Never Drink Cold Tea Again

Let me guess – this has happened to you.

You’ve made a cup of tea or coffee, then got so absorbed in your work and it went cold. Right?

Or found that there’s a small window of time when your drink is at perfect drinking temperature and then you miss it and keep running back to the microwave.

This has been my reality and it drives me nuts. It’s so unproductive.  

I absolutely HATE drinking cold tea!

Ok fine – it’s a minor inconvenience, but it’s also one I don’t have to deal with anymore.

This past Christmas my parents bought me one of my favorite gifts ever – the Ember cup!

The idea is that it allows you to keep your drink at the precise temperature that you set.

No more cold teas!

I know it seems kind of crazy to spend $80 bucks on a mug but I’m telling you it’s been a game changer for me.

I’m much more productive actually because I’m not always running back and forth to the microwave. And it makes me happy to drink tea at the perfect temperature. It makes the experience that much more joyful.

I’m spoiled for all other tea cups!

If I could change one thing I would prefer a slightly less plain cup. I’m a sucker for a pretty tea cup. And sometimes the app is a little wonky. You use it to time how long your tea will steep and what temperature you’d like to maintain.

But I’ll overlook it all for a cup that stays a perfect 137 degrees. The Ember cup also comes as a travel mug as well.

Carve Out Space to Get More Done

The biggest issue with writing (or any creative task really) is finding the time to sit down, distraction free, and put your ideas to paper.

We often put it off and never get to it.

I interviewed Karen Rizzo (no relation) author of “Things to Do, Sh*t to Bring” years ago and in her book she kept saying she wanted to learn Italian.

And guess what – she never did. She didn’t give herself the space and time to do it. Maybe you have tasks like that.

For me – I had to jump on a plane and travel across the world to give myself the space to write. I just returned from a writing retreat in France and it was divine. It was in Paris and it gave me time to focus on my creative side. (I started writing a novel! Who knows where it will go but it was so fun to start writing.) Read more

Happy 4th Birthday Listful Thinking!

It’s hard to believe that four years ago I release my first book Listful Thinking. The book tour that followed was the first time I got to meet many of the regular followers of this blog ListProducer.com.

One of my favorite parts of meeting list makers in person was getting to see your lists! That was always so fun. And being able to debate the pros and cons of using technology with lists or keeping it old school. So much fun!
Read more

The Case for Becoming A Minimalist

Since my book Listful Thinking has been published in 12  different languages I have been able to connect with list makers across the globe. In particular I often receive messages from people in China and Japan who want to talk about their love of lists.

It’s become clear to me that while  we may have different approaches and styles, being more productive without overworking ourselves is a common human goal. In fact, in my search for a more minimalist lifestyle, I have often been inspired by ideas from the other side of the world.

As you may know I am a huge fan of Marie Kondo, who brings a simplicity to clearing clutter. She has you ask a simple question as you hold items from you home in your hand, “Does it spark joy?” It makes you really think about the stuff you  choose to keep, not just in your closets, but in your life in general.

I’m not the only one who has been inspired by eastern minimalism. Raymond Tang felt overwhelmed by his fast paced technology driven lifestyle and sought change elsewhere. He was inspired by the classic poems of by Lao Tzu, an ancient Chinese philosopher. These poems are thousands of years old, but as Raymond explains in his TED talk they offer advice that we can embrace today.

Lao Tzu encouraged people to act more like water, which fills the shape of its container. t doesn’t fight against the obstacle in anyway. In the same way, all of us can be more open to opportunities and rather then force ourselves to be a certain version of success, we can just go with the flow.

It’s easier said than done, of course and I struggle with this on a daily basis. I really like order and structure and when I’m in a chaotic situation it makes me anxious. But I’m trying to be more open to chance and circumstance.

Minimalism is big  in Japan as well, where  young people are trying to own fewer and fewer things. Inspired by traditional Zen Buddhism, they have reduced the amount of physical things in their life to free up time spent cleaning or decluttering to be used elsewhere. When explaining the difference between Eastern and Western styles one person said, “In the west, making a space complete means placing something there. But with tea ceremonies, or Zen, things are left incomplete on purpose to let the person’s imagination make that space complete.”

In that same article one Japanese man explained that he only four pairs of pants, three shirts and four pairs of socks. If that makes you nervous, it shouldn’t! There’s something really freeing about having less stuff.

When you think about you probably use the same clothes over and over again anyway. So why are you holding onto it?

How To Be More Productive This Fall

It’s September, which means colder temperatures, warmer drinks and the leaves are going to be changing color. It’s also the time when kids go back to school and everyone at the office is done with their summer vacation.

Many  of us will probably have to wait until Thanksgiving or Christmas for our next vacation days. Looking at the long months ahead can mean feeling blue about the status of your career or how much enjoyment you get from your job.

In August, we were all treated to the wholesome tale of Cassie Semyon, also known as the “blue dress girl” seen sprinting out of the Paul Manafort trial to deliver the verdict to her newsroom.

The NBC News intern’s eagerness caused her to become a viral internet sensation. As I watched the video my first thought was, “Wow! Remember when you cared that much about your job?!”

It’s not that long ago that I was a fresh-faced enthusiastic intern, excited by the world of news producing. Reigniting that passion I once felt was one of the reasons I quit my job to start my own business  and help experts get better at being interviewed whether is on camera or in print.

Your message deserves the media’s attention. So how do you get out there in a bigger way? I’ve got you covered. Sign up here to get my free “Checklist to Become a Go-To Media Expert.”

If you’re feeling a bit down about your job you too can reignite your passion for it! It’s simple.

Look at your job through the eyes of your intern

It’s one of my most classic pieces of advice. I always encourage people to think about how excited they were on the first day of their job.

One of my favorite things to do during my time at Fox News Channel  was to show my interns around for the first time. They are always in awe of all the equipment in the control room, the buzz in the newsroom and the energy in the studio.

It’s easy to forget these things when you’re walking in there every day. Make sure you don’t take your awesome space and career for granted. Take a moment to be more like Cassie Semyon and get excited about it. (Although if space in your workplace is limited I wouldn’t recommend running around!)

Maybe it’s time for a change

If you’re still struggling to find any enthusiasm for your workplace, it might be time to start looking elsewhere. Dust off your resume  and start checking in with your contacts for any good openings.

Or maybe, like me, you could think about making the step into entrepreneurship!. Becoming my own boss has been one of the biggest challenges I’ve faced, but also one of the most rewarding.

What are you doing this fall to re-energize or rejuvenate yourself?