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



Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Top Ten Favorite Songs


Organize for Success® Turns 10 
In honor of 10 years of business for Organize for Success®, I have been posting a "top 10" list to this blog each day throughout the month of May, and this is the last in the anniversary blog series. The grand prize for celebrating Organize for Success, LLC's 10 years will be awarded tomorrow, 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 conference productivity consultation.

I've left the most challenging of my lists to write for today, which is top 10 favorite songs. I am a huge fan of music, and my interests are far-ranging, from country to classic rock, top 40 to R&B and so many in between. Therefore, I can't really limit my favorite songs to a top 10, but here is a representative list of my favorites:

10. "Whatever It Is" by Zac Brown Band (2008) - I'm a big fan of Zac Brown Band's unique sound, particularly with this really chill song and how it excellently highlights Jimmy De Martini's fiddle skills alongside Zac's singing. Plus, this band puts on a great concert, whether in a large amphitheater or a small group of radio listeners in the Entercom Communications Greensboro studios.

9. "Only Wanna Be With You" by Hootie & The Blowfish (1994) - The entire Cracked Rear View album is outstanding from "Hold My Hand" to "Let Her Cry" to "Time" and everything in between, but "Only Wanna Be With You" is my favorite of this fabulous band's tunes. I even got to ring in 1996 with their New Year's Eve concert in downtown Winston-Salem! These days, I continue enjoying Darius Rucker's talents with songs like "Alright", "Come Back Song", "Don't Think I Don't Think About It", "Southern Style", "Wagon Wheel" and "If I Told You", the last of which has a distinctly Hootie feel to it. So many good sing-along songs!

8. "We Are The Champions" by Queen (1977) - My freshman year at East Forsyth High School, our football team won the state 4A championship, and this song became the team's celebratory anthem for the remainder of the year. Anytime I hear "We Are The Champions", I immediately flashback to the fun of that victory and all the ensuing celebrations throughout the year. Go, Eagles!

7. "Sweet Tea" by Cravin' Melon (1997) - This band out of Clemson, SC, takes me right back to my days at Wake Forest University, and, as a true southerner, this song speaks to my love of good, ol' sweet tea, especially the really sweet kind of sweet tea. It's hard to not sway and sing along as this upbeat tune plays.

6. "Hold On Loosely" by 38 Special (1981) - Although 38 Special's "Caught Up In You" follows closely behind, similarly to "Blinded by the Light" by Manfred Mann's Earth Band, I couldn't have a list of favorite songs without "Hold On Loosely". There's something to be said for a classic rock song that gets you singing and grooving along from the very first beat.

5. "Carolina In My Mind" by James Taylor (1968) - The home in which I grew up had a rather large yard, and, although I'm the six of seven siblings, most of my older siblings were out of the house when I was in middle school as well as my freshman and sophomore years in high school before we moved across town; thus, it fell upon me to mow all that grass. Each week, I'd put a cassette of James Taylor's Greatest Hits, Vol. 1 into my Walkman, plug in my headphones and get to driving the lawn mower around. It was great! Although every song on that record is wonderful, I'm from the state of North Carolina so "Carolina In My Mind" has a special place in my heart and tops my list of favorites from JT.

4. "Shut Up and Dance" by Walk The Moon (2014) - One of my favorite things is finding catchy songs that my youngest nephew, Lucas, will dance and sing along with me. Initially, it was "Ice Ice Baby" by Vanilla Ice, which Lucas told his mom "is Aunt Happy's song", but I think this happier alternative might've superseded that. We do alter the lyrics to "Come on and dance" since we aren't supposed to say "shut up", but it's still fun.

3. "December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night)" by The Four Seasons (1975) - I am a fan of almost anything that Frankie Valli (lead singer of The Four Seasons) performs, hence why my friend Beth and I had to go see the Jersey Boys musical when it came to Durham Performing Arts Center; however, "December, 1963" is definitely my favorite. As soon as that opening beat starts, I can't help but want to start dancing; its energy is infectious.

2. "Not a Moment Too Soon" by Tim McGraw (1994) -  Technically, I could fill this entire list with Tim McGraw songs as he's my all-time favorite musical artist, and this same album had multiple hits ("Don't Take The Girl", "Down On The Farm", "Refried Dreams", "Indian Outlaw"); yet, "Not a Moment Too Soon" truly tops my list of Tim McGraw songs, even above "Felt Good On My Lips" that he and I sang together in Las Vegas as well as "Unbroken" that he serenaded me with in Charlotte. This song is hopeful, makes it easy to sing along and was perfect cruising the curves on Hopkins Road in Kernersville when it was first released.

1. "Celebration" by Kool and the Gang (1980) - There's a party in every playing of this song! As a child, I'd run around everywhere, singing and dancing to this tune, even if the music wasn't actually playing. I love the beat, I love the lyrics, I love how easy it is to sing along to this song, and I love dancing to it!

Bonus - I'd be remiss if I didn't specifically highlight a handful of the many tunes that are perfect for belting out while driving down the road and immediately beckon me to the dance floor with the opening beats of their music, like "Dancing On The Ceiling" by Lionel Richie, "No One" by Alicia Keys, "September" by Earth, Wind and Fire or "Summertime" by Will Smith. Actually, anything by those artists is pretty amazing, but I digress.

What is your favorite type of music? Which is your favorite song? Were you unfamiliar with any that I listed here?

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Top Ten Tips for Boosting Productivity with Technology


Organize for Success® Turns 10 
In honor of 10 years of business for Organize for Success®, I am continuing to post a "top 10" list to this blog each day through tomorrow. The grand prize for celebrating Organize for Success, LLC's 10 years will be awarded this Thursday, 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 conducted over video conference.

Here are my top 10 tips for boosting productivity with technology:

10. Be proactive in protecting yourself. As outlined earlier this month, use two-factor authentication, choose private browsing when surfing the Internet, don't over-share on social media, protect your information, conduct online shopping wisely, create complex passwords you keep safe, protect your devices, monitor your accounts and know your credit scores.

9. Set others' expectations. If you don't provide those emailing you with an expectation for when they will hear back from you, they will determine the answer to be whatever they prefer. Reassure people that you have received their messages, alert them as to when you will be processing new emails rather than constantly checking your inbox and take control back over email.

8. Divide and conquer. Delegating to technology via automation is like cloning yourself; further, keep in mind that delete can be your friend, realizing that not everything needs to get done and how focusing your attention on what only you can do will boost your ability to get more of your priorities accomplished.

7. Master time-saving tricks where helpful. Whether you prefer PC or Mac, acquire complete knowledge of which keyboard shortcuts can best help in your day-to-day functions. Regularly consider where you can utilize text expansion via TextExpander, ActiveWordsPhrase Express or Alfred; likewise, make sure you are implementing automated organizers wherever you feel comfortable, like Hazel, DropIt or File Juggler. Techlicious offers some powerful options in this post, but think outside the box for more.

6. Be strategic about what tools you utilize. Follow Kenny Rogers' advice of "Know when to hold 'em and know when to fold 'em." Maximize the efficiency of what solutions you already own before trying something new; at the same time, know how to recognize when an outdated program is hurting your business so you can replace it and continue moving forward.

5. Learn all you can about tools you've chosen to implement. Consider saving time by bringing in a specialist for learning about, expanding use of or implementing your tech tools. Then, take advantage of the organizational tools built into the devices or operating systems you already have before looking to add new ones. Functions for calendaring, task management, note capture, contact database and more are often covered in smartphones, tablets and Mac computers so they sync even better.

4. Utilize the "power of one". Although Three Dog Night contended that "one is the loneliest number", I suggest that it can be the most productive, especially in regards to 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, one place for all which you must remember, one weekly strategy session and one wrap-up per day.

3. Separate solutions when necessary. Your online file repository is not a cloud-based back-up solution. If you utilize Box, DEVONthink, Dropbox, eFileCabinet, Egnyte, Google Drive, SpiderOak or SugarSync, that does not alleviate your need to implement Backblaze, Carbonite, CrashPlan or Mozy, too.

2. Turn off notifications. Especially when you are deep in thought on an important or urgent project, you need not waste time refocusing after a distraction, and all of those pings, dings and previews are distractions. Instead, schedule specific times to deep dive into processing your emails and social media.

1. Remove clutter. Keep only what is accurate, applicable, useful or bringing you joy, whether talking about paper, physical items, electronic files, email or time commitments. The less you have to dig through to find what's needed means less time wasted.

What is your favorite way to utilize technology? How have you found that to boost your productivity? Will you implement any of these tips?

Monday, May 29, 2017

Top Ten Tools to Be Healthier


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.

Rising temperatures often encourage healthier habits. As this is Memorial Day, I thought you'd want some tech tools to make it easier to adopt healthier habits. Here are my top 10 such tools:

10. App to Suggest Healthy Recipes - The ShopWell app is a great place to start as it helps you better understand the nutrition in what foods you are already eating or evaluate a product you are interested in eating while at the grocery store. Fooducate offers healthy alternatives to foods you love and empowers you to achieve your goals with recipes to eat better. With Foodfully, track what food you have in the fridge and craft your meals around what is closest to spoiling. By using a Real Plans subscription, you can choose from recipes suggested for your family's size, schedule and preferences or import your own recipes. Through a gatheredtable subscription, you can create customized weekly meal plans from the healthy recipes provided to meet every taste or diet requirement; then, create your grocery list from the indicated ingredients and choose if you'd like to schedule delivery of the necessary groceries. Or be inspired with recipes on Allrecipes, BigOvenEpicurious, Food Network, Real Simple and Yummly.

9. App to Save on Supplies for Recipes - Flipp lets you easily browse flyers for the brands you prefer, clip whatever you want directly to your shopping list and highlight deals that will save you even more; based on advertised prices and coupons, you will know how much your total will be before even entering the store. Every time you shop, Wallaby tells you which of your credit cards will maximize rewards, minimize interest and take advantage of special bonuses; plus, this tool tracks your spending data, alerting you to suspicious activity or increased spending. Both Ibotta and Shopkick will reward you for shopping with cash or gift cards, and Slice Drops will securely access your e-receipts to automatically request a refund whenever the price drops for something you bought.

8. Grocery Delivery Service - Sometimes, a hurdle to eating healthier is getting out to buy fresh fruits, veggies and lean proteins. If you shop at Food Lion, Harris Teeter, Lowes FoodsPublix or Safeway, your local grocery store might already offer the option of home delivery. Yet, the options don't end there. If you are in a market that has launched with Shipt or Instacart, there are additional options; plus, many metro areas have added Amazon Prime Now service, where your groceries can be delivered for free within about 2 ours of placing your order if you are a Prime subscriber. Alternatively, consider a concierge service; here in Raleigh, choose from Errand Girl, Metro's Other Woman or Sweeps.

7. Hand & Stone Mobile - Whether to alleviate certain areas of discomfort or rejuvenate from everyday stresses, expert massage therapists offer a service that is of huge benefit when aiming to live a healthier life. With Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa's mobile app, you can find a spa, book an appointment or simply learn more about massage services, which include Swedish, Deep Tissue, Sports, Hot Stone, Trigger Point and Pre-Natal options.

6. Sleep Cycle or Pzizz - The Sleep Cycle alarm clock tracks your sleep patterns and wakes you up during your light sleep, which leads to awaking more naturally rested instead of waking during REM cycles. On the other hand, Pzizz allows you to fall asleep quickly, stay asleep more easily and wake up feeling refreshed.

5. App to Suggest Workouts - I'm a big fan of music so I like how Fit Radio pairs your workout to the perfect playlist for pace, goals and workout specifics. The Nike+ Training Club App lets you challenge yourself with 100+ workouts from Nike Trainers and athletes, including 15-minute options, so you can create the plan that works best for your needs. The Yoga Wake Up app delivers yoga audio sequences you can do from bed for an easier transition from sleep to be awake and alert. If you want to get started running, follow the Couch to 5K running plan to be ready for a 5K race within 2 months. If you already like to run or walk, Runkeeper provides a community with whom to set goals, track your workouts and stay motivated to see ongoing progress. Zova communicates with you as your personal trainer, combining all your workouts to five you a single score for staying on track to success. Additionally, there are plenty of subscription options you can access from anywhere via your mobile device. Tone It Up provides free, daily workouts and fitness tips. Aaptiv combines the motivating instruction of a personal trainer with playlists that match your preferences to keep you going. Pear Sports uses Performance Enhancing Audio Research to put a trusted voice in your ear that goes beyond tracking your workout data so you can make sense of your results, adjusting as needed for your goals. YogaGlo offers yoga and meditation classes online for all experience levels, styles, length of class, teacher preferences and interest.

4. Meditation App - The top-rated app for making mediation simpler is often Calm, which gives each day a keyword to fuel your meditations towards your goals for breathing, sleeping and boosting overall relaxation. The Headspace app teaches you to meditate in 10 minutes a day over a 10 day stretch. Then, designed by a team of Harvard psychologists and meditation experts, Simple Habit meditations are 5 minutes and personalized for all kinds of life situations, which more easily empowers continuing this new skill. Both the Buddhify and OMG I Can Meditate apps work cross-platform to provide meditation options for any location or experience, tracking your results each time your designated device is connected to the Internet. A subscription to the Gaia app lets you stream over 7,000 exclusive videos, all of which are designed to boost your consciousness. Finally, the suite of applications from Meditation Oasis offers various options designed to meet many different goals.

3. Workout App for Folks with Limited Time - Time is a very limited resource, and you might need to adjust your tools for getting moving based off the amount of time you have available. Seven offers short workouts that will dramatically improve your well-being using nothing more than a chair, a wall or your own body weight. Likewise, 7 Minute Workout Challenge app is another app designed with your busy life in mind, providing a different portfolio of workouts that provide results when you are short on time. Sworkit offers fitness options that match a wide variety of interests, including options that are as short as 7 minutes.

2. Sweat - The largest female fitness community offers resistance, cardio and recovery workouts to be done anytime and anywhere, like 28-minute workouts that fit into super-busy schedules. Plus, it offers meal plans with weekly shopping lists and provides healthier options for foods you like best. Choose from weekly, quarterly and package subscription options with a community to support you.

1. MyFitnessPal - This app offers a free calorie counter for tracking all that you eat. Coupled with a record of all your physical activity that shows how many calories are burned by each movement, it helps folks lose weight the good, old-fashioned, healthy way, burning more calories than consumed.

With which areas of your life do you struggle most to be healthy? What is your favorite tool to aid in your efforts at healthfulness? Are you going to try any of those listed here?

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Top Ten Favorite Movies


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.

As we're in Memorial Day weekend, I thought you might want some inspiration for movies in the instance that your cookout is washed out with rain. Therefore, here are my top 10 favorite movies:

10. A League of Their Own (1992) - Set during World War II when all the men are fighting the war, two sisters join the first female professional baseball league and struggle to help it succeed amidst their own growing rivalry. The female baseball players are endearing while Tom Hanks' character is the perfect compliment, especially as he explains that "There's no crying in baseball."

9. Sex and the City 2 (2010) - Whenever Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda and Samantha come together, it's an ideal reminder of how strong friendships can be and how great it is to have friends who are so different from one another. I specify the second Sex and the City movie as it features both Chris Noth as Mr. Big as well as John Corbett as Aidan, and that is certainly all the better.

8. The Longest Ride (2015) - This movie deliciously juxtaposes the world of bull-riding with the world of those appreciating modern art, weaving in romance and action alike. It stars Scott Eastwood, son of Clint Eastwood, and was partially filmed at my alma-mater of Wake Forest University. Plus, I'm a huge fan of its ending!

7. Remember the Titans (2000) - Based on the actual events of 1971, this is the story of a newly appointed, African-American coach and his high school football team during their first season as a racially-integrated unit, starring the wonderful Denzel Washington. This is an empowering example of the impact high school football programs have bringing together their communities.

6. The Devil Wears Prada (2006) - Anne Hathaway plays a smart but sensible new graduate who lands a job as an assistant to Miranda Priestly, the demanding editor-in-chief of a high fashion magazine who is played brilliantly by Meryl Streep. There are countless leadership and business lessons shared throughout.

5. Hidden Figures (2016) - This is the true story of a team of female, African-American mathematicians who served a vital role in NASA early on in the U. S. space program as we raced against Russia to put a man in space. Great music and amazing acting from an all-star cast (Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monae, Kevin Coster, Jim Parsons, Kirsten Dunst) simply illuminate an inspiring story. It's empowering to see these females fight for opportunity and restores hope to see folks like Costner's character stand up for them getting the chances they deserved.

4. The Sound of Music (1965) - I find it absolutely impossible to watch this movie without at least singing along if not dancing, too. A woman played by the amazing talented Julie Andrews leaves an Austrian convent to become a governess to the seven children of a Naval officer widower, who is played by Christopher Plummer. I prefer the movie script to that of the musical play, but the music is undeniably perfect wherever and whenever. Additionally, as 1 of 7 siblings, I can nicely connect with the craziness of a large family.

3. Love & Basketball (2000) - Starting when a young Monica moves in next door to a young Quincy in 1981, this script follows their love-hate relationship from that point, when they are 11 years old, all the way through their intertwined lives of high school, college and professional basketball. Omar Epps is fantastic as Quincy while Sanaa Lathan plays Monica perfectly. Throughout their story, it's awesome to see the powerful impact of even the smallest details and interactions, in both long- and short-run.

2. Dirty Dancing (1987) - Set in 1963, this is the story of how Frances "Baby" Houseman stopped being a sweet, daddy's girl when she was taught to dance by the instructor named Johnny at a resort in upstate New York where her family had its summer vacation. I spent countless hours watching this movie over and over in my basement growing up, recreating the fabulous final dance for Baby with Johnny because, of course, "Nobody puts Baby in the corner." It's heart-breaking that Patrick Swayze passed away before a sequel could be created, particularly as Swayze was an outstanding dancer who happened to be a good actor, too.

1. Sweet Home Alabama (2002) - In this movie, a young woman who has reinvented herself as a brilliant fashion designer based in New York must return home to Alabama to obtain a divorce from her husband after seven years of separation. Reese Witherspoon does an excellent job of conveying an independent heroine torn between the past that created her and the future she has created. Although she can't go wrong choosing between Patrick Dempsey and Josh Lucas, it becomes clear throughout the movie how the person Lucas' character has made of himself is such a perfect fit for nurturing all aspects of Witherspoon's evolving character. As the witty refrain is shared, "You can have roots and wings."

What is your favorite movie and why? Are you going to check out any of these you've not yet seen?

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Top Ten Favorite Automobiles


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.

Today, we'll cover my top 10 favorite vehicles:

10. 1926 Ford Model T - Generally regarded as the first affordable automobile, the Model T launched assembly line production. Plus, it's got a fun nickname in the Tin Lizzie! I lean towards the '26-'27 version because I prefer its wheels, but each produced from October 1908 to March 1927 is special.

9. 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air - With the 1953 model year, the Bel Air name was changed from a designation for the 2-door hardtops to a premium trim level; I specify 1957 as my fave for its distinctive lines on the side and adding continuous mechanical fuel injection.

8. 1963 Rambler American - The first dealership my dad owned was Ideal Rambler so this make of vehicle definitely has a place in my heart. 1963 was the last of the American's second generation, a beautiful, compact, classic car, especially in this red.

7. 1965 Shelby Cobra CSX - Carroll Shelby had the right idea behind a performance car that looks like it should be racing but can be driven by the every-man on any road with wind blowing your hair and sun on your face.

6. 1970 MG MGB-GT - One of my dearest friends in high school had a knack for fixing up old cars, and my absolute favorite of all he did was this 1970 MGB hard top in fire engine red. Alas, this classic roadster is available only as manual transmission.

5. 1968 Corvette Stingray - This third generation of Corvette's iconic sports car was both gorgeous and offered advanced performance. I've loved learning about it through my Triad Corvette Club friends!

4. 1993 Mazda MX-3 - When I first got my license, it was a little delayed as I'd always been able to get a ride from friends who lived nearby, but this was the vehicle that gave me independence. How fitting it was the same purple as Barney after I'd watched so many episodes baby-sitting my nephew!

3. Chevrolet Silverado 1500 - I am a firm believer that everyone needs a pick-up truck for hauling stuff, and the Silverado is hands-down the best truck, especially the double cab with Z71 Off-Road Suspension.

2. 2000 Mazda Miata - After college graduation, I got a forest green Miata with tan, leather interior and soft-top convertible. This sweet ride is at one with the road and hugs all the curves!

1. 2016 Chevrolet Trax - My current ride is perfect for me. It is compact enough but still has plenty of room for all I need; the leather seats are heated, it includes a sunroof for cruising with my music blaring, Wi-Fi is built-in, and I can control Siri from the steering wheel.

Which is your favorite car, truck, van, crossover or SUV? Why do you like that particular make or model best?

Friday, May 26, 2017

Top Ten Favorite Business Leaders


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.

Today, let's discuss my top 10 favorite business leaders:

10. Mary T. Barra - Having been General Motors' CEO since January 15, 2014, Ms. Barra is remaking the company's culture in order to keep pace in the race to reinvent transportation. I'm continually impressed with how well Ms. Barra stays ahead of all the changes happening in society while empowering employees, valuing customers' wants as much as their needs and pushing for profitability. As Ms. Barra says, "If we win the hearts and minds of employees, we're going to have better business success."

9. Jeff Bezos - As the Founder, Chairman and CEO of Amazon, the world's largest online shopping retailer, as well as founder of Blue Origin aerospace and owner of The Washington Post newspaper, Mr. Bezos is an excellent example of how "we can't rest on our laurels" and frequently shares insights from the ongoing evolution of his businesses as well as himself. Currently the third richest person in the world, Mr. Bezos believes "A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person; you earn reputation by trying to do hard things well," showing that our work is never done developing.

8. Warren Buffett - Widely considered one of the most successful investors in the world, Mr. Buffett is a business magnate, investor and philanthropist who regularly displays humility as the public asks for what lessons he's learned across his many successes. Mr. Buffett is Chairman and CEO of Berkshire-Hathaway, where he leads the company and its team members to continually evolve while upholding ethics to be admired." As he's stated, "It takes 20 years to build a reputation and 5 minutes to ruin it; if you think about that, you'll do things differently."

7. Ashley Christensen - My sophomore year in high school, Ms. Christensen served as our student body president, filling her role as a strong leader from the very beginning; however, this Kernersville native has come a long way in the years since graduating from East Forsyth High School. Beyond being the chef + proprietor for six different restaurants, Ms. Christensen fosters community through food, philanthropy and the stimulation of Raleigh's downtown neighborhood. Exhibiting keen work-life integration skills, Ms. Christensen is active with a number of local and regional charities while excelling at providing such amazing food and beverages that she's regularly highlighted nationally and was awarded the very prestigious James Beard award for "Best Chef: Southeast" in 2014.

7. Melinda Gates - According to Town & Country Magazine, Kappa Alpha Theta has the most celebrity alums, and we are proud to count Ms. Gates among our ranks from the Beta Rho chapter at Duke University. As co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Ms. Gates honorably fills the philanthropist role by empowering the next generation with access to quality healthcare and a great education. In September 2016, Ms. Gates announced her desire to begin working on the unbelievably important issue of the lack of women in technology by saying, "We're graduating fewer women technologists; that is not good for society, and we have to change it." I find Ms. Gates inspiring, saying we must "get comfortably being uncomfortable" to achieve our greatest success.

6. Arianna Huffington - In 2016, Ms. Huffington stepped down from her role as editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post, an American journalism company that she founded, choosing to devote her time to Thrive Global, which focuses on health and wellness information. Ms. Huffington's message that we need to sleep better in order to achieve greater success resonates with me and has prompted me to focus more on getting better nights' sleep, although I'm still a work in progress. As Ms. Huffington reassures and empowers us all, "Fearlessness is like a muscle. The more I exercise it the more natural it becomes not to let my fears run me."

5. Gayle King - More than simply Oprah Winfrey's best friend, Ms. King is an inspiration for "keeping it real", whether co-anchoring CBS This Morning, serving as editor-at-large for O Magazine or emceeing special events. As Ms. King explains, "There's always going to be somebody who people perceive can do the job that you're doing, and you can't get hung up on that; I have always decided I'm just going to do the best me, do the best job that I can do, so that, at the end of the day, I don't have any regrets about my performance." I can relate to Ms. King describing herself as inquisitive, asking questions to understand better and learn more.

3. Coach Gregg Popovich - Like any company, a successful sports team needs strong leadership, and I believe Coach Popovich is the absolute best NBA basketball coach, exemplified by his multiple NBA Coach of the Year awards and championships. Each year, the San Antonio Spurs players trust Coach Popovich completely, looking to him for winning game plans and depending on him to see what each player's greatest attributes can be for the overall team's greatest success. Coach Popovich trains his teams to pass the ball more on each possession than any of their opponents, building trust between teammates, encouraging communication and requiring each player to dedicate himself 100% to the specific role that Coach Popovich assigns each individual on the team.

2. Kip Tindell - For each of the last 17 years in Mr. Tindell's 38-year tenure as The Container Store's CEO, he led the company to Fortune's Best Place to Work list, fostering a progressive corporate culture where everyone associated with the business can thrive together. As The Container Store's founder, Mr. Tindell brought to life this amazing concept of a store to fulfill folks' needs for an eclectic mix of bins, boxes, racks, shelves and tools, all exceptional quality that more easily enables the organizing process.

1. Cindy Whitehead - Although you may recall Ms. Whitehead as the Former CEO of Sprout Pharma who created Addyi (the women's libido-enhancing drug often referred to as "the female Viagra") before selling the company for an incredible $1 billion, her newest venture of The Pink Ceiling is an exciting combination of VC fund, incubator and consulting firm, which is based right here in Raleigh, NC, and recently added a membership service based out of North Hills and known as the Pinkubator. With first-hand experience of how misunderstandings can become truths, Ms. Whitehead proactively works to the betterment of each client, regularly exhibiting her genuine care for each client's greatest success, and she's truly dedicated to her team's partnership with each client.

Bonus - Former President Barack Obama - Over his 8 years as the United States of America's 44th president, he led our country to many powerful lessons on leadership while representing us honorably throughout the world. Former President Obama encouraged Americans to be optimistic while not forgetting the long view, lived his viewpoint that nothing is accomplished alone as he built and utilized a strong team, empowered us to stay with the times while being forward-thinking and advised us to get neither overwhelmed nor comfortable with making big decisions.

Who are your favorite leaders? What is it about those folks you admire, are impressed by or want to emulate?

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Top Ten Tips to Spring Clean Your Vehicle


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.

In honor of this month being Clean Car Month, today, let's cover my top 10 tips to keep your car clean. Here are ways to spring clean your vehicle inside and out this upcoming weekend:

10. Create a clean slate. Remove everything, throw away any trash and decide what will be kept. Clean everything off from the floor; then, empty the glove compartment, center console, door pockets, trunk and any hidden storage areas.

9. Give the outside of your vehicle a good bath. Roof, windows, tires, wheels, bumpers and everything in between needs to be cleaned thoroughly, particularly to remove any remaining pollen. To clean headlights, smear toothpaste across each plastic lens cover and, then, rub them with a soft cloth; rinse the toothpaste off with cold water and wait for it to dry.

8. Don't forget to clean the inside, too. From the front windshield to the rear windows, including the dash, gauges, floor, seats and every nook or cranny that needs dusting, cleaning, wiping down and vacuuming to be ready for summer travels.

7. Add a trash bag for future purging. Whenever you stop for gas, pull this out and empty it while your gas is pumping.

6. Group like with like. Whether it's pulling all coloring materials together, segmenting off each child's goodies or corralling related materials for technology, cleaning, emergencies and shopping, the concept of grouping similar items applies as much to your vehicle as any other functional space in your life.

5. Contain what you retain. Now that you know which items are being kept, have grouped them with similar items and are planning for putting them back in the vehicle, you can choose which, if any, organizing gadgets or gizmos you will need and, then, put them to good use. It's always good to have a fabric bin of snacks that will hold up equally well in the heat and cold so you are equipped to stave off the early symptoms of "hangry", feeding yourself before getting angry. Additionally, I encourage you to keep another fabric bin full of car cleaning supplies so you can maintain your vehicle's cleanliness throughout your travels.

4. Perform regular maintenance services. The entire weight of your vehicle rests on its tires, not to mention how well your vehicle connects with the pavement as you drive along; make sure to regularly check the condition of your tires. Yet, don't stop there; regularly get your oil and filter changed while checking the battery, charging system, antifreeze level, windshield wipers, engine, brakes, exhaust system and headlamps.

3. Stock your glove compartment. You'll want to make sure a hidden storage space keeps convenient your owner's manual, vehicle registration information, auto club details, accident report form, notepad, pen, flashlight, tire gauge, paper napkins and re-sealable plastic bags for everything from park rocks to wet clothes as well as any items you use frequently.

2. Boost your preparedness. Be ready for emergencies year-round, not simply during winter weather months; make sure you have a kit in the trunk or rear space that includes jumper cables, another tire gauge, flares, reflective tape, a help sign, a screwdriver, pliers, first aid kit, work gloves, blanket, old towel, rags, adhesive remover, jar of water and motor oil. Schedule time on your calendar this fall for adding a winter weather survival kit with candles, waterproof matches, energy bars, large plastic garbage bags, rubber bands, cat litter, a collapsible shovel, an extra blanket, heavy socks, gloves and a warm, winter hat.

1. Adjust your driving as needed for greater fuel savings. I think it's a constant battle to follow these guidelines, but those pennies pinched add up: Accelerate and brake more smoothly, slow down, reduce idling, keep tires properly inflated, avoid adding extra weight to your vehicle, close windows at high speeds and consolidate trips so there's much less stopping.

Which are your favorite tactics for getting or keeping your vehicle clean? Will you try any of those listed here?

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Top Ten Ways to Boost Energy


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.

As part of the Simple Change well-being team, I am well aware of the impact on my productivity that comes from diminishing versus replenished energy. Although what works best will be unique to each individual, here are my top ten ways to boost energy:

10. Acknowledge gratitude. Appreciate what you have, who you are with and what lessons you have learned along the way; then, take time to write them out. I find that gratitude is so powerful and writing out how I'm blessed energizes my productivity.

9. Eat well. Healthy foods spread throughout the day fuel energy, especially via magnesium and antioxidants. I really enjoy a power shake for a snack during the day: Put 1 small, ripe banana that's been sliced into a blender; add 2 tablespoons of creamy peanut butter and 1 tablespoon of honey before blending smooth, and finish it off by blending in 1 cup of cold milk until it's foamy.

8. Stay hydrated. Up to 60% of the human adult body is water, including how the brain and heart are composed of 73% water and lungs are about 83% water. To function properly, we need continuous intake of liquids; therefore, keep a water bottle nearby at all times to drink from it frequently all day.

7. Breathe deeply. Oxygen is necessary for functioning; therefore, it can be helpful to slowly take about 10 breaths, exhaling for longer than I inhale, focusing inward.

6. Determine something to look forward to in the future. Whether planning for an upcoming vacation or having bought tickets to an event, that feeling of anticipation and excitement boosts energy, often even more than the adventure itself.

5. Find something to make you laugh. Sometimes, I can simply laugh at myself; other times, it's an online video that gets me giggling. Have you searched for "funniest videos on YouTube"?!? If still struggling, I chat with a peer, sharing stories to give us laughs from deep in our guts. Happiness is infectious, fueling energy.

4. Spend time with those who matter. If you are an extravert, this could be connecting with other humans in person, via video chat, over a phone call or on social media; if you are an introvert, this could be solo activities that allow you to reconnect with your spirit or one-on-ones. It's whatever speaks to your spirit most.

3. Get out in nature. I have to be careful due to allergies, but there is definitely something to be said for the power of vitamin D. A little sunlight can be refreshing and energizing, whether working on a coffee shop's patio, walking through the park, sitting close to the window in my office or plugging around town in my car.

2. Take a brisk walk. The movement gets my blood flowing, activity breeds activity, and physical activity oxygenates blood cells. It doesn't matter if I walk around an office building, run up a flight of stairs or head outside, when I get moving, I'm re-energized. If you're tired, a short walk for about 15 minutes will generate about 90 minutes of energy. Further, if you schedule walking meetings or add a conference call, it's even more powerful.

1. Listen to upbeat music. Whether it's a song that gets stuck in my head or a fast beat that gets me moving, happy tunes make me happy, which generates additional energy.

At what point during your day do you feel your energy slipping? Which are your favorite tactics for replenishing or getting an immediate boost to your energy? Will you try implementing any of the tactics listed here?

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Top Ten Ways to Control Your Email


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.

Today, let's cover the top ten ways to control your email:

10. Shift your mentality from "checking" to "processing" new messages. According to stats from email marketing company BlueHornet, consumers look at their phones more than 150 times a day on average, many of those times to glance at their email inboxes. Each time you read a new email and, then, plan to come back to deal with it later, that initial reading becomes a distraction because you have to re-read the message and re-start your thought process on how to deal with it. Instead of reading and re-reading your emails throughout each day, think of OHIO and "only handle it once", meaning you don't read new messages until you are ready to deal with them, you use your inbox as a funnel instead of a holding zone and you limit time wasted. Follow Nike's advice and "Just do it" for tasks that take less than 5 minutes. Move tasks that take more time to a running to-do list, appointment requests to your calendar, reference emails to your personal folders and those messages that are no longer needed to your trash file.

9. Delete and discard can be your friends. When you keep fewer emails, you have fewer messages to search through when looking for a specific one. Data changes rapidly these days so keep only what is accurate, applicable, useful or bringing you joy. Plus, if the information is easy to locate through a quick online search, there's no reason to use space in your email folders for retaining it.

8. Send fewer emails out to get fewer replies back. Sometimes, a quick phone conversation can replace multiple, back-and-forth email messages, even if you have to follow that call with a summary email for documentation purposes.

7. Unsubscribe. When you are no longer reading emails to which you subscribe, they become additional clutter clogging up your functionality. I realize that deleting an email takes only a second; however, those seconds add up, and the time it takes to unsubscribe is likely less than the accumulation of all the time deleting those multiple messages received. While the content might've been of interest to you when you signed up for it, if your need for that information has changed, take time to unsubscribe.

6. Utilize all available tools and functionality. Technological tools like Airmail, Mailstrom, SaneBox, Sortd and Spark will speed up your email processing, some automating this so it happens without your time doing it. Boomerang allows you to schedule emails to send at optimal times, know when your message is read and get follow-up reminders for messages sent out. Further, many email management tools come equipped with features like Delay Send, Send Again, Meeting Requests, receipt notifications and the ability to rename your received emails' subject lines. Finally, if you are using newer versions of Outlook, there is a "clean-up conversations" button in the home ribbon to remove clutter from prior conversations in back-and-forth email messaging.

5. Bundle together when you get subscriptions you read. If you are subscribed to an eNewsletter via an email address from Outlook.com (including Hotmail, MSN and Windows Live), Gmail, Google Apps, Yahoo! Mail, AOL Mail or iCloud, you can utilize Unroll.me to get all of the subscription emails received each day in a "rollup", which is one email with all your designated subscriptions categorized intuitively that appears in your inbox every day at the time you choose rather than getting each message individually as it's sent to you. Unroll.me will determine all the lists to which you have subscribed simply by telling it your email address; then, as you are choosing which emails go into your "rollup", you can unsubscribe directly from Unroll.me with one click. Further, Unroll.me offers this bundled email for free... Yes, that's right; it's free. If you have not already subscribed to lists via one of those email services, simply create a free Gmail account and, then, update your subscriptions with it. For FAQs, click here.

4. Set others' expectations. As human-beings, when there is a lapse in information provided, we inherently fill in the blanks ourselves. When it comes to how quickly you are going to get back to someone sending you an email, you probably do not want anyone creating this expectation for him- or herself. When you are clear on your goals for how to use email as a tool in your productivity toolbox and you are aware of your time constraints for when you will realistically be able to process newly received messages, you can designate what are appropriate expectations. Then, it is your responsibility to clearly communicate those to others, whether it is via initial meetings with new clients, in your email signature, with an autoresponder or through your actions as you respond to emails at regular intervals each workday.

3. Eliminate notifications. Every time you hear a sound alerting you to a new email or see the first few lines pop up in a preview, it distracts you from completing that big, hairy audacious goal in your life. That distraction permeates your thoughts and forces you to waste time re-engaging in the task at hand. Remove that time suck by turning off all the pings, dings, alerts and previews.

2. Strategically utilize rules in your email tool. Whether you check your new email in Gmail, Mac Mail or Outlook, you can create rules (or filters or labels) for certain emails to bypass your inbox and go directly to a designated folder. For example, if you get Google Alerts, you could have them culled together into their own folder rather than processing them from your inbox. Anything that should be handled when more convenient for you should be directed away from the inbox, allowing you to control when they get your attention. Likewise, if you have a few VIP contacts needing more immediate responses, give each of them his or her own folder and, then, create a rule for messages from that person to go directly into the specified folder, which will draw your attention into those needing a reply sooner than finding them amidst other messages in the inbox. You can override the alphabetical order of your personal folders to put those VIPs atop the list of folders by adding a number or symbol at the beginning of each folder's name, better grabbing your attention for new emails.

1. Master the art of creating reference folders. It is important to have enough personal folders that each email to be kept has a home while limiting the number of folders so no one email could appropriately fit into multiple different folders or you forget what folders you already have, leading to duplication as you create new versions of what you already have. If you struggle with where to file a message upon its receipt, how will you ever be able to locate it again when you need to retrieve it?

Do you find email overwhelming? Which are your favorite tactics for controlling email instead of letting it control you? Will you try implementing any of these strategies?

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?