Around this time of year when we flip the calendar from one year to the next, most people make a long list of New Year’s Resolutions. It is a noble idea in theory, but often in practice, doesn’t amount to much. Resolutions often get cast aside and discarded, making their creators feel inadequate and unproductive.

So why not skip the New Year’s Resolutions altogether this time and opt for an alternative New Year’s ritual: the One-Word Theme!

I find it helps me to choose a word to give me an over-arching theme in the new year. For many people, the one word approach feels more manageable and powerful than a laundry list of New Year’s Resolutions which can often feel like another to-do list. One word is ideal. It gives you focus.

I believe that choosing a word f or the year is so compelling because it takes the “should” out of our wish for personal and professional development. Our word serves as a gentle (but powerful!) reminder, rather than a drill sergeant barking orders at us.

I’ve been following this one word theme for years now.

  • In 2011, my word was Implement. Boy, did I implement that year as I changed my business brand and model, and went with my husband on 13 interviews around the U.S. to choose a place for him to do a residency and for us to relocate to from NY).
  • My word in 2012 was Change as we relocated across country from New York to California and completely changed our lives and I expanded my business.
  • In 2013, my word was Discover as I acclimated to living in Northern California and embraced our new life. I took Italian classes, became a “real” cyclist, got back on stage with local theater groups, and more.
  • In 2014, my word was Presence as a reminder to live in the moment and savor all of the experiences personally and professionally that I was blessed to have in my life.
  • In 2015, my word was Adventure. My husband finished his 3-year veterinary residency and we spent a month in beautiful Italy. What an adventure indeed!! 
  • In 2016, my word was Savor. It was a great reminder to slow down and enjoy life more. I renewed my life-long hobbies of reading and writing. I read 84 books last year and started writing creatively again. 

For 2017, I’ve chosen the word Creativity. It came to me quickly and clearly. And yes, I plan to pursue the creative endeavor of writing a novel based on memoir, as well as some short stories. But I also plan to apply Creativity to many areas of my life and business. Creativity can infuse a lot of what we do, what we create, what we grow and nurture. I love that idea and will use this word as a constant reminder throughout the year to be my most creative self in every way.

When I posted on social media about this one-word approach, I got a huge response to my appeal for people to share their word of the new year. People’s comments were very inspiring and thought-provoking. Interestingly, people often share that they experienced a little resistance to their word at first. Or were surprised at their word. Or hoped that something bigger or better had come to mind. Try not to resist the word that presents itself to you!

The word you choose is usually the exact one that you need to be reminded of throughout the year.

And by the way, the one word theme is not a cop out! It doesn’t mean that you won’t accomplish anything or fail to take action. From what I have seen with the one-word theme, you will. But many of us don’t need another to-do list. We nee d a theme, a rallying cry, a mantra, an affirmation, a reminder. Your one word can serve all of those purposes and more if you give it some serious thought, choose wisely (or better yet, let your word choose you!), and then keep that word front and center in your mind, guiding your actions and behavior during the year.

So… what is your one word or theme for 2017? I’d love to hear it. Please send me an email or even better, share in the comments on my blog so others can be inspired too!

Happy New Year!

Back in January, I assisted a client with organizing her home office and setting herself up for a productive new year. When she mentioned that she is an extremely visual learner and would love a large wall calendar to plan out her entire year, I knew just the thing for her! I gifted her with a complimentary NeuYear calendar, which was sent to me by the makers of NeuYear to share with a few select clients and get their feedback. Here is what my client wrote in her own words. Clearly, it was a hit! 🙂

If you are interested in purchasing a NeuYear Calendar, check out their site at

I love my NeuYear productivity calendar! I chose to mount my calendar on foam board for sturdiness and hang it horizontally to fit my space perfectly. I love having Saturday & Sunday aligned in one weekend column for easy planning. Being able to see the whole year in one glance has helped me plan further ahead then I would normally. Since the board is not eraseable, I chose to use colored sticky notes for major events that may change in the future. Sticky notes also allow me to color code my events and I don’t have to re-write if I decide to change the event. Thanks for a great product!

~ Femi

If you want 2012 to be…

  • an improvement upon,
  • different from, &/or
  • more than

…the past has been (either for yourself, your work, your family, and/or your life), then I hope you’ll take part in a special class that Dr. Meggin McIntosh will be presenting on Wednesday, December 28, 2011 (for the fifth year in a row).

To learn more and to register, just go this webpage with all the information.

Obstacle Illusions — Are You Delusional? Strategically Plan (and Play) Your Professional and Personal Life

I have learned myriad ideas from Meggin McIntosh over the years and I know from experience that this class is one that will more than deliver on her promises!
Take a look here.

On Thursday, August 18th, Social Club 2.0, a local networking group, hosted a Book Launch Party in my honor to celebrate the launch of my book, The Ultimate Life Organizer. The event was held at the beautiful Chateau Hathorn in Warwick, NY.

What a successful event! I was thrilled to see so many friends, family, clients and colleagues come out to support the launch of the book. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. An extra special thank you to Chris Masters of Social Club 2.0 for arranging and hosting the event.

Here are some photos from the event. Enjoy!

PS – If you missed the event, I will be conducting Meet the Author Book Signings at Linda’s Office Supplies in Goshen, NY on Saturday, September 17th from 11 am – 2 pm and at Frazzleberries Country Store in Warwick, NY on Thursday, October 13th from 6:30 – 8 p.m. Both shops will now be carrying the book so be sure to stop by and check out their displays!

Lisa will be presenting “Downsize Your Clutter and Your Life” next Tuesday, August 16th from 11:30 AM – 1:30 PM at Glen Arden Continuing Care Retirement Community, 214 Harriman Drive, Goshen, NY.

Lisa will provide helpful tips on how to downsize and organize, and will show examples of how she has made downsizing easy for area seniors.

A complimentary lunch will be served. Please RSVP to 845-360-1410 to attend.

Unfortunately, summer will soon be coming to an end. I know, don’t rush it! Enjoy the last days of summer. Perhaps you have a vacation planned, or want to just stay at home and relax. But fall will be here before you know it. So, take some time now to plan your back to work strategy for fall now. Hopefully, the following tips will help get you started.

  • Get Through That Dreaded Email Inbox. I know that many of you still have tons of emails sitting in your inbox. Summer does not mean a hiatus on email. So take the time now to get through that inbox. Delete like crazy, move important or active emails into folders, and reply to those that you have left for far too long.
  • Sort Through Your Paper Inbox. You probably have a pile of paper on your desk that you call your “inbox.” Sort through it now so you can start the fall season seeing the bottom of it! If you don’t have an effective paper management system, get some stacking paper trays and label them with categories of paper that make sense to you. For example, Inbox/Unprocessed Paper, Action, File, Shred, Scan, Read. Use a desktop label maker or a portable one. I personally like the label makers by Dymo for the way they marry technology, design and functionality.
  • Sort Through Your Files. Go through your files quickly and efficiently, pulling out anything that is obsolete, can be scanned for future reference, belongs to someone else, etc. The less paper you have in your filing system, the more likely you are to file the new stuff coming in! So get to it.
  • Create Templates and Systems. On a going forward basis, create templates, systems, work flow charts and samples that will help streamline your office and work life. The more work you do up front to delegate to yourself (or better yet, to someone else), the more you will be able to reap the rewards of these systems long term, especially in the fall when everyone is so busy.

Follow through on these tips and you will be well on your way to a productive autumn season! Meanwhile, if you have a great office (home or work) productivity tip, email it to or share it on their Facebook page at for the chance to win a free Dymo label maker. The winner will be chosen randomly.

Full disclosure: This is sponsored content and I have been compensated to do this post. That being said, I do not blog about anything I do not believe in and Dymo did not edit this post or direct the content in any way.

Unsure if you are getting the most out of your business?
Unclear as to whether your business is going in the right direction?
Feeling like you could use a business plan revamp?

Then get ready to make some Bold Business Moves!
Join us for a Teleclass Series

Bold Business Moves: Moving Your Business in the Right Direction

Presented by Lisa Montanaro
Certified Professional Organizer®, Business & Life Coach,
Motivational Speaker, Author

Dates: Tuesday evenings – May 31st, June 14th and June 28th
Time: 7:30-9:00 pm EST

  • Designed as a series, but able to be taken individually too, each teleclass is 90 minutes in length.
  • Can’t make the live calls? No problem! All teleclasses will be recorded & available by on MP3.

Location: From the comfort of your home or office

  • IRIS members: $35 for each, or $89 for the 3-part series
  • Non-IRIS members: $39 for each, or $99 for the 3-part series

Register Online for all sessions here (or follow the links below to register for individual teleclasses).

Teleclass 1 – May 31st: Blueprint Your Business: Create Business Systems & An Operations Manual
blueprint businessBusiness Systems help a business to run without you if you become ill, take a vacation or go to a business conference. They provide the infrastructure that needs to be in place to effectively delegate without taking up too much of your precious time as the business owner. Business systems make it easier to hire and train an employee or retain an independent contractor, delegate to an assistant, to yourself, or to the business itself. Business Systems and Operations Manuals will not only help you run your business more effectively, but will help you start preparing for your exit strategy. This teleclass will guide you in creating an Operations Manual and cover what it should include.
Register for the May 31st session here.

Teleclass 2 – June 14th: Branch Out & Mix it Up: Creating Multiple Streams of Income
You are a solopreneur or small business owner, and you wish you could make more money, but you can’t be in more than one place at one time or clone yourself. What to do? Create multiple streams of income! Multiple streams of income help to build a business with less work by offering multiple ways for clients to access you, your company, and your services/offerings. Learn how to leverage and re-purpose your content, expand your delivery methods, offer options at multiple price points, and give clients a menu or suite of services.
Register for the June 14th session here.

Teleclass 3 – June 28th: Don’t Go It Alone: It Takes a Village to Run a Successful Business ~ Building Your “Team”
Are you a solopreneur and often find it lonely? Maybe you are you a small business owner with employees or subcontractors, but find yourself wanting to brainstorm with those outside your business? You can! Imagine a group of people that are available to bounce business ideas off of, help you make pivotal business decisions, and serve as a sounding board. Set your business up for success by enlisting the help of others. Options are plentiful, from using virtual assistants, independent contractors, and employees, to brainstorming with business colleagues, setting up a formal Board of Advisors, participating in a Mastermind group, or hiring a business coach. Studies show that business owners achieve success more frequently when they set up accountability programs. Identify different ways to partner with others to improve your business by engaging in coopetition, and learn the differences between various types of accountability tools. Determine which accountability tools are the best match for your business, and how to implement them. Hear about what other like-minded entrepreneurs are doing. Walk away with a plan to enlist the help of others in your business in a way that makes the most sense for your business model, stage, and needs. Get ready to create your village!
Register for the June 28th session here.

Who Should Participate:
IRIS & NAPO members, professional organizers, interior designers/redesigners, home stagers, coaches, consultants, entrepreneurs, etc.
Do you want to brainstorm with like-minded business owners, while learning from a business coach, lawyer and trainer of entrepreneurs? This series is a cost-effective way to get quality business advice at a fraction of the cost of one-on-one coaching/consulting. Come join us for a teleclass series that promises to deliver great results!

Rave Reviews from Past Attendees of Lisa’s Teleclasses or Workshops:

  • “She’s bright and shiny on a dreary day, she sings, she dances, she’s a Professional Organizer, oh and did I mention she’s an attorney too? She’s Lisa Montanaro, and she was one of our favorite teleclass guest experts last year. Lisa can answer all those pressing questions you have been afraid to ask or didn’t know where to turn to for the answers. What I really like about her is her approachability. Speaking to a business coach and attorney can be a little intimidating, but Lisa knows how to answer the tough questions while making sure you truly understand the answers.”
  • “You are very well-spoken and a wonderful presenter. You did a great job providing so much relevant content and without giving us that feeling of info-overload.”
  • “I went to your workshop at the NAPO Conference and just wanted to tell you how impressed I was. You are such a knowledgeable and good speaker. I have already implemented so many of your suggestions. Yours was the only CD I purchased from conference. I am sure your session will benefit me for years to come.”
  • “The level of energy and enthusiasm you bring into the training environment is truly admirable and your organizational skills certainly show proof of the amount of effort and thought you place in preparing for your workshops.”
  • “Your workshop at the NAPO National Conference was alone worth my entire investment (registration, hotel, transportation, food, etc.). Thank you so much!”

About the Presenter:
Lisa Montanaro is an inaugural Certified Professional Organizer, Business & Life Coach, Motivational Speaker, and Author. Lisa founded LM Organizing Solutions, LLC in 2002, and since then, has helped thousands of people and organizations live better lives and operate better businesses. A sought-after business expert due to her background as an attorney, mediator, and trainer of entrepreneurs, Lisa offers business coaching to professional organizers, and other entrepreneurs and small business owners. Part consultant, part coach — Lisa gives expert advice, while also guiding clients to the answers they seek. Lisa presents at national conferences, has been interviewed by television and radio hosts, is a frequent guest expert for national teleclasses and webinars, and has been widely published on the web and in print.

I coined an interesting phrase recently when I was facilitating one of the teleclasses for my group coaching program, DECIDE to be Organized. I was speaking to the group about how so many high functioning, busy, successful men and women have all of these passions and get overwhelmed with trying to decide which to do and which to implement. I referred to the act of managing all of those passions as “Passion Management” (instead of Time Management, Project Management or Energy Management). Everyone loved the phrase and I realized I was onto something.

Passion Management acknowledges that we do, indeed, have multiple passions. I, for one, always refer to myself as a multi-passionate entrepreneur and person. Also, Passion Management is a much more positive way of describing our dilemma of what to do with all of these great ideas. Time management and project management are terms that are not only overused but, unfortunately, can be a negative reminder of our lack of time, as opposed to a motivating factor that leads to productivity.

Passion Management is the ability to manage all of the passions you want to tackle in business and life. Here are some tips to help guide your Passion Management.

Pick a Passion

Most multi-passionate people are swimming in a sea of great ideas, and often have the drive to make them happen. The conundrum is which passion to pursue. My advice — pick a passion and go for it! Author and life coach Cheryl Richardson talked about this when I heard her speak in NYC years ago. She said that so many of her clients get stuck because they have so many great ideas and passions, but don’t know which to pursue. So they wind up pursuing… yup, you guessed it — nothing. Don’t fall victim to passion confusion! It is better to pick a passion and allow it to blossom and flourish than to be trapped under a mountain of too many great ideas. If you pick a passion and it does not go well or does not take off the way you wanted it to, that’s okay. Regroup, learn from your passion exercise, and pick a new one.

Tap Into Your Passion

One of the best ways to determine what you should (and want to) focus on is to tap into your passion. Sometimes we lose focus with our business or personal projects and we need to take the time to remind ourselves what we value and why we are staying the course. It is all too easy to get bogged down in details and tasks. Try to ask yourself, “Why am I really doing this project?” and see if there is a reason that relates back to one of your passions, whether personal or professional. For example, maybe you are feeling the crunch of trying to blog several times a week. Ask yourself why you set this schedule and whether it taps into one of your passions. If your passion is to write, then write! Do you need to stay on a particular schedule? Will anyone, but you, notice if you only write when your passion strikes? Sometimes we set ourselves up for failure, or more likely, undue stress, when we remain too regimented. Yes, I am a professional organizer and see the value in systems, processes, and timelines, trust me. But it is vital to check in and ask yourself: “Is this tapping into my passion?” If so, it will help propel you forward and remind you why you are doing this particular task or project. If you realize this task or project does not tap into any of your passions, you may decide to abandon the project, delegate the task, or reevaluate whether you want and need to continue it.

Ignore the Naysayers

Often, you are making actual progress towards achieving your passions, but someone tries to sabotage you. Try not to let this derail your efforts! You need to stay the course, despite what they say. If you are truly passionate about the project, you will be able to withstand attacks. The famous life coach Martha Beck talks about surrounding yourself with people who can be your “believing eyes.” I love this idea! Adopt it and use it as your own. Stay away from the Negative Nellies, and surround yourself with people who believe in your passionate goals and will help you achieve them. Passion is contagious and can not only serve as strong motivation for you, but as inspiration for others. People notice passion. In fact, in my opinion, people often notice passion more than they notice productivity!

Celebrate Your Passion Successes

When we take on a project or task and successfully complete it, we often reward ourself at the completion. But when we pursue a passion, we may not have any reward system built in. In some situations, it is hard to determine when we have “completed” a passion. Passions are often ongoing. They can be a particular way of approaching a topic, or a passion can be a mindset or belief. But it is important to come up with some way of rewarding your successes and milestones when pursuing your passions. Figure out ways to evaluate whether you have achieved a certain level of success for a particular passion. The more successful you feel at each step, the more apt you are to keep moving on the path towards achieving your passion goals. And most passionate people just want to keep the passion going!

Check out this blog post by Matt Williams, broker/owner of Realty Executives, Williams-Sykes Realty in Dutchess County, NY. Matt and I met a few years ago when he asked me to speak to a group of busy realtors from his office. We have kept in touch, and Matt has now invited me to speak to an even bigger group of realtors to help them be even more successful!

I will be the keynote speaker at the Women’s Council of Realtors meeting at the Culinary Institute of America on Thursday, February 24th. I will be sharing tips on how to get and stay organized as a busy mobile real estate professional. I will also be enjoying fabulous food, courtesy of the CIA. (If you haven’t been there to eat, go try it — it’s wonderful!)