Best Self Help Books on Organization

Basically I am looking for a self-help book on organization, goal setting and time management.

In a nutshell, I have goals and things I would like to accomplish with my life, I feel I have the ability to achieve them, I have done so in the past with other goals, but I really need help with developing structure in my life to achieve these goals more effectively. I find I really get screwed up when it comes to establishing and following routines. I was doing very well when I was in undergrad (good grades, great letters of recommendation, good projects, enjoyed my work, etc), but a few bad things happened after I graduated that made these last 2.5 years (I am 25 now and graduated when I was 22) hell. I’ve been feeling like a planet that got hit by a huge meteor and got knocked out of my orbit.

In my efforts to “get back” into my “orbit” I realized my fatal weakness it not being able to follow routines or organize my life. I made up for this when I was younger by being passionate and being particularly good at what I was studying. I guess in the last few years I have begun to doubt everything, myself, my choices, my goals, and it has made it hard for me to move forward and make future commitments.

So, I am taking steps to get out of this rut and mindset including keeping a journal for the last year and a half.

I think the biggest step though might be figuring out what I want to do in the first place. Goals are useless without context…

I enjoyed reading The Willpower Instinct. The author has some concrete strategies you can apply if you are looking for those, but the majority of the book is more of a (loose and popular) scientific look at the idea of willpower.

The Power of Habit was pretty good.

Getting Things Done by David Allen

I have a good one around here somewhere.
Can’t recall the title, nor where I left it.

Probably under that pile on my desk.

I’ll second Getting Things Done. The systems were a lifesaver when I had a job with 6-8 open projects at any time.

I also have a non-book recommendation, and it’s a little weird for a primarily men’s site. The Fly Lady has an article called 31 Beginner BabySteps that is all about establishing a routine in your home. If you struggle with clutter or general disorganization in your home, this is a great way to get some momentum around better organization. Caveat: for the love of all things Holy DO NOT sign up for her email list.

The Power of Habit is a great one for understanding how to get back into a routine/establish structure and understanding the things that make you do what you do.

Getting Things Done is good if you’re looking for a specific format spelled out for you, but know you’ll need to modify it for whatever your job/lifestyle is. I personally didn’t like the system he spells out. Too structured for my tastes.

See you at the Top! by Zig Ziglar is great for inspirational purposes. An oldie but a goodie.

[quote]CLUNK wrote:
I have a good one around here somewhere.
Can’t recall the title, nor where I left it.

Probably under that pile on my desk.[/quote]


First Things first, by Stephen Covey

The 4 hour work week by tim ferris and The First 20 hours by Josh Kaufman also have good ideas

In addition to some of the others mentioned here (GTD, Willpower instinct etc), I enjoyed reading ‘The Slight Edge’.
I still have a long way to go before I call myself organized, though

Not a book, but the Pomodoro Technique keeps me on-task when I’m working to deadline. If you’re working on a computer there are timers that run in your browser.