T Nation

Best Self Help Books on Organization


#1

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...


#2

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.


#3

The Power of Habit was pretty good.


#4

Getting Things Done by David Allen


#5

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.


#6

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.


#7

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.


#8

lol


#9

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


#10

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


#11

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.