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3 Sites to Organize your Book Collection

An out of control book collection leads to keeping more than you need. Use one day on the weekend to catalog your books. The sites below have made this process a piece of cake.

First, Make a Large Pile

Bring every book you have into the center of your room. It is healthy to visualize how many books you have collected throughout the years.

Then, Pick a Site

Of the sites below, pick one and run with it. They will all suffice for what you need. Don’t get hung up on choosing the tool. I have ordered them from my personal favorite down.

Google Books

Google Books gives you the extra step of cataloging. Not only can you quickly search for the books you have, but you can peek into books you may want to read in the future.

“You can flip through a few preview pages of these books, just like you’d browse them at a bookstore or library. You’ll also see links to libraries and bookstores where you can borrow or buy the book.”

Shelfari

Shelfari is unique because of the reading community. If you want to get your entire office or class on a certain site, this would be it. You can add recommendations for friends and reviews for others.

Goodreads

Goodreads is very similar to Shelfari. The one unique offering is the ability to create content surrounding a book. You can make quizzes, videos, and events surrounding specific books. They boast 3.2 million users with nearly 8.4 million books on their shelves.

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Use Binder Clips To Organize Your Wires

These types of things make you wonder how many organization gadgets are invisible, yet right in front of your face.

Credit: Lifehacking.nl

What other makeshift organization tools do you use?

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5 Tips for Starting a Fresh Work Week

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When Friday rolls around, the weekend is your only thought. During the weekend you are mentally preparing for Monday—what to wear, who to talk to, what is to be accomplished. Let Monday be your springboard for the rest of the week.

Here are some tips on how to do that.

1. Inbox Zero

Inbox Zero is when you have no emails staring you in the face and causing stress.

Many times, our email inbox is our to-do list, idea bank, and main communication. When you first turn on your computer in the morning, start with getting to Inbox Zero. This is a literal accomplishment. We want to achieve an empty inbox, and settle for nothing less.

Before plugging at your excel page, writing your blog post, or making the first call, you have to free your mind from the number that haunts your sleep; the stressing ‘emails ’ count.

Move the Necessary

An unanswered email, phone call, or contact sheet should not be in your inbox. Most of your emails have a place other than the inbox. Move the necessary emails where they belong, making sure you have not lost any important data.

Archive

References, pictures, and funny work emails should not be in your inbox. Archive them into appropriate folders and move on.

Delete the Rest

Unless it fits in the above categories, delete it. If you are afraid to lose the item, it should have been moved or archived. Delete the items you can do without.

2. De-Clutter Desk

desk

Your desk clutter does nothing good for you. An important mental step is to stop making excuses. Your desk clutter is the worst kind of to-do list possible.

Spending 10-15 minutes each Monday (or every day) de-cluttering will be a worthwhile investment in your time.

Productivity501 recently published a post called “5 Questions to Help Organize Your Desk.” The questions they ask force readers to think about the real reasons behind desk clutter. You can read the entire article here, or read my summary below:

Reading Materials

Be honest with yourself, and rid of the stuff you don’t need to read. Other tips include the use of RSS, getting a bookshelf, or listening to the audio version.

(more…)

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Filtering The Tools You Use

I recently put aside many of my organizing habits and tried to learn why I do things, and what is holding me back from doing it better.

Problem: I seemed to be focused more on the tools that I used to organize my life instead of actually using them.

I could spend hours each week looking for better tools.  A gem would appear every so often, leaving most of my searching time a complete waste. Instead, I should have spent that time doing the actual organization.

The Problem of Choice

hammers

Sitting in a restaurant with 100 options will give you the same feeling; an overwhelming sensation, followed by the constant idea that the next menu item you see will be the better option. Everyone has done it.

Return on investment? Guided by the idea that the tool will do the work for you, companies advertise cutting time, cost, and adding features that you will never use. This is only partially true.

The choice dilemma led to my issue. I maintained 2-3 different tools for doing the same thing. I was using each tool with 50%-60% effectiveness, as opposed to putting all my energy into one.

I had scattered ideas, blamed my tools, and constantly searched for better ones.

The Basics for Your Life

Time

For the must-hold-it-in-your-hand type of person, a wall calendar or engagement book will work great. For the electronic geek, it gets a bit trickier. Microsoft Outlook vs. iCal vs. Google Calendar vs. Yahoo Calendar vs. (Insert Cool Calendar 2.0 Here) are your options.

I may be partial to Google Calendar, but I have seen others use both effectively, each in their own way.  Google Calendar may be the most intuitive and easy to use, but does that mean the others won’t work for you? Of course they will.

Money

Pay: Quicken
Free: Mint.com
There are others, but the most important thing is to stick with one and learn it.

Books

Shelfari.com and Google.com/books each provide a great way to catalog your books. Choose one and move on with your decision. Do not spend time on the minor differences.

Other Tools

The idea is the same for anything you want organized.

Pick a tool and stick with it. You will learn to adapt while not wasting time.

3 Tips For Filtering

Here are 3 basic tips to get past the choice dilemma:

  • Spend no more than 15 minutes choosing your organization tools. A quick Google search will give you an idea of what is out there.
  • Only revisit the tools once every few months. Do not spend more than 30 minutes deciding on whether you want to make a switch.
  • List the top five things you want to organize. Practice focusing on one tool for each of these things. Planning events, keeping contacts organized, maintaining relationships, groceries…etc.
Image credit: chazferret
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