Tag Archive for: goals

Productivity Tricks We Can Learn From Politicians

elephant donkeyI always try to find productivity inspiration wherever possible.  And the race for the presidency is no exception.

Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz, Bernie Sanders, Rand Paul, Mike Huckabee, Carly Fiorina, Ben Carson and Marco Rubio recently announced a bid for the White House.  And the usual eye rolling about non-stop campaigning is starting right along with it.

Now, without getting political, we should be asking why, if the election isn’t until late 2016, are they even bothering to start campaigning now? What do they gain from it? What does starting a major project early do for them? Does it actually help?

The simple answer is yes. A lot.

Using these candidates as a template, we can break down the different stages of getting a long-term project done:

Goal setting: Undoubtedly, long before they announced, these candidates and their team mapped out a pretty solid plan for the campaign. You need to have a hyper specific end goal in mind for any project.

What would that look like for any of these candidates? Surely not “Be elected president.” That is much too vague. More likely it would be something like “Achieve X number of votes”, or “Win states A, B, and C in the election.”

When you are setting your own long-term goals, remember to keep them as specific as possible. For example, if your goal is to lose weight you should have a specific number in mind. Be honest with yourself about what you really want.

Plan of action: Not only do you need a firm goal, but you need to understand how to break it down into manageable subgoals. For the Democratic presidential candidates, this might mean swaying certain swing states such as Ohio, while not spending very much time in liberal California. Likewise for the Republicans, states such as Texas are pretty “safe”, so they might try and spend more time winning over Florida’s votes.

Your own plan of action should have an equally well-defined path. Think about the day to day – what would be a realistic way to achieve your goals? For example, if you want to exercise more, would you do something every day, or on specific days of the week.

Prepare contingencies: If each candidate doesn’t win the state they deemed as most pivotal — then what?  How do they regroup and refocus their attention? That’s the key — this is all predetermined with “if/then” scenarios laid out in advance.

In your own planning, you need to prepare for unforeseen consequences. I firmly believe in always having a backup plan.

Set things in motion: Perhaps strangely, this step is last on the list. The beauty in planning out for long-term goals is that it takes a lot of the guesswork out of the process. While we are only hearing about these candidates’ plans recently, they’ve probably known about this for months or even years. They certainly weren’t going to start campaigning until plans were set in stone. That gives them the freedom to dictate how the campaign will go, and not have the campaign dictate to them how it will go. The same thing should apply to your own goals.

How do you prepare for your own long-term goals?

A List For Your 2015 Goals

2015The New Year is always the busiest time for list makers. Every new year seems so full of possibilities, and sometimes we can be overzealous and try to cram too much in. So before you steam ahead with planning your 2015 goals, I would encourage you to take a look back at your goals for 2014.

Did you achieve all of them? What got left behind?

For example, one of your goals might have been to do more exercise. If you didn’t achieve this goal then maybe it’s time to re-think it for 2015. I think the more specific a goal is the more you likely you are to achieve it.

Make It Attainable 

So if you want to do more exercise, instead you can commit to going running twice a week. Or do what I did a few years ago — commit to doing yoga just 10 minutes a day.  I’ve actually kept to that. With a more defined goal it’s easier to make it happen.

Sharing is Caring

I also suggest sharing your goals with your friends.  It’s always good to be held accountable for them. Also you might find someone with similar goals and then you can work together to achieve them. For instance you could sign up for a work out class together.

Need Some Ideas?

I have a private Facebook group set up for my VIP launch team for my book Listful Thinking and we’ve been sharing our resolutions the past few days.  Some times it’s fun to see what other people are working on and it can give you a boost.

Some of the team members have some great goals:

“Plan an amazing trip to Napa Valley to celebrate my 35th birthday and my 10 year anniversary.” – Arianny

“I have an overall goal to simply NOT BE AFRAID to go after the things I have been putting off for too long. Life’s too short!” – Laura

“I’m really feeling the good vibes from making a commitment to the random opportunities in my life. Here is to 2015 being a garden of surprises and growth.” – Garette

Another great idea is to have a theme.  Sandra, one of my VIP members, said her theme is “More” — love that!  Abundance is an amazing goal to set for yourself.

I was also reading this article that Gretchen Rubin put together about making your resolutions into themes.  She suggests using words like “upgrade” “bigger” and “free time”.  I like this idea.  I think it is more fun to think of your life as a whole and how you can make it better throughout the entire year.

For my own New Year’s Resolution I think it will be to “go with the flow.”  I tend to be pretty rigid and set in my ways as many list makers can be.  But this year I will try to be more laid back.  So I guess my theme will be “spontaneity.”

What are some of your goals for 2015?


I am giving away a limited number of AquaNotes Waterproof Notepads! Use them for when you have brilliant ideas in the shower. For a chance to win, here’s what you need to do:

1.  Pre-order the paperback version of Listful Thinking by January 12th.

2.  Send a picture of your receipt or forward the email confirmation to my intern Matthew at matthew@listproducer.com.   

3.  Don’t forget to include the address (US only) where you’d like your notepad sent.

Celebrity Bucket List Wishes

English: Ellen DeGeneres in 2009.

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The past few weeks I’ve been doing a contest with SkinnyScoop.com where you can win a chance to have a productivity session with me and a $50 Amazon gift card! All you have to do it share you bucket list on Skinny Scoop before September 5th. To get you motivated to share your bucket list I’ve created a list of celebrities who have talked about their own plans.


Jim Belushi, Actor

“I’d love to do Broadway one day. I’ve done Broadway, but I’ve never opened my own show on Broadway.” Read more

Medicine Hunter Travels the World with a List

Since starting this blog I’ve realized — I’m not alone in this list making thing. There are many other notable list makers out there to learn from.  Each month I’ll be featuring a successful “list producer” to prove that list making will help you to achieve more in life.

My very first featured “list producer” is Chris Kilham — better known as the Medicine Hunter.  Chris travels all over the world looking for natural remedies and healing plants.  I’ve produced many segments with Chris and we’ve become good friends through the years. To say his work is fascinating is an understatement.  Whether he’s traveling to Siberia or the Amazon — Chris never leaves home without a list!

Q: Why do you call yourself a compulsive list producer?

A: I would say that I am a consistent list maker. Over the years I have found that if I make lists, I can be more focused and get more done. So lists greatly enhance my overall efficiency. Read more