As 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.