Want to meet me & Gretchen Rubin in Chicago?

I used to be the queen of networking and go to lots of events every week. That’s when I was first building this blog and also launching my book Listful Thinking. I wanted to get the word out! But after my appendix ruptured over a year ago and I vowed to slow things down a bit.

And I quickly I realized essentially every networking event is the same.

Think about it, how many networking events have you been to that take place in hotel banquet halls filled with clammy handshakes, and awkward conversations punctuated with the exchange of business cards? And those cards usually end up in the garbage.

So how do you stand out?

How do you make your mark in the short amount of time that you have with someone new?

Well it’s all about your pitch! That’s how. Read more

So What’s the Big Deal Over Dot Journaling?

Thanks to listproducer.com I’ve met a lot of people in the productivity community and the more people I meet the more I find we have in common. We tend to be stationary nerds, who love Marie Kondo and are always looking out for the best way to get organized. So it’s no surprise that the latest to-do trend, that combines a to-do list with a planner and a diary, has become a big success in the productivity community. I’m talking, of course, about dot journaling.

If you don’t know what that is, dot journaling is, simply put, making a lot of bullet point lists. (You’ll quickly find with dot journaling that there’s a lot of overly complex names for simple things.) While I normally think it’s better to keep your lists separate, dot journaling allows you to put all your long and short term goals, as well as daily tasks, into one notebook. And you use a code-type system to keep everything from getting muddled together. Read more

Get Everything Done and Make It To Happy Hour

When I was in my early 20s I loved to watch Sex and The City. I was working weekends at the time and I would sneak episodes while I was writing or producing for the news. I hoped it was an accurate picture of what my life would be like – brunches and after work, get togethers with the girls. However watching it back these days I can tell you my life is not really like that. Did those girls ever actually work?

While we can’t all live the glamorous lifestyles of Carrie and Samantha, we can still make it to happy hour. Provided of course, that we get all our work done. When we’re buried under a heavy workload the chances of leaving work on time get slimmer and slimmer. But it is possible, all it takes is a little planning.

Here are some of my secrets to help you head out the door at 5!

  1. Make a roadmap of your day – Every day, when I’m nearly finished with work I create a “roadmap” for the following day.  I’ve stolen the idea from my time as a live news producer.  We always have a rundown to keep us on track during a live show.  Your work day should run the same way. Having this roadmap means I can hit the ground running and everything goes so much smoother when I get in the following morning.
  2. Don’t answer the phone Only answer if it’s absolutely necessary. That means the person who is calling can give your information about the task you’re working on or you have an appointment for the call right then. It’s far too easy to get wrapped up in conversations that go nowhere! You’ll get back to them later – just add it to your list.
  3. Break the day up into chunksGot some mammoth task you’re really not looking forward to? Split it into smaller chunks and distribute it throughout the day. Giving yourself a chance to look at emails, etc in between will help to ease your frustration.  Breaks are our friends. But don’t get sucked into other projects. Give yourself specific time limits.
  4. BacktimeI’ve talked a little about backtiming before. It’s a concept I got from working as a TV news producer. You start at the end goal and work backwards. So what do you need to have done in order to get out of work on time. Make a list of all these things and how long they will take. If you incorporate this with your plan from the night before you can create a schedule for your day.
  5. Make a meeting checklist – The biggest time suck in the office is not people checking their social media or chatting by the water cooler, it’s meetings. Who hasn’t been in a meeting that has gone on for an hour longer than it needed to? Meanwhile the mound of work on your desk just piles up. By having a meeting checklist you can make sure all the important things are covered, but it can also help to move the whole process along!

So now the only thing left to decide on is  what you’re drinking when you get to happy hour!

List of Gifts for Guaranteed Smiles

As you probably know I’m a productivity nerd, as well as an organizational nerd. I love finding new stationery stores or new ways to organize my life. However what you might not know is that I’m also a total gift giving nerd. Taking the time to really research and find the best gift for people is a hobby of mine. It’s partly why I start my Christmas shopping in August.

Finding the right gift for someone, at the right price, is no easy feat. The more presents I buy the more determined I am to find something that would be really meaningful to that person. Resources  like Amazon wish lists and gift cards can make gift giving easier, but I feel like they take away a personal aspect of the process. Read more

The Summer of Me

By now I’m sure your social media streams are flooded with kids going to camp photos and all the fabulous vacation snapshots from Italy and other fabulous locations. Mine sure has.

As much as I love planning and scheduling, even I find the big push to make the most of your summer a little tiring. I read an article recently that really summed up my feelings on the issue. Kristin Hewitt, a sports reporter and blogger, announced that her family would being ‘doing nothing’ for the summer. She explains that rather than scheduling every free moment of her children’s lives, the summer would be better spent getting in some R&R and letting the kids decide what they wanted to do. Read more