Non-Fiction Review: Rivka Caroline’s “From Frazzled to Focused”

I would love to meet Rivka in person, and give her a hearty hug. This book is great!

I have read many “get organized” books before. I’ve run the gamut from humorous to clinical approaches, and though each one said it couldn’t be done, I may have put one or two under my pillow just trying to get it to soak in.

While all of those books were great, and I would be totally onboard my “new and improved” life for a week, inevitably, I would fall off that well-oiled and tidy wagon. Their approach just didn’t have the sustainability factor that matched up with how my life runs. Create the perfect routine and execute the same perfect checklist everyday? I’m not wired that way. If I think about everything at once, and try to get it all done to standard, I get overwhelmed, and nothing gets accomplished. While I have loved what these other organizational books have had to say, applaud the authors for sharing their wisdom, and know many have been helped by it;  I finally realized my problem: the author has found the system that works for them specifically, and I wasn’t them.

Rivka doesn’t reinvent WHAT needs to be done, but her approach on HOW to get there was different from all the others I’ve read. A systemized approach that could be tailored to YOU. Everywhere I look in society today, I see this approach being implemented, so you know there’s something to be said for it.

I can’t say enough good about this book. Rivka breaks down each area of your life and asks you what your vision is for it. That was the first thing that caught my attention. Everyone’s priorities in their home are different, so being able to tailor my life, to say “this is MY goal, not what I think I should be doing because of others” was a huge liberation. Step by step, chapter by chapter, I went through my life and envisioned what I have always wanted “some day”. Next she talked about ways to set systems in place to make that goal a reality. How are you wired? Will a fun sticky-note on the bathroom mirror brighten your morning and help you remember tasks? Will a meal-plan magnetized to your fridge streamline your days? What things do you normally do that could be accentuated to help you throughout your day?

I am a list-maker. I will put things on my list just to cross them off. So to set up my week by a list of daily goals was something that clicked for me.

Then, the key component: keeping your system going. How does one not fall off that shiny wagon of productivity? Life happens, yes, but life is ALWAYS going to happen. Rivka acknowledges this many times, as this book is primarily geared toward moms – the tag-line is “The Ultimate Guide for Moms Who Want to Reclaim Their Time, Their Sanity and Their Lives”.

What will help you maintain your goal and your progress? How will you remember when you have so many other things wanting your attention, and how do you keep this tool from getting old, dry, and more of hindrance than helpful? Rivka stresses the importance of planners, calendars, and schedules. Looking at how your life normally runs, and then working in times to focus on specific tasks seems like an obvious step, but as moms, when life gets steam-rolling along, you need that extra hand.

I found that setting up my weekly calendar in my phone, with an alert that let me know what was coming up next helped me to not only keep track of the time, but also to lower my stress about getting things done. Now that I have my week planned out, I know everything will get done in the time set-aside for it, and I won’t forget and be stressed with that nagging feeling because I have a gentle reminder set up. And as life changes, the system is easy to update and tweak, no matter how you are wired.

You know how I know it’s working? I’ve made it to week TWO!

Seriously though, thank you Rivka Caroline, and I hope this book helps others! It  just hit the shelves, and I definitely recommend picking up a copy!

I received a review copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.

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