New Way of Making Lists That Entrepreneurs Will Love

Three months ago I took the plunge, I quit my day job and started working for myself full time media training and coaching experts, authors and entrepreneurs and producing videos and podcasts with them. I’ve had a  great time since I left Fox News — I spoke at the PRSA Tri-State Conference for PR professionals, been interviewed by Peter Shankman about listmaking and started a radio show (more on that later!)

But since I’ve made the crossover to becoming self employed, I’ve had to make a few adjustments. My productivity style that had worked so well for me before just wasn’t quite fitting in with my new lifestyle.

The key to productivity is all about finding what works for you, and as our lives change, so must our lists! Read more

The One Priority You Should Be Focusing On

We’re part way through December and the holiday season is truly upon us, all the store fronts are decorated, the malls are pumping Christmas music and Hanukkah begins tomorrow! The thing about December is that it’s easy to get overwhelmed, to commit to too many social engagements or get too many presents for people you don’t really know that well!

As you know I’m a big fan of essentialism and I’ll be treating this holiday season exactly the same. My recommendation would be to think of the one thing you want to do before January (I know, really just one thing!) and put all your focus into that.

You don’t have to forget about everything else, but keep your number one priority in mind. Here are some example priorities and how to make the most out of them:

To spend more time with family – Holidays are meant to be about family, but we can sometimes end up spending more time making awkward small talk with your cousin’s neighbor  than  with your actual family. Politely decline invitations from the people you don’t really need to see and instead make a plan to hang out with your kids or your parents – even if it’s just staying on the sofa and watching Christmas movies. Read more

Holiday Lists to Make Right Now to Keep Your Sanity

When it comes to preparing for the holidays I’m a firm believer that it’s never too early to start. Usually I start in August. This year though, I’ve been feeling more disorganized than usual. I’ve realized that when I was working at Fox News  I had settled into a pretty good routine. Now that I’m out on my own I’ve been struggling to find that balance again. When you work a job with a set finish time it’s much easier to check out mentally and compartmentalize your tasks.  As I get my footing as an entrepreneur it’s not as easy because I find myself doing everything all the time!

Luckily for me there’s still time to get organized – all I need is a list. If you’re in the same boat as me it’s fine, but we need to get started. Here’s a list of all the things to consider before the end of the year:

Presents Lists – This is the most obvious list to start with and maybe the one that requires the most thought. This year I’m taking a more essentialist approach to gifts. Instead of going overboard I’m thinking about what the people I care about could really use this year. In the new Bad Mom’s Christmas movie Mila Kunis’s character jokes how she’s bought so many unnecessary presents this year, going so far as to buy her barista a scented candle. We laugh – but who hasn’t gone overboard on gift shopping at least once? Look over your list and have a good think about who really belongs there! I like to keep ideas in my Evernote notebook throughout the year for times just like this when I can’t think of what to get. In that folder I keep ideas that I’ve found and notes on what people have told me through the year that they would like or need. Read more

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.