Santa’s not the only one who’s noticed who’s rocked the house or not this year. Naggy’s been keeping an eye on countless blogs, apps, software, people, tweets, and posts all year, too. Okay, so I’m not big on the whole coal in a stocking thing, but I am absolutely about celebrating those people, products, services, and businesses that have affected my clients’ success in a positive way. You may think you’ve slaved away all year and no one noticed, but trust me – Naggy knows and respects all you’ve done. But even more importantly? I want others to know about you, too – thus, “The Naggy Awards!”
The Naggy Awards spotlights the people, services, businesses, and tools that have had the strongest influence on my clients‘ success in the past year. These awards represent the best and brightest and most inspiring and helpful apps, people, products, and other cool things I’ve found in the past year, not including chocolate or bacon. Drum roll please.
This year’s 12 awards (12 because it’s the end of 2012) go to:
Freedom: It’s more than something every author, cubicle dweller, and entrepreneur wants. It’s actually what every author, cubicle dweller, and entrepreneur needs. I don’t mean Freedom the concept. I mean Freedom the software. Freedom is the world-famous app that locks you away from the ‘net so you can be productive. I encourage every client of mine to have Freedom on their computers. If the Internet is distracting you from your work, Freedom might be the best 10 dollars you’ll ever spend. I love Freedom SO much; I’m going to give the first 10 people who comment on this post a link to grab this software for free.
David Seah: Are you a doodler? Do you think visually? Do you get a thrill when you cross off stuff on your to-do lists? You’ll dig David’s stuff, then. David has a great collection of forms that you can download and print and use not only to organize your tasks and lists, but to actually see your progress visually as you use it throughout the day. It provides useful feedback about how well you are doing without a lot of annoying data entry or calculation.
750Words: Many of my clients benefit from building a consistent writing habit, but find it hard to get or stay motivated as they’re building that habit. 750Words not only gets your words down on a page (750 of them), it makes it fun to do. Remember those “gold stars” that made you feel all warm and fuzzy in Kindergarten? Same principle here. If you write anything at all, you get 1 point. If you write 750 words or more, you get 2 points. If you write two, three, or more days in a row, you get even more points. It gets addictive because, let’s face it, many of us love reinforcement and points can motivate. It’s fun to create writing streaks and the points are a way to play around with that. You can also see how others are doing points-wise if you’re at all competitive that way.
National Center For Faculty Development and Diversity: Why does the NCFDD impress me so much and deserve a Naggy Award? Because many of my academic clients come from, or become a member of, NCFDD. More importantly, their experience with the Center has proven to be pivotal in many of their academic careers. One of the main reasons for that is Kerry Ann Rockquemore, the President and CEO of NCFDD. Kerry provides workshops for faculty at colleges across the U.S. She also writes an advice column for Inside Higher Ed, and works with a select group of faculty each semester in the Faculty Success Program. The Center, and Kerry, are 100% dedicated to supporting academics in making successful transitions throughout their careers and it shows.
PomodoroTechnique: More than just something fun to say, or better yet, to get a friend to say, “pomodoro” (from Pomodori, the Italian word for tomatoes) is one of the top productivity tools I’ve seen this year. Naggy totally approves. The pomodoro technique uses a timer to break down periods of work into 25-minute intervals called ‘Pomodori’. It’s all based on the idea (and studies) that frequent breaks can improve your mental agility, and thus your productivity.
There are five basic steps to implementing the technique:
Decide on the task to be done
Set the pomodoro (timer) to 25 minutes
Work on the task until the timer rings; record with an x
Take a short break lasting 3-5 minutes
Every four “pomodori” (one hour and 40 minutes) take a longer break lasting 15-30 minutes
Pomodoro provides the timers to give you those intermittent breaks to boost your fun factor, your day, and to rock your productivity. It helps improve focus, and can enlighten you about what distracts you and when. Below are a few online Pomodoro clocks you can use for free. There are also plenty of Pomodoro apps if you roll that way.
Wunderlist: I like Wunderlist and so do many of my clients. We all use it every day for a reason – it works. Wunderlist is a wonderful place to not only collect loose thoughts, but to put them in a retrievable format. You can use Wunderlist for creating everything from blog post ideas to shopping lists, reading lists, and your “menu items” (small tasks you can do in bits of time like in waiting rooms, bus stops, and in front of the TV). I personally have checklists, swipe files, project lists, and an idea file. I keep Wunderlist open on my computer so I can capture ideas, notes, and incoming responsibilities quickly without pushing me off task. It syncs with all your electronic devices so lists travel easily, and best of all, it’s searchable.
Barbara Sher: Barbara is a soul sister, mentor, and friend. But this is not just a “good-old-girls award.” She’s earned it! Many of my clients discovered what it was they wanted for their lives and found the courage to pursue their dreams thanks to Barbara’s New York Times best selling books and her Hanging Out Community! We make for a good tag team, with ProNagger insuring that people take action once they’ve discovered what they’ve really wanted.
TheBrain: We all have a brain, but who couldn’t use a second one, or a third or fourth or fifth brain, right? You’re in luck. This past year I had the opportunity to talk to David Allen, of “Getting Things Done” fame. He said he uses TheBrain, software that lets you digitize your mind so you can literally see your thinking and refine your ideas. TheBrain organizes and finds everything. I mean everything. It’s not an inexpensive tool and there is a learning curve, but once you get up to speed you really do off-load your entire brain into TheBrain. It’s like mind mapping on steroids, and speed, and whatever wow thing there is for graphics on top of that. A number of my highly visual, very busy, very successful business owners have gone steady with the TheBrain.
MyFitnessPal: Do you want or need someone to cheer you on and be with you every step and every day of the way on your health and weight journey? Why yes, I do have a few openings left, but if you’re not ready to hire the Nag just yet, you’re still in luck. Here’s something almost as helpful as a daily call from me. There’s been nothing more useful to my clients than MyFitnessPal.
MyFitnessPal is a free calorie counter, but it’s so much more. It’s a community built to provide you with the tools and support you need to meet your goals and achieve your desired outcome. It’s by far the most user friendly food, nutrition, and fitness tracker I’ve found. What tipped the scales (cute pun! over other such trackers was the user‘s ability to make daily food logs public. Genius. You know I love me some positive peer pressure. Nothing stops you from eating your weight in peanut butter better than the eyes of your support team on you while you’re doing it.
The Accountability Chat: This is a free chat that allows you to “bookend” tasks that may be challenging to do for whatever reason. A bookend is just what it sounds like: you commit to the task you’re about to take, do the task, and then “close” the bookend by letting your fellow chatters know that you completed it. Dancing around or typing about your victory is optional. So, commit, complete, and close. Celebrate. Rinse and repeat. Get encouragement as you plug through new, difficult, or lonely tasks. Genius. Oh…Ummm…This Accountability Chat …Well, it’s on my website. But by-golly, I’m slapping it with a Naggy anyway! Because I can. And because it’s that cool.
DA and BDA: (DA=Debtor’s Anonymous and BDA = Business Debtor’s Anonymous) I can’t really give a 12-step program a Naggy, but I want to. This may be a controversial move on my part but I know that BDA changed the trajectory of one of my client‘s lives this past year. I’m willing to hear some noise if it means someone who’s struggling silently with money issues gets some real support and solid help.
In my client’s case, his business was bleeding him dry and putting him and his family onto the fast track to poverty, not success. He worked stupid amounts of hours and was about to bag the business for a job bagging groceries when he came to me. I suggested he check out the Business Debtors Anonymous phone meetings. He did and he dug it big time. He developed a spending plan, a debt reduction plan, a plan for his business, and even a planned vacation! Working his program and getting Nag support, too, deeply affected this fella’s life. The poor house is now in his rear view mirror and his business is well on its way to becoming a thriving enterprise that supports him and his family financially.
Pear Budget: Whether you love watching your money, or dread thinking about it, money is our lifeblood. It pays the bills, it keeps us eating, living, moving and working. Not knowing what your money is doing (or not doing) is like having kids and not keeping track of them! You learn quickly just how fast you can get into trouble if you’re not paying attention!
Even if you’re not in a world of hurt financially, it’s still your responsibility to keep track of your money and be clear about your financial goals. I’m all for DAILY, yes, daily tracking of what comes into your pocket and what goes out of your pocket, and your checking account and so on, too. Not to mention budgets and prudent reserves. There are dozens of systems out there, from envelopes to apps. Find a system that works for you because you’re the one who’s going to be using it. I’m giving the Naggy to Pear Budget because I like simple, and a number of my clients are using it with ease and success. You might, too. Just check it out.