How to Be a Part-Time Minimalist

Living in New York (or any big city) forces a person to be minimalistic when it comes to their stuff. There’s barely enough space for the things I need, let alone the things I don’t need! It’s why I’m such a huge fan of Marie Kondo, she helps you to hold on to the things that spark the most joy,  and get rid of all the stuff that doesn’t.

However, it was only when my appendix burst that I began to adopt minimalism as more of a way of life, as opposed to just a way to deal with clutter.

But what does that actually mean?

Minimalism isn’t about getting rid of everything you own or leaving everyone you know to travel around the world. It’s more about getting back to basics, relying less on material needs or obsessing over the desire to have it all. Read more

Bringing Back “Old School” Productivity Hacks

As technology gets more and more advanced, we tend to forget how we used to do things.

Think of how shocked kids are when they hear how you did homework before the internet. (No one appreciates the dewey decimal system anymore!)

But are we becoming too reliant on technology? While it certainly makes our lives more convenient, we now bypass certain steps that helped us to stay on top of our organizational game.

Here are some ways kickin’ it “old school” will make you more productive:

Remember the Typewriter – This old piece of tech is symbolic of a whole generation, you’d be hard pressed to find a black and white movie that doesn’t include a typewriter. One of the downsides to the typewriter was that if you made a mistake you had to start over again. As much of a pain as this may be it made you more conscious of what you were typing. Read more

My Suitcase is Smarter Than Yours

I headed to Boston a few weeks ago to present at the Massachusetts Conference for Women. It was a very impressive conference. There were about 11,000 attendees and keynote speeches included Gayle King, Kevin O’Leary and Sarah Blakely.

I hosted a session called, (what else?) “Listful Thinking: Using Lists to Be More Productive, Highly Successful and Less Stressed.” There were lots and lots of amazing list makers in the crowd. I even signed my very first to-do list! I also signed a lot of books and I got to meet one of the long time readers of this blog – Eileen Wyner! She was also a member of my VIP Launch Team when Listful Thinking was published. Grateful to meet her and share list stories!

I also moderated a session called, “Work Life Integration: Lessons From the Trenches” where I got to use my skills as a producer and interview two executives from Boston Scientific. We all shared stories of when we realized there had to be a better way to be successful in our careers and also happy at home. My lesson came when my appendix ruptured earlier this year.

Read more

The Real Reason You Can’t Clear Clutter

Why is it so difficult to just get rid of stuff? As a recovering pack rat – I totally get it. It seems easy enough but sometime there are items like those boots you never wore or that candlestick holder your friend gave you when she moved out of her apartment.

The important thing here is to know that you’re not alone in struggling to get rid of stuff. I recently attended a Running with Heels dinner in NYC. Running with Heels is a women’s networking group run by my friend Jenny Powers. She books all kinds of speakers and interesting experts.  The dinner I went to featured productivity expert Julie Morgenstern. Julie kindly wrote the foreword to my book Listful Thinking.

The topic of discussion was about clearing clutter and why it’s so difficult to get rid of our stuff! This included a heartbreaking story of how Julie often found her kitchen over stuffed with cookbooks she never used. When she thought about why she clung to these cookbooks so desperately, she realized it was because the represented the mother she wished she could be. A mom who was well known for her delicious home-cooked meals. Read more

Put Yourself First This Year

When did more become better? Longer hours, bigger sacrifices, fewer hours of sleep. This is becoming the new norm for many people and even I get excited when I see an article that claims to have the secret schedule of the most successful people. But the truth is you don’t need to be getting up early to go to yoga, work a 10 hour day then get home and make a freshly-prepared home cooked meal, before you rush of to your child’s clarinet recital. I’m not the only one who has noticed this growing trend, it was a big topic of discussion at the Listful Thinking afternoon tea event and it was raised in my friend Cass McCrory’’s recent podcast interview.

Buying into the “more is more” philosophy can set you up for failure. It can lead to blaming yourself that if you just push a little more then you’ll be able to achieve all your goals. That’s not always necessarily true.

Truthfully, however, working harder can only help you up to a certain point. Beyond that it you may only get diminishing returns. This is the point  when the benefits gained is less than the amount of money or energy invested.

After my appendix burst, I started taking a ‘just enough’ approach. I learned this when I interviewed Heidi Hanna, a stress expert, in my book Listful Thinking but didn’t really apply it til now. She told me to make a “just enough” list instead of bogging it down with lots and lots of to-dos. The list contains only the minimum requirements that I would feel like just enough after completing them.

The free time I have left over can be spent doing things I enjoy or that I want to work on. I find that in the long run prioritizing  my mental and physical well being, instead of just working hard all the time, has been a key part of my success. When you have more room to breath you have to more time to:

  • Think creatively
  • Be inspired with new idea
  • Concentrate on the task at hand

I’m challenging you to put yourself first this week! Make a ‘just enough list’ for today and share it with me on social media. (@ListProducer on Twitter, @ListProducer on Instagram, or here on Facebook) I’d also love to hear about the other ways you prioritize your well being.