All posts tagged: Productivity

The Beauty of a Bullet Journal — and How it Keeps Me Organized

A glimpse of a bullet journal. (Photo courtesy Rachel Grob) I have always struggled with organization. I would make to-do lists on Post-its, update calendars and planners but nothing really stuck…until I tried a Bullet Journal. I first heard about the journals through a Facebook post and was intrigued by the beautiful handwriting and colorful drawings that covered the pages. I love to doodle, paint and scrapbook, and so I knew that the creative aspect of a Bullet Journal would keep me interested. It’s not monotonous like a planner, so each page is something completely different and new. Unlike a traditional planner, a Bullet Journal doesn’t require you to stick to a pre-designed layout or theme – in fact, it thrives on creativity and sporadic inspiration, allowing you to organize your thoughts in a way that works best for you. While you could use virtually any notebook to create a Bullet Journal, there are a few rules you need to follow. Every Bullet Journal starts with a Key, an Index and a Future Log. The …

4 Books on Productivity You Shouldn’t Put Off Reading

(Graphic: Nancy Gonzalez/TueNight.com) It’s a wonder that these lines are appearing on the screen in front of you now and not next week. But since no procrastination was employed in the production of this column, you will be able to learn about a few of the best books to help you stamp out all kinds procrastination. (Wait, where is that list? Oh, phew. A couple of other tasks got in the way…) The Power of Habit may be the most important book to recommend for getting past your unproductive habit of procrastinating. Author Charles Duhigg examines the routine and often unconscious behaviors that rule so many of us through amusing anecdotes and science-based research. He offers productive techniques to help you break bad habits, restructure your life and meet your goals. If your goal is to procrastinate more, well, even Duhigg can’t fix that. In 2002, Steven Pressfield wrote The War of Art: Winning the Inner Creative Battle, and changed many a writer’s life: He identified how outward ambitions get in the way of creative …

Why I’m Thinking of Trashing My To-Do List

(Photo: Nancy Gonzalez/ TueNight) I’ve always got a to-do list going. Occasionally that list is in the “Fresh” stage, when most of the items have been recently added. Sometimes, roughly half of the items are checked off, with the rest awaiting completion – I call that the “In Progress” stage. But most often, my list is in the “Can’t-Stand-to-Look-at-It” stage, where the tasks that remain glaringly undone remind me of failings both large and small. One such task that lives on every list I’ve compiled over the past six months is “Get Direct TV.” It’s a concise and seemingly benign line item, yet its simplicity belies the pain-in-the-ass job that it actually is. Because of the smart phone, no place is sacred or safe from the tyranny of the list. Sitting on the toilet, I type “Almond Butter” into the subject line so I remember that we’re out of it. Instead of “Get Direct TV,” the phrase should really read: “Do a competitive analysis of all TV/internet/phone service providers in my area by calling each …

Why No One Wants to Go to Your Meeting — And How to Make it Better

If you wrote a better agenda, these seats would be full. (Photo: Freeimages.com) It’s not uncommon to hear a collective groan from your employees when another meeting alert pops up on their calendars. After 10 years in the professional world at every level from assistant to Vice President, I’ve learned firsthand just how much impact a meeting can make. We hope our team leaves a meeting excited, inspired and ready to work, but I’ve also sat through meetings where an associate actually fell asleep on their laptop. Not good. It can be taxing having to step away from daily tasks, but more importantly, badly run meetings can severely hamper productivity. After years of being over scheduled myself, I’ve learned a few tips to help make meetings and check-ins smarter and productive — not just an hour wasted during the work day. Be Selective One of the biggest pain points of meetings is that there’s simply too many people in them. Invite only the crucial members of each team, the ones who truly need to be …

My System: Gretchen Rubin on Her “Power Hour”

Gretchen Rubin in NYC at her book launch party. (Photo: Leslie Fandrich) Who: Gretchen Rubin, best-selling author of The Happiness Project and Happier at Home. System:  At 6 a.m. Gretchen has a “power hour” of solitude and focus where she can write, catch up on emails, tweet, before her day “officially starts.” ”At 7 a.m. I have to get my children up, get them fed, get them to school. So, I have this precious early morning hour when everything is quiet and I don’t have any distractions. It’s just for me.” What prompted the idea? “I realized that our family mornings were hectic and unpleasant, because I was racing around trying to get too much accomplished at once. It finally dawned on me that if I got up an hour early, I’d be able to get a good start on my day.” Do you consider yourself a morning person?  ”I think some people are larks and some people are owls and you really have to know where you are. And so for an owl I don’t think that would …

My System: Geeta’s Top 10 Uses for Duct Tape

Geeta strong-arms her rockin’ tape. (Photo: TueNight) Who: Geeta Simons — Philadelphia mom, radio producer, musician and instructor at Girls Rock Philly. System: “I use Duck tape for just about everything. It’s a musician’s best friend, but I also use it for baby stuff and fashion mishaps.” By the way, is it Duck tape or Duct tape? “I always thought it was ‘duct’ as in ‘I am finishing this duct work with my duct tape.’ And it is, but the brand I use is called Duck.” And originally it was made from cotton duck cloth. So it’s actually both. Geeta’s Top 10 Uses for Duck Tape: 1. Band promotion. “For taping up band flyers to a telephone poll. Works really well on brick walls.” 2. Multiple music uses. “For taping extra guitar picks to a mic stand; muting a snare drum head or cymbals; keeping the nine-volt battery in a guitar effects pedal; taping set list to monitor; taping guitar case shut (note: don’t do this if you actually like your guitar).” 3. Fashion Mishaps. “For taping a …

When 750 Words Are Enough: A Q&A with Buster Benson (Part 2)

Here’s part II of my interview with Buster Benson. It is more than 750 words, thank you very much. (Here was Part 1)   How did you get started in the habit mapping concept? Does this track back to something you did as a kid? I would write in my journal every single day as a kid. It wasn’t until I graduated from college and learned how to build websites that I got more interested in [habit tracking] though. The first web-related habit I did was back in 2002 or 2003 called Moblogging — these days that’s just called taking photos with your phone. I’d take these 640×480 tiny little pictures but there was no site to really capture the photo so I built a service that would capture tag and add it to my blog. From there I started tracking my mood.  Along with the photo, I would add a +1 or -1 and that got pulled into my “morale-o-meter” which was supposed to check whether I was interacting with things that were uplifting my mood …