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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on February 2, 2010
Format: Paperback
One Year to an Organized Work Life by Regina Leeds. I had previously reviewed two other books by Regina Leeds (the "Zen" Organizer) . Those were One Year to an Organized Life and One Year to an Organized Financial Life. Since both were excellent, I was really looking forward to the middle book in the series, dedicated to organizing your work life. After all, I spend a lot of time at work, and the consequences of being disorganize at work can be even more serious than falling to pieces at home.

I was not disappointed. This is a wonderful book on workplace organization - but even more, on integrating your work life and your personal life seamlessly. As with her other "one-year" books, Regina takes what could be a daunting subject and makes it manageable by breaking it down into easy weekly goals for a one-year gradual makeover. Follow the program and you end up with a complete organizational makeover for your work life. You can pick up the book and start the program at any time, as most of the assignments are not prerequisites of each other.

Each month also includes a work "habit of the month" and a HOME "habit of the month". What's really amazing is the range of topics covered in this book. It's not just another book on time management and paperwork. Sure, there are excellent chapters on those topics, but there are also a lot of topics that you don't often see discussed. How to pack for a business trip. How to prepare your office to run smoothly while you're on vacation. How to integrate your holiday plans with your work responsibilities. How to organize your computer, laptop and other virtual environments.

As usual, Regina devotes considerable time not simply to the mechanics of organizing, but to your mental attitudes. How to set goals, understand and overcome procrastination, and how to balance your family and work responsibilities. Even how to plan your vacation. She never forgets that the purpose of organization is not simply for it's own sake, but to make our lives better. She also keeps an eye out for the particular needs of the working woman, which is a topic where some other books fall short.

You can get excellent specialized books in any of the several areas Regina covers in this book - from goal setting to filing and paperwork. But for a well-constructed plan to overhaul every aspect of your work organization, it's hard to beat this book. Give Regina a year and she'll make your work life sparkle.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on August 17, 2009
Format: Paperback
Follow Regina Leed's advice, and you will create miracles, even in the smallest of office spaces. I reduced the clutter in my small office cubicle and ended up relieving my mind of extraneous stuff too. Regina's empathetic, personal approach and keen appreciation for the positive power of new habits and affirmations made me feel that she was right beside me. Although it is written in a month by month format, don't let that stop you from jumping into Zen Organizing at any time of the year. What a delight to open a drawer or go to a shelf and have just what you need right at your command. A revelation for a person used to piles of papers and heaps of books everywhere. The same approach will work miracles at home too.

Much more than a simple "how to" book. Emphasis is on understanding behavior before starting new actions and sticking to newly created habits.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on November 16, 2011
Format: Paperback
I like parts of this book while other parts actually irritated me! I would like to have given this book 3.5 stars for that reason. It is not a 3 but it isn't a 4 either. I find this book works best for those working in an office or in corporate America. It's not as good for the self-employed or those in non-office (such as teaching) or alternative work environments. What I like about the book is the practical advice on organizing certain parts of your work life, such as your email and creating a filing system. Some of her quick tips and insights are great too, an example being that the reason why papers and emails pile up in your life is an inability to make decisions. That being said, I think that there is a lot of extra fluff in this book that isn't necessary and I found it difficult to get through. For example, I don't think that a book on organizing needs to instruct me to drink more water, eat nutritious food and make sure that I get enough rest. For some reason, reading that in this book irritated me. I felt like it was irrelevant to the subject and that health info should be left to another book.

My main issue with Ms. Leeds' books are that they are too emotionally "heavy" for me and they have too much extra "stuff" and personal information that I do not care to know (as an example, she mentions that she is a cancer survivor. While I feel for her and rejoice that she is in remission, having lost several people in my family to cancer, I do NOT want to be reminded of the pain I went through during that time of my life while I'm reading about organizing my work life)!

When I'm reading an organization book, I am looking for quick, easy and clear instructions on how to get organized. I do not want a self-help book where I need to dig deeply into my psyche to see why I let my email inbox get too crowded. I think that some of her quick insights are helpful and add to the book, but they should be no more than a few sentences or a paragraph at the most. This book frequently dedicates several pages to this kind introspection! I unfortunately do not have the time to answer a lot of the questions on these pages.

I think this book would be greatly improved if a lot of the information were edited out. It would have been shorter (which is good for busy schedules) and also a much easier guide to follow. When information is put into a format such as this (one year to...), sometimes there is too much filler material, so this could be a reason for the extra material. In any case, I feel overwhelmed after reading this book! I suggest Jennifer Ford Berry's books if you are looking for a quick, easy and to-the-point guide to organizing your life. If you are looking for a more soul-searching in-depth guide, then this is your book. There are definitely gems in it, so it could absolutely be worth your while if you have the time!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on November 22, 2010
Format: Paperback
I've read a handful of books on the topic of organization but had little to show for it in the way of long-term results. I would get a temporarily clean desk but subconsciously or consciously, I couldn't see the changes as long term and they weren't.

Since reading Regina's book, I've been steadily improving my work and home organization, one area at a time. The best part is that I'm not forcing myself to do it. It just seems to make sense now. Previously, organizing was just another chore that I would invariable cut out of my work day. Regina connects the dots to show how being organized improves productivity.

Bottom line = this book worked for me where others did not.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on January 5, 2009
Format: Paperback
This is a great book. As Director of a a busy physical therapy practice, I find that that is easy to become distracted and overwhelmed with paper. This book provides the insights and the tools of organization to overcome office stress. I highly recommend this book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on May 17, 2010
Format: Paperback
Struggling to be more productive at work? Take a minute to look at the big picture, says Regina Leeds in her newest book, One Year to an Organized Work Life.

One Year to an Organized Work Life leads readers through a 12-month plan for eliminating the workplace stress caused by disorganization. Each chapter introduces an important component of the organizational process for the month -- from making the most of your office space to dealing with priorities -- then breaks it down into four weeks of actionable steps.

Each month also includes two "Zen organizing habits" -- tasks for work and home that take just a few minutes and are worth cultivating. For example, Leeds recommends pausing each day to jot down three positive actions you took to make your work life easier. Periodically review your notes to celebrate your accomplishments and learn from your mistakes.

As each chapter of One Year to an Organized Work Life builds on prior tips and accomplishments, your best bet is to start from the beginning -- even if the calendar currently buried somewhere on your desk doesn't read "January."

So, where to begin? Step back and view your workspace with a critical eye, Leeds suggests -- similar to what happens when you receive a last-minute phone call from someone who wants to stop by your home on the weekend. Suddenly, you see your living room in a whole new light, don't you?

What does your workspace say about you? Are you energized and ready to get down to business the minute you enter? Or do you feel immediately overwhelmed by the chaos it contains?

Hard work -- and some organizational magic bullets
One Year to an Organized Work Life unveils what Leeds calls her three-step "magic formula" for cutting down on chaos -- eliminate, categorize, and organize. Try these tips to tame your organizational bad habits:

Practice completion. Set a timer for five minutes and devote this time to straightening up your office -- at the start or end of the day, whenever you are at your peak.

Stop striving for perfection. The quest for perfection really lets us off the hook, says Leeds, because if we can't do something perfectly we end up doing nothing. Let it go and revel in the understanding that achieving perfection is impossible.

Figure out where your day goes. Yes, it's a cliché, but spend one day tracking how much time you really spend on various tasks. You'll likely be amazed at your own creative time-wasters and procrastination tools, and better able to develop strategies for dealing with them.

Don't surrender power. You do not have to respond to every request for your time and attention the second it is presented. In all but the direst of situations, you have a choice, so don't let your schedule be hijacked by the demands of others.

Develop anti-procrastination tools. Simple habits, from staying hydrated to practicing daily meditation, can keep you focused and on track. Throughout the day, stop and periodically ask yourself, "Am I avoiding my real work?" Then drop the time waster and turn back to your mission-critical assignments.

As Leeds reminds us throughout One Year to an Organized Work Life, change isn't about making a huge, difficult shift in our lives. It's simply about switching one behavior for another. When viewed through this lens, you'll find that organizational nirvana suddenly seems very achievable.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on February 14, 2009
Format: Paperback
I am a big fan of Regina Leeds and her ideas on "Zen Organzing" which are effective whether used at home or at work. What I love about this book is it is just like having Regina there at the office with me, my own coach and cheerleader, teaching and reminding me of the good habits that lead to greater success and much less stress. This is not a quick fix and forget it book - this is one year of manageable changes which combined have the power to change your life.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on March 11, 2009
Format: Paperback
If you've ever wanted a guide book with a wise methodical approach, this is it. Regina takes us on a journey to organizational success. It is paced so that everyone can do it. She has put the work in and laid it all out there for you. Just open it up and begin. The wisdom and peaceful guide through the pages will inspire you to take on organization. The spirit in which it is written to assist us all is beautiful.
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on January 7, 2014
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
There are many things to love about this book. It is relatively short and concise, and well organized itself! Ms. Leeds is good at summarizing big ideas and getting to the heart of how to put them into action. I liked that this book focuses mainly on actions, and simple ones at that. As far as the "action orientation" goes, Ms. Leeds breaks down what you need to do into small, easily managable tasks and gives them to you a little bit at a time, which is going to be key in your ability to implement them. And I liked that this is an integrated program, meaning Ms. Leeds recognizes that there isn't some fortress between our personal lives and our professional ones, and between our minds and bodies, so she integrates them very well, without straying too much from the work domain that this book addresses. Ms. Leeds has developed a concise strategy for implementing organizing concepts for the reader to follow in a way that will make them actual life habits instead of just brain fodder. That's really what I need most in an organzing book, is for someone to develop a program that will work for me that I can follow, rather than having to take the time to think and plan it all out myself. On the other hand, it is perfectly easy to pick and choose from this book and use what works for you and discard the rest. In fact, Ms. Leeds has also integrated that kind of flexibility into the book as well, suggesting several alternative ways of doing the program. And you can pick it up at any point, you don't have to wait until January to start, and you don't have to be in a particular month of the year to use the tips for a particular week or month, they work together but also work separately. Bottom line is you get a lot of bang for your buck with this little book.
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on November 14, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
I really enjoyed the great tips put forward by the author for organizing my office space. The book certainly motivated me to take some time to clean off my desk and find a permanent place for every piece of paper. I didn't care for the format that made all these tips accessible over a year. I read the entire book through in only a couple sittings and it can be hard to follow through with the schedule it is written in.
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