Friday, February 26, 2010

The Journal Backlog

I recently experienced an epiphany. In my office I keep a stack of journals (most still in the plastic wrapping) that I plan to read. Instead of reading I cultivate this neat pile, that is about to sprout into a daughter stack.

Then I did the math:

Journal American College of Cardiology (one/week = 4/month)
Journal Heart and Lung Transplant (one/month)
Journal Cardiac Failure (one/month)
Six journals/ month or 1.5 journals per week!

Epiphany: unless I ACTUALLY read at least one journal per week the pile will continue to grow.

Despite the new clarity I have yet to read or recycle.

It true Mother in Medicine fashion, and in the spirit of full disclosure, I present another pile. In my kitchen, of parenting magazines. Nestled neatly next to my stand mixer (which I am proud to report has been used quite frequently lately).


  1. I see your problem immediately: Your journals are kept in the kitchen and not in the bathroom.

  2. At least you save the journals. I "recycle" most of mine, still in their nice plastic wrapper.

  3. Love it! I have stacks at the office and at home too.

  4. I routinely toss anything older than three months.

    I pull out journals to browse at the kitchen table during those last fifteen minutes of lunch or snack when I've finished eating but the kids haven't, and leaving them unattended would be disastrous.

  5. That is one clean kitchen counter!

  6. I keep a big stack of journals in my office, that I skim frantically once every three months when I have a couple of hours at work. Don't know how much info I process, but at least I feel justified in moving them to the "read" stack.

    I am impressed that you have parenting magazines.

  7. I used to experience a sense of dread every time I looked at my stack of journals to be read - receiving 1 - 3 every week ensured the pile was growing rapidly. I finally settled upon this (it works for me, anyway): I know I'm not going to get something out of every article in the journal, so when the journal arrives, I skim the table of contents THAT DAY. If there's an article of interest, I read the abstract - sometimes that gives me all the information I need. If not, I pull the article out of the journal and read it entirely within the next few days. Then I throw the rest of the journal into the recycling bin.

    This approach has cut down on the "I'll never get it all done" feelings that used to permeate everything. And I don't worry about missing anything - I figure that if something's important enough, I'll hear about it from colleagues and look it up on line.

    Good luck! (And keep using that stand mixer - I'll share a recipe for a phenomenal cheesecake, if you'd like :) )

  8. Fizzy beat me to it: keep them on a stand by the toilet.

  9. I third the bathroom suggestions by Fizzy and OMDG! I do skim the topics, and if there is nothing of interest, they get, er, square filed (recycle bin). This is the only time I have a few uninterrupted minutes to browse magazines. My parenting mags at home, my journals in my office BR. At least they are finally getting looked at! :)

  10. Your stack looks like my stack...

    I read my journals in the bathtub. I also take them on holidays (I can usually get through one a day... two or three if I'm stuck on a plane that day).

    The other thing that I find really useful is reading while I have my iphone next to me. If I find a good tidbit, I quickly make a note of it on the phone. If there's a table or picture, I take a photo of it and store it on the iphone. I used to rip out articles and keep them in a folder but then I never had them when I wanted them.

  11. I am struck that the rest of your office and kitchen look so neat. I am totally, completely, insanely jealous!!!! I have all the same stacks, except they are lopsided and surrounded by crumbs, old pictures my kids drew, empty bottles of Naked Juice. I would post a photo, but I would be too ashamed ever to show my face on this blog again!

  12. Artemis's idea is a good one and I, too, think your office and kitchen are uber neat. I throw the old ones away but find I have 2 or 3 stacks that are always present.

    Yesterday I tossed about 25. That shows how bad I am.

  13. I truly love this blog because it is always a revelation to see how much we have in common! I have these piles everywhere, too- but I agree that your house looks insanely neat compared to mine. I'm sitting at the computer near three different stacks of papers, surrounded by remnants of breakfast, with two undelivered Christmas presents on my left and a trashed craft table on my right...

  14. Thanks for all of the comments! They made me smile and some great ideas.....

    I moved into a new house a month ago. 1500 to 3500 sq ft so my house neat becuse half of it is empty.

    I moved into my office (first job, first office) when 6 months pregnant. It is very organized and homey, I blame it on the overactive nesting instincts at the time.


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