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Holiday Lists to Make Right Now to Keep Your Sanity

When it comes to preparing for the holidays I’m a firm believer that it’s never too early to start. Usually I start in August. This year though, I’ve been feeling more disorganized than usual. I’ve realized that when I was working at Fox News  I had settled into a pretty good routine. Now that I’m out on my own I’ve been struggling to find that balance again. When you work a job with a set finish time it’s much easier to check out mentally and compartmentalize your tasks.  As I get my footing as an entrepreneur it’s not as easy because I find myself doing everything all the time!

Luckily for me there’s still time to get organized – all I need is a list. If you’re in the same boat as me it’s fine, but we need to get started. Here’s a list of all the things to consider before the end of the year:

Presents Lists – This is the most obvious list to start with and maybe the one that requires the most thought. This year I’m taking a more essentialist approach to gifts. Instead of going overboard I’m thinking about what the people I care about could really use this year. In the new Bad Mom’s Christmas movie Mila Kunis’s character jokes how she’s bought so many unnecessary presents this year, going so far as to buy her barista a scented candle. We laugh – but who hasn’t gone overboard on gift shopping at least once? Look over your list and have a good think about who really belongs there! I like to keep ideas in my Evernote notebook throughout the year for times just like this when I can’t think of what to get. In that folder I keep ideas that I’ve found and notes on what people have told me through the year that they would like or need. Read more

How to Remember Anything

Memory is a funny thing. Most people make lists to help them remember things. (Although some people can’t always remember where their lists are!) There are some useless pieces of information that we’ll remember for the rest of our lives though. But when we really need to remember something it’s like our brain is a sieve!

Sometimes in order to remember something you’ve got to get a little weird. Here are some of the more outlandish ways to help you remember something!

Chew gum – it might not be seen as the most polite thing for you to do in an important meeting or while giving a presentation, but chewing gum can help your memory recall. A study conducted at St. Lawrence University found that people who were chewing gum would perform better in tests of recall and memory tasks. Read more

Expert List Techniques You’re Not Doing – But Should! (+ a freebie!)

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’re probably a pretty savvy list maker. So how do you take it to the next level?

Getting the most out of your list, firstly, means understanding how priorities work. For example, today you might want to pick up groceries and also start planning the first chapter of your book. (That’s two separate lists – I’m sure you already know that!)  But how do you make sure that the here and now doesn’t override your long term goals?

Split your lists into lists: Immediate Priority vs Long-Term Priority

Not only do I believe in having multiple lists, but those lists can be split into different categories. We aren’t talking about daily to-do lists here to be clear. These lists are IMMEDIATE PRIORITY vs. LONG-TERM PRIORITY lists.

I like to use Evernote to keep my goals separate – and I split them into 2 notebooks. Your active list is what you are going to do for the week (like writing that book chapter!) or other important things that are on your mind – like knocking off some of your Christmas shopping! In another notebook I store my long-term priority list. This is where I keep all my ongoing projects and reminders for things I need to do later in the month or later in the year.

For example, if your goal for now is to write chapter one of your book, it’s a good idea to keep your outlines for the later chapters in this notebook. You don’t need them right now, but you’ll want to have them handy for reference. Or you can keep links to the Google Docs where you keep your notes or inspiration in this folder as well.  Anything that will make it easier for you to start crossing off tasks is helpful.

Be very specific  

With your IMMEDIATE PRIORITY list you need to be very specific. For example, I make my daily to-do lists at the end of each day. I think of every email or phone call I want to make the next day and I clearly write out what needs to be done.  Instead of “emails” I will write “send an email to Trisha about Monday’s event” This helps me to keep on task during the day.  I’m also automatically prioritizing as I write my list.  

To learn how to do that sign up for my free giveaway “Prioritize Like a Pro.”

With LONG-TERM PRIORITY lists it’s good to have an overarching idea of what you want to do, but it’s best not to get too bogged down in the details. To go back to the book example, you would set yourself a deadline for when you want to complete each chapter and write and outline for each of them. But you wouldn’t plan the days you’re going to write it until you’re closer to that deadline. Then you can pull from that list when the time comes to make your daily to-do lists.

Plus these lists can overlap each other – by that I mean you’ll be using them at the same time. So you should reference them and pull items from the long-term priority list and stick it on the immediate priority lists. Eventually it will graduate to the daily to-do list. Think of each list as a stepping stone – as you move from one to the next you’re closer to completing the task.

The reason I keep these separate is so that you can focus more on what’s on your daily to-do list without getting too distracted by those big goals. I would recommend checking in on your long term priority list every week or so.  This way you know what tasks you have coming up. But you won’t feel overwhelmed by everything you have to do.  

If you’d like to check out my system to Prioritize Like a Pro fill in the form below and I’ll send you my free giveaway.  






 

How Do You Say List in Portuguese?

You know when you do something and you aren’t quite sure how it will turn out? That’s what it’s been like for me to publish my book Listful Thinking. This January will mark two years since it came out and I’m still grateful for all the opportunities it’s given me.

I’ve had the chance to meet some of you face to face at book signings and talk with people all over the world about lists. Plus, I got to record the audiobook version of the book this summer.  I’m also excited to announce that Listful Thinking has also made it onto the Apple iBooks bestseller list!

I’m thrilled to be mentioned with other classic titles like “The Secret” and “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” When I first published my book I had no idea there were so many list makers out there. What I certainly didn’t expect was how many different languages the book would be published in as well.  Right now it’s in Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Arabic, Dutch, Indonesian and just recently in Portuguese as well. I’m so happy to welcome all the new Portuguese list makers to this blog.

unnamed-8The book has also allowed me to do some speaking gigs, which I really love. I’ll be speaking at the MA Conference for Women on Dec 8th. I’ll be leading the session appropriately named Listful Thinking. And I’ll also be hosting a session with two execs from Boston Scientific, leading the discussion about work/life balance. I’ve written about this quite a lot. And I’m interested to get their take on how they manage it as well.  It resonates with all of us.  If you’re at the conference, please put “stop by to say hello to Paula” on your list.

Make These Two Lists Everyday to Boost Productivity

Do you ever sit down to write your daily to do’s and the list just goes on and on? It can be really discouraging. But, just because your list seems never ending, it doesn’t mean it’s impossible to finish all your tasks that day.

Ruth Carter, a lawyer I met in a virtual mastermind group for entrepreneurs called ShankMinds, was having just this problem.  So I suggested a creative solution to this problem.  I told her to make two list per day.  A before lunch list and an after lunch list.  

Now each morning she divides her page in two and splits her to do lists into things to do in the morning and things to do in the afternoon. She wrote about how much it helped her here. It may seem simple, but splitting your list into two can make your day seem much more manageable. Read more