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I Finally Figured Out How to Meditate

I’ve tried to meditate lots of times.

I’ve gotten into the groove once or twice, but it just never stuck.  I’ve done countless stories at work as a senior health producer about all the benefits and it sounds great.

One of those benefits is better focus and increased productivity.  And you KNOW I want that. But I just couldn’t figure it out.

I always struggle to switch my brain off and so I’ve never had the “enlightening moment” everyone always talks about.

Well it turns out I was doing it wrong.

My intentions were all screwed up.

But thanks to Oprah (of course) and an all day meditation retreat with world renowned meditation teacher Sharon Salzberg I figured it out.

If you know me personally or have read my book Listful Thinking, you know  I have a generally positive and sunny outlook on the world. It’s the thing that many people tell me is one of my best qualities. Read more

How Doing Nothing Can Help You Get More Done

I meet people all the time who struggle with their productivity because they believe that being efficient means doing as much as humanly possible, all day every day. Not true! Productivity is more about quality over quantity, as well as prioritizing your time to suit what is important to you.

I love finding other productivity nerds like myself who are just as passionate about this stuff. Like Chris Bailey author of The Productivity Project. Chris recently did a TEDx talk about the year he spent trying to hack his productivity. He found that the most important lesson he learned was how valuable meditation was in his day to day life.

While most people see meditation as doing ‘nothing’ Chris found that these quiet moments allowed him to reflect on his day and focus on the tasks ahead.

Being productive doesn’t mean you have to be physically doing something all the time!

Here are some of Chris’s top tips:

The Rule of Three – Keep it simple. Give yourself just three tasks that you want to have accomplished by the end of the day. By limiting how much you have to get done, you can be certain you’ll complete everything you set out to do! Once you’ve finished those three tasks you can move onto other smaller chores.

Quit Multitasking – I harp on about the perils of multitasking all the time so it’s good to see that someone else agrees with me! Chris points out that the more tasks you do at once, the less chance of success you have with any one task.

All Things in Moderation – You can’t be at your best if you haven’t slept well or had enough to eat. Balance your day and take care of yourself. Make sure to get a little exercise, as well as eat healthy meals. Chris is also a big believer in taking regularly breaks like me!

Disconnect – Technology is nice, but when we become reliant on it, it can really hamper our productivity. Treat the internet as a nice tool for occasional use instead of something you must have!

Let your Mind Wander – If you’re too busy rushing from one thing to another your mind never has a chance to relax. Downtime is often the best place for coming up with new ideas. It’s why I stopped reading articles at breakfast and just let myself have a peaceful moment! I’ve come up with so many ideas for my blog this way!

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P.S. If you like TEDx talks you should check out my friend Terri’s! It’s about why you should stop searching for your passion and it has over 1,000,000 views!

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?

20 Apps To Beat Holiday Stress

Christmas gifts.The holidays are here! Historically, I would already be in crazy list-making mode by now, probably making the most of the cbd ‘buy wholesale here‘ deals, and making sure I’ve bought gifts for all of my loved ones (I shop early and you should too!), planning holiday meals, and creating to-do lists just for decorating. It’s easy to Install apps so if you need an app to beat the holiday stress, it’s easy to do. But not this year! I’m still making lists, but I’ve learned to simplify my holiday season with a few great apps that do everything from finding the best deals to preparing the perfect meal for all of your guests.

If the holiday season is overwhelming you, download a few of these apps to help you stay sane:

1. Food 52: Is a vegan coming to your Thanksgiving dinner? Do you want to learn how to set a holiday table? Or brine a turkey? This app features recipes, advice, and products to teach you how to become a “smarter, better, happier cook.” It’s a great, quick reference for all things food.

2. TaskRabbit: I love this app so much! Think about all the things you could be outsourcing this holiday season: writing out holiday cards, waiting in line for the new “it” gift, shopping for all the items on your holiday grocery list…the list just goes on and on! Have someone else run your holiday errands for you!

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