Brought To You By Emily Parks
Productivity Consultant at Organize For Success, LLC...
Helping You Make Every Minute Matter!



Monday, May 22, 2017

Top Ten Favorite Restaurants


Organize for Success® Turns 10 
In honor of 10 years of business for Organize for Success®, I will be posting a "top 10" list to this blog each day through Wednesday, May 31st. Each Sunday, my team will randomly select from those who commented on the prior week's "top 10" blog posts for a gift card giveaway and free download of one eBook via OrganizeForSuccess.biz/shop The grand prize for celebrating Organize for Success, LLC's 10 years will be awarded on Thursday, June 1st, randomly selecting from all those who commented on any of the month's "top 10" blog posts as well as those who have subscribed to my eNewsletter for a winner to receive downloads of all 5 eBooks, a pass for my Stress and Time Management online video course as well as a 60-minute video productivity consultation.

With this morning's feature of Chef Ashley Christensen's travel tips, I thought it appropriate to have today's top 10 list be of my favorite restaurants, which are as follows:

10. Adele's - Housed in the old Universal Tire Center of Nashville, TN, this restaurant features an open kitchen with a large, wood-burning oven. The menu focuses on seasonal comfort food from local farms, and its Sunday brunch buffet is delicious.

9. Butcher and the Rye - This downtown Pittsburgh highlight has a creative menu that offers "contemporary riffs on rustic American dishes". Awarded James Beard Semifinalist for Outstanding Bar Program for two consecutive years, this ambitious cocktail program features two bars: Whiskey Wall downstairs and Rye Bar upstairs.

8. Driftwood Southern Kitchen - Located in Raleigh's Lafayette Village, this open kitchen offers an ever-changing menu designed to showcase "the finest of ingredients from supporting local farms and purveyors". Paired with its wonderful whiskey cocktails, the Pimiento Cheese Board is great, and a meal that ends with its Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie is a home run; further, my favorite of this restaurant's offerings is the Crispy Shrimp and Grits.

7. Jubala Coffee - Opened in 2011 by a fellow Wake Forest University alum, this is much more than a coffeeshop. Yes, the dedicated baristas produce some beautiful, tasty beverages, but you are missing out if you haven't tried their Liege Waffles or Sweet Biscuits. Whether plain or paired with apple butter, honey, seasonal jam or pimento cheese, these biscuits are amazing. Then, for lunch, you should certainly try the Grown Up Grilled Cheese.

6. Outback Steakhouse - Although this is a chain restaurant, its food is consistently delicious, they offer delivery on food that's much healthier than most delivery options, and it provides an easy way to get tasty sweet potatoes as well as fresh steamed broccoli. I can easily choose between the Perfectly Grilled Salmon and the Victoria's Filet Mignon, making me perfectly happy.

5. Plaza Restaurant - This was always one of my favorite Kernersville lunch stops with Dad, but their breakfast is pretty doggone good, too. For lunch, any of their soups would be a good bet (Clam Digger's Clam Chowder, Classic Tomato or Homemade Chicken and Rice); yet, I really like to add tomato slices to a grilled cheese sandwich along with a House Salad, particularly since Plaza's salads feature shredded lettuce.

4. Poole's Diner - One of the many gems created by Ashley Christensen, who is a fellow alum from East Forsyth High School, this restaurant does not take reservations but has easily accessible parking across the street from its downtown Raleigh location. The philosophy of this kitchen and horseshoe bar is to produce "creative, simple offerings carefully executed". In other words, it's reimagining comfort food to be a little more imaginative. The ever-changing menu is displayed on chalkboards around the dining area, and anything you order is guaranteed to be amazing, from appetizers to desserts and including all the salads, sides and main dishes in between; still, I have to attest that the Macaroni Au Gratin is simply life-changing. Do not miss this one!

3. Ryan's Restaurant - Nestled in the woods, there's always a great view. This Winston-Salem landmark is famous for its steaks, chops and seafood but also offers memorable options for drinks and desserts. We had the meal following my graduation at Ryan's as well as many great evenings before that time and since then. The Colossal Lump Crab Meat in addition to the Spinach, Artichoke and Crab Dip are fantastic appetizers, the She-Crab soup is great, my steaks are always cooked exactly as I like them, I really love the sweet potato mash, and Ryan's Pecan Pie is worth the calories.

2. Whiskey Kitchen - This restaurant opened in the Nash Square area of downtown Raleigh in August of 2016 but has quickly become a fan favorite. Its kitchen offers creative options to meet anyone's food desires for small plates or large plates; however, its vast whiskey offerings lead to amazing options for happy hour cocktails. Personally, I like to pair my adult beverage with one of their delicious desserts, especially the Shoo Fly Pie.

1. Winston's Grille - This Raleigh tradition has been serving up memorable dining experiences since 1986, and, having been introduced to it by my Capital Ford family back in 2001, I have plenty of memories in this local landmark. This open kitchen offers great meals that "begin with delicious recipes and the freshest ingredients, prepared from scratch." My favorite is the Cashew Salmon entree paired with mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli, but the crab cake or shrimp and grits make a great alternative.

As this list indicates, I'm a fan of locally-owned and locally-operated establishments, and, yes, as a fan of Jack Daniels and Coke, I did notice the common theme of whiskey options.

Which are your favorite restaurants and why? What great options did I miss? Are there any on here you'd like to try?

Countdown to Memorial Day: Ashley Christensen’s Travel Tips

Spring has sprung, and summer's unofficial start on Memorial Day is only one week away! As temperatures rise, I find that travel planning increases so this is the eighth in my series of interviews highlighting frequent travelers. We're covering their preferences and best practices, giving you takeaways to try for your next trip.

Ms. Ashley Christensen
This week, I am pleased to share my interview with Ashley Christensen, who is the chef and proprietor of the six entities within the AC Restaurants group: Beasley's Chicken + Honey, Bridge Club, Chuck's Burgers + Frites, Death & Taxes, Fox Liquor Bar and, her original, Poole's Diner, where the Macaroni Au Gratin is life-changing. Since moving from our shared hometown of Kernersville and making Raleigh her home, Ms. Christensen has sought to foster community through food, philanthropy and the stimulation of the city's downtown neighborhood. She focuses much of her time outside the kitchen with a number of charities, including the Frankie Lemmon School & Development Center, Raleigh's Contemporary Art Museum, the Downtown Raleigh Alliance and the Southern Foodways Alliance. Ms. Christensen's work has garnered national attention from various print publications as well as the Food Network and MSNBC; plus, she was awarded the very prestigious James Beard Award for "Best Chef: Southeast" in 2014. Click here to purchase her first cookbook, Poole's: Recipes and Stories from a Modern Diner, and, then, visit this site to learn more about all that Ms. Christensen has accomplished or is currently doing. With the work she does nationwide and beyond, there is much traveling in her life so read on for Ms. Christensen's many travel insights to use over your next adventure.

EP: Do you travel mainly for business, pleasure or both?

AC: Mainly for business, but my business is also pretty packed with pleasure-filled experiences. I'm in the hospitality industry so most of my trips are rounded out with adventure in food and all the different ways in which hospitality can be expressed.

EP: Do you prefer traveling via plane, train, boat or automobile?

AC: I travel mostly by plane. I really like to take the train, but there are few situations where I have the time or where the route to my destination is available. I don't care much for driving as I like to make the most of my travel time by working and researching on my laptop or iPad.

EP: What is your favorite destination and why?

AC: Rome... It's an amazing place filled with such rich history and incredible food. When I'm there, I just like to imagine that I live there, finding the perfect cafe in whatever neighborhood I'm staying in for a morning espresso or an afternoon Aperol Spritz.

EP: What is your preference for airlines?

AC: I fly Delta. I love their frequent flyer programs and airport lounges. When I'm on a layover, I can sit in the lounge and catch up on work while enjoying the free Internet, decent coffee, snacks and a complimentary bar. These trimmings take the stress out of the occasional delayed flight or long layover. Also, from RDU, I can fly direct to Paris. That's pretty cool!

EP: What is your preference for hotels or accommodations?

AC: When traveling, I like to stay in hotels for the most part. Whenever it's an option, my preference is the 21C Museum Hotel. They're a great group; I love their support of contemporary art.

EP: Do you book your own travel or prefer a travel agency?

AC: I book my own, with the occasional assistance of American Express' Platinum Services Travel Team.

EP: Do you have any suggestions for making the most of loyalty programs or points?

AC: I use my American Express (AmEx) points to buy Delta tickets. I have all of my AmEx points from the businesses pour into one Membership Rewards account; then, when I buy flights, I still get Medallion Qualifying Miles, which I wouldn't get by buying with Delta miles. Instead, I use my miles for an end-of-year trip. I encourage everyone to compare which of their options gives the greatest benefit. I have a Membership Rewards AmEx and a Delta AmEx. I get miles and points from the Delta AmEx so it kind of doubles down.

EP: Are you loyal to any particular brands?

AC: I love Kiehl's, Apple, Tito's vodka and Vans shoes.

EP: When flying, what do you ensure is in your carry-on?

AC: Mild face wash + lotion, one BandAid, a small mending kit, floss, toothbrush, sensitive toothpaste, peppermint mouthwash and my favorite orange flower-based fragrance from Le Labo.

EP: Do you keep an extra bag of toiletries packed?

AC: Absolutely. I have 2 each of all of my basic stuff, including make-up.

EP: How do you organize your time while on-the-go?

AC: I organize my travel and busy times as much as possible, but I always leave a little room to be in the moment. I try not to make too many appointments in one day, and I don't partake in meetings longer than 2 hours; in anything longer than that, I find that I lose focus and effectiveness around the 2-hour point.

EP: What tools or tactics do you use to keep your accommodations organized while traveling?

AC: I have an awesome assistant who does this for me. We use Google Calendar, and we just load as many details as possible in a consistent format.

EP: Do you use technology to help stay productive and organized? If so, what's your favorite program, app, website or tech tool for surviving the chaos of daily life? And what's your favorite for being your best while traveling?

AC: Google Calendar is what I access most consistently. As a company, we use Basecamp for company-wide communication. Technology moves and changes so quickly these days so we're always keeping our ear to the ground on what tools might be helpful to us, but we tend to make those kinds of platform changes slowly and only after lots of careful vetting.

EP: Across all your travels, which restaurant did you enjoy most, why was it your favorite and what was the best food?

AC: Of all the places I've been in the world, I'd have to say the FIG in Charleston makes the top of my list. I'm not a fan of picking favorites (it just feels limiting), but I think about that place a lot. It's timeless, classic and delicious... truly a living, breathing and constantly evolving place. I just love it. As for the best food there in the moment... Whatever they put in front of you!

EP: If you could have one super power to make traveling (or life in general) a little better, what would it be?

AC: I think I would want to freeze time... Simply to be able to catch my breath every now and then when life is flying by.

Thanks for sharing so many excellent tidbits, Ms. Christensen!

Readers, do your preferences mirror hers? Do you use any of the tools or hacks that she's mastered over her countless travels? Which tip do you plan to implement in the future?

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Top Ten Favorite Monthly Reading Materials


Organize for Success® Turns 10 
In honor of 10 years of business for Organize for Success®, I will be posting a "top 10" list to this blog each day through Wednesday, May 31st. Each Sunday, my team will randomly select from those who commented on the prior week's "top 10" blog posts for a gift card giveaway and free download of one eBook via OrganizeForSuccess.biz/shop The grand prize for celebrating Organize for Success, LLC's 10 years will be awarded on Thursday, June 1st, randomly selecting from all those who commented on any of the month's "top 10" blog posts as well as those who have subscribed to my eNewsletter for a winner to receive downloads of all 5 eBooks, a pass for my Stress and Time Management online video course as well as a 60-minute productivity consultation via video conference.

Today, it's my top 10 favorite monthly reading materials. Although I have the Texture app for saving content into my Evernote account and can upload individual pages immediately with my Scannable app, I prefer flipping through the printed pages to read these:

10. Fast Company

9. Inc

8. O, The Oprah Magazine

7. Real Simple

6. Southern Living

5. The Kappa Alpha Theta Magazine, which is produced quarterly

4. Wake Forest Magazine, the alumni magazine of Wake Forest University, which is technically a quarterly publication, not monthly

3. Wired

2. Woman's Day

1. Women's Health

What are your favorite magazines? How often do you read them? Are there any on this list you'd like to try? Do you prefer to read them in printed or electronic format?

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Top Ten Ways to Make Meetings More Productive


Organize for Success® Turns 10 
In honor of 10 years of business for Organize for Success®, I will be posting a "top 10" list to this blog each day through Wednesday, May 31st. Each Sunday, my team will randomly select from those who commented on the prior week's "top 10" blog posts for a gift card giveaway and free download of one eBook from OrganizeForSuccess.biz/shop. The grand prize for celebrating Organize for Success, LLC's 10 years will be awarded on Thursday, June 1st, randomly selecting from all those who commented on any of the month's "top 10" blog posts as well as those who have subscribed to my eNewsletter for a winner to receive downloads of all 5 eBooks, a pass for my Stress and Time Management online video course as well as a 60-minute productivity consultation via video conference.

Today, it's my top 10 tactics to make meetings more productive:

10. Have a clear purpose. Many meetings mistakenly focus on simply updating those in attendance; however, there are plenty of alternative means for conveying updates that are less intrusive to attendees' valuable time. Instead, meetings are most productive when they focus on one of two purposes: (a) discussion or (b) decision-making. If your meeting's purpose is not one of those, could the goal be achieved using alternative means?

9. Be strategic with scheduling. Often, when meetings are set, we indicate a starting time but forget to set a specific ending time; attendees can better plan the remainder of their day if provided an end time in addition to a start time. Further, be cognizant of vacation plans so meetings are not scheduled when many who need to attend will be gone. Finally, avoid scheduling a meeting in the days leading up to a big deadline, especially if the meeting is unrelated to the project coming due, as well as during times when there will be too many distractions for folks to focus on the goal.

8. Trim the fat. Shorten how long you plan to meet and, then, push yourself to accomplish everything on the agenda within that shorter duration by using a timer or having someone serve as timekeeper. Try to end meetings at least 10 minutes before the next hour, like 12:50, 1:50, 2:50, etc, or schedule your meetings in 15-minute blocks, like running from on the hour to quarter 'til the next hour. Attendees will appreciate those few minutes before the next hour to return a quick call, run to the restroom, grab a beverage or gather their thoughts.

7. Invite the right people and only the right people. It is important to include those whose contributions are necessary for accomplishing the meeting's goals: those with the authority to make decisions, those with enough pull in the organization to advocate for what's decided, those with the expertise needed to make informed decisions as well as those necessary for successfully executing said decisions. On the other hand, the Rule of 7 states that "everyone in a meeting over 7 people reduces your ability to make decisions by 10%"; therefore, include only those whose contributions are necessary for accomplishing the meeting's goals as too many attendees will deplete productivity.

6. Have a plan to achieve the meeting's stated purpose. Create a realistic agenda, listing what you truly believe can be accomplished within the scheduled time allowed. Structure that agenda to address the most important issues first. Try to indicate how much time is being allocated for each element listed. Solicit feedback from attendees to make sure anything important is included while lower priorities and unrelated topics get removed.

5. Prepare beforehand. Distribute any supplemental items for review to all attendees beforehand. Share necessary updates via email or your team's collaboration tool before the meeting date. If there is legwork that can be done in advance, completing that beforehand will allow the meeting itself to run more efficiently. As explained by Dana Manciagli in The Triad Business Journal, "proper planning prevents poor performance". Take time to get your ducks in a row before, allowing the time during which folks have come together to be devoted to discussion and / or decision-making.

4. Communicate expectations clearly. If you are leading the meeting, set expectations on how those attending should behave and, then, share those expectations with attendees, whether in writing prior to the meeting or at the start of the meeting. Here are a few suggestions: come prepared, contribute to the discussion with feedback, share your insights as applicable, make sure to ask whatever questions  you have and limit technology distractions. Additionally, specifically state guidelines for interjecting during the agenda, like when to ask questions, how to pipe up for brainstorming or at what point it is appropriate to share feedback during a discussion. Think proactively about what situations might arise related to each meeting and be specific with standards set.

3. Take notes. This shows your commitment to the topic, helps you pay attention and enables you to refer back to items covered earlier as the meeting progresses. If you have the agenda beforehand, use that agenda as a framework for filling in notes from the meeting. Highlight what is important, whether via a different color of ink or by blocking that content off separately. Designate each task that must be done as it arises in conversation during the meeting; then, end your meeting notes with a recap, including the highlights, action items and timing of next meeting.

2. Stay focused. Denote on a separate list any issues not on the agenda as they arise. If there is extra time at the end in which attendees want to address those items, feel free to do so; however, it is often the best use of everyone's time to schedule a time for discussing or resolving those issues on a later date.

1. Ensure attendees are accountable for completing tasks. Each action item arising from the meeting needs a deadline for its completion; further, ensuring each task gets completed is more likely when there is someone accountable for its completion. Assign someone to the completion of each task that results from meeting discussions and decide how you'll confirm follow through.

Do you find that meetings steal valuable moments from your day? What are your favorite ways to make meetings more productive? Are there any on this list you'd like to try?

Friday, May 19, 2017

Top Ten Self-Care Strategies


Organize for Success® Turns 10 
In honor of 10 years of business for Organize for Success®, I will be posting a "top 10" list to this blog each day through Wednesday, May 31st. Each Sunday, my team will randomly select from those who commented on the prior week's "top 10" blog posts for a gift card giveaway and free download of one eBook from OrganizeForSuccess.biz/shop. The grand prize for celebrating Organize for Success, LLC's 10 years will be awarded on Thursday, June 1st, randomly selecting from all those who commented on any of the month's "top 10" blog posts as well as those who have subscribed to my eNewsletter for a winner to receive downloads of all 5 eBooks, a pass for my Stress and Time Management online video course as well as a 60-minute productivity consultation via video conference.

In honor of this National Mental Health Awareness Month, which spreads the word that mental health is something everyone should care about, let's cover my top 10 self-care strategies:

10. Drink a cup of warm green tea. This soothing beverage is packed with antioxidants, and I like to mix mine with some honey and lemon juice for the perfect jump-start to any morning or mid-afternoon. My Keurig makes this an easier self-care strategy, particularly with many green tea options for me to rotate between, like Celestial Seasonings, Lipton, Tazo and Twinings.

9. Get a facial. In addition to keeping my face healthy, limiting the effects of aging and minimizing my acne, getting a facial is such a relaxing as well as energizing experience. I have a membership at Hand and Stone Massage and Facial Spa so I'm more easily able to make this part of my regular investments in myself.

8. Diffuse essential oils. As explained by mindbodygreen, essential oils can be "a great, simple way to reset that doesn't take much time or effort." While there are several suggested oils in the article linked above, I really like Breathe, Eucalyptus, Frankincense, On Guard and Peppermint oils from doTERRA, but I'm trying to transition to Young Living Essential Oils with the help of a friend.

7. Absorb some vitamin D. Unfortunately, my skin can burn by simply winking at the sun; however, I find a little vitamin D can be life-altering, whether from sitting in front a coffee shop while enjoying a treat, walking in the park or getting outside in between appointments. It uplifts my mood and boosts my productivity.

6. Eat fruits and vegetables. Stress can make it more difficult to maintain a healthy diet, but I find that indulging in my favorite fruits or vegetables helps me better face whatever stress is happening in my life at that time. As listed in my "Top Ten Favorite Foods", I absolutely love sweet potatoes and broccoli; then, in my "Top Ten Salad Ingredients", I mentioned how much I enjoy blueberries, bell peppers, apples, green peas, oranges and cucumbers, but my favorite fruit or veggie is watermelon. So many great options to keep me happy, healthy and energized!

5. Breathe deeply. Although I've not been able to fully adopt a consistent practice of meditation, I find it helpful to simply sit for a few minutes, being mindful of my breathing. It can be helpful to slowly take about 10 breaths, exhaling for longer than I inhale, calming my heart rate and focusing inward.

4. Make time for hobbies. My two favorite pastimes are sports and music. Now, I'm not the one actually playing the sports or making the music, but I absolutely love attending sports events (especially my Wake Forest University Demon Deacons), watching sporting events on TV (like my San Antonio Spurs) and attending amazing concerts. In October, I'm attending Tim McGraw's concert in Greensboro, NC, and the excitement is already building!

3. Connect with friends. Words cannot express the value of time with those folks who truly support me as I am. We care about what's happening in each other's lives and provide a supportive ear or distraction from what we can't control. Headed to lunch with one of my dearest friends today, I can attest to the value of being surrounded by like-minded souls who care about my well-being.

2. Exercise! Whether it's Zumba or Dance Jam at LifeTime Fitness or simply one of many options on my 7-Minute Workout app, when I get moving, my body releases endorphins, which boost my feelings of overall well-being. Plus, one of my friends is a workout partner so I pair connecting with friends as well as listening to great music for a triple whammy of greatness.

1. Listen to music. Anytime a happy, energetic tune with a great beat comes on, I can't help but get moving. When I hear someone say something that reminds me of a song, I can't help but start singing or the song really gets stuck in my head. Music is so empowering and enriching. From Kool & The Gang to Lionel Richie to Earth, Wind & Fire to 38 Special to so many more, there are plenty of options for music that soothes my soul, energizes my spirit and keeps me plugging forward.

What are your favorite self-care strategies? Are there any on this list you'd like to try?

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Top Ten Most Powerful Lung Cancer Facts


Organize for Success® Turns 10 
In honor of 10 years of business for Organize for Success®, I will be posting a "top 10" list to this blog each day through Wednesday, May 31st. Each Sunday, my team will randomly select from those who commented on the prior week's "top 10" blog posts for a gift card giveaway and free download of one eBook at OrganizeForSuccess.biz/shop. The grand prize for celebrating Organize for Success, LLC's 10 years will be awarded on Thursday, June 1st, randomly selecting from all those who commented on any of the month's "top 10" blog posts as well as those who have subscribed to my eNewsletter for a winner to receive downloads of all 5 eBooks, a pass for my Stress and Time Management online video course as well as a 60-minute video productivity consultation. Ready to win? Comment below!

On September 5, 2008, my father was diagnosed with lung cancer, and my analytical brain immediately jumped online to figure out what this meant; I was shocked by the statistics related to this terrible disease. Today, we'll discuss what I view as the top 10 most powerful (and potentially shocking) lung cancer facts:

10. Over 200,000 Americans are diagnosed with lung cancer each year, over 7,800 of which are here in my home state of North Carolina; with that, 1 in every 3 Americans is touched by lung cancer, whether diagnosed themselves or knowing a patient.

9. Lung cancer is the top cancer-killer of both women and men in America. Lung cancer takes more lives annually (nearly 160,000) than the next top three types of cancer combined: colorectal cancer with 50,260 deaths a year, breast cancer with 40,610 deaths a year, pancreatic cancer with 43,090 deaths a year. Lung cancer's impact is far-reaching. This disease takes the lives of almost twice as many women when compared with breast cancer as well as the lives of more than three times as many men when compared with prostate cancer.

8. Only 18% of those diagnosed with lung cancer will survive 5 years or longer, compared with 99% for prostate cancer, 90% for breast cancer and 65% for colorectal cancer. If lung cancer researchers could replicate the successes of increasing survival at the rate breast cancer researchers have over the past 30 years, increasing survival rates by at least 14%, over 30,000 more people would survive each year... 30,000 mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, daughters and sons to spend more valuable moments with their loved ones.

7. Only 16% of people will be diagnosed with lung cancer while the disease is still in its earliest stage. As the disease is most treatable at this point, earlier diagnoses could save more lives. Screening enables earlier diagnosis for any type of cancer, but the single recommended screening test for lung cancer is low-dose CT scan, which is approved for only adults aged 55 to 80 years who have a 30 pack-year smoking history and currently smoke or have quit within the past 15 years.

6. Beyond simply smoking, the many causes of lung cancer include asbestos fibers, radon gas, family predisposition, lung diseases and air pollution. Plus, there are initial research findings that some of the treatments for viruses we had as children make us more susceptible to lung cancer as adults.

5. Treatment of lung cancer is no longer limited to only chemotherapy. There are many advancements to surgery options, including robotic-assisted thoracic surgery. Radiation therapy targets the specific location of the lung cancer tumor. Targeted drug therapy offers pills that work in people whose lung cancer cells have certain genetic mutations. Further, clinical trials are studies of experimental lung cancer treatments, including immunotherapy, which activates a patient's white blood cells to fight off the disease themselves. These advancements are helping, but there is still a great deal of work to be done.

4. Although lung cancer takes more lives than any other cancer, funding for lung cancer research lags significantly behind. Lung cancer research receives $2,208 in federal funding per death while colorectal cancer gets $6,271, prostate cancer gets $14,488 and breast cancer gets $16,728. Money is needed to run the labs that will advance further in diagnosis and treatment options.

3. The official color for lung cancer is pearl, white or clear because it's a "silent killer". It is not talked about like other diseases, there's no buzz around it, there are few if any symptoms until lung cancer has spread, and most people are unclear about its details, even though it touches so many lives each year.

2. A good acronym to remember the symptoms of lung cancer is BREATHE: Blood in cough, Recurring respiratory infections, Enduring cough that is new or different, Ache or pain in shoulder, back or chest, Trouble breathing, Hoarseness or wheezing and Exhaustion or weakness.

1. If you have lungs, you can get lung cancer. While 30-35% of people are current smokers when diagnosed with lung cancer, 50% have quit smoking (many of whom quit decades before) and 15-20% of people diagnosed with lung cancer have never smoked. Further, the fastest growing demographic for new lung cancer diagnoses are women in their 30s, 40s and 50s who have never smoked. There is a stigma surrounding a lung cancer diagnosis, where people believe all lung cancer is caused by smoking and patients do this to themselves. As mentioned above, there are many causes, and, no matter which leads to your disease, no one deserves to be sick. Be aware of changes to your body, and be persistent in pursuing the reason for your symptoms.

Were you surprised by any of these facts? Have you been impacted by this disease, either personally or by someone about which you care being diagnosed?

I could not take away the pain and suffering of my father and my maternal great aunt, both of whom passed away from lung cancer, but I am currently working diligently to help others as well as fund work to battle this dreadful disease. If you'd like to help these efforts, please learn more about the Lung Cancer Initiative, whose mission is "to save lives and provide support to those affected by lung cancer through research, awareness, education and access programs across North Carolina". Together, we can empower those affected by lung cancer to live longer, better lives!

* Unless otherwise noted, all lung cancer facts are from the LungCAN (Lung Cancer Action Network) statistic guide.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Top Ten Salad Ingredients


Organize for Success® Turns 10 
In honor of 10 years of business for Organize for Success®, I will be posting a "top 10" list to this blog each day through Wednesday, May 31st. Each Sunday, my team will randomly select from those who commented on the prior week's "top 10" blog posts for a gift card giveaway and free download of one eBook from OrganizeForSuccess.biz/shop. The grand prize for celebrating Organize for Success, LLC's 10 years will be awarded on Thursday, June 1st, randomly selecting from all those who commented on any of the month's "top 10" blog posts as well as those who have subscribed to my eNewsletter for a winner to receive downloads of all 5 eBooks, a pass for my Stress and Time Management online video course as well as a 60-minute productivity consultation via video conference.

In honor of this National Salad Month, let's cover my top 10 salad ingredients; although I'm a big fan of chicken salad in a bowl or on a sandwich, I'll focus on the traditional definition of salads, saving room by skipping over the leafy greens and salad dressing options:

10. Blueberries - That bright blue is a great pop for any salad, particularly as some nutritionists believe adding blueberries would be the most important change you could make to your diet.

9. Sliced Almonds - Adding almonds to my salad reduces hunger, promotes healthy weight and lowers cholesterol via lots of healthy fats, fiber, protein, magnesium and vitamin E.

8. Bell Peppers - Particularly when I mix in green, yellow and red bell peppers, they add wonderful color to my salad. Plus, I really like each of their flavors and the texture they contribute.

7. Apple Slices - Whether the variety is Honeycrisp, Fuji, Jazz or Empire, crunchy slices of a sweet, red apple add such delicious flavor, color and texture atop any salad; plus, rich in antioxidants, flavonoids and dietary fiber, apples reduce the risk of cancer, hypertension, diabetes or heart disease.

6. Broccoli - As mentioned in my "top ten favorite foods", broccoli is hands-down my favorite vegetable, and those large, flowering heads are an ideal addition to a fresh salad, providing a flavorful ingredient that's low in calories, has wonderful texture to compliment other components and adds excellent vitamins.

5. Boiled Eggs - I love how this high protein and low-calorie addition better controls my hunger. Plus, I feel like I'm really eating something when I add two halves of an egg to my salad.

4. Green Peas - Having these little, green balls rolling around in my salad seems to add a bit of fun to the meal! Although low in fat and calories, these veggies are high in protein, fiber and micro-nutrients, helping manage weight, fight aging, protect my heart, boost my immune system, provide anti-inflammatory properties, lower bad cholesterol and give me energy.

3. Orange Slices - As oranges scream spring and summer, they add sweet flavor to any salad, providing an abundance of vitamin C, dietary fiber and plenty of helpful vitamins.

2. Salmon - Adding salmon to my salads sneaks in much-needed nutrients, especially omega-3 fatty acids. As a back-up meat, I'd go with grilled chicken, but salmon is definitely my preferred option.

1. Cucumbers - These vegetables offer valuable anti-inflammatory properties, fight infection, boost energy and fill me up while not adding too much weight. I like how they are good for my heart, taste really delicious and provide lots of water to keep me hydrated without drowning myself drinking liquids.

What are your favorite salad ingredients? Are there any on this list you'd like to try?

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Top Ten Favorite Tools for Communicating Remotely


Organize for Success® Turns 10 
In honor of 10 years of business for Organize for Success®, I will be posting a "top 10" list to this blog each day through Wednesday, May 31st. Each Sunday, my team will randomly select from those who commented on the prior week's "top 10" blog posts for a gift card giveaway and free download of one eBook at OrganizeForSuccess.biz/shop. The grand prize for celebrating Organize for Success, LLC's 10 years will be awarded on Thursday, June 1st, randomly selecting from all those who commented on any of the month's "top 10" blog posts as well as those who have subscribed to my eNewsletter for a winner to receive downloads of all 5 eBooks, a pass for my Stress and Time Management online video course as well as a 60-minute video productivity consultation.

Today, it's my top 10 favorite tools for communicating remotely:

10. UberConference - Make conference phone calls for free without ever needing to enter a PIN. Participants choose whether to call in for themselves or have the conference line call them; then, all folks on the conference line can see on their screens whoever else is on the call, be alerted as to who is speaking at any point in time and easily connect to participants' social media profiles. Plus, if you are leading the meeting, you can seamlessly share your screen with all those on the call, adding a visual element, too.

9. Voxeet - Using technology it calls TrueVoice, these conference calls pride themselves on superior sound quality, including "No garbling. No static. No dropped calls." Whether connecting via your Firefox or Chrome on your computer or an app on your mobile device, you can join a call without ever needing to enter a password or PIN. This tool integrates with Box, Dropbox and Google Drive, offering powerful group messaging to collaborate during the call via voice, text, photos and documents. Each call's host can easily record the meeting or presentation for later sharing and replaying. Further, this tool integrates with Excel, PowerPoint and Word to launch presentations for participants.

8. TeamViewer - There are three instances where this screen-share technology is the ideal solution: If your tech support personnel needs to take control of your computer to solve issues remotely, if you need to access your own computer securely from a distance without using a VPN or if you need to share your computer screen content with folks collaborating remotely who need to view images of complex details. Its powerful security features allow private data, private conversations and private meetings to remain private. Although there is sometimes a delay in moving the mouse versus when you see the cursor move or type, it's a shorter delay than comparable alternatives. Finally, it's free for personal use.

7. Google Hangouts - If you have a login for Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive or any other Google product, you get complimentary access to this tool for video calling, phone calls or messaging others. It is easy to login via an Android app, an iOS app or your Chrome web browser. Whether a one-on-one conversation or a group chat, this tool's messaging allows for sending emoji, photos, GIFs and maps; plus, those conversations can be synced between devices via your Google login. Further, my favorite feature is turning meetings into video conferences with just one tap, where I can see up to 10 participants on-screen at once.

6. GoToMeeting - Subscribers can host unlimited meetings for web audio, screen sharing, a dial-in conference line and HD video conferencing, but there are tiered prices for how many individual logins can participant in each meeting. Those higher tiers also add features like tools to draw on the screen, the ability to record each call, a personal meeting room for participants to chat, mobile apps as well as keyboard and mouse sharing. This is the only solution integrating with Outlook, Gmail, HipChat, Zapier and Salesforce.

5. Skype - This tool allows you to make free video or voice calls to anyone in the world that has a Skype account. Up to 12 participants of group video calls can be seen on-screen at once or you can choose to use this tool for instant messaging that can include emojis, photos and video messages alike as well as regular, ol' phone calls. Plus, Skype calls offer the addition of screen sharing to give great presentations or display step-by-step instructions.

4. Viber - Many families utilize this tool for secure communications with students studying aboard, particularly as it offers cheap international calls and messaging from computer desktops as well as phone apps. This tool enables free text, calling, photo messages and location-sharing between users with no registration, aliases or invitations required and instantly integrates with your contacts.

3. Tango - Video calling via this mobile app is viewed as the best quality available for free. Additionally, it offers free international and domestic calls to any number in the U. S., Canada, Mexico and India as well as low rate calls to anywhere else worldwide. Like Snapchat, this tool offers the ability to paint atop what images are created; meanwhile, you can send stickers, add filters and play games while on a call. Further, its messaging offers the ability to send and receive text, stickers, photos, video and location messages both one-on-one as well as in groups.

2. ooVoo - This free tool lets you video call one-on-one or with up to 12 contacts, recording calls and sharing your screen as you desire. Alternatively, you can choose to message within ooVoo, sending text, pictures and video messages. Choose between Amazon Fire Phone, Android phone, Android tablet, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Mac, Windows phone, PC and Intel® RealSense™ devices for your device on which to use it, and be aware that ooVoo normally has the best quality among similar tools.

1. Zoom - Whether communicating via video conference or simply sharing your screen images, companies love this tool for its ease of use, flexibility and high quality. Adding cross-platform messaging and file sharing, it makes collaboration easier. The free option offers a robust range of features; however, there is tiered pricing to add features like larger meeting sizes, reporting and recordings.

Bonus - FaceTime - This video conferencing tool is included with purchase of any iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch as well as any Mac computer or laptop. If you are a fan of Apple products, before delving into the many cross-platform options available, consider whether this built-in tool might work well enough.

What are your favorite tools for communicating remotely? Are there any on this list you'd like to try implementing? Do you prefer communicating in-person, over the phone, through email or via video conference?

Monday, May 15, 2017

Top Ten Ways to Limit Distractions

Organize for Success® Turns 10
In honor of 10 years of business for Organize for Success®, I will be posting a "top 10" list to this blog each day through Wednesday, May 31st. Each Sunday, my team will randomly select from those who commented on the prior week's "top 10" blog posts for a gift card giveaway and free download of one eBook from OrganizeForSuccess.biz/shop. The grand prize for celebrating Organize for Success, LLC's 10 years will be awarded on Thursday, June 1st, randomly selecting from all those who commented on any of the month's "top 10" blog posts as well as those who have subscribed to my eNewsletter for a winner to receive downloads of all 5 eBooks, a pass for my Stress and Time Management online video course as well as a 60-minute productivity consultation via video conference.

Today, let's cover my top 10 suggestions for limiting distractions:

10. Wear noise-reducing headphones. - Particularly when you focus on strategic thinking or creative production, wearing headphones can block out distractions, even if you don't have any sort of music playing through them at all. When you work in a shared workspace, wearing headphones has the added bonus of providing a visual cue to your co-workers,  communicating that you are deep in thought and to please not interrupt your efforts.

9. Turn off the pings, dings and pop-ups of tech-related notifications. - Set your smartphone to silent and remove the vibration that goes with the silent mode. Stop any pop-up notifications telling you when you get a new comment on social media. Deactivate previews of newly received email messages. Instead, schedule time for handling calls, social media and processing emails. Then, for anyone requiring immediate responses, like key account clients or your direct supervisor, make them VIPs so you can utilize Do Not Disturb on iOS or Priority Mode on Android, whichever applies to your technology.

8. Make sure your scheduled tasks fulfill your goals. - Burnout comes from actions being out of alignment with your priorities, and burnout definitely derails productivity, limiting focus and making you more susceptible to additional distractions. I find it helpful to regularly audit how my actions align with my priorities, thereby supporting my goals. Take time at sporadic intervals throughout your day for a "check-up from the neck up" to make sure what you're doing is fueling your desired results.

7. Break projects into bite-sized actions. - One of the greatest distractions is procrastination, and we often procrastinate when we don't know where to start. Attempting to complete a project, not a task, is futile; it is imperative to have a list of smaller, more manageable actions that can be checked off one by one. When you break projects down into actionable tasks, you feel empowered to complete each task in a single work session or, at least, to get started doing each in sequence.

6. Be realistic about task management. - Another frequent distraction is the feeling of overwhelm that comes with too long a list of tasks for any one day. While we all wish we could be superheroes, we are humans that can accomplish only so much each day; plus, as unforeseen items are going to pop-up and need attention, making sure our daily to-do list leaves some breathing room is important. Schedule no more than 3 - 5 "must-do" items each day, and make sure that each "what" which must get done is assigned a "when" for its completion.

5. Utilize a timer. - Some individuals or teams use a timer to simply get started, setting it for 15 minutes and capitalizing on the momentum created by that rush to keep pushing toward completion of the task at hand. Others like using a timer to stay on track, setting it for different intervals throughout the time required for a task's completion and making certain to still be working on the task at hand when the timer goes off at the end of each interval. In either scenario, timers boost productivity.

4. Schedule "office hours" during your day. - In these blocks of time, you can focus exclusively on assigned projects while blocking out the distractions of calls, emails and people stopping by your office. Tell others you will be available before and after these times; then, during each office hours' timeframe, send calls to voice mail, don't check emails and hold off on answering knocks to your door. It is as if you are away in a meeting, but your meeting is with yourself to attend more intently to the work that can be done by only you. You can create an auto-responder for your emails that will convey when you'll be responding to new messages, updating your outgoing voice mail message to mirror that sentiment, or you can simply act as if you are in a meeting.

3. Limit the impact of drivebys. - People are often more understanding than we assume and can reconnect when it's better if we simply convey that we do not have time to chat currently. When someone comes into your office without an appointment, stand up and move towards the door, conveying to the visitor that it is not a convenient time. If you have an extra chair in your office, make sure it has something resting in it to keep others from sitting down to chat or position it somewhere more difficult to access so it's less inviting for visitors to setting in for awhile. Keep an outbox near your office door so you can take those items down the hall as someone is coming into your office, always encouraging those that make unplanned visits to connect with you later, especially when you are in crisis mode or about to hit an important deadline. You want to help them, but it has to fit into your schedule so you can give that individual your undivided attention without negatively impacting completion of your own work and responsibilities.

2. Practice mindfulness. - For some, this means doing one thing at a time with complete focus, understanding that multi-tasking diminishes effectiveness, increases the potential for mistakes and makes things take longer to get completed. For others, it is being fully present in the moment, no matter whether in a meeting or working on the computer, to push forward with the greatest impact. Yet, for different folks, this means scheduling more intense tasks when you have your peak energy, whether that's first-thing in the morning, at night or when caffeine boosts your focus in the mid-afternoon. Pick which works best for you.

1. Work remotely when you most need to focus intently. - While a library might help, research suggests the sounds of a coffee shop act as "white noise", helping you block out everything around for the greatest uninhibited productivity. Whether inside or outside, new surroundings can boost concentration.

What are your favorite ways to limit distractions? Are there any on this list that you'd like to try implementing?

Countdown to Memorial Day: David Glenn's Travel Tips

Spring has sprung, and the countdown to summer's unofficial start on Memorial Day has begun! As temperatures rise, I find that travel planning increases so this is the seventh in my series of interviews highlighting frequent travelers. We'll cover their preferences and best practices, giving you takeaways to try for your next trip.

Mr. David Glenn
This week, I am pleased to share my interview with David Glenn, who hosts The David Glenn Show, one of the largest regionally syndicated sports radio programs in the nation, and is the Founding Editor of ACCSports.com as well as the ACC Sports Journal, the best-selling college sports magazine in history. Mr. Glenn has covered the Atlantic Coast Conference for almost 30 years with articles appearing in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Philadelphia Inquirer, USA Today, the Durham Herald-Sun and dozens of other newspapers, magazines and websites. In 2014, he helped launch and serves as game-day host for the Big Tailgate Tour, which brings a unique brand of fun, contests, excitement and prizes to universities and fans across North Carolina for football games and special events. Amidst more than 500 radio and television appearances each year, Mr. Glenn serves as a popular emcee and / or speaker at dozens of sports clubs, civic groups and other organizations. To learn more about his background, 17-year legal career, family and associations, click here for David Glenn's full biography, and read on for travel insights to use over your next adventure.

EP: Do you travel mainly for business, pleasure or both?

DG: Both.

EP: Do you prefer traveling via plane, train, boat or automobile?

DG: Mostly by automobile, but I choose plane for longer distances.

EP: What is your favorite destination and why?

DG: Hawaii because it's tropical, beautiful, peaceful and fun.

EP: What is your preference for airlines?

DG: I prefer Southwest Airlines because of its reasonable prices and good service.

EP: What is your preference for hotels or accommodations?

DG: Marriott properties offer safe, clean and reliable options.

EP: Do you book your own travel or prefer a travel agency?

DG: I usually book my own travel.

EP: Do you have any suggestions for making the most of loyalty programs or points?

DG: Research all your options, be sure to read the fine print so you know all the details, and do not buy points.

EP: Are you loyal to any particular brands?

DG: I'm not really loyal to any specific brands; instead, I seek the best deals from those I trust.

EP: When flying, what do you ensure is in your carry-on?

DG: My computer, a new paperback book and tissues (just in case).

EP: Do you keep an extra bag of toiletries packed?

DG: Yes! I make sure it includes my deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, shave kit, etc.

EP: How do you organize your time while on-the-go?

DG: I make sure to minimize stress by not over-scheduling myself.

EP: Do you use technology to help stay productive and organized? If so, what's your favorite program, app, website or tech tool for surviving the chaos of daily life? And what's your favorite for being your best while traveling?

DG: I don't use technology much for staying organized. I still use an old-school desk calendar! My calendar actually is custom-made each year by a listener who became a friend; he takes photos from his international travels, copyrights the photos / calendar and gives his calendars to a handful of friends / colleagues each year. I do, however, keep track of my accommodations by adding all the details and confirmation numbers to my smartphone. And I like using the Notes app, which may qualify as productivity technology.

EP: Across all your travels, which restaurant did you enjoy most, why was it your favorite and what was the best food?

DG: Le Belvedere in Tahiti due to its breathtaking view in an incredible setting, and the mahi mahi was delicious.

EP: If you could have one super power to make traveling (or life in general) a little better, what would it be?

DG: Flying like Superman!

Thanks for sharing so many excellent tidbits, Mr. Glenn!

Readers, do your preferences mirror his? Do you use any of the tools or hacks that he's mastered over his countless travels? Which tip do you plan to implement in the future?

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Top Ten Things to Keep in Your Gym Bag


Organize for Success® Turns 10 
In honor of 10 years of business for Organize for Success®, I will be posting a "top 10" list to this blog each day through Wednesday, May 31st. Each Sunday, my team will randomly select from those who commented on the prior week's "top 10" blog posts for a gift card giveaway and free download of one eBook from OrganizeForSuccess.biz/shop. The grand prize for celebrating Organize for Success, LLC's 10 years will be awarded on Thursday, June 1st, randomly selecting from all those who commented on any of the month's "top 10" blog posts as well as those who have subscribed to my eNewsletter for a winner to receive downloads of all 5 eBooks, a pass for my Stress and Time Management online video course as well as a 60-minute productivity consultation via video conference.

As this is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, today, let's cover the top ten things to keep in your gym bag, particularly to be prepared as you're running there in between other places:

10. Water Bottle - Although it may seem obvious, this is one of the most important items to pack in your gym bag. Having an empty, reusable water bottle that you can refill on-the-go will make sure you are always able to hydrate. I really like the official S'well bottles, which are stainless steel vacuum insulated, come in a variety of colors, keep liquids cold for 24 hours or hot for 12 hours and withstand all sorts of abuse through normal wear and tear.

9. Nutrition Bar - Avoid getting hangry by fueling up pre-workout with a snack. I lean towards options to satisfy my sweet tooth, but pick which of the available healthy options best fits your needs.

8. Protein Drink Mix - Refuel post-workout with a tasty drink. Whether Gatorade, a weight-loss option or something sweet with vanilla or chocolate favor, there are plenty of options that can be added to a singe-serve bottle of milk or water for an easy solution.

7. Workout Clothes - To make sure you always have a tank top, workout pants, sports bra and tennis shoes, keep one of each in your gym bag. A membership to Fabletics allows you to order complete workout outfits form online and have them shipped directly to your home; then, during months you don't want to order, simply tel the website you want to skip that month, and you won't be charged at all. Fabletics offers high quality in a variety of styles, colors, fabrics and sizes to meet anyone's needs.

6. Pair of Socks and Extra Panties - Trying to workout without socks is a recipe for disaster. To prevent any issues, stash a pair in your gym bag, particularly during warmer weather when you're likely arriving to the gym in sandals, which means you won't be wearing socks. The same level of importance applies to having the right underwear, too, so make certain you are properly prepared.

5. Basic First Aid - Whether you choose Band-Aid brand or something else, adhesive bandages keep you able to workout, no matter whether a blister or simple cut might occur, but the need for first aid might not end that simplistically. Be sure to stock your gym bag with a compact sized first aid kit that includes full bandages, tape and gauze in the event of any mishap.

4. Specialty Workout Supplies - Depending on what type of workout you'll be doing, there might be additional items necessary, like a yoga mat, weight-lifting gloves, tennis or racquetball racket, bathing suit, boxing gloves, knee / elbow sleeves and eye protection. Know what you'll be doing before you head to the gyn so you can take the right equipment or, if you regularly do something needing extra supplies, keep those in your bag all the time to make sure you're prepared.

3. Select Toiletries - Use face wipes to swipe make-up off before exercising and clean-up a bit after, which helps fight breakouts. Dry shampoo solves the dilemma of working out with no shower nearby and when you aren't headed home after your workout. BB cream moisturizes your face post-workout while adding subtle coverage to reduce redness and cover any imperfections. Lip balm should be applied before and after each workout to keep your lips hydrated and prevent the distraction of dry lips during any workout. Baby wipes are useful in wiping down any particularly sweaty areas or to clean-up any space during your workout session; then, make sure you have deodorant to reapply post-workout. I recommend keeping some coconut oil in your bag as the uses for coconut oil are endless. And don't forget a brush!

2. Tech Tools - At my gym, our access card is within the smartphone app so it's imperative that I remember to take my phone inside. Likewise, music can be an essential element of working out for many of us so make sure to take some headphones to play your favorite tunes from your phone. JayBird's wireless pair of earbuds fit securely on your ear, have a a sweat-proof warranty and offer 8 hours of battery life. If the locker room offers access to an electrical outlet, keep an extra set of charging cords in your gym bag to recharge your devices before or after working out; the Neet Cable Keepers will protect your charging cables, make it easier to wrap them up for stashing in your gym bag and add color to differentiate which cord goes with which device. Keep your tech tools organized and easily accessible with some sort of zippered bag or the Leather Charger Roll Up from Mark and Graham.

1. Towel - If your gym charges a "towel rental fee", you'll want to avoid it; if your gym doesn't add fees for towels, avoid being left without one when all the clean towel supplies run out. Sweat in your eyes and slippery yoga mats won't help your workout success so be armed with your own towel, preferably a microfiber cloth as it absorbs well and dries quickly. If not a microfiber option, consider Nike's Jacquard Towel, which is small and cotton, coming with a carabiner so you can hook it to your machine for easy access.

What kinds of things do you keep in your gym bag? Are there any on this list that you'll be adding to what you have?

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Top Ten Favorite Foods

Organize for Success® Turns 10
In honor of 10 years of business for Organize for Success®, I will be posting a "top 10" list to this blog each day through Wednesday, May 31st. Each Sunday, my team will randomly select from those who commented on the prior week's "top 10" blog posts for a gift card giveaway and free download of one eBook from OrganizeForSuccess.biz/shop. The grand prize package for celebrating Organize for Success, LLC's 10 years in business will be awarded on Thursday, June 1st, randomly selecting from all those who commented on any of the month's "top 10" blog posts as well as those who have subscribed to my eNewsletter for a winner to receive downloads of all 5 eBooks, a pass for my Stress and Time Management online video course as well as a 60-minute productivity consultation via video conference.

Today, let's talk favorite foods, including some recipes and restaurants. While there is much discussion about whether folks eat to live or live to eat, I lean towards the "eat to live" camp. I think I'd forget to eat more often than actually eating if I didn't use meals as a time to connect with others or get a headache that reminds me it's time to refuel. However, our bodies need nutrition to function properly, and it's important to pay attention to our bodies' needs. With that in mind, here is today's top ten list, which are all foods that feed my soul as well as nourish my body:

10. Soup - Depending on my mood, my favorite soup can waiver between lentil, tomato bisque or bean and bacon. I absolutely loved the tomato bisque at Joule Coffee + Table; however, with its closing in December 2016, I think this favorite recipe from Ashley Christensen might've become hidden for awhile. I have wonderful memories of bean and bacon soup with Dad at Mayberry Ice Cream Restaurants, and I really like how lentil soup is both flavorful as well as filling, especially for lunch on a cold, dreary day.

9. Grilled Cheese - Whether lining the outside of the bread with butter or the new option of mayonnaise before grilling, you can't go wrong with a fresh, hot, grilled cheese. I especially like the Grown Up Grilled Cheese from Jubala Coffee, and a good grilled cheese is always an excellent pairing for any of the aforementioned soups.

8. Shrimp and Grits - There are plenty of tasty options for shrimp and grits, but I especially like the Crispy Shrimp and Grits from Driftwood Southern Kitchen as it's a little bit different from others.

7. Hot Dog - I prefer the red, Bright Leaf hot dogs made by Carolina Packers in Smithfield, NC, and, when I get mine from Char-Grill, I like to pair them simply with slaw and ketchup. It's a quick, easy and inexpensive way to shop local right here in NC.

6. Salmon - My favorite fish is a nicely grilled salmon, and, as long as it's not cooked too long, there are so many tasty variations; however, my favorite is the Cashew Salmon from Winston's Grille, which pairs well with mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli.

5. Sweet Potato - There is no wrong way to serve this root vegetable. From baked with cinnamon sugar and butter to as a casserole such that it's mashed with marshmallows on top, sweet potatoes can be good enough to eat for dessert.

4. Broccoli - Hands-down my favorite vegetable, broccoli is its best steamed with a little bit of butter on top; however, it's also mighty good as a casserole. Whether fresh or frozen, it's flavorful while being low in calories, but it must be broccoli, not broccolini.

3. Pimento Cheese - I prefer Musten and Crutchfield's Pimento Cheese, which is made in my hometown of Kernersville, NC, but whatever kind of pimento cheese used by Jubala Coffee on its delicious biscuits is certainly a great second option.

2. Biscuits - I've grown up loving Bojangles' biscuits, but, since its opening back in January of 2011, Jubala Coffee's biscuits have found a place in my heart. These sweet, made from scratch and highly addictive biscuits pair equally well with apple butter, honey, season jam, pimento cheese or fresh berries and whipped cream.

1. Macaroni and Cheese - I'm a sucker for macaroni and cheese in any form or fashion, but I do have a couple that top my list. Y'all have not lived until you eat the Macaroni Au Gratin from Poole's Diner, but the Ashe Co. Pimento Mac-N-Cheese Custard from Beasley's Chicken + Honey is a nice second option.

Now that we are all sufficiently hungry, it's your turn to share. What are your favorite foods and from where can I get them for a taste? Are there any here that you'll try?

Friday, May 12, 2017

Top Ten Favorite Time Management Tips

Organize for Success® Turns 10
In honor of 10 years of business for Organize for Success®, I will be posting a "top 10" list to this blog each day through Wednesday, May 31st. Each Sunday, my team will randomly select from those who commented on the prior week's "top 10" blog posts for a gift card giveaway and free download of one eBook from OrganizeForSuccess.biz/shop. The grand prize package for celebrating Organize for Success, LLC's 10 years in business will be awarded on Thursday, June 1st, randomly selecting from all those who commented on any of the month's "top 10" blog posts as well as those who have subscribed to my eNewsletter for a winner to receive downloads of all 5 eBooks, a pass for my Stress and Time Management online video course as well as a 60-minute productivity consultation via video conference.

Today, let's cover my top 10 favorite time management tips:

10. Have clarity on what matters most. Each of us has goals for home, work, the community or society and ourselves, including mind, body and spirit. Knowing how we rank those priorities can guide our decisions for best managing our time. What we classify as priorities will likely fluctuate over time, and we often must trust our guts to know what's important when faced with new options.

9. Learn how and when to say no. Each day offers only 1,440 minutes to accomplish what matters most. Saying yes to doing something means saying no to anything else using that time; no amount of time can be spent twice, and investing time does not give a return of even more time back. However, by saying no to something that isn't a high enough priority to earn time in your schedule, you open up time for successfully completing whichever goals you have ranked as those mattering most.

8. Be proactive, not reactive. When a team goes into a game, its coaches have scouted the opponent, determined which of the team's strengths match up best to the opponent's weaknesses and created a game plan. The plan will be adjusted during the game, but there is at least a foundation from which to get started. The same philosophy applies to your week, where you are at the whim of others' priorities if you are unclear about what matters most to you. Once you know your priorities, create a plan for how to use your limited time in achieving those throughout the week, tweaking it as needed to stay on track. You'll be able to see what you want to accomplish, which will keep you on the path to getting it done.

7. Start with what is most important. If you fill your life with the little things that don't really matter or don't fuel the results you desire, you have little to no time for more meaningful things. Instead, if you purposefully make room in each week or day to address actions driving what matters most, there is still room in your life to fill in with some of those less meaningful actions, but you'll move more rapidly towards achieving your priority goals. Click here for a video illustration using rocks, pebbles, sand and mason jars to visualize this approach to time management.

6. Evaluate each to-do for determining next steps. The Eisenhower Decision Principle provides a matrix created by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, which groups actions by level of importance and level of urgency. When a task is both important and urgent, follow Nike's advice and "Just do it." When a task is important but not urgent, you must decide when it can get done, including a specific "when" for each "what" to be accomplished. When a task is urgent but not important, consider delegating it; likewise, when a task is not urgent and not important, consider deleting it. Often, I work through my data dump of all that I think should be done by asking these questions: Does this task truly need to be completed? If not, can I delete it? If it must get done, does it need to be done by me? If not, to whom can I delegate it? With this tool, you can move more tasks from to-do to done.

5. Manage tasks more productively. Every project needs to be broken down into smaller, more manageable action steps; each of those actions should be assigned a deadline so there is an associated timeline. When creating each day's to-do list, be sure to include no more than 3 - 5 must-do tasks and start each with a verb to drive action; then, review at the end of each day what should be carried over while creating an equally manageable list for the following day. Incorporate only what must be done by you and take back your time by delegating or deleting anything else.

4. Express your positivity daily. At the end of each day, celebrate all you've accomplished in the day that's ending, acknowledging these wins motivates doing more as success breeds greater success. Likewise, at the same time, make note of that for which you are grateful, whether one item or a list of things, and be sure to include all areas of your life when noting your gratitude.

3. End each day with the next in mind. Plan from where your meals will come, including breakfast, lunch and dinner. Will you pack your lunch or eat out? Do you need to put something in the slow-cooker that evening or in the morning? Then, check the forecast as well as the schedule and pick out each detail of what will be necessary for the next day's outfit, including jewelry, undergarments and purse. Finally, make sure you have gas in your car, and leave what you'll need to take with you near your door.

2. Utilize all available resources. As you are filling your productivity toolbox, never limit your options to technology; consider streamlining your workflow processes, creating an organized workspace in which you know where things are stored, hire consultants whose expertise enhance what you already know or do, outsource what needs to be done but not necessarily by you, implement boundaries appropriate for your circumstances and, then, evaluate whether paper or electronic tools might better meet your specific needs for things like meeting notes, time commitments, tasks, contacts and calendaring. Click here for a checklist of what types of tools you might need and to evaluate what holes exist as you're working to get things done.

1. Remember the power of one. Although Three Dog Night claims "One is the loneliest number", I contend one is the most powerful number for productivity. As you implement resources, whether paper or electronic, utilize only one of each type: one calendar for personal and professional commitments, one running data dump of all tasks that funnels into one daily to-do list, one address book for all contacts' information, one set of naming conventions for all files (paper, electronic, email), one place for all which you must remember as well as reference and one strategy session to plan your week that is maintained with one daily wrap-up at the end of each day. Having one of each better ensures your content is kept up-to-date, you know what needs to be done when, nothing falls through the cracks and you don't double-book.

What are your top tactics for making the most of the limited time you have? Are there any on this list that you're planning to try moving forward? How do you deal with time?