Posted in reviews

By the Book

I have a long daily commute and so most of my entertainment time has shifted away from television and movies to podcasts and radio. Just a few months ago I discovered a new podcast called By The Book. By The Book is a podcast where Jolenta Greenberg and Kristen Meinzer, two friends with very different personalities, try to gain insight and wisdom by following popular self-help books. They establish the “rules” of each book and then live by them for two weeks, summarizing their experiences and providing a verdict as to whether the book was life changing and whether they would recommend it. Then a week after the episode airs, a mini-episode comes out to share and discuss listener feedback.

Although there is a ton of humor (and some explicit language), the thing that hooked me on By The Book is the vulnerability that both co-hosts display as they process each book’s experience. While their husbands don’t also follow the “rules”, the ladies do include their husbands perspectives on the rules and the impacts the books have on their homes and relationships. Both husbands are so fabulous and supportive that sometimes they steal the show.

Just a few of the books this dynamic duo has lived by and reviewed include: the Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up, the Miracle Morning, Bored and Brilliant, French Women Don’t Get Fat, Men Are from Mars, Women Are From Venus , and Why Good Things Happen to Good People. Even when the authors come from a very different world view than Kristen and Jolenta, they really seem to give each book a shot and look objectively for the strengths. These ladies both have very distinct speech patterns and/or regional accents that I find fun to listen to and I enjoy the way they complement each other. After listening for a few months, they feel like old friends.

Do you have any good podcast recommendations?

Posted in reviews

Why I Love Wunderlist

I am the poster child for the “type B” personality. My car always looks like a rolling lost and found closet, my clean clothes never seem to make it back to the drawers and before I discovered Wunderlist, my life was littered with post it notes. One day about six months ago, while lamenting to a friend about how scattered I always felt, he told me about a book called Getting Things Done. Disclaimer: I did not actually read the book but got a great overview of the system of organization from their website as well as through several YouTube summaries of the book. If you struggle with keeping all the things in your head, check it out:

Getting Things Done

In a nutshell, the guiding principle is that our brains were designed to problem solve and create, not hold onto information. When we try to hold information in our heads, we keep checking back to that information, interrupting our other thinking processes. And we still may not remember. Finding an external system that both captures information and prompts periodic review allows a person to focus on more pressing cognitive tasks with greater efficiency. So that blew my mind. But what system would help me both easily capture and review all the categories of information I was constantly juggling?

I know there are some die hard analog, pen and paper fans out there and for you, I would recommend checking out the Planner Pad or bullet journaling. Before I had a smartphone, I used a Planner Pad for several years and it was so helpful with this process. But now that I use my smartphone for my calendar, I wanted a digital solution so I didn’t have to worry about keeping up with another physical thing.

That’s where Wunderlist came into play.

Wunderlist allows you to keep all your different lists in one place: groceries, errands, gift ideas, work tasks, daily/ weekly/ monthly recurring to dos, movie recommendations, vacation packing lists, etc.

Each list can be ordered multiple ways. When I’m planning my grocery shopping, ill put the store name in front of the item if it’s on sale so i can sort by store:

You can also set priorities and reminders, both recurring and non recurring, to prompt you:

The two features I like best are the quick list input that can be added to your pull down notifications menu and the widget for your home screen. They make it super easy to add, edit, and check off items as well as to toggle between lists.

The lists sync with all your devices and there’s a Google chrome web browser extension for desktop/ laptop use in addition to the mobile apps. It doesn’t integrate into my calendar but I don’t think it feels clunky using it along with my calendar and email. If you use Wunderlist or another digital app to capture your lists, what do you like best?