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Congrats to Astrid: An Amazing To-Do List App

Would you like a personal assistant to help you remember appointments and check things off your to-do list? I know of one who will work for cheap and keep you organized and make sure you hit all your deadlines. Her name is Astrid. And I’d like to offer my congratulations since the company was just sold to Yahoo.  

Who is Astrid?

Astrid is an adorable little octopus and one of my favorite to-do list apps for iPhone or Android.  If you don’t have one of those devices you can also access this productivity tool by going to Astrid.com.

Astrid will keep all of your tasks organized and remind you of what you need to do with motivational and encouraging nudges like “How about it? Ready tiger?”  You can also rename all of your lists and maintain them however you like — set reminders or not, give your tasks due dates or not. It’s up to you. Read more

Start Your Day Fresh, Not Frantic

Home Office Toys

Home Office Toys (Photo credit: cogdogblog)

It happens to everyone from time to time.  You walk into your office and your day is completely derailed because of added meetings, ringing phones and creeping deadlines.  But there is a way to tame the beast.   Check out my latest YouTube video for my number one tip on how to start your day fresh, not frantic.  It’s a technique I’ve been using for years as a tv producer and it’s served me well!  Hope it works for you — let me know how you do.

 

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9 Ways to be Productive on a Snow Day

SNOW DAY in TIMES SQUARE  2011  -   Manhattan,...

SNOW DAY in TIMES SQUARE 2011 – Manhattan, New York City – 01/26/11 (Photo credit: asterix611)

The mention of extreme weather does a funny thing to people.  It throws us into a total frenzy.  All you can think of is how much milk you have in the house and whether or not your car has gas.  My office has been a buzz about the Nor’easter headed for New York City for days.

A snow day is a good excuse to do all the things you’ve been “meaning” to do but just haven’t gotten to do. If you do get snowed in — here’s my list of things you can do to be productive:

  1. Clean out just ONE desk, junk or dresser drawer.  Get to more if you can but start with just one.  
  2. Catch up on your saved DVR shows. (in your PJs) 
  3. Look up and try out a new workout on YouTube.
  4. Start compiling all the paperwork you need to do your taxes. I recommend Evernote to keep track of it all.
  5. Do some online shopping to cross off some birthday or holiday gifts from your to-do list.  
  6. Do research for an upcoming wedding, vacation or project. 
  7. Download the Next Issue app to browse all your favorite magazines in one spot.  
  8. Try out a new recipe.  One of my favorite blogs Cooking With Books should give you some inspiration.
  9. Begin a new book.  Check Goodreads.com for fabulous recommendations from friends.
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Never Pick Up Your Phone Again

Desk Phone

Desk Phone (Photo credit: mnadi)

I’m going to share a productivity tip I learned a long time ago.  In the past when I was working as a line producer of a local news station — I would always pick up my phone when it rang at my desk.  I had to — it might be about that night’s show.  Some people don’t have a choice.

But when I started producing longer-term stories and didn’t have a daily deadline the calls became too much.  I get pitched dozens and dozens of times per day — whether it be through email or phone.  If I talked to every single person who called — my productivity would suffer.  So instead — I use a simple trick that has been extremely successful for me.  Click on my latest YouTube video to find out how to make it work for you too.

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6 Tips for Working Through Distractions

Nutdanai Apikhomboonwaroot : FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Being back to work after Hurricane Sandy with my whole team has been a great morale booster.  So happy everyone made it in and I could see all their familiar faces — it’s one more sign that life is returning back to normal.

But it’s easy to get distracted with all the war stories being tossed around.  Plus — many people have to deal with insurance claims (myself mostly) and worries of childcare, heat, hot water and power at home.  So getting actual work done is quite a challenge.  Here’s some tips:

1.  Tune out: I’ve gotten very good at this over the years from working in busy news rooms but it does take some practice.  Engage for a bit and listen to all the stories from your coworkers but then at some point you have to mentally check out.  This will allow you to focus on tasks in front of you.  Sometimes headphones will help — I suggest blasting Dave Matthews Band or your favorite to drown out sounds around you.   Read more