Posts

My Productivity Must Reads

My Productivity Book ListI always have an ongoing book list.  Books I love, books I’d like to read and books that lots of people suggest.  Mostly I keep the list in GoodReads or Evernote. Last week I was a guest at a book club because they were reading my book Listful Thinking.

It was great to hear how people are using lists in their everyday lives because of my book!  It’s really thrilling.  But someone asked me what some of my favorite productivity books are and I realized I’ve never listed it out here on this blog.

So here goes:

Checklist Manifesto (Dr. Atul Gwande) – Dr. Gwande is a surgeon who worked with the World Health Organization to get checklists into operating rooms.  Those checklists helped to cut down on mistakes made by the medical staff during surgeries.

What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast (Laura Vanderkam) – Nobody likes waking up early. But the truth is doing things before work in the morning means there’s a higher chance you’ll actually get those things done and out of the way to feel much more accomplished and productive before you sit down at your desk.  This book gives you some great ideas and examples on how to do it.

Getting Things Done (David Allen) – To me, David Allen is the father of productivity and he always has amazing tricks to save you time.  I was fortunate enough to get his endorsement of my own book.  He just released a brand new version with updates — so be sure to check it out.

Happiness Project (Gretchen Rubin) – Have you ever wished you were happier? I think a lot of people think about this but do nothing about it. Author Gretchen Rubin did something about it and spent a year focusing on ways to be happier. If you haven’t read it — you must. It’s funny, cute, insightful and thought provoking. And she loves lists and talks about using them to be happier!

Time Management from the Inside Out (Julie Morgenstern) – Julie’s productivity tips are well known, I regularly reference them on this blog. She wrote the foreword for Listful Thinking and revealed that as a former actress and creative person she really shied away from “being organized.”  She thought she would lose her edge but it turns out getting her act together really paid off in the end.

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up (Marie Kondo) – Transform your home into a permanently clear and clutter-free space with the incredible KonMari Method. Japan’s expert declutterer and professional cleaner Marie Kondo will help you tidy your rooms once and for all with her inspirational step-by-step method.  I’ve become completely obsessed with this book.

Things to Bring, S#!t to Do (Karen Rizzo) – As far as we’re aware we are not related, but since Karen’s first book is a memoir told entirely in lists, we may well be. There’s plenty of stuff for list makers to relate to in this book. From how our needs change over time, to that one thing that never gets done.

What’s on your must read list?

Do Not Resolve to “Get Organized” This Year

Organizing my Seed Stash

Organizing my Seed Stash (Photo credit: Chiot’s Run)

Happy New Year! I love the way a new year feels like a fresh start and a chance to try new things. I’ve written about throwing away your resolutions and instead turning them into goals, and I think that’s a great way to create a better and more productive and organized you in 2014!

Every year “get more organized” tops New Year’s resolutions lists and it’s a great intention but it can be overwhelming and difficult to focus on. The problem with resolving to get more organized is that it’s a vague goal that points to the negative and doesn’t give our brains something constructive to work on. What does “get more organized” mean to you? Think about it. What is the biggest pain point in your day? Focus on that. Read more

Morning is the Most Productive Time

Good mornig,guys! Why don't you drink with me?

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I haven’t always been a morning person but with a “regular” 9-5 schedule – I didn’t have a choice. So I’ve embraced it. Every morning before work I:

1. Read two newspapers

2. Practice yoga

3. Sip green tea

4. Eat a healthy breakfast

5. Read through and respond to several emails

6. Listen to news radio for 15 minutes

7. Check my Twitter and Facebook feeds

8. Take a shower and get ready

9. Walk for 15 minutes

Most people barely have enough time to jump in the shower, take the dog out for a walk and scarf down some breakfast before they get to work. I don’t do all of the things on that list because I HAVE to – I do them because I WANT to.

My husband thinks I’m crazy but I wake up at 6:05am every morning so I can do all of those things before work. It’s hours before I have to get to work but I love that time to be productive and do the things I want to do for myself.

I recently read an e-book called, “What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast” by Laura Vanderkam and it turns out a lot of successful people do exactly the same thing as me. They meditate, exercise, read, practice hobbies and do anything that they like way before they get to work.

As it says in the book — if you do things before work in the morning there’s a higher chance you’ll actually get those things done and out of the way to feel much more accomplished and productive before you sit down at your desk. You’ve all been there… you procrastinate, make excuses and get tired by the end of the day so you may never get to the gym. For me — I don’t like to be rushed. I like to give myself enough time to get ready and wake up.

Gretchen Rubin, author of “The Happiness Project” gets up an hour before her family to check email and headlines and start her day.  I like to do the same thing so that when I actually get to work – I can start working right away and only have a few emails to distract me.

So what do you do in the morning?

Happiness Seeker Gretchen Rubin is a List Maker

Have you ever wished you were happier? I think a lot of people think about this but do nothing about it. Author Gretchen Rubin did something about it and spent a year focusing on ways to be happier. The result is a fabulous read called The Happiness Project. If you haven’t read it — you must. It’s funny, cute, insightful and thought provoking. She also has a blog by the same name.

It has changed the way I think about a lot of things and it has even altered my morning commute. Instead of stuffing myself onto the packed L train — I opt to walk to Union Square through a lovely park. I get a little exercise and I get some time all to myself.  Happiness found!

As you’ll read in the book — Gretchen is a list maker.  I’ve asked her to share some of her list-making secrets as my featured “List Producer” this month. Read more