Checkli Helps You Discover a World of Lists

I can be a bit of a list-making purest, I still handwrite lots of my lists in a notebook. But I also love using apps and technology to be more productive. I found a new list-making app that I’m really into these days. It’s called  Checkli.

Checkli allows you to make lists and share them with friends, family and the public at large. It’s design is pretty simple and easy to use. You can alter the settings for every list you post, so you can keep your personal lists to yourself.

The main draw of Checkli, for me, is just how many checklists it has built in already. The search function is also very good so you can easily find more niche lists. So you can find lists like “Pre-Wedding Beauty Prep” for instance. Ok so that isn’t a list you’d need everyday but when you do need it you want all the information you can.

Here are some of the interesting and unusual lists you can find on Checkli:

  • The World’s Coolest Airports – Finland, The Maldives & Singapore all make the list!
  • Aesthetic Poetry Books
  • Foods to Avoid During Pregnancy – deli meats, soft cheese and raw sprouts are all no-nos.
  • Fall/Winter Clean-Eating Shopping Lists
  • Self-Care Practices to Explore – including some of my favorites like daily affirmations and gratitude journaling.

There is also a pro version of Checkli for businesses or individuals who want to use the app to promote themselves. A dog grooming company for example, might have some great puppy related checklists, Checkli pro allows them to add some branding to all the lists they make and expand their client base!

Checkli is a relatively new app so I’m excited to see what the future holds for it. If you download the app make sure to add me and let me know what you think!

Why You Should Never Schedule Anything at the Top of the Hour

As you probably know, a top productivity tip and regular habit of mine, is to write my to do list the night before. I consider it a roadmap for the following day. I don’t have to stick to that schedule exactly, but it gives me a path to follow.

Many of the highly-productive people I know do the same thing. However I’ve noticed they make one key mistake – they schedule tasks for the top of the hour. For example your to-do list might look something like:

  • 10am catch up on email
  • 11am call Donna

What’s wrong with that?

The problem is two fold.

First of all, as a total procrastinator I know all the tricks your mind will play on you in order to put things off. Scheduling things at the top of the hour is a classic one. Why? Because the second that clock ticks 10:01 and you haven’t checked your email, you start to think to yourself, “well now I’ve missed my opportunity! I’ll get to it in a minute”.  But then you never actually get back to that original task because your attention pulls you away.

The second issue is that when you schedule something for say 11am, people don’t actually start to get ready until 11am. I find that if I’ve scheduled a call with someone, if I make the call on time they often won’t answer, as they’re still going back to their desk or checking over their notes. The same is true of meetings. How many 2pm meetings actually start on time?

So what’s my solution?

I like to schedule appointments and tasks for 15 mins past the hour. This gives you 15 minute to prepare or get yourself set up for the time ahead. So if it’s a Skype call you’ve got time to login and check your audio is working at the top of the hour. If you’re scheduling a meeting these extra 15 minutes give people time to grab a cup of coffee or tea and get settled.

Go through your diary today and shake up your schedule! Be sure to let me know how it goes in the comments below.

Turns out Magic Assistance Aren’t So Magical

When I first got into productivity I wasn’t that into the idea of outsourcing. I didn’t like the idea of giving up control over my work. However, once I gave in and tried it, I fell in love with outsourcing. So much so that I have written several posts about it, it’s one of my top productivity tips.

That being said, I recently had an experience that left me questioning my outsourcing beliefs. I have used several websites that outsource your to-do list like Fancy Hands, TaskRabbit, Zirtual & many more. My experience has always been generally positive. So when I heard of a new, similar company called Magic I thought I would give them a try.

The idea behind Magic is that you can use a virtual assistant to organize any task or issue you might have. All you pay is 53 cents per minute the assistant spends on the job. Seems simple enough, right?

As I’ve written about in my previous post I hosted my own Lights Camera Expert Live workshop recently and I decided to use Magic to help me organize the catering. Being the producer that I am, I had pretty much sorted everything myself already, I had downloaded the menus and decided what I wanted, at what time and for how many people. All they needed to do was put in the orders.

Magic assistants keep you up to date on their progress with your tasks, which is good. But in this case that didn’t really help very much. There seemed to be a bit of back and forth with one of the restaurants as the assistant had difficulty getting in touch with the person in charge. It happens, I get it. But what I didn’t understand was how they had managed to spend so much time on this job. Magic is not supposed to charge you for the time they spend waiting for someone to call them back, only the time they spend on the call.

So I was pretty shocked to find that they had racked up over 2 hours on this task, without any sort of conclusion in sight. When I asked for the time breakdown I discovered they had spent 40 minutes researching the websites of the restaurants I had picked. But why? I had already chosen from the menus and provided them with contact numbers so I still can’t figure out what exactly they were looking for on the websites.

Not wanting to be too pushy I decided to let this slide, hoping they would manage to sort it all soon. By the next day they had managed to rack up 4 and a half hours worth of time on this task, when they still hadn’t even booked anything. Completely fed up, I requested they end the job and decided to sort it myself. They did issue me a full refund after I complained but I still had the task to complete.

In the end I got someone else to  book the catering and it took her all of about half an hour, which is about the amount of time I would’ve spent on it too. It left me wondering whether I really needed to outsource the task at all. But I just didn’t want to do it! I still can’t figure out why it would have taken the Magic assistant four hours though.

Either way it taught me a valuable lesson, sometimes it is just better (and quicker) to do it yourself!

Have you had any outsourcing mishaps?

Listful Thinking Translated Into French

When I first started this blog I never imagined that I’d reach list makers all over the world. When I wrote my book, Listful Thinking it happened! It’s so great to see how list making translates into every language. And it’s happened again – Listful Thinking is now coming out in French! Or “La Magie Des Lists” as they call it.

Given my huge obsession with Paris it only seems right that my book will finally have its place there. Listful Thinking is also available in Dutch, Chinese, Spanish, Portuguese, Indonesian, Arabic, Korean and Japanese.

If you are a new French reader just joining us, Bonjour! I hope you find the magic in list making too.

How to Organize a Successful Workshop

I’m super pumped this week, because my friend and partner in crime Terri Trespicio and I recently hosted our first live event! It wasn’t hosted by an organization or a conference – it was hosted by us – it was our baby!

Many of you know I created an online course called Lights Camera Expert after being asked “How do I get on TV?” so many times by experts who were sick of seeing everyone else in their field snatch up the airtime.

So we took them behind the scenes of what it’s like to work at a TV show or magazine, how to get a producer or editor’s attention and continue to get asked back.  And we pushed the video course out into the world about a year ago.

What happened next is not something we expected. Read more