In Other Reading . . .

I'm linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy to share a bit about some of the other books that I've been reading.

 Gridiron genius by michael lombardi

It is the most wonderful time of the year for football fans. Football season is starting and football books are being released. Gridiron Genius by Michael Lombardi (no relation to Vince) is a behind-the-scenes look at what makes some NFL teams so great. I had the opportunity to read an advance review copy via Netgalley so I can't quote from the book but there are a few lines that are just genius/borderline snarky in the humor. I hope they made it to the final edition. The book would be great for all football fans and students of the game. Gridiron Genius is available for preorder now and will be released September 11, 2018.

 Shattered mirror by sarah price

Shattered Mirror by Sarah Price tells the story of a mother fighting to save her son from drug addiction. Kelly Martin is a single mother who is the only one in her son's life willing to face the reality that he is in trouble. Her ex-husband, her family, and her community offer no support, preferring to avoid the issue or blame her parenting for his addiction. Shattered Mirror offers a hopeful story to those facing similar struggles with addiction. It is free to read via Kindle Unlimited.

 Belle by sarah price

The same Sarah Price who wrote Shattered Mirror might be best known for her Amish fiction. I grew up near an Old-Order Mennonite community so once in awhile I get a craving for books about that simple, tech-free life. Sarah Price is my favorite author for these stories. Her books are true to the Amish faith and lifestyle. It is a wonderful change of pace from business books and psychological thrillers. (In full disclosure, I much prefer her books that are not based on retellings, but all of her writing is solid.) Belle is the first in the Amish Fairytale series.

 The hiltons by j randy taraborrelli

If you follow me on Instagram or have read some of my other linkup posts, you know that I love J. Randy Taraborrelli. His biographies are very well-written and well-researched. The Hiltons is about the rise of Conrad Hilton and his hotel empire. I could've gone without the mentions of Paris but I suppose there is some relevance to the story and it really is a tiny portion of the 500+ page book. I can't decide which of Taraborrelli's books to read next.

What have you been reading recently? Let me know in the comments. I'm always looking to add to my TBR list.

Time Management Magic: How To Get More Done Every Day

Time Management Magic: How To Get More Done Every Day and Move From Surviving to Thriving is written by Lee Cockerell, retired Senior Operating Executive of Walt Disney World Resorts. In his book, he shares the time management lessons he learned in his executive career and now teaches in his Time/Life Management seminars. It’s a short book but full of useful tips.

We're always looking for ways to improve our time management skills so that we have more white space in our lives. Today, I'm sharing three lessons I learned from reading Time Management Magic.

 Time management magic. How to get more done.

Lesson 1—Schedule Your Priorities

If your priorities have become habits and get done without reminders, you’re in great shape. But if you are not keeping up with your priorities, you need to put them into your schedule. For example, exercise is something we know we need to do. And if you regularly work out at 6:00 am every day, you don’t need to schedule your workout time; you already do it. But if exercise is a priority and you are not making time for it, you need to block it out on your schedule—just like any other appointment. Every day there should be a specific time slot for you to go to the gym, go for a run, whatever your workout routine is. Making an appointment for yourself and writing it down will keep you accountable. And scheduling your priorities can work for any area of your life—date night with your partner, one-on-one time with your children, time with friends. In the book, Cockerell uses an example of scheduling a weekly phone call to his mother.

Lesson 2—Use checklists, systems, and procedures

“…You can’t have a successful organization if you are plagued by disorganization and lack of consistent performance.”

Whether you are running a one-person side hustle, maintaining a household, or are the CEO of a major organization, checklists and procedures can make life less complicated. If you are doing a home renovation project, you don’t have the drywall guy come out to hang drywall if the plumber hasn’t finished with the pipes. There’s a procedure you follow when doing home renovations. If you are launching a new product in your business, you likely have a checklist of all the tasks involved. That checklist keeps you organized so you can have a successful launch. There’s even a system for skincare. You don’t put on night time moisturizer until you wash off the day’s makeup. Checklists, systems, procedures—they keep you organized so life runs a bit more smoothly. 

{Read my post 12 Checklists That Will Make Life Easier here.}

Lesson 3—Use Signifiers On Your To Do List

Am I the only one who will make a list to make a list? I’ll write down all the things I need to get done and then rewrite the list so that the number one thing is on the top and the last task is on the bottom. It works, but I’m writing the list twice which it’s not a good use of my time.

Instead what I should be doing is making a list and then using signifiers to show me what is urgent vs. what is necessary vs. what can wait. The following what a list might look like using Lee’s signifiers. (You could use different signifiers.)

A-2 write post
*draft sequence
B-1 send email
B-4 book flight
A-1 design opt-in
B-2 order math
B-3 make appointment
C-1 pick up dry-cleaning 

Things marked by an asterisk are urgent and must get done. Things designated by an A are necessary, A-1 being more vital than A-4. Tasks denoted with a B are important, again B-1 being of higher importance than B-4, but all Bs are less urgent than the As. The Cs are of limited value. They can be put off or even handled by someone else. 

What I love about this idea is that it eliminates the need to write your list in a specific order. You write down what needs to be done and get it out of your head. Then you add signifiers to show what should be done first, second, and so on. 

The key will be not to let it overwhelm you. If you spend five minutes trying to decide if a task should be an A-1 or an A-2, you’re going to exasperate yourself. And you’re not saving any time. Just pick one and move on. Or maybe it would be easier for you not to use signifiers. Any time management system should be helpful, not a hindrance. 

Other Key Ideas From Time Management Magic:

“Plan each day as diligently as you plan your vacations…Think of it [your plan] as a GPS or a map: without it, you will not get to where you want to go.”

“Efficient is being able to get things done. Effective is doing the right things in the right order, and making sure you address everything that is urgent, vital, and important, in every part of your life.”

“Time/life management is probably the most crucial skill a person needs to be successful and happy.”

While I usually suggest you buy the books I talk about, I feel like Time Management Magic is a little pricey for its content. Brand new, it’s $15.99 for 137 pages. If you are interested in reading it, try getting it through your library or inter-library loan. The Kindle edition is $7.39 which is more reasonable, but I am partial to owning physical books. (Prices at the time of this posting.)

What are your favorite time management tricks? Or what is your favorite book about time management? Please let me know in the comments. I’m always looking to add to my TBR list.

How To Be Confident When You Buy Your New Home

Buying a home can be a scary process. There’s a lot to know, and there’s a lot of money at stake. Buying a home is likely the most significant purchase you’ll ever make, so it’s normal to be nervous and intimidated about what lies ahead. 

 How to be confident when you buy a new home.

Ilyce Glink has written a book that will leave you feeling prepared and confident as you begin your home buying adventure. 100 Questions Every First-Time Home Buyer Should Ask “is for anyone who feels even a little unsure about the process of buying a home.” In its fourth edition, it’s been updated to deal with the most current market issues.

There are three ways to read this book—read cover to cover, read only the Fast Pass section (9 must answer questions), or pick it up and use it as a reference tool when you encounter a specific problem.

The Fast Pass section is the first part of the book, and it’s nine questions that Glink says you really must answer before you jump into the buying process. These questions include: Should I rent or should I buy? How much should I spend vs. what the bank says I can afford?

You’ll benefit from these questions only if you are honest with yourself. Don’t try to convince yourself that you’ll be happy with a quiet house in the country if you love the weekend nightlife near your current home. Glink says, “Honesty…is crucial to help you find the right house, at the right price, and on the right terms.”

After the Fast Pass section, Chapter 2 starts with “How Do I Know What I Want to Buy?” This whole section deals with the beginning of the home-buying process. To help you discover what you want in a house, Glink has created two worksheets. Working through these worksheets and having them on hand will keep you focused so you’d don’t get distracted by shiny object syndrome. You don’t want to end up with a three-bedroom house that has a spectacular pool but only one bathroom if there are two adults and three teens in your family.

There are numerous topics covered in this book. But here is a small sampling of the questions included.

What’s the difference between an agent and a broker? Followed by:
    17 Questions to Ask Before You Hire an Agent or Broker
How do I know what I can afford to spend?
    There’s a worksheet to help you with that.
How much will it cost to own and maintain a home?
How do I apply for a loan?
What are lender’s fees?
What are junk fees?
What is earnest money?
What if the seller won’t give back the earnest money?
When we make an offer, what contingencies should we include?
What do we do in a bidding war?
How do I find a real estate attorney?
How do I find a reputable professional home inspector? Followed by:
    Home Buyer’s Watch List—12 Things To Watch Out For When Visiting Homes
What Is title insurance? Followed by:
    Top 20 Things Title Insurance Protects You From
What happens during the closing process?
What if we discover a problem after closing?

After 400 pages of all the questions you can think of, and many questions you didn’t know you had, there are three appendices.
    Top 10 Mistakes First-Time Homebuyers Make
    6 Simple Things You Can Do to Make the Home-Buying Process Easier
    5 Mistakes People Make When Buying New Construction

There is also a glossary of Real Estate Terms Every Home Buyer Should Know.

It’s rare that I use the word “impressive” to describe a book. But 100 Questions Every First-Time Home Buyer Should Ask is an impressive book. Even if you are on your second or third home, there are 400+ pages of information to help you with almost every possible situation.

Armed with this comprehensive tool, you will be able to handle the home buying process with confidence and optimism. And at $12.85 for the most recent paperback edition, it’s a small price to pay for confidence when you are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Do you have a favorite book or resource for buying a home? Please share it in the comments.