Four Life Management Tips from the Pros with Suggested Books

by | Jan 10, 2018 | The Writer's Life | 6 comments

My new planner and flowers to brighten up the day

1. Time management counts–no matter what your profession or goals

I’m always looking for ways to increase productivity.  Sometimes my to do list is so long that I don’t keep to my tried and true routine and then things fall through the cracks. (Thank god for Gayle Lynds. Don’t know what I’d do without her. She usually plans far ahead and then gives me a kindly nudge,”What about that upcoming panel in July?” I’ll bet she has some excellent tips).

I love time management tips and read just about every book or blog post on the subject that I can find (which some would argue is not a good use of time).  I like Stephen Covey’s (The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People) and am preparing to read Eat that Frog! 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time, by Brian Tracy.

I have a timer on the table when I log into Facebook or Twitter, because I enjoy hearing from my friends and if I didn’t time myself I’d stay online forever and no books would get written.

2. Conquering clutter helps tremendously (but we all know this and still have our junk drawers).

For this project I’m delving into Throw Out Fifty Things, Clear the Clutter, Find Your Life, by Gail Blanke. I’ll let you know in a later post if I find my life, but this book comes highly recommended.

And then there’s Marie Kondo’s The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Kondo is the Japanese organizing guru who thanks her socks for their service. As a runner I know from socks, and while I don’t talk to mine, I spend an inordinate amount of time searching through the laundry to try to figure out where they disappear to when I’m not looking. If anyone has a tip for keeping laundered socks together have at it in the comment stream because I swear the washer is ingesting them.

Kondo suggests attacking clothes first and leave photos for last because they are the hardest to cull. So, true rebel that I am, I started with photos. Mostly because I stumbled over boxes of them while heading to get the Christmas ornaments out of the basement closet. The photo boxes went flying as did the photos. Four hours and two garbage bags later my husband came home and stared in astonishment as he looked at the throw away pile. I explained that we’re not the greatest of photographers and all those “2 for 1” specials over the years made for a lot of boring photos and duplicates. Lovely man that he is, he immediately made a cup of coffee for me and dove in to help. We tossed them that day because our youngest is very sentimental and if she had seen the bags would have been horrified that we threw away those duplicate blurry photos of the cat. (See one of the hundreds that we kept below).

3. A word count requirement is your friend.

This one is for writers. My word count requirement is 1000 words per day at least five days a week, but not consecutively. Why not consecutively you ask? Because I work on weekends as well and those days count. I would shoot for seven days, but I just don’t have that many words in me every week and running is on the list as well and that takes time. Plus, I hate shopping in most every form and I use Friday am to grocery shop and to do those things I dislike. (Target now has free delivery and I’m ordering more and more online from them. Peapod grocery service is nice, but I’ve become a big fan of Aldi too, so I trudge there often with my recycling bags in tow).

Sahara or just “kitty”

4. Enjoy the present because the future is uncertain.

Okay, this is my tip. My mother got things done, but often claimed that “when things settle down I’m going to….” fill in the blanks here. She spent a lot of time trying to learn how to live in the present, but she was raised in an often chaotic environment and she said that she had to learn to block it out in order to be able to get things done. I agree that living in the present is important and wish I could follow this advice more, but like most I find myself thinking of or planning for the future. I’m working on the balance.

That’s all I’ve got for now. If you have any tips and/or books you love please mention them below. I’ll add them to my “to be read” pile and thanks in advance!

Happy New Year! Jamie

Don’t Miss a Thing!



  1. Karna Bodman

    What a terrific list of helpful books and tips to get organized and manage time…I think we all can use a nudge now and then, especially when it comes to clearing out unused items. I recall my father saying, "Man is possessed by his possessions." How true. Thanks for a great post!

  2. Gayle Lynds

    I need to declutter! Thank you, Jamie, for important ideas and great books and inspiration!

  3. Jamie Freveletti

    Hi Karna: I'm in the process of tossing possessions now, so I'll post about how it went!

  4. Jamie Freveletti

    Hi Gayle: Decluttering is tough. It seems as though as soon as I finish one area, it fills up again. But my resolution is to stick with it!

  5. S. Lee Manning

    Great tips – but I'm keeping those blurry cat photos. I've got enough other crap to throw out without going through those boxes. I'm in the process of decluttering the long time family home that my son is now inhabiting – and it's a daunting task even before I get to the photos. By the way, I particularly like the 1000 words a day, five days suggestion. Gives structure but some flexibility.

  6. Sonja Stone

    Omgoodness, Jamie, you’re singing my song! I have three of the four books mentioned above. Maybe that fourth will be the magic bullet, lol.