Book review: One Year to an Organized Work Life

organized-work-lifeAs an semi-organized person, I wasn’t sure if Regina Leeds’ book, One Year to an Organized Work Life, would apply to me. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that even the most organized person has something to learn from Leeds.

She talks about how organizing can bring about a Zen work life. She states:

“It doesn’t require more energy to get organized. In fact, chaos is a demanding taskmaster and time waster. Getting organized requires a redirection of energy away from one type of experience to another.”

Leeds breaks her book down into manageable chunks by months. Each month has a “work habit of the month” and a “daily home habit of the month” (e.g., January: Start Fresh). I’ll admit that the pre-determined monthly habits stifle her Zen mantra that runs throughout the book. Having a choice in the monthly habit would make it more personal, individualized and productive in the event the habit is already in place. But, if you don’t yet have all of the habits, it could work for you.

In order to reap the benefits of Zen organizing, Leeds says that journaling is essential. She uses prompting questions to get the thought process started. In addition, there are lots of examples to help with writer’s block and encourage thoughtfulness.

By March, much of the physical work environment has been organized, and the remainder of the book covers new habits. There is little reflection upon maintenance of the newly organized space. There is a monthly summary to reinforce the new habit, but there is no reflecting on prior months.

Leeds expands upon the benefits of meditation, exercise, and diet, as well as a greater psychological awareness that will contribute to increasing one’s self confidence and positivity. This book may not be for everyone, especially if you are strictly interested in workplace organization. The personal journaling required to reach organization goals is a part of all 52 weeks. Also, her Zen connections strongly connect home and work, thus you’re just not overhauling your office, but your home and personal life as well. She may lose readers in the introduction with her ideas on diet, exercise, dream board, work life journal, etc. Leeds believes that all of these factors directly impact work organization.

The theme of the book is best summarized with a reminder from Leeds at the year’s end of “Keeping your home life balanced with your work obligations isn’t always easy. There is no question that being organized will take you to the finish line, but being organized isn’t a destination you reach. It’s a journey you take.”

Overall, Leeds’ book One Year to an Organized Work Life is a practical resource for those in need of a complete organizational overhaul and for others who could use improvement in a few problematic areas.

7 Comments for “Book review: One Year to an Organized Work Life”

  1. posted by Jeannine on

    This sounds like an interesting read — as I am absolutely a proponent of balancing home and work life. However, I’m wary of the subtitle of this book: “Eliminating Work Stress for Good.”

    Stress will always be there — we cannot eliminate it. We can only choose how we respond to it.

  2. posted by Lose That Girl on

    Journaling may be essential but in some cases, it just creates more clutter!

  3. posted by Michele on

    I read and enjoyed “30 Days to a Simpler Life” but the fact that this claims to take an entire year makes me wonder. The level of detail must be excruciating.

  4. posted by Rhys on

    I haven’t read this book, but based on your review, it seems to be written in a similar spirit (though a different subject) as a book I just finished called “The Power of Small.” ( It’s not about clutter, but it is Zen-like in its argument that little things that often get ignored are more important than they seem. Organization, obviously, is something that you ignore only at your own peril.

  5. posted by Pammyfay on

    Many people complain that they just don’t have the time to attack a cluttered space or they’re overwhelmed. But this book recommends journaling over 52 weeks? Sorry–but I think that’s just crazy. Maybe read her book, go through her questions, figure out what’s keeping you from being organized and what’s keeping you from fixing your trouble spots and pick up a few easy tips along the way. But take that 15-20 minutes a day that’s probably required for this “journaling” and just get down to business–clear your mail, sort the clothes.

  6. posted by Regina Leeds on


    I think if you take a look at my book, you will better understand what the format is all about. It’s hard to judge a book from a review, even an appreciative one like this one…for which I am grateful by the way.

    Journal writing, habits and tools like good food and simple exercise all work to help you get organized. The key to getting organized is the ability to make good decisions. Food and exercise will clear the mental cobwebs and help you in this arena. I presume the reader will give each a try and then adapt to his lifestyle the elements that work for him as an individual.

    The level of detail is far from excruciating and no, you don’t have to journal every day for 20 minutes. I have never once suggested that in any of my books! The first week of the month is for journal writing to help you uncover the reason(s) for the chaos you see. There’s always a reason and there is power in the discovery. You could do the assignment in a day and be done for the month.

    Please take a look the next time you visit your bookstore and see what you think.

    Regina Leeds

  7. posted by Pages tagged "one year to an organized life" on

    […] bookmarks tagged one year to an organized life Book review: One Year to an Organized Work Life | … saved by 4 others     potato794 bookmarked on 05/05/09 | […]

Comments are closed.