-Minute Organizer and you’ll see a lot about de-cluttering your home. You may think that isn’t going to help your business any, but admit it: messy here, probably messy there.
And neither has to be that way. Author Regina Leeds helps her readers start small by putting a time limit on what’s done, by working in baby-steps, and by offering support and a little cheerleading. Leeds makes organization seem easy, and her no-nonsense common-sense takes the stress out of cleaning a mess.
I liked The 8-Minute Organizer because I think it’s one of those things you can use in the office right now. If your goal is to become a neatnik, grab this book—just as soon as you find that missing calendar.
In One Person by John Irving
c.2012, Simon & Schuster, $28, 429 pages
When you look back over your life, you notice things that make you say, “Yes. That makes sense.” You always wondered why you love certain foods, adore cozy smells or have a way with words—until you learn that your mother loved those foods, your grandfather wore that scent and your father was a writer once.
Billy Abbott sometimes wondered why he was drawn to certain people and not to others. But in the new novel In One Person by John Irving, everything falls into place when he discovers truths about his family.
It was almost fitting, really, that Billy’s stepfather, Richard, introduced Billy to Miss Frost, the librarian. Richard thought he was ushering Billy into the riches of the library in First Sister, Vt. Richard thought he was doing something positive for the 13-year-old but the well-meaning introduction was inadvertently apt: Billy had had a mad crush on Richard and upon meeting Miss Frost, he crushed on her, too. They were his first two “crushes on the wrong people.”
Billy wasn’t sure why, but his aunt and grandmother sneered when they spoke of Miss Frost. Grandpa Harry seemed to like her; maybe it was because he had an eye for the feminine. He was, after all, First Sister’s best-known actor, beloved for playing female parts in the community theater.
Aside from Miss Frost, Billy was oddly crazy about Kittredge, his school’s best wrestler. Kittredge could be cruel, but Billy wondered what it might be like to receive one of Kittredge’s wrestling holds. He also thought often about Mrs. Hadley, his best friend’s mother, imagining her in a training bra.
As the years passed and Billy fell in and out of love with both men and women, he was careful in bed but not in his heart. He lost so many of his friends and former lovers to AIDS; so many that he nearly lost track.
But one person kept track of Billy throughout his entire life. It was the one person who held the key to a memory that, for Billy, made so much sense…
Though it’s easy to slip into, and though the narrator of this story quickly becomes a friend, In One Person is a long book to read.
Author John Irving’s Billy is a storyteller, moving throughout his almost-70 years of remembrances of loves and losses, repeating, revealing and admitting that he’s getting ahead of himself. Despite that the dialogue is sometimes cumbersome, it’s also appealing because Irving writes the way people talk.
And talk his characters do: Billy is observant and funny, sometimes disturbing, often achingly sweet, and possessing a wit you’ll start to crave and heartbreak he doesn’t hide. Yes, this book felt long at times, but Irving’s Billy makes you stick around for every single page.
Much like other John Irving novels, In One Person is not a book you’ll want to race through. It demands your time and attention, but you won’t be sorry giving either. If you’re up for a book like that, reading it just makes sense.