Thanks for visiting my blog. Hope you find some helpful hints for organizing your time and space. My passions are to help you make home a refuge instead of a crisis center, and to help you function in peace rather than chaos - at home or at work. I have switched my main blog to 1-2-3 ... Get Organized on WordPress, so please visit me there.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Yale Study: Why Letting Go is Literally Painful

We know how hard it is for some to let go of their excess stuff.
Kelly McGonigal tells us why getting rid of our stuff may be literally painful for some, the findings of a Yale Study.  A very interesting read:

"Have you ever been overwhelmed by a junk drawer, closet, packed garage, or pile of paperwork -- but found it hard to just throw everything out?

A new study finds that for many, letting go is literally painful.
Researchers at the Yale School of Medicine recruited both non-hoarders and hoarders, and then asked them to sort through items like junk mail and old newspapers. Some of the items belonged to the experimenter, and some actually belonged to the participant. Participants had to decide what to keep and what to toss. While this was happening, researchers tracked their brain activity.

Unlike non-hoarders, hoarders showed increased activity in two regions of the brain when confronted with their own junk. Those two areas: the anterior cingulate cortex and the insula. And the more a hoarder reported feeling “not right” about throwing something out, the stronger this pattern of activation was.

When I read this very specific finding, I had an instant feeling of recognition. I know that neural signature. Both are these regions of the brain are associated with conflict and pain -- and you see the same pattern of brain activation in other forms of psychological pain.

For example, the same regions produce gut-wrenching cravings among smokers or drug addicts trying to quit. The stronger the activation, the stronger the feeling of anxiety, discomfort, and need to use.

You also see the same brain pattern among shoppers hit with sticker shock. The pain of high prices provides a physical incentive to resist a purchase [see previous blog post], and you can predict whether or not someone will buy something by the strength of this brain pattern.

Perhaps the simplest way to think about the ACC-insula combo is that it creates the signal of “something wrong.” The brain circuit motivates you to look for an opportunity to prevent harm or relieve anxiety – so smokers smoke, shoppers put down the pricey item, and hoarders hold on to junk.

Interestingly, people who suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder appear to have a very low threshold for tripping this brain circuit. The obsessions and compulsions are a response to the “something wrong” brain signal. Even though the signal may be a faulty habit of the brain, the mind searches for something to explain the feeling. 

That’s how people with OCD can settle on irrational beliefs and behaviors. If they wash their hands, or touch a wall three times, or repeat a mental mantra, they seem to “prevent” whatever harm their brain was expecting (but was never really coming). This reinforces the compulsions and makes them even harder to resist.

The same process may explain why hoarding is self-sustaining. Each time a hoarder holds on to something, he or she may feel safer and calmer. That relief can become addictive.

Previous research has found that hoarders also show greater activation in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) when thinking about whether to throw something out. The vmPFC is associated with many mental experiences, but two seem particularly relevant to hoarding.

The vmPFC is the home of what I call “wantpower” – the belief that something is relevant to your goals and desires. Research has shown that greater activation of the vmPFC will predict whether someone will buy, eat, or do something. Hoarders often do feel an irrational conviction that something old and useless could have potential value in the future. The idea that they might need something, but have gotten rid of it, is painful.

But the vmPFC is also important for maintaining a sense “me”-ness. Greater activity in the vmPFC may suggest a greater sense of personal relevance and meaning. So perhaps hoarders look at something as simple as a piece of junk mail and feel it connected to their sense of self. That letter is "me"; that old chotzke is "me"; that pile of papers is "me." This would explain why getting rid of something would be painful – it’s like throwing out your own arm.

You don’t have to be a hoarder or have OCD to know what this feels like, whether it’s a favorite old sweatshirt, a gift you’ve never used but can’t bear to throw out, or every drawing, craft, and school assignment from when your kids were in grade school.

[Full disclosure: I seem to have the opposite brain reaction when it comes to junk and clutter. I love throwing things out, and find it at least, if not more, fun than acquiring things. It's almost a high to be able to say "I don't need this anymore!" I've had to train myself to hold on to things that I'll be nostalgic for in the future, like cards from family and other mementos.]

Whatever your willpower challenges -- clutter, cravings, compulsions -- there's something to learn  from these studies of extreme cases.
As I argue all the time, mindfulness of our own brain habits seems to give us more control over our choices. The technique of surfing the urge (read more about it here), which helps addicts resist cravings and dieters resist temptation, may also help us deal with anxiety about getting rid of clutter. And taking a more skeptical view of our own impulses (not believing every worry, emotion, or “want”) can help us distinguish between our actual strength and the brains lies’ (“this will make you happy,” “this will protect you from your anxiety” or “you can’t handle this feeling, you HAVE to give in.”)

1. Tolin DF et al (2012). Neural mechanisms of decision making in hoarding disorder. Archives of General Psychiatry, 69, 832-841.
2. An SK et al (2009). To discard or not to discard: the neural basis of hoarding symptoms in obsessive-compulsive disorder. Molecular Psychiatry, 14, 318–331."

More on clutter and the brain:

Clutter and the Brain - Dr. Peter Whybrow

Organizing According to Your Right- or Left-Brain Dominance

The Psychology Behind Hoarding

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Apps to Help Get Rid of Your Clutter

Too much clutter? Here are several apps that make getting rid of your clutter a snap! Most are free. Thanks to Isabel Eva Bohrer's article published in Consumer Research on August 9, 2012, whose research follows:
 SimplyListed Prev Next
SimplyListedFree for iPhone; Android app "coming soon"
As consumers, we can easily turn into collectors, accumulating products of all kinds. Purchasing can be easier than selling, but with the SimplyListed app, it doesn't need to be. The app allows you to sell things you no longer want or need - directly from your iPhone. All you need to do is snap a photo of an item you want to sell in one of SimplyListed's themed sales. The app lists your offer automatically, and will notify you when a buyer is interested. You can also creating listings online at SimplyListed.com.

Craigslist (for iPhone/iPad) Prev Next
Craigslist (by Lifelike Apps, Inc.): Free for iPhone/iPad
Craigslist.org has become one of the leading sites when it comes to buying and selling used and new items, finding an apartment, getting a job and more. Several developers have created Craigslist apps, but the version by Lifelike Apps leaves the competition far behind. The interface of the app makes Craigslist look like a regular newspaper, whose classifieds section you can easily filter by location. You can even circle listings with your finger. The app makes selling equally easy, allowing you to add photos directly from your Apple device's gallery, as well as enabling you to reply to interested buyers directly through the app.

Craigslist Mobile (for Android) 
Craigslist Mobile (by YYH Creative): Free for AndroidSimilar to the Apple app, described above, the Craiglist Mobile app lets you search listings and post your own, with photos. You can also contact buyers -- both by phone and by email -- right from the app. The interface is simple and straightforward, though it doesn't share the newspaper-like layout of the iPhone app.

Zaarly: Free for iPhoneAndroidZaarly allows you to request and provide services within your local area in addition to buying and selling goods. Whether you are looking to sell a couch or market your services as a dog-walker, you can easily make some extra money when someone responds to your ad. If you are looking to buy items or receive services, such as, say, help cleaning out the attic, the app can be equally useful. All you need to do is click on the "request" button. Results can be displayed on a map and filtered by price and date. This way, you'll keep clear of irrelevant results.

iGarageSaleFree for iPhone, AndroidNow that you've made room, you may want to pick up more stuff for your home. While garage sales are often publicized via posters and word of mouth, you can also use the iGarageSale app to find sales near you. Results are displayed in map format, making it easy for you to map out your route to the nearest event. You can also search by date and the type of goods that will be sold. The Pro version ($1.99) lets you search for specific items and save favorites.

More efficiency apps:

Wunderkit - An iPhone app for Collaborative Projects

Apps to Help You Go Paperless

Declutter Your Key Ring with a Free Smart Phone App

Monday, August 27, 2012

Backpack/Briefcase Checklists for School, College, and Work

With school starting, I want to run several blogs on getting organized for school. The inspiration for today's blog came from The Disney Dream Team's Tracy, who created a system for remembering what needed to go to school with each child.

While Tracy's system targeted her elementary school children, a backpack checklist would work for middle school, high school, and college students. This could even work as a briefcase reminder for work, too. This is how it works:

Create a chart listing the days of the week at the top. Under each day, make a column for each person who needs a checklist. On the far left, list possible items that might need to be included in the backpack that day: a band instrument, shoes for gym, signed paperwork, a folder or notebook for a particular class, library books, etc.

You can create your chart on your computer and reproduce it each week. Or you could use a dry erase board or laminate a poster board to re-use each week. Each person on the chart could be noted in a different color. Then items can be checked off on the appropriate day as a reminder to put those things in the backpack. 

Make sure you leave extra rows at the bottom for items that aren't necessarily needed each week.

To make life easier, have everyone pack their backpacks the night before. What a morning stress reliever!

More on getting organized for school:  
Organizing for School - Papers
Get Organized for School - Clothing Inventory
Hope for Disorganized Students!
Getting Ready for School: Organizing Homework Papers

Friday, August 24, 2012

Four Inspiring Ideas for Organizing Your Entry


I love articles about organizing the entry point of your house, whether it's an entry room or mudroom. I was inspired by the following article written by Simona Ganea, which was posted in Interiors, on August 10th, 2012.

"The entryway is the space that anyone who comes in your home sees at first. It’s why you should try to make it as pleasant and inviting as possible, so that you could create a favorable first impression. If not, it could seriously damage the overall image that a guest has about your home, even if the rest of the house is beautifully decorated. There are some simple things that you can do to make the best out of your entryway.

1. Built-in storage.

This is more of a structural and functional concern than a decorative idea. Built-in storage would work great in a small such as this one. It helps you maintain the area clean, organized and clutter-free by providing plenty of space for everything that needs to be put away. A system of hooks would be a great start and then you can continue on the same line.

2. Organized storage.

Only building a storage space is not enough to have a clean and organized home. You also need to be careful when designing this space. It needs to provide storage space for a variety of items, from coats to hats, shoes and bags. So make sure you include more than one type of compartment. It would be great to have hooks, drawers and storage baskets. Maybe a mudroom would be a wise idea as well.

3. Beautiful staircases.

If you have a beautiful staircase in your home, then you should take advantage of this fact. Make the staircase the star of your entryway. Allow it to shine by lamps shedding warm light on them. Show off the most beautiful features of your entryway. This may include elements such as the staircase that we have already discussed, a decorative unit with lots of interesting things to display or a colorful accent piece.

4. Cozy reading nook.

Since the entryway space is not suitable to be used as anything practical because of its exposure and small dimensions, a reading nook might be a great idea. You can place it near the staircase, in a corner. The space from under the staircase could be used as well. Maybe you can have some bookshelves in there. The whole idea is to take advantage of every inch you have and to not let anything go to waste.{picture sources:1,2,3 and 4}."

More on entries/mudrooms:

Organizing Your Mud Room

How to Avoid a Clutter Explosion When You Walk in the Door

Some of My Favorite Organizing Products - Mud Room


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Getting Ready for School: Organizing Homework Papers

When we were foster parents, we usually had at least one child who lost homework papers, assignments, etc. One of our foster daughters came up with a wonderful idea: a colorful plastic expandable file we got at Walmart. It's only about 2 inches thick and has several compartments. She labeled a section for each of her classes. 
In each class she placed homework assignments and other important papers in the appropriate file. When she did her homework or needed to turn in a field trip slip, it went back in the proper file. 

This kept all important papers and homework neatly filed and easily found, and kept her bookbag from having massive quantities of papers crunched everywhere. Plus, it reduced the number of items that got lost. She cleaned her file out every week or so to get rid of items no longer needed.

An inexpensive and simple way to organize your organizationally-challenged child!

More on homework:

Getting Organized for School 2010: Homework

Getting Organized for School 2010 - Online Homework Help

Helping Your Child Organize Large Homework Projects


Monday, August 20, 2012

More Reasons Not to Multi-Task

I've written several blog posts on the downside of multi-tasking. Here are some more great reasons why multi-tasking is over-rated according to Online College.

Multitasking Infographic

More on multi-tasking:

Uni-Tasking vs. Multi-Tasking

More Proof That We Should Not Multitask While Driving

Increasing Your Effectiveness at Work

Friday, August 17, 2012

Organizing for School and Life - Getting Enough Sleep

One of the nicest gifts you can give to your child is a good night's sleep. My goal as a mom has been to provide an atmosphere of success - creating an atmosphere where my child can succeed.

In order to do this, I must make sure that I have some routines and personal discipline in place so that my home runs smoothly and my child's needs are met. If I am living in chaos, most likely my child will not have a peaceful atmosphere in which to grow, not to mention having food to eat when hungry, clean clothes, and enough sleep to function effectively.

One of my hot buttons is getting enough sleep - for myself and for my children. Neither of us can do well if we are sleep deprived - we're grouchy, slow to respond, and easily stressed.

I came across an article that details what sleep does for us - makes us better athletes and better drivers, helps us grow, reduces stress, helps us learn and remember, and gives us a positive attitude. Several of these have direct impact on school for our children.

Summertime usually means a more relaxed schedule and later bedtimes. Begin now to gradually move bedtime to the time that insures your child gets enough sleep each night. If you sense your child is sleep deprived, make it less gradual - you want your child to start school fresh and invigorated! A good indication that your child (or you) is sleep deprived is that he falls asleep when sitting.

In the meantime, observe your child - how much sleep does she need? A good way to tell is to allow your child to wake up naturally for several days. Observe yourself while you're at it, and figure out what time you need to go to bed in order to get enough sleep. It's worth it, but hard to do.

Even if you don't have school-age children, giving your child enough sleep every night creates an atmosphere where he can succeed and function at his peak. And make sure you get enough sleep yourself - you'll be such a better parent and a much better you!

If you need help making this happen, check out one of our time management books on our website and on Kindle.

More on sleep:

Insuring Peak Performance: Sleep 101
Sleep is Non-negotiable!
Getting a Good Night's Sleep Despite Daylight Savings

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Advocating for Your Child's Health - Organizing Your Child's Medical Records

Michelle King Robson of EmpowHer wrote the following article for Fox News on how to keep on top of your child's medical records. Great resource!

"As a parent, you can be the most important factor in helping your children stay healthy. Your knowledge of what is normal for your child and your intuition when something doesn’t seem right are key factors in advocating for your child’s health.  So what can you do to help yourself be a better advocate?  I say start by keeping really good records.

I think everyone – men, women and children – should have a binder to hold all of their medical information.  It’s an invaluable resource to help you track back to the cause if something goes wrong with your health.  You can read more about my binder system on EmpowHER.com.

The best time to start your baby’s binder is as soon as you know you are expecting.  Journal the stages of your pregnancy and make note of everything – ordinary or not.  If you have any tests done – like an amniocentesis – make sure you get the results and include them in the binder.  Include all the details of the birth and don’t forget to record your baby’s blood type.  If you have a video or pictures of the birth, put them in as well.  

If you’re having trouble getting started, there are a variety of baby books – such as My Baby Trakker – that include space to record everything from your pregnancy, baby’s birth and beyond.  The website myphr.com also has some great resources including a free form you can print out for your child’s binder to help you start getting organized.

You need this information to help you take care of your child’s health. But the binder can also be a wonderful gift that you are putting together now to share with your child when he or she grows up. I know from personal experience how much kids love to look back at the moment they were born.  And we all love to read about ourselves. So include the fun and wacky details like how much weight mom gained and how long labor lasted.  Your kids will thank you later, plus you’ll have the details recorded if anything shows up in your child’s health that could be tracked back to the moment of delivery or before.

If you already have children, you probably have a pediatrician you like.  But if you are having your first child, don’t wait until the baby is born to look for a doctor.  Finding the right pediatrician is one of the most important things you can do for your child’s health.  Start by talking to friends and family in your area who have young children for recommendations.

Once you find a promising candidate, schedule your first appointment so you can meet with the doctor before your baby is born.  That first appointment gives you a chance to see if you feel a rapport with the doctor. Think about the doctor’s communication style, office setup, hours and backup plan in case he or she is not available.  Be sure to talk about after-hours care and what help will be available to you if your baby gets sick in the middle of the night.

Every parent knows that a good pediatrician is worth his or her weight in gold, which means the good ones may be booked up months in advance.  So don’t put off making that first appointment.  Once your baby is born, make sure you always follow through on recommended well-baby visits. And of course, keep all the records from every appointment and add them to your child’s health binder.

If you didn’t start keeping your baby’s records early on, don’t give up. Any information you can pull together now can be an asset to your child’s healthcare in the future. Ask the pediatrician’s office for copies of your child’s records.  You might have to pay a little bit for the copies, but you will gain the security of knowing those details are at your fingertips any time you need them.  You can’t always count on a doctor’s office to be open when you need to see the records.  And if you or your doctor decides to relocate, you won’t be left without access to information you need.

As parents, we love to document all the milestones of our children’s lives.  Your child’s health binder is another important layer to that documentation.  And it is an excellent tool to help you be the best possible advocate for your child’s health."

More on organizing for your health:

How Being Medically Organized Could Save Your Life

National Preparedness Month - Emergency Kit #8 - Emergency Documents

How Quickly Could You Evacuate?


Monday, August 13, 2012

Packing for College

Each year with school approaching, I usually repost some of my previous blog posts on getting ready for school and college. Here's one for college students packing up for school. I wrote this one last year when we were still foster parents for teenage girls ...
We have yet another foster daughter going to college this fall. She has begun the process of packing and is doing very well.

- She has gone through her possessions several times to get rid of excess.

- She has already packed things she won't need for a while - winter clothes, etc.

- She has packed like things together - school supplies, etc.

- She has shopped for items she needs - linens, a coffee maker, a fan, etc.

- She has left out only those things she needs between now and then.

If you have a child going to college, check to see his/her progress. If you or your student are overwhelmed, make a list of remaining tasks to be done. Prioritize and start tackling them! 

Your child may need some help - going to college is both scary and exciting. He/she will need your support!

More on college:

Cutting Costs on College Textbooks

Beyond CliffsNotes - More Help for College Students

Great info for college students, their parents, and college professors

Friday, August 10, 2012

Forbes: Cool New Gadgets to Increase Efficiency and Productivity in the Home

Forbes recently came out with several new gadgets for the home in an article by Bethany Lyttle. Here are four that I thought contributed to efficiency and productivity.

FastMac Wall Socket/USB Port combo


Approx. price: $25.00

"Quit groaning when your smartphone or tablet needs charging. This item, winner of several awards including a Best Tech Idea of the Year award, lets you modernize your entire home, transforming any wall into a place to charge your gaming station, bluetooth headset, digital camera, phone, tablet and more. All this, and the regular sockets for lamps and television are on the same panel."

Pocket Smart Measuring String

Approx. price: $12.00

"Whether you're decorating a room or delving into a little handyman action, getting your measurements correct is crucial. And that can be a challenge when it comes to curved surfaces such as round tables, doorway arches, curvy pipes or the rolled arms of a sofa. Enter the measuring string. Truly a string that measures, it can be laid along any curved surface to yield a precise result."

Belkin Fridge Mount for iPad

Approx. price: $39.99

 "Finally, your two favorite things in one place. Slip your iPad into this case and instantly transform the kitchen into a hub for calendars, shopping lists, watching the news, and looking for recipes. The mount is held in place by strips that can be removed without damaging the fridge surface." 

idKitchen Digital Measuring Spoon

Approx. price: $23.00

"Eliminate the guesswork. This device lets you weigh and measure almost anything—powders, granules, gels and liquids—with perfect accuracy. Plus, it eliminates the need for those annoying little spoons. Measures up to nearly 11 ounces."

More on efficiency and productivity tools:

An Organizing Tool for Bags, Briefcases, Luggage and More!

Apps to Help You Go Paperless

Announcing: Declutter Any Room in 3 Weeks!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Efficient and Clothes-Lean

For some reason, I'm in the mood to clean out my closet. Maybe it's because I've come to the point of having enough clothes I really like. That creates a glaring contrast to those clothes I have in my closet that I don't really like or like how they look on me. That keep hanging in my closet unworn.

So why am I keeping the latter? Good question! 

I want my closet to house only my "feel fabulous" clothes. As a result, I'm removing those that don't fit this category. Even if they are in good shape. Even if they fit. Even if I've only worn them a few times. Painful, huh?

But what good is it to keep them? It just makes it harder to get dressed in the morning because I have to weed through my unfavorites to find my favorites. 

I've started making a pile of giveaways/donations - I love it! 

If there are some pieces of clothing you can't part with or wear only once or twice a year, put them in another closet or in a storage container or in a hard-to-get part of your closet. Don't let them take up valuable real estate in the most usable part of your closet! 

Then, when you get dressed in the morning, you have only fabulous clothing to choose from! Start your fall feeling fabulous and clothing-lean! 

More on being clothes-lean and efficient: 

Another Way to Streamline Your Morning Routine

Vinegar - 10 Ways to Save Your Clothes!

Three Steps to Organizing Your Closet (Kindle)



Monday, August 6, 2012

Getting Organized for School (and Life!) - Prioritizing Your Activities and Schedule

With school starting soon, I'm going to occasionally recycle some of my previous blog posts regarding getting organized for school over the next few weeks. Here's one I'm very passionate about:

If you have school-age children there are three times a year when it might be beneficial to re-prioritize your activities and schedule: January, summer and fall. 

Even if you don't have kids, fall is like a second January. Summertime is usually chaotic, and now it's time to regroup.

Prioritizing activities and schedules involves looking at your schedule in light of your passions and gifts. Does your schedule reflect those things you love and are gifted to do? If not, burn out or discouragement is ahead. 

When you know where you're going and why, life is fulfilling. You're confident you are running after those things you love. You're basking in the satisfaction of using your gifts and doing a good job.
Even if difficult times should arise, it gives you a compass through the storm. What could be better?

If you are overwhelmed at the thought of re-prioritizing, I'd love to help! 

- I'm available to coach you through this. 

- I have several time management books which walk you step-by-step through this process. 

- Rethinking Your Life in 3 Weeks provides bite-sized tasks to do each day. 

How I can help:
Rethinking Life Coaching
1-2-3 ... Get Organized Time Management Books 
Rethinking Your Life in 3 Weeks


Friday, August 3, 2012

National Simplify Your Life Week - 5 Simple Tips

Did you know this is National Simplify Your Life Week? In light of such an auspicious occasion, here are a few tips to help you simplify:

1. Plan a weekly dinner menu and shop once, saving both time and money. This eliminates multiple last-minute trips to the grocery store. And it prevents the expensive, nutritionally-challenged temptation to get take out because you don't have anything planned for dinner.

2. Handle your mail as it enters your house. Mail is a constant decluttering exercise, and if not handled immediately, it grows into a huge pile. Recycle, shred, file and toss. Sort as you walk back from the mail box, if applicable. Toss unwanted mail into the recycling bin. Immediately walk your bills to the place where you keep unpaid bills. File other important mail. Shred sensitive material or place in a container for shredding. Toss the rest. By taking a couple of minutes to process your mail, you're eliminating a large job later.

3. Put things away when you walk in the door. This assumes you have a designated place for keys, coats, bags, backpacks, etc. Otherwise, it looks like an explosion. And you know exactly where your things are when it's time to leave the next morning. Hooks, a closet, coat racks, cubbies, shelves all are solutions to the explosion problem. 

4. Say no. Say no to invitations that don't contribute to your passions and goals. Say no to over-commitment. Say no to excess. 

5. Spend some time in nature. Go to a quiet park and drink in your surroundings. Take a walk, read a book, or take a nap. It doesn't have to be long for it to be restorative. An hour seems like several in such a serene place. We did this as a family during a very stressful period in our lives. We'd squeeze in a picnic dinner, make up a game, and laugh together at "our park." An hour seemed like we'd been there all day!

Packing your life leads to chaos. Be intentional about how you live your life. Make sure you're not just tossed around by others' agendas. Be pro-active and simplify to the point of enjoyment!

More on simple:

Rethinking Your Life in Three Weeks  

A very simple filing system for email and paper

Increasing Efficiency


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Helping Your College Student Live Intentionally

College can be a scary place, especially for a freshman. Why not make it a little less scary by encouraging your student to live intentionally.

Living intentionally - what is that? 
- It's figuring out what is important and aligning your life accordingly. 
- It's determining what you're passionate about and making sure you're investing in these areas.
- It's figuring out your gifts and talents and using them to the max.
- It's thinking about what kind of legacy you want to leave.
- It's eliminating things from your life that compete with your passions, gifts, and legacy.
- It's maximizing your time in order to reflect your passions and your gifts and your legacy.

This is an ideal time to consider these things, before the chaos of college begins. Once classes start and all those choices of how to spend his time arise, decisions will be easier as your student can sift various options through his own filtering system: does this activity match my goals?

Sound complicated? It's not. 

All of my time management books, including Three Steps to Time Management for the College Student workbook, guide you through the process of living intentionally: determining your passions, gifts and legacy and aligning your life accordingly.

They are available as ebooks on Kindle,  and as downloadable PDFs or on flash drives at 1-2-3 ... Get Organized.

Help your student get ready for fall classes and for life by living intentionally! You couldn't provide a better gift!

More on college: 

Cutting Costs on College Textbooks

Packing for College 2011

College Time Management - Why Early Classes Predict Better Grades