Book Review: Time Management Ninja

timeTitle: Time Managment Ninja
Author: Craig Jarrow
Genre: Nonfiction/Self-help
Publisher: Mango
Publication Date: September 15, 2019
Pages: 236
Format Read: Audiobook
Standalone or series: Standalone
Where I got the book: Library Hoopla app
Date finished reading: January 30, 2020

Goodreads Description: Time management made simple and easy

Fans of The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy, Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy, and 12 Week Year by Brian P. Moran and Michael Lennington will love Time Management Shouldn’t Take Time.

More time, stress relief, and relaxation: You want more time in your life. Time to spend with family, to achieve big goals, and to simply enjoy life. Yet, the world we live in is busier and changing faster than ever before. More things competing for your time, and more distractions interrupting your day.

Simple and practical time management: You have tried to manage your time better but have found that most time management systems and tools are too complex. Or they are too unwieldy to be effective or sustainable. Time management shouldn’t be difficult, and it shouldn’t take up more of your precious time than it gives back!

Easy tools, rules, and tactics: Craig Jarrow has been there, too. However, after spending many years testing time management tactics, tools, and systems and having written hundreds of articles on productivity, goals, and organization, Jarrow discovered a simple truth. Time management should be easy.

More productivity and less stress: It is only when you simplify your approach that you can rise above the busyness and chaos of our fast-paced society. Time Management Shouldn’t Take Time offers “21 Rules” that will show you an easier and more effective way to take control of your time and manage your busy life. If you follow these simple principles, you will get more done with less effort. You will have less stress and more time to do the things you want to do.

No-stress, uncomplicated time management that works

My Review: At the start of every year, I love bingeing on self-help audiobooks, especially ones that discuss organization and time management. I feel it puts me in a good frame of mind to tackle my yearly goals and have a successful year. I’ve already listened to The 5 Love Languages and Spark Joy this year.

Here are the 21 Tips that the author suggests for better time management:

  • Tip 1: Take time to make time. Take the time to create a schedule. This will help you manage your time and prioritize.
  • Tip 2: Have these four items. These items can be physical or digital versions. You can combine these items but don’t have more than one of each.
    • To-do list
    • Notebook
    • Calendar
    • Address book
  • Tip 3: To-do list = best friend. Take it everywhere.
  • Tip 4: Make appointments with yourself and your work.
  • Tip 5: Write things down now so you don’t forget about it later.
  • Tip 6: Have a plan then prepare.
  • Tip 7: Get up earlier.
  • Tip 8: Complete tasks fully and don’t put off tasks. 
  • Tip 9: Put things away right away, so you always know where items are.
  • Tip 10: ABC method of cleaning. Clean regularly to avoid big time-consuming messes.
  • Tip 11: Complete one task a day that you keep putting off.
  • Tip 12: Never confuse busy with productive. Stay focused on your prioritized tasks.
  • Tip 13: You can’t finish if you don’t start.
  • Tip 14: You are stronger than you think. Believe that you can accomplish what you want to accomplish.
  • Tip 15: You are what you do today and everyday.
  • Tip 16: Use your tech for good not for evil. The average person checks their phone over 150 times a day.
  • Tip 17: Make choices or life will make them for you. Make timely decisions.
  • Tip 18: Passion makes you more productive.
  • Tip 19: Let it be. You can’t do it all.
  • Tip 20: Don’t create your own life friction. This can happen through forgetfulness or procrastination.
  • Tip 21: Live your life or you won’t have one. Your time is yours. Make sure you use time to do what you want to do.

This is a great beginner’s guideline to time management. I try very hard to utilize time management skills in both my work life and my home life. I don’t know how I would exist without my notebook/daily to-do list. I have a different method in relation to the to-do list than the author discusses. The author stresses that one should just have a single to-do list. I disagree with that. I feel very strongly about keeping my work and home life separate. I have a work to-do list that I leave at the office, and a personal/home life to-do list that I have with me everywhere (Tip 3). The author also is highly against disposing of the previous day’s to-do list, but I am not. I believe each day should start fresh. I don’t want a written reminder of the things I did not accomplish the day before. I normally just move those tasks to a day in the future.

Realistically, I never accomplish everything I want to accomplish. Sometimes I realize that my daily expectations are just too high – like the author mentioned. However, for the most part, to-do lists and time management do not allow for the flexibility of life when things just come up – and they often do. The author talks about it being okay to just say “no” when people ask things of you that you just don’t have time for, but that is not necessarily how life works or relationships for that matter. I am fortunate to be married to a man who loves to cook. This opens up time in my evenings for me to accomplish other tasks, but if he calls me and says that a work meeting popped up so he won’t be home in time to prepare dinner, I need to arrange my time to take care of that task, whether I planned for it or not. Sometimes things just pop up.

Here is my own personal helpful tip that goes along with the author’s Tips 1, 6 & 9. At the end of every night, I allow myself 5-10 minutes to put things away that may have been left out (Tip 9) and to prepare for the next day (Tips 1 & 6). This preparation is making sure that my work bag is packed with everything I need and my to do list is ready for the next day. This makes the beginning of my day start strong with a clear vision of what needs to happen, because as much as Tip 7 sounds good in theory, I doubt I will ever accomplish that, nor am I sure I want to. I really like my sleep time.

One area that the author stresses a lot throughout the book that I personally struggle with is using technology to solely help accomplish daily tasks and goals. I still spend more time browsing news topics or looking at Facebook, etc. than I would like. These are hard habits to kick.

How do you feel about time management? Do you have any time management tips of your own that you would like to share?

One idea that I am personally struggling with lately is that if I live by my lists and plan out all my time, is that truly living life? When does having this kind of structure become too confining? What do you think?

My Rating: ♦ ♦ ♦ ½

“Live in the present. Note the past. Plan for the future.”


Bout of Books 24 – Day 4 Update

As I just returned from my holiday vacation, I thought participating in the Bout of Books read-a-thon would help me start 2019 on a good reading note. Plus, I always enjoy the Bout of Books read-a-thons. However, I have not made a lot of progress due to a lovely cold that I picked up on my travels home. I have one of those colds that causes horrible migraines, so reading has been a bit difficult. I have not completed any books yet, but I am hoping that the second half of this read-a-thon will be more productive.
Currently Reading:
Just Started: 
I started this audiobook, as I couldn’t read with my eyes at all yesterday.

The Library Book

32/318 (10%)
Starting Soon:
These are the three books I really want to complete by the end of Bout of Books 24. Wish me luck! Are you participating in the Bout of Books read-a-thon? If so, how are you doing? What are your goals?


Happy Holidays: A Year in Review 2018


As the holiday season is in full swing, and we are getting ready to go on vacation, we wanted to put together a note to let all our friends and family know what we have been up to in 2018.

We continue to build and grow our lives in Houston. It has been a bit of a struggle to grow accustomed to life back in the States after living in Italy for a few years, but we feel that we are finally adjusting.

Earlier this year, Sarah left her position at a local public library to become a Grants Administrator at MD Anderson Cancer Research Center. After nine months at this position, she is thriving and really enjoying her work. MD Anderson has been named the top cancer hospital in the United States and, as of this year, can also boast of having a Nobel laureate as one of the faculty members. The work that MD Anderson does is very important in caring for patients with cancer and researching a cure for all cancer. This summer, Sarah realized first hand how important this work is, as her aunt passed away from lymphoma cancer.

Aunt JoAnn meant a lot to us. We have been fortunate enough to have spent quality time with her in Arizona, Texas and when she visited us in Italy. We shared many wonderful moments and laughs with her. We admired her love of life, family and friends. We love her and miss her every day.

Greg had a lot of traveling this year to exciting locations like Paris France (see pictures below) over the summer (the absolute best time to get out of the Houston heat) and Sao Paolo Brazil, as well as San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Washington DC.  He also had a trip to Cincinnati, so not all of the travel is to somewhere exotic.  Fall 2018 was his first semester teaching undergraduates, and he had 130 students in an intro to physics course.  It went well overall, and every week was able to get a laugh during class (which means the students were awake).  The reviews aren’t back yet, but the students probably learned something!  He’s been doing research with two really good students on neuroscience and the physics of the cytoskeleton as well.

While Greg did travel a lot for work this year, we didn’t travel collectively for fun that much, mostly because of Sarah’s new job. We did visit Greg’s brother and sister-in-law in Ohio for a weekend, but that was our only real travel adventure this year. As we are big adventurers, we had to rectify this, so after spending time with Sarah’s family on Christmas, we will be heading on a Caribbean cruise. We are looking forward to island-exploring, basking in sun, and lots of rest and relaxation.

I hope you all have an enjoyable holiday season! Feel free to drop us a line below to let us know how you are doing. We love you all!



Completed Another 24-hour Readathon!


Another Dewey’s 24-Hour Readathon has come and gone. As always, it was so much fun! I was even so fortunate as to get to take my reading outside for a bit this time (see above photo). As I mentioned in my previous post, I had already decided not to attempt the full 24 hours. It just takes too much out of me, and with a new job, I just don’t have the same recovery time. However, I still read for almost 20 hours and that was more than expected.

So…how did i do on my readathon goals? Let’s find out:

  • I want to read for at least 15 hours today. I actually read for 19 1/2 hours.
  • I want to complete 3 books. I did in fact complete 3 books (2 physical books and 1 audiobook).
  • I want to read at least 600 pages. I read 650 pages.
  • I want to complete at least 8 mini-challenges. I did complete 8 mini-challenges.

HOORAY! I accomplished all my readathon goals! Now let’s get to the fun part…this is what I read:


Collage 2018-04-29 13_28_44

I had a bit of a true crime theme going. After finishing The Road to Jonestown and then I’ll Be Gone in the Dark. I became a bit paranoid in the dark, so reading something light like the classic Charlotte’s Web was necessary. SPOILER: However, was it really necessary for E. B. White to actually mention that Charlotte died all alone?!!! It was already implied. Why state it?! Made it not just sad but depressing.

Anyway, while I enjoyed the audiobook of The Road to Jonestown, it was very long…17 1/2 hours long. I listened to at least 7 hours of that yesterday. I admit I knew very little about Jim Jones and the Peoples’ Temple, but I feel this book had way too much detail. There were so many characters mentioned that I could not keep them all straight, but I guess in the end that didn’t matter, because (Spoiler again but I feel like we know this one) most of them died in the end.

My most anticipated read and my favorite was Michelle McNamara’s I’ll Be Gone in the Dark. I put this down a month ago to finish some book club reads, however, with the recent news about the Golden State Killer (GSK), I felt it was necessary to go back to it. So glad I did, but boy was it horrifying. A bit of wisdom to those who haven’t read it yet – don’t read it right before bed or in the dark by yourself. I so wish that guy was caught 40 years ago, but I am happy that he will at least rot in prison for the rest of his days. I’m really glad that McNamara and many California detectives did not give up their search for the GSK. People say their decades-long search was an obsession, but I think it was necessary. I just really wish McNamara would have lived to see the GSK caught.


I did also start an ARC of Paula McLain’s Love and Ruin (see picture above). I’m only a little bit into it right now but am loving it so far. It comes out for the public on Tuesday (May 1st).

I did have a difficult time with this readathon. There were too many 20180428_092722distractions (see picture on the right that shows my two awesome garage sale purchases from the community garage sale). I hope to avoid these distractions next time. I also didn’t do a great job of preparing my cozy reading nook with everything accessible. My organization left much to be desired. However, I think the leaders of this readathon did a fantastic job. The option to do mini-challenges at any point during the 24 hours was a much nicer solution. Mini-challenges use to disrupt my reading zone now I can do them as a break between books. I will admit though that I didn’t even look at the readathon scavenger hunt. Maybe next time.

Hopefully I’ll be doing the 24-hour readathon again October 20, 2018! Until then….




24-Hour Readathon Begins! April 2018


It’s that time!!!! Time for the semi-annual Dewey’s 24-hour Readathon!!!!  As always I’m20180428_070019 super excited and ready to go! I’ve got my TBR pile (see photo above), snacks and clothing (see photo off to the right) all prepared. This is officially my 4th time doing the readathon. I do not anticipate making it the full 24 hours like I did the last time I participated, but I am geared up to get some good reading in that will help me achieve my yearly reading goals. Speaking of goals, here are my goals for this readathon:

  • I want to read for at least 15 hours today.
  • I want to complete 3 books.
  • I want to read at least 600 pages.
  • I want to complete at least 8 mini-challenges.

If you have never participated in this readathon before, I would recommend that you try it! It’s so much fun!

Here is my first read of the day:



Goals for 2016


Now that the holidays are over, I actually have a moment to reflect on 2015, and how blessed I am. I am also taking this moment to think of all the things I want to accomplish in 2016 to make it the best year ever. I know that New Year’s Resolutions get a bad rap. Everyone wants to lose weight, exercise more, drink less alcohol, quit smoking, etc. etc. For many, they start the year with a good push toward these resolutions, and then by February the ambition/motivation fails. However, I am not that type of person. Sometimes I do set too many goals, but as long as I complete half of my goals, I feel that my life is on track. What is wrong with having goals in your life that help you live up to your potential?

2016 is going to be a year of uncertainty as there are many changes that may occur. My husband and I may decide to move based on job opportunities. We don’t at this time know if that will happen or if we decide to move, where we will be moving. With such an undetermined future, it is hard to make certain goals. For instance, I would like to run a marathon and volunteer more, but my time and location may not permit such achievements. I find it is important to set reasonable goals, so you don’t become disappointed in yourself.

Here is my list of reasonable goals for 2016:

  1. Read more non-fiction books. I tend to read a lot of classics, bestsellers, and mysteries. It would be nice to expand my reading list a bit. If you want to see my must-read book list, click here.
  2. Travel to Sicily. Since moving to Italy, so many people have told my husband and I that we have to explore Sicily.
  3. Renew my driver’s license. This is a ridiculous one, but when you are an expat, it is a bit more complicated than just going online and hitting a renew button.
  4. Continue studying Italian – even if I end up moving away from Italy.
  5. Go ice skating. This was a goal of mine a couple years ago that I failed to do. Can you believe that a girl who grew up in Wisconsin has still never been ice skating???
  6. Continue making a few extra dollars on Swagbucks. Every year I use the extra money to purchase birthday and Christmas gifts. More often than not I use the extra money to satisfy my book addiction. If you are interested in learning more about Swagbucks, click here.
  7. Vote. As we all have heard, no matter where you are in the world, the U.S. is having elections in 2016. Even though I am not currently living in the United States, I am still a U.S. citizen and want to exercise my right to vote. It is a privilege that many people in the United States take for granted, and one that I am very proud to have.
  8. Spend one day a month internet-free. I find myself constantly needing to go on the internet, whether I am at home on the computer or outside of my house on my phone. What did we all do before the internet? Anyway, I find that I am too reliant on it, and so I would like to take a break once a month from the addiction of Facebook, kitty & puppy videos, email, etc.
  9. Keep a Thankful Journal. In 2015, my spirit was sometimes pretty low. Every day this year I want to write down something that I am thankful for. That way, if my spirit gets low again, I can turn to my journal and read all the positive things in my life.

I think I can definitely accomplish these goals. It makes heading into the new year very exciting. Feel free to share with me some of your goals for 2016.

2016 is gonna rock!