A Magazine A Day

My husband has a bit of a problem. He gets two weekly magazines (The Economist and The New Yorker), plus we get the New York Times delivered every day. So much to read, and so little time.

The pile is shrinking but still needs work.

The newspaper tends to stay in the dining room (it’s easier to read when spread out on the table), but the magazines gravitate toward the bedroom so that he can read them when we go to bed. It’s rare that he gets all the way through one issue before the next one comes in the mail. So he leaves the old one half-read while he starts the new one. The end result is a stack of half-read magazines on his bedside table.

One of my basic organizing principles is “one in, one out”.  For my clients who tend to accumulate newspapers and magazines, I advise them to apply the rule this way: when the new issue arrives, the old one should be recycled, whether you’ve finished it or not. I’ve mentioned this to my husband more than once but he does not subscribe (no pun intended) to this theory.

When I recently pointed out that his pile was getting out of control, he said he would work on it between Christmas and New Year’s. I almost believed him, but then he added, “Even though I have a lot of work to do that week.” So I gave him a different idea: instead of trying to finish it all in one week, how about finishing a magazine a day? Since many of them are half-read, it would not be a huge burden.

My husband accepted the challenge, and his pile has been steadily shrinking. The other day, I saw him opening a New Yorker magazine whose spine had not yet been cracked. It was dated November 4. That’s progress!

If you’ve been putting off tackling an organizing project until you have a large block of time, think about how you can accomplish a little at a time instead. Organizing in short, energetic bursts throughout the week will move you along further than waiting until the time is right.

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