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

I Finally Figured Out How to Meditate

I’ve tried to meditate lots of times.

I’ve gotten into the groove once or twice, but it just never stuck.  I’ve done countless stories at work as a senior health producer about all the benefits and it sounds great.

One of those benefits is better focus and increased productivity.  And you KNOW I want that. But I just couldn’t figure it out.

I always struggle to switch my brain off and so I’ve never had the “enlightening moment” everyone always talks about.

Well it turns out I was doing it wrong.

My intentions were all screwed up.

But thanks to Oprah (of course) and an all day meditation retreat with world renowned meditation teacher Sharon Salzberg I figured it out.

If you know me personally or have read my book Listful Thinking, you know  I have a generally positive and sunny outlook on the world. It’s the thing that many people tell me is one of my best qualities. Read more

What Shark Tank Can Teach You About Productivity

When it comes to the things we’d like to achieve, there’s no shortage of ideas. Think about what’s on your bucket list: learning a second language, traveling around the world or writing a book tops many lists.. It all sounds so exciting, but having lots of great ideas doesn’t guarantee any action.

So how do you make those ideas happen?

Before you get started, first you have to really sell the goal to yourself. You can’t expect to achieve something  if you’re not all in.

Imagine yourself explaining your goal to a panel of people, like on the show Shark Tank. Before appearing on a show like that you would prepare by doing research on your business, if you have a business partner you might delegate who will speak about what parts and finally you would come up with a plan for your business. You should do the exact same with your goals. Read more

Why You Didn’t Get Everything Done Last Year and How to Change That

The new year brings with it hope for the future but also a little guilt as well. Guilt because we look back at the previous year and think “oh I didn’t get to do as much as I set out to do.”

It happens and it’s disappointing.  And nothing reminds us more of this than looking at that unfulfilled bucket list.  Or starting yet another day with the best of intentions only to get sucked into your old roommate’s vacation photos on Facebook and then getting nothing done. We all promise ourselves that next year will be different.

However that’s quite statistically unlikely, given that only 8% of people achieve their resolutions!

So how do you break out of the vicious cycle? It’s all starts with how you make these goals. Here’ are the steps you need to finally cross off some of the most difficult tasks on your list!

Imagine next year’s Christmas letter – Every year people will send out Christmas letters detailingall the exciting trips they’ve been on t and all their new jobs/houses/kids/etc.  Whether or not you regularly write one of these, productivity guru and author Laura Vanderkam explains in her TED talk about  time management how you can use them to focus your goals. Laura suggests you imagine what you would write on next year’s letter today.  That vision includes the 3-5 key things that would have to happen for it to be a successful year. Once you have picked those things you have goals for the next year – now you just need an action plan.

Prioritize – Once you’ve picked your goals you don’t need to roar ahead, all guns blazing trying to achieve everything at once. Write out the steps you will need to take to achieve each goal and create a priority list of what is more urgent. Things that need to be started on right away, like training for a marathon, take top priority. You will need to start carving out time in your calendar for training and book your place in the race. Less important things like cleaning out the garage can wait until a later date (but this doesn’t mean you should ignore them altogether!) For an easy way to figure out how to prioritize your new goals, sign up for the FREE PDF I created for you called “Prioritize Like a Pro.”

Find the why – I wrote recently about a talk Julie Morgenstern gave, where she explained how she always used to hoard cookbooks.  And she couldn’t throw them away until she understood why she kept them. The reason — she kept them because they represented the mother she wanted to be. (Isn’t that heartbreaking?)  Similarly you can’t successfully do-over your goals from last year until you understand why you failed. Perhaps they were too big, or you didn’t give yourself enough time to do any of them or any research that would have helped. Sometimes you have to realize that maybe you won’t ever do it and toss the goal all together. We’re not all perfect, sometimes you have to let go of those goals you’ve never quite gotten around to and be OK with it. I, for instance will never learn to speak French. That’s one goal checked off by default!

What are some of your goals for 2017?

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.