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Behind the Scenes of My LinkedIn Learning Shoot

BONUS FREEBIE: Want even more ways to stay organized, productive and less stressed? Click here to get access to my List-Making Starter Kit. It will boost your efficiency and get you back to doing more of the things you love.

I was supposed to be in LA shooting my two LinkedIn Learning courses based on my books Listful Thinking and Listful Living

But because of Covid-19, I obviously couldn’t get on a plane and travel.

Instead, LinkedIn sent me all the equipment to shoot the courses in my apartment. My husband Jay helped me set up the lights and camera, and he even ran the teleprompter! 

This was an unexpected situation, but we made it work. Here’s some behind-the-scenes insights. 

We used our living room as the studio for the three days of the shoot. We set up the lighting that LinkedIn sent so that the video quality looked good. Their amazing team walked us through the setup step by step! 

I also followed my own advice and did my own camera-ready makeup. Thanks to some tips from my friend and former colleague at Fox New Channel, Iren Halperin, I was able to create a professional look from home. Normally I would have had professional hair and makeup so I had to improvise! 

Since I shot the courses from home, I had to make my apartment feel just as professional as a studio.

Even though I was recording just steps away from my kitchen, I tricked my brain into feeling like I was in a real studio by getting ready the same way I would have if I was in LA. Hair, makeup, clothes — the whole deal. 

If you’ve been working from home, you’re probably tempted to wear your PJ pants while you’re on video calls. I know – they’re comfy!

But whether you’re recording a course or having a meeting, getting fully dressed will help put you in the right mood for being productive and professional. 

I’m so excited to share these courses with you in the next couple of months. You can follow me on LinkedIn for updates. 

BONUS FREEBIE: Want even more ways to stay organized, productive and less stressed? Click here to get access to my List-Making Starter Kit. It will boost your efficiency and get you back to doing more of the things you love.

The Top Three List-Making Apps

BONUS FREEBIE: Want even more ways to stay organized, productive and less stressed? Click here to get access to my List-Making Starter Kit. It will boost your efficiency and get you back to doing more of the things you love.

As you know, I’m all about lists. I’ve tested lots of list-making apps — there are thousands on the App Store! I used to always suggest Wunderlist, but it’s shutting down on May 6. Here’s three alternatives that I recommend:

Clear

Clear is a beautiful app — I love looking at it. The simplicity of the design helps me stay focused. You use gestures (pulling down, pinching, and swiping with your fingers) to add and manage tasks. Each task can only be 30 characters, which means you have to write exactly what you need to do and nothing else. If you have complex things to do that require longer explanations, this might not work for you, but it’s great for unloading your mind and keeping track of straightforward tasks. I also like how the tasks are color-coded according to urgency.

The app costs $4.99. 

Todoist

Todoist is great if you’re looking for a straightforward, well-designed task manager app. There’s lots of features I like in this app, including the option to connect with your other apps and devices, like Google Calendar, Dropbox, and Amazon Alexa.

You can schedule recurring tasks or use “quick add” to pop something on your list. Todoist also has a business version so that your team can assign tasks, communicate with each other, and share files all in one place. It’s a nice mix between a complex task management system and a simple list-making app, since it has lots of features but it’s also easy to use and you can use as many (or as few) extra features as you need. Plus, you can also import data from Wunderlist into Todoist. 

The basic app is free, and the business and premium versions cost $29 per year per person. 

Zenkit To Do

Zenkit To Do is probably the most complex of the three apps. It’s still intuitive to use, but it has the most options and add-ons, making it great for people who need to manage lots of complex tasks. You can share lists with other uses, assign and add due dates, and leave comments. There are also “quick add” and recurring task features. I especially like the offline feature, which lets you keep working when you’re not connected to the internet. You can easily import all your due dates, tasks, and lists from Wunderlist to Zenkit To Do — you can learn how to switch here

The personal version is free. The version that allows multiple users to collaborate is $4 per month per user, and the business versions start at $19 per month per user. 

I hope this helps you find the list-making app that fits your needs. If you have recommendations of list-making apps you like, I’d love to hear about them in the comments!

BONUS FREEBIE: Want even more ways to stay organized, productive and less stressed? Click here to get access to my List-Making Starter Kit. It will boost your efficiency and get you back to doing more of the things you love.

Tools to Be More Productive Working Remotely

BONUS FREEBIE: Want even more ways to stay organized, productive and less stressed? Click here to get access to my List-Making Starter Kit. It will boost your efficiency and get you back to doing more of the things you love.

Since I started working for myself as a media strategist, author and speaker, a few years ago, I’ve become an expert at working from home. I really love it actually. 

But I know all about how hard it can be to adjust to remote work when you’re used to an office environment and being around people all day long. 

Many more employees are working remotely now because of coronavirus (COVID-19) — and if you’re one of them, you might have run into new challenges with keeping up your motivation and productivity. 

Read more

Be Productive On Summer Fridays

Enjoy your summer Friday! (Photo Credit: blog.syracuse.com)

Enjoy your summer Friday! (Photo Credit: blog.syracuse.com)

If you are lucky enough to have summer Fridays at your workplace you know it’s where every Friday throughout the summer people get off of work at 1pm (or so.)

When I first heard about this, I tried to convince my boss to pick up on the trend. But unfortunately, the news business runs a little differently. But if you participate in shorter workdays on Fridays – you can enjoy your longer weekend by being as productive as possible up until the moment you leave work.

Here are a few tips on how to make your summer Fridays as productive as possible:

1.     Do more during the week: Plan your schedule appropriately, so a shorter workday on Friday is do-able. Rather than cramming everything in at the last minute, really make sure you’re on track with your work. Schedule busier tasks earlier on in the week and reserve Fridays for follow ups and smaller tasks only.

2.     Don’t open your e-mail until noon: It’s harder than it sounds. There’s many times when it’s easy to keep hitting refresh on your inbox to kill time, but resist the urge. Spend your mornings doing what’s important, rather than responding to e-mails that aren’t urgent. As important as you may think it is, usually e-mails can wait a few hours.

3.     Prepare the night before: Throughout the week, make a to-do list of the things you must get done each day. If you’re writing an article, outline it the night before– it’ll save you hours the next day. Don’t leave the office until everything you need to accomplish gets done. You’ll thank yourself when you get to start your weekend early.

4.     Keep your office cool: Working in a hot room tends to make us feel groggy and sluggish.

5.     Treat yourself: Get as much out of your day by working hard first and then enjoying a nice reward of your choice afterwards! Whether you plan to get a manicure or treat yourself to a nice meal, finish your task first and reward yourself afterwards. It’ll act as a motivator and you’ll be able to enjoy it at your own leisure without stressing about all of the things you have left to do.

6.     Meditate: In the morning, spend a few minutes to focus your mind and listen in. You will discover ideas inside of you that will help you find success throughout your workday. By relaxing, you’ll be able to align your goals and plan your day to be as productive as possible.

Enjoy your head start on your weekend!

5 Apps to Make Cleaning Easier

Cleanly App (Photo Credit: darnellthenewsman.com)

Cleanly App (Photo Credit: darnellthenewsman.com)

I’ve always had a love/ hate relationship with cleaning. Being tidy and organized helps increase your productivity and makes you feel less stressed—but the process of cleaning is never fun! As a kid my mom even nicknamed me “the mess maker.” Even though I would make a big mess – I would always clean it up!

Especially when you have a lot on your plate, it’s easy to push cleaning off to the bottom of your “to-do” list.

Not wanting to clean isn’t something new either. It’s always been a burden on everyone from someone living by themselves, a stay-at-home mom or business owner.

Here are a few of my favorite cleaning apps:

1. Cleanly: If you’re in New York, and have ever dragged your laundry down the street…this app is for you. It allows New Yorkers to schedule laundry pick up and delivery at their own convenience! Cleanly users can schedule a time for pickup, including directions on how to wash their clothes, and a “Cleanly Valet” will come pick up the clothes and drop them off at a local laundry mat or dry cleaner! Fresh, clean clothes are then delivered within 24 hours.

2. Handybook: Users can book a company certified maid, plumber or handyman on their mobile phone by filling out an online application in less than two minutes! You fill out what type of cleaning you want done, how many rooms need to be cleaned and choose from a list of available time slots. In just minutes, an e-mail confirmation will provide you with a housekeeper’s name and phone number.

3. HomeRoutines: No list is complete without a cleaning “to-do” list! This app lets you create thorough to-do lists and then rotate tasks by day or week, so you can develop a routine that makes keeping your house clean a habit. The app splits your home into five zones and gives you a task for each area, reminding you about tasks that often get overlooked, but need to be done!

4. BrightNest: Take your lists to the next level. This app helps you build a customized list of projects based on your personal living conditions. The app asks you questions, such as whether or not you have kids or pets, the appliances you use and what your goals are. Weekly projects are then illustrated with an estimate of how much time they will take. It even lists surprising tips to help you get the job done and gives you home maintenance advice based on your region’s climate.

5. Chorma: If you’re living with multiple people that leave their space messy, this app can help. Chorma lets you create lists of repeating chores and then assigns them to housemembers, who can check-in with their progress. To encourage people to get their stuff done, the app allows you to create redeemable individual or group rewards!

Make a list of five areas that you think need to be cleaned and then download one of these apps that will help you!