Sunday, July 7, 2013

How to Do Everything and Be Happy by Peter Jones

I am a sucker for books that tell me how to declutter and put my stuff in order. I can't tell you how many books I have read on that subject and am always on the lookout for another. They appeal to some part of my brain and I find them to be calming, even if I don't always follow the instructions.

In tandem with arranging stuff - papers, utensils, and yes, even books -- I also enjoy reading about how to organize my time. Once again, there are untold books that I have read on that subject.

So the book How to Do Everything and Be Happy practically jumped off the library's New Non-Fiction display and into my hands. I liked it right away. Author Peter Jones is a hoot and he writes not as a drill instructor but as a guy who has been in the trenches and wants to share what he has learned with you.

It is not a book about organizing every minute so you can get more work done. Its main goal is to help you change what you don't like about your life, find out what you do want in your life, and set goals to get you there.

Any book that advises me to keep a calendar and make lists is the one for me. I use my calendar but only to record what I have to do - appointments, meetings, and social engagements. What's missing, writes Mr. Jones, are the scheduled times for what I really want to do. Those appointments right now are hit-and-miss.

Mr. Jones, who is British, begins his book by telling me to take a day off every month and just do what strikes my fancy. He calls it Boxing Day (the day after Christmas celebrated in England). What? No planning? No. Schedule the day each month, call it anything I like, and try it. It is a day, he writes, to live totally in the moment.

He offers his own experiences with resistance to this idea - he is a plan-every-minute kind of guy - and offers tips along the way as to how he has spent his Boxing Days and how he is happier because of them. 

As to the lists, there is the Live Life Now List, the Wish List, and the List of Three Goals you are working on. He walks you step-by-step through every one and is very enthusiastic unlike some of the authors who write This Is So Very Serious books on the subject.

Along the way, he provides Stop! Action Point! summaries of his ideas and gives the reader a nudge to actually Stop! and set up the calendar or make the list. 

We all need a bit of nudging now and again. At least I do, and Mr. Jones has presented his nudges in a sound and humorous way.


  1. I'm a sucker for the same types of books you mention, Belle. I really ought to be the most organized person on earth by now. This one sounds like lots of fun, with perhaps some worthwhile tips. I'll have to look for it at my library.

    1. Kathy, I feel the same way! I do have my many "how to be organized and get control of your life" books all in a row on a shelf...I guess that is a start.

      This one was fun and helpful. Now that I know what Mr. Jones wants me to do, I just need to sit down and do it. And there's the rub...