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Stop Letting Your List Make You Feel Guilty

Over the years I’ve spoken to a wide variety of people about their lists, some who always cross every item off their lists and some struggling to make lists at all. But there is one thing we all seem to have in common when it comes to lists – guilt over not getting it all done.

Even when it’s a small item I haven’t crossed off my list I feel compelled to find some reason why. I couldn’t get milk because I left a meeting late or I didn’t go for a run because it was too cold this morning.

The excuses we make always find something else other than ourselves at fault.

It’s not because we are necessarily trying to shift the blame, but because our brains like stories. We understand concepts and ideas better when they are presented in narrative form. So when we miss an item on our list we want to have a ‘story’ as to why it’s still there.

These stories can sometimes have positive effects on our lives, just by believing you’re a more lucky or more confident person you can make it so. But the stories we tell ourselves can also hold us back. We might avoid trying something new or taking on a difficult challenge because we believe we aren’t good enough or smart enough.

Once you release that it’s mostly in your head you can start to break out of these negative behaviour patterns. Read more

Tested Strategies to Get More Done

workstation-405768_640I don’t have ADHD or ADD, but I know a lot about it.  That’s because I cover health news for a living. Although having this blog has taught me a lot about it too.  Turns out a lot of the tips that I’ve given through the years are particularly useful to people with ADHD and other attention issues and they’ve reached out to me about it.  It’s true — I struggle with distractions too and have systems to cope.

Recently I listened to Peter Shankman’s webinar on how to be productive when you have ADD. If you don’t know of him, Shankman is a public relations and marketing expert who has written three books including “Nice Companies Finish First: Why Cutthroat Management Is Over–and Collaboration Is In.” He also created HARO (Help a Reporter Out) which is a journalism tool I use daily. And he also has ADHD and travels all over the world regularly.  So there are a lot of amazing sights that catch his eye throughout the day! Read more

6 Ways to Improve Your Life in Under a Minute

 Goals like getting healthier and being more organized can sometimes seem quite big, daunting and worst of all time consuming. But it doesn’t have to be that way. There are little things you can do each day, that may not radically change your life, but they can make it a bit better.

Here are some little ways to improve your life and, since I know how time conscience you are, they’re all things that can be done in less than a minute:

1. Eat a blueberry – Blueberries are not only delicious, they’re also really good for you. They’re high in antioxidants, high in fiber and low on the glycemic index. Plus this study shows eating blueberries can help ward off degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease.

2. Stretch out – A minute is not enough time to go for a run, but you can still get a little workout while you sit at your desk. These desk exercises are a great way to get your blood flowing again. Or there’s a new book called Happy Go Yoga that gives you some quick yoga moves to do on the go.

3. Doodle – When you’re scribbling away on a piece of paper it may seem like a waste of time. But studies show that doodling helps you to focus and increase your memory. So feel free to doodle away at your next meeting.

4. Make a cup of tea – I love tea! I’m practically obsessed. And for a good reason. Tea can help to reduce stress, lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. So why not make yourself a cup today? Green is my favorite but darjeeling comes in close second.

5. Look at cute animals – Animals are adorable and they are also good for your productivity! Researchers at Hiroshima University have found that looking at cute pictures or videos of animals trigger care giving impulses, which can improve your work performance. That’s because you’re more likely to be attentive.  I suggest checking out CatsvsCancer.org because as you’re watching cute cat videos and increasing your productivity, you’re also helping to raise money to fight cancer.

6. Change your shirt – In a study from the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, adults reported feeling happier around the colors green and yellow. So put on something brightly colored to help lift your spirits.  It just takes a few seconds.

What are some little things that you do to improve your life in under a minute?

5 Ways to be Productive While Being Lazy

Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 9.26.42 PMYou can be productive and be lazy at the same time.

This sounds crazy, right? But it’s not impossible to get stuff done AND be a couch potato!  It’s true! There are a lot of ways you can be efficient without leaving the couch.

So I’ve put together a list:

1.  Watch a Ted Talk. All you need is access to the Internet. Ted Talks are powerful videos that cover a wide variety of topics. Their goal is to spread ideas and give insight to those who are looking for a deeper understanding of the world. Gain knowledge and spark ideas all from the comfort of your home

2.  Outsource: I’m a huge fan of giving your to-do list to someone else. Take advantage of some of these instant gratification apps so you can relax while your chores get.

  • Wun Wun will deliver you food from a restaurant, supermarket or shop in under and hour, for about 8 bucks.
  • Postmates is similar to Wun Wun, except they charge $5 for delivery. You can get just about anything delivered to you while you watch the latest episode of Girls.
  • Zipments is a bike messenger style currier app that allows you to text or talk to your courier directly.  You can use this to send paperwork, pick up dry cleaning or drop off lunch to your kid’s school. They also do restaurant and store pickups too. It’s also worth comparing these against other couriers such as Shiply, especially if you regularly use couriers for things like motorbike deliveries.
  • Minibar will deliver wine, spirits, beer and mixers to your door. Delivery is free and under an hour in NYC and 2 hours or less in the Hamptons.  A great solution to prep for a party without leaving the house.

3.  Listen to Umano. Sit back, relax, and have your favorite articles read to you. Umano offers a wide selection of content. The more you listen, the more recommendations you will receive. You can also build playlists! Subscribe to the List Producer Umano playlist for free, and use my code to get unlimited listening:  NN8MEZ

4. Use Evernote While You Lounge. This is basically a digital filing cabinet. Strategically organize everything from your grocery lists to your bucket list. You can do this on any device while lounging around the house. If you’ve tried it before and just can’t get into it – trust me…give it a second chance.

5. Exercise! Yup, there’s a lazy way to exercise. I put together a Pinterest board for you to check out.

Follow Paula Rizzo – ListProducer.com’s board Exercise the lazy way! on Pinterest.

Don’t Drop That Hobby — It Could Make You More Productive

Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 4.34.16 PMHobbies can be a double-edged sword. You’re always trying to carve out more time for them but then when you actually do them — you feel like you should be doing something else to stay productive. What’s the fun in that?

Well here’s some good news. Did you know that your favorite distraction could actually be boosting your productivity? It’s true – here’s a list of some popular hobbies that will build up your mind and muscles to help you get things done!

List-making: Yes! List making is a hobby. Organizing everything into lists is a great way to get all of your thoughts out. This will also prepare you for things you want to get done. As I mentioned in my book, “Listful Thinking” many celebrities reached their level of success by making lists. A few of these people include Richard Branson, Octavia Spencer, Bobby Flay, Heidi Klum, and Sandra Bullock!

Exercising: There are countless ways to get your body moving. Recently, a friend of mine was talking about how she wanted to start being healthy, but she didn’t know where to start. Starting small is the way to go, before you can move onto anything else.

If you live in a big city like I do, you’re already getting a ton of walking in! Some of my other personal favorites include hiking, swimming, and dancing. Physical activity releases endorphins in your brain which gives you that feel-good sensation.

Writing: Write, type, record– anything! Get your thoughts out of your head and express yourself for at least 10 minutes a day. Turn it into a book or just throw it away. Writing in your spare time is a perfect place to channel your energy. This will get your creative juices flowing. I’ve found that once you make a habit of something – even just writing an idea down once a day- it will become so much easier to do on demand.

Art: Whether it’s painting a picture, doodling on your notebook or sculpting some play-doh, creating something is one of the best ways to calm your mind. This is one of those hobbies that are great for thinking outside of the box and getting in touch with your creative side. *

Listening to music: Music can increase your productivity in two different ways. If you’re trying to clear your head, put together a relaxing playlist. If you’re trying to get motivated, knock out your to-do’s with an inspirational playlist.

Puzzles: Challenge your mind with a puzzle. This will put your brain to work and help you improve your problem solving skills. People who solve puzzles are more likely to creatively assess problems in their lives.

Meditation/Yoga: This is perfect for you if you are overstressed and desperately need a release. Practicing meditation and yoga will put your focus back in check, calm your nerves and clear your mind. It’s also important to pay attention when you’re doing one pose at a time. This is great practice for when you’re working on only one task at a time.

Reading: Reading is a great pastime to open yourself to new ideas and take you to new places. So pick up a new book or listen to a podcast! Read something you wouldn’t typically read and try out authors you’ve never heard of. This is the best way to sharpen your mind and learn new things. This will help you think quicker on your feet. Something we could all do when trying to be more efficient.

How does your hobby make you more productive?