Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Creating 2015!

Wishing YOU a fabulous 2015! Hope this helps to create your Best Year Ever :)

Sunday, December 21, 2014


There has been a lot of gossip and silliness that has come from the Sony hacked emails-- invasion of privacy and embarrassing, sure... but who cares? I mean even after threats President Obama thinks Sony was wrong to cancel the screening of The Interview. 

And celebrities, politicians, armchair pundits have all weighed in on the nerve of the theater owners and Sony to bow down to foreign threats. But that's easy to say from the comfort of the porch across the street. George Clooney let it be known that no studio CEO would even sign a letter standing behind Sony. As a former Sony employee this hacking and threat of violence hit very close to home and it also made me fear that people would jump at a military solution.
So what is there to do?

Take a stand and endanger innocent employees and moviegoers... or be pushed back by anonymous hackers? We can't let others dictate what we'll do. Yet, we simply can't expect Sony to take all the risk and all the danger. How can expect one lone company to stand for our freedoms and up to terrorists threats out there by itself? We can't.
We need to stand up and together be ALL IN!

I propose every network and online outlet play The Interview on New Year's Eve at noon and George Clooney, Jimmy Kimmel, Rob Lowe, Judd Apatow, Steve Carell and all their friends host a FREEDOM-A-THON. Have Congress, the Hollywood community, and theater chains band together and host screenings in prominent locations.    

If we ALL stand together we not only demonstrate our support, we all stand brave against censorship and terrorism. Additionally, to make this worthwhile and a clear stand for good we can also use the opportunity to take in donations for a worthy cause at the same time. I recommend the fight against Ebola.

Trust me, I'm not thrilled that this is the movie we are being forced to defend; I'd much have preferred to proudly support Selma or some meaningful documentary. But for the better or worse defending our rights means that of highbrow and lowbrow fares.

A couple hours together might not defuse hackers threats, won't bring about world peace, but I am not willing to sit by and let my fellow citizens stand alone to defend rights our forefathers and our current military fight for everyday.
Are You?  or...
              Are You ALL IN?!!!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Managing My Schedule TIMEFUL-Y

Out of Your Head                                                       Onto Your Schedule                     

My quest the last few years has been to streamline my life. Not necessarily become an efficiency freak but more to become less overwhelmed, less stressed... really I just wanted to be happier.

It started with decluttering which was freeing and did definitely clear some mental and of course physical space. I even dabbled with the concept of minimalism which was way too minimal for me. Must say I'm not a bare-minimum-kinda-gal. I'm not going to deny it, I like my stuff- at least more than what will fit in the back of my car. So when I came across the book Essentialism I found the perfect phrase and summary of what I believed was the way I wanted to live: Less but Better.

Sharing Essentialism led to a friend recommending The ONE Thing, which is a fantastic compliment to the concept of focus and making the most of our time and energy. An aspect of the book that really resonated with me was the idea of time-blocking and more specifically ensuring that we are holding our time allotted to our ONE Thing as the most important part of our day.

Green: Appointments (from iCal)
Blue: To-dos
Red: Habits
Coincidentally at the time I had been trying to put in more structure to my day and had just run across the Timeful app. It pulls from iCalendar and lets me schedule in tasks as well as habits (or as I like to think of them-- the basics or core events I build my schedule around) into the very easy to use and elegant interface.

I have always been a planner person but haven't been as disciplined as I liked lately with my time and more used them to keep track of specific appointments and notes from the day. But I know from mapping that it's hard to focus on our life when ideas, to-dos, or what's next is bouncing around in our heads.

To have one spot to mark what needs doing in my day has been life-changing. I have not only been more productive I have been calmer because I know I don't need to worry about not only remembering but finding time to accomplish my week. Knowing I don't need to think about something until it's actually time to work on it has let me be more focused and engaged with what's in front of me.

I have been slightly obsessed with it I must say. The ability to quickly move around my day and keep track of how many times I completed habits is wonderful. And I don't need to keep checking a to-do list because I already have a time allotted for when things will be done (which can easily be adjusted). Just as important it serves as a reminder when not to do things; I've gone from checking emails, social media, voice mails hourly to when allotted. Now I know if I've had a productive week according to what I say is a priority or if I've let other things steal my time.

For at least the last decade or so multitasking has been the big buzzword and it has made our lives even more harried. Focusing our time and being brutal with eliminating busyness is what I believe will make the next decade shift. If you're feeling overwhelmed, distracted, exhausted, maybe it's time to: look at what's going on in your schedule, eliminate what's not essential, and focus on what's the ONE thing that can make a difference for you.
For me: Timeful has me even more JOYful :)

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

What's Your ONE Thing?

Recently I was telling close friend Vickie Austin about my newest favorite book Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less (my review) when she mentioned how it reminded her of one of her favorite books The ONE Thing: The Surprising Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results (Gary Keller & Jay Papasan). Now I must say it's a tie... I love both of these books and together they are game changers.

Essentialism focuses on the concept of Less but Better and how getting to the essentials improves every aspect of living our lives. The ONE Thing is even more specific and urges us to get it down to ONE thing. Not only one thing necessarily but one thing as a focus of our work and energy at a time or as our priority. Gary Keller, co-founder of Keller Williams, uses the visual of a domino and when we get our first domino in place, and if we've done it right, it will begin to knock over those that follow. His focusing question:

the ONE Thing 
I can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?
And if I didn't already love the message how excited did I get when I saw this diagram on pg. 114?

It fits perfectly into ME Mapping's concept and makes your ONE Thing even that much more powerful when visually diagrammed out.

The other key concept that I had already been experimenting with is time-blocking my day. Once we are focused on our ONE Thing we prioritize our day differently but we still need some strategic maneuvering and time chunking; blocking our schedule makes it so much more productive.

I will expand on this concept at another time but it is more direct than just the Franklin Covey Planner's idea that I was committed to for years. Coincidentally I came across the Timeful app while reading this book. So now I have integrated my calendar, to-do list, habit building (which includes my ONE Thing time-block) all into my iPhone. It keeps me on track and with the elimination of the non-essential to clear my mind/day and the focus of the ONE Thing I've been more productive, focused, and happy lately and loving how they all work together.

Now some folks might think the idea is too simple or have already mastered not letting multitasking and external factors distract them, and if that's the case skip it. I know one of the things I've done and I see many others do too is to keep piling systems, technology, stuff into our lives... but until we get down to the essentials and our ONE Thing we'll still keep overwhelming ourselves.

I can't recommend these two books enough but if you can only fit in one make it this one. Then work hard on your ONE Thing so you can go back and read the other. And when it's time and you want to thank the one person who recommended them you can reach ME here ;)

Friday, August 22, 2014

Slidedocs: The Smart Way To Spread Ideas

Embarking on my second book I wrote ME Mapping in PowerPoint because I needed to be able to diagram out images and cut and paste things that would not be possible in Word. I loved being able to utilize writing, mapping, and images on the same pages with such flexibility.

After a chat with my agent I decided that a normal route in publishing was not going to be a smooth road, so instead of a book I turned the content into the ME Workshop. It is so much more powerful delivered in person and great for those who attended, but I still wanted to extend its reach wider. My solution was to post a Slideshare presentation with the basics for anyone to see.

I was happy with how it looked and that it was a free format to share/embed. Plus it made a great intro for people who were interested in finding out more about coming to the workshop. Delightful!

I must say I was pretty pleased with myself. That was until I saw Nancy Duarte bring it to a whole new level and do an entire book about taking content sharing even further. She developed what so many of us have been doing in small doses into a whole new format with a cool name and everything: Slidedocs!

Now if you don't know of Nancy she is the brains (and beauty) behind probably some the most famous presentations around. She became famous in the visual thinking community when they made the documentary of Al Gore's, An Inconvenient Truth, making his case about Global Warming. Just him and Nancy's team's little presentation helped spark one of the most important conversations of our day.

Which is kind of her point with Slidedocs. If you have something important to say why shouldn't it be:
appealing- like a well designed visual aid;
informative- with all the key points found in dry and dense business documents;
shareable- like email/ blog posts;
chunk-able- so it can be taken apart and re-used as needed;
updateable- by serving as a living document.

Even though I had written ME Mapping's manuscript in PowerPoint I'm no designer so even when I created the summary slidedeck it was pretty plain. But inspired I have now gone and "Slidedoc-ed up" ME Mapping (the basics) and  ME Mapping: Creating Your Year. And now I'm back to being pretty pleased with myself ;)

You might not be interested in writing a book or sharing big volumes of content with others but I strongly encourage you to at least page quickly through Slidedocs-- it's fantastic and I think you'll get a few ideas about any information you share in the future even if it's a single slide/sheet/document. Bet you'll be pretty pleased with what you can create :)

Thanks Nancy!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Stop Debating Global Warming... Start Solving The POLLUTION Problem!

Climate Change, Global Warming... come on, those phrases just aren't doing it for folks!

Tell someone that the Earth is getting a couple of degrees warmer... meh. Show them those aren't fluffy clouds floating over Beijing, that it's a layer of pollution that is contaminating everything from the air, to the water, to the land. Demonstrate how carbon, chemicals, and China's smog doesn't just taint the surrounding areas (update: and kill 4,000 people a day), but leaves even small towns in Michigan worried about the mercury that is poisoning their lakes and making their fish dangerous to eat. Allow any area of our planet to get polluted and we all reap the consequences. And with more developing parts of the world starting down the road we have for decades it's only the beginning of an accelerating problem. If we don't act now we will have smog to breathe, a tainted food and water supply, and very likely irreparably damage our grandchildren's health and very world.

Politically it is ridiculous that we are still debating whether we are doing damage to the planet- there is no doubt we are. But in order to get moving on a solution we need to dumb-down-the-debate. I know it's sad but we can't talk facts and science we need to get guttural and go back to basics. Global Warming effects are too subtle for some people, so stop debating... go back to calling it pollution and no one can debate the visuals on that.

When I was a kid we had Woodsy the Owl and the Keep America Beautiful Indian- they worked. Kids bugged their parents not to litter. People wouldn't publicly throw trash on the ground or at least there was some shame attached. Let's go old school and get a cute mascot and talk about how bad pollution, of all kinds, is to our world.

The toxicity of our planet is not a cute, fuzzy, frivolous matter but science is not working and when something's not working you need to try a new game plan. We need to: promote the Pollution angle- it's simple and undeniable; come up with some cute polar bear who talks to the kids; and call out any politician who denies pollution is a problem.

Subtle slogans don't work, pound the Pollution Problem and I think we'll get at least a genuine conversation going.

Time to find a solution to Killer Pollution!! 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Huffington Post: News or NSFW?

Would you be proud to be seen reading The Huffington Post at Starbucks or heaven forbid work?! Or is it something you do in private because although there is some meat there it's also like being caught eating from a can of frosting?

Getting our news online has been a revolutionary use of technology and HuffPo was leading the way with its easy to read format and curation of the best political and breaking stories around the web. I was a fan. But somewhere along the way it went beyond political focus and got into click-bait as its dominant business model. Sad.

And the conflicting and annoying thing is there is still some great reading and information there but it is cluttered with crap.

Last month The World Post was launched and it made me wonder: are they in the news business or not? If HuffPo wants to attract world leaders (business leaders, political leaders...) to participate in their forum they need to clean up their pages and focus on being a respectable news source.

The day The World Post launched these were the FRONT PAGE right column entries along with that announcement. I am by no means a prude, but this is sleazy filler that they should know better than to feature on the home page, let alone on an important launch day.

If you have to headline a post NSFW (not safe for work)- guess what... it shouldn't be on your FRONT PAGE. Gratuitous nakedness, also not needed there. Anything Kardashian. Anything side-boob or wardrobe-malfunction related. Want to get eyes to the site- have a tab called THE DIRT and put all the tantalizing and National Enquirer-esque stuff there. I'll even read it... when I've caught up on actual news.

I just don't want to be embarrassed to say where I read something worthwhile on a site that is more and more becoming kinda trashy. When Comedy Central's Daily Show shows less crudeness than your FRONT PAGE maybe it's time for a new editorial direction.

Arianna Huffington is starting an important conversation about quality of life with Thrive and her Third Metric work and I sincerely hope she starts looking at her own HOME too because she's better than this and I 100% believe a higher quality site will THRIVE!