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How To Be More Productive This Fall

It’s September, which means colder temperatures, warmer drinks and the leaves are going to be changing color. It’s also the time when kids go back to school and everyone at the office is done with their summer vacation.

Many  of us will probably have to wait until Thanksgiving or Christmas for our next vacation days. Looking at the long months ahead can mean feeling blue about the status of your career or how much enjoyment you get from your job.

In August, we were all treated to the wholesome tale of Cassie Semyon, also known as the “blue dress girl” seen sprinting out of the Paul Manafort trial to deliver the verdict to her newsroom.

The NBC News intern’s eagerness caused her to become a viral internet sensation. As I watched the video my first thought was, “Wow! Remember when you cared that much about your job?!”

It’s not that long ago that I was a fresh-faced enthusiastic intern, excited by the world of news producing. Reigniting that passion I once felt was one of the reasons I quit my job to start my own business  and help experts get better at being interviewed whether is on camera or in print.

Your message deserves the media’s attention. So how do you get out there in a bigger way? I’ve got you covered. Sign up here to get my free “Checklist to Become a Go-To Media Expert.”

If you’re feeling a bit down about your job you too can reignite your passion for it! It’s simple.

Look at your job through the eyes of your intern

It’s one of my most classic pieces of advice. I always encourage people to think about how excited they were on the first day of their job.

One of my favorite things to do during my time at Fox News Channel  was to show my interns around for the first time. They are always in awe of all the equipment in the control room, the buzz in the newsroom and the energy in the studio.

It’s easy to forget these things when you’re walking in there every day. Make sure you don’t take your awesome space and career for granted. Take a moment to be more like Cassie Semyon and get excited about it. (Although if space in your workplace is limited I wouldn’t recommend running around!)

Maybe it’s time for a change

If you’re still struggling to find any enthusiasm for your workplace, it might be time to start looking elsewhere. Dust off your resume  and start checking in with your contacts for any good openings.

Or maybe, like me, you could think about making the step into entrepreneurship!. Becoming my own boss has been one of the biggest challenges I’ve faced, but also one of the most rewarding.

What are you doing this fall to re-energize or rejuvenate yourself?

An Easy Exercise to Help You From Drowning in Lists

In just a few days my bud and business partner Terri Trespicio and I will be headed to the Speak to Sell conference with Lisa Sasevich in Florida. Whoo hoo – can’t wait for some sun! It’s been a long winter.

After the conference my husband and I are heading to Miami for a few days of vacation and a chance for us to check out for a little bit! (Plus to celebrate our wedding anniversary – 9 years!)

As exciting as this all is, it means I’ve got several lists going all at once.

  • Lists for the conference
  • Lists for my vacation (altho I’ll still be working)
  • Lists for everything I have to catch up on before I go

I feel a bit like I’m drowning in lists.

It’s times like these that I have to step away from my usual tactic of just getting things done and zoom out a bit. – Otherwise I get too wrapped up in the small stuff and lose sight of the bigger picture.

A few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to do a workshop training with Ali Brown. She’s an amazing coach for entrepreneurs and she interviewed me for her podcast “Glambition Radio” about my book “Listful Thinking” a while back.

One of the things she taught in this creativity workshop was how to shift your focus. And it involved buying magazines! (My guilty pleasure!)

The idea is to go to a store and get yourself a magazine you would never normally read, which for me could be on something like golf or surfing or the National Geographic. But for you it could be anything that you wouldn’t consider yourself to be interested in.

Now when you read that magazine you have to be a completely objective outsider. The actual content is not that important to you so you can focus on the way they get their message across.  How do they engage with their readers.

So how does this help your list making efforts?

It can give you loads of idea for your own creative output and how you actually get things done. Can you be more creative about the way that you outsource? But also – stepping outside of our usual routine (it’s scary, I know) can actually spark great ideas and allow you to get more done. It will actually make you more productive and help utilize parts of your brain that might have been a bit sleepy til now.

They say you can travel all around world, but you can never escape yourself. Well that’s not strictly true. The magazine exercise allows you to take a break from your own mind and usual way of thinking and take a vacation in someone else’s hobby for a bit – and who knows what you might take away!

Try it out and let me know what you think in the comments below.

Reduce Browser Tab Clutter with OneTab

Part of becoming more productive means purging some of your bad habits. But there are some bad habits you might have and you possibly don’t even realize  how they’re negatively affecting you.

For example, I have a habit of opening lots of tabs in my web browser. Any time I see an interesting article or recipe I’ll open it in a new tab with the intention of reading it later. The problem is I end up with a lot of tabs, so many that it starts to slow my computer down and overwhelm me.

I could always just close them – but I do want to look at them eventually and I always get annoyed when I can’t find something I had planned to read or a video I wanted to watch.

Luckily I have found a solution. Read more

Why You Should Never Schedule Anything at the Top of the Hour

As you probably know, a top productivity tip and regular habit of mine, is to write my to do list the night before. I consider it a roadmap for the following day. I don’t have to stick to that schedule exactly, but it gives me a path to follow.

Many of the highly-productive people I know do the same thing. However I’ve noticed they make one key mistake – they schedule tasks for the top of the hour. For example your to-do list might look something like:

  • 10am catch up on email
  • 11am call Donna

What’s wrong with that?

The problem is two fold.

First of all, as a total procrastinator I know all the tricks your mind will play on you in order to put things off. Scheduling things at the top of the hour is a classic one. Why? Because the second that clock ticks 10:01 and you haven’t checked your email, you start to think to yourself, “well now I’ve missed my opportunity! I’ll get to it in a minute”.  But then you never actually get back to that original task because your attention pulls you away.

The second issue is that when you schedule something for say 11am, people don’t actually start to get ready until 11am. I find that if I’ve scheduled a call with someone, if I make the call on time they often won’t answer, as they’re still going back to their desk or checking over their notes. The same is true of meetings. How many 2pm meetings actually start on time?

So what’s my solution?

I like to schedule appointments and tasks for 15 mins past the hour. This gives you 15 minute to prepare or get yourself set up for the time ahead. So if it’s a Skype call you’ve got time to login and check your audio is working at the top of the hour. If you’re scheduling a meeting these extra 15 minutes give people time to grab a cup of coffee or tea and get settled.

Go through your diary today and shake up your schedule! Be sure to let me know how it goes in the comments below.

So What’s the Big Deal Over Dot Journaling?

Thanks to listproducer.com I’ve met a lot of people in the productivity community and the more people I meet the more I find we have in common. We tend to be stationary nerds, who love Marie Kondo and are always looking out for the best way to get organized. So it’s no surprise that the latest to-do trend, that combines a to-do list with a planner and a diary, has become a big success in the productivity community. I’m talking, of course, about dot journaling.

If you don’t know what that is, dot journaling is, simply put, making a lot of bullet point lists. (You’ll quickly find with dot journaling that there’s a lot of overly complex names for simple things.) While I normally think it’s better to keep your lists separate, dot journaling allows you to put all your long and short term goals, as well as daily tasks, into one notebook. And you use a code-type system to keep everything from getting muddled together. Read more