It’s been a few months since the new year began. Remember that New Year’s Resolution to become healthier? How are you doing with it? Not feeling as fit and healthy as you’d like to be? The answer is time management!

Check out my article in Comstock’s Magazine: “Poor Time Management Is Bad For Your Health” for tips and advice on how to use productivity skills to become more healthy.

Read the article here.

There is a practice that I have been using for years when it comes to my schedule and how I allocate my time. It is a habit I started doing years ago because I am very calendar-focused. I pretty much put everything on my calendar. And by everything, I mean even activities that most people wouldn’t think belong on a calendar. Most people schedule in appointments and planned phone calls, both personal and professional. They also layer on social events, such as parties to attend. But they almost never think to add activities on their calendar such as exercise, meals, sleep, hobbies, errands, etc. Those activities often seem too personal, or are solitary activities and, therefore, often don’t get precious space on the calendar, which means they get placed at the bottom of the priority order.

For years, it seemed natural to me to give space on my calendar to activities that most people typically don’t include. And I started mentioning this to my clients when doing time management and productivity coaching. I also started teaching this tool to my audiences when conducting a speaking engagement about time management and calendar planning. And what I have noticed is that it resonates with many people!

I’ve seen clients and audience members adopt this practice and it has resulted in major shifts in the way they spend their time. It gives them permission to focus on the activities that often don’t get enough attention. They wind up getting more sleep, eating healthier meals (and not skipping meals!), getting their exercise in, and engaging in hobbies and passions and other pursuits that they don’t usually make time for.

Could a simple practice of putting an activity on your calendar really make such a difference? The answer is yes. A resounding yes. But don’t only take my word for it.

Neil Fiore, the author of the book The Now Habit (which is a great little book about how to beat procrastination) calls this practice The Unschedule. Unscheduling is a massive shift in thinking from how most of us use calendars and schedules. It gives structure to unstructured activities and tasks. Instead of starting to build your calendar out the typical way, which is to first place the structured activities on your calendar (meetings, appointments, social obligations, etc.), you reverse your calendar and begin with the unstructured activities.

The premise behind the Unschedule is that you need (and deserve) at least one hour of play and relaxation a day, and at least one day off of work a week. You schedule the unstructured activities first, such as sleep, meals, exercise, commuting to work, hobbies, and other blocks of time you must expend each day. Then you layer on top of those activities everything else. The everything else activities are often the need to do, have to do, should do types of activities, whereas the Unschedule activities are often the want to do and love to do activities.

Can everyone do this? Yes, but to an extent. To be fair, if your calendar is so chock full with work, obligations, and other activities that there is no room for unstructured activities to be added, then this would be a tough practice to try to implement. However, let that be a wake up call. You could start a small version of the Unschedule by at least adding a proper amount of sleep and actual meal times so you no longer eat on the run or skip meals altogether. In time, you could aim to add in some exercise and other activities to start giving yourself some more me-time on your own calendar.

The key to the Unschedule really working is that you don’t only add the unstructured activities to your schedule, but you honor them. My clients and audiences have heard me talk about this often. Honor appointments with yourself the same way you would honor an appointment with anyone else. If you see a slot on your calendar is taken up with an unstructured activity that only involves you, and you immediately give that slot away because it is only “me time” after all, then the Unschedule loses its effectiveness. That’s really the beauty of the Unschedule. YOU get to be a priority on your own calendar, in your own schedule, and in your own life. That is the true power of the Unschedule as a worthy time management tool.

Try to Unschedule your calendar by adding in some unstructured activities and see how it feels. I hope you love the results!

Most of us want to be more productive and focused. We want to get more done in less time, and work smarter, as opposed to harder. But we also live in the real world, where we have responsibilities, to-do’s piling up, people relying on us, and a laundry list of tasks that we want to get to.

overwhelmed_with_workProductivity isn’t one size fits all, and it is not a bull’s eye that we can always reach. Productivity lives alongside us every day and we are constantly tweaking it and changing it and paying attention to it and reassessing it. I know that sounds exhausting but it’s really not. Look at it as a constant companion that’s helping you get more done, but that also recognizes you are human and that you need a break.

So how do you stay productive and focused, while also giving yourself a break now and then? Enter the Pomodoro Technique.

The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method developed by Francesco Cirillo (yes, an Italian, hence the name, which means tomato in Italian) in the late 1980s. The premise behind the Pomodoro Technique is that taking short, scheduled breaks while working eliminates burn out and distractions, and improves focus.

So how does it work?

pomodoro_techniqueEach Pomodoro lasts for 25 minutes, and is a highly focused work session, followed by a 5 minute break. After 4 Pomodoro intervals, you take a longer break of 20-30 minutes.

You may be thinking… “25 minutes? That’s it. How easy!” Not so fast. The Pomodoro is a highly focused work session, which means no interruptions or distractions are allowed. By other people for sure. But also, not even by ourselves. We tend to task-switch every 3 minutes according to David Meyer, a researcher at the University of Michigan who studies multi-tasking and task switching. That means that we interrupt ourselves constantly throughout the day. We may be in the middle of a task, and think of something else and move to another task (“Oh wait, I forgot to send that email earlier today. Let me just do that now.”) With Pomodoro, you focus on the task at hand only. When you complete your 25 minute Pomodoro interval, then you allow interruptions, self imposed or otherwise.

The beauty of the Pomodoro Technique is its simplicity. You use a timer to break down work into manageable intervals, separated by short breaks. You know there is a light at the end of the tunnel in 25 minutes, so you dive in with full mental acuity and give your work intervals your all. You tend to be more focused and productive, and during your breaks, you give yourself a real break.

What do you do during your breaks? Grab snacks, drink some water, stretch your legs and body, pet your dog, say hello to someone, use the restroom, check social media or email, etc.

The Pomodoro Technique can work well for anyone… students, professionals in an office environment, self employed folks who work from home in an unstructured environment, etc. Indeed, the structure of the Pomodoro Technique is often what makes it work so well.

If you have ADD, the Pomodoro Technique can be very powerful. It helps you focus on the task at hand, knowing that you get a built in break after 25 minutes. You may need to shorten your Pomodoros at first to work up to 25 minutes. Likewise, if you can last longer than 25 minutes and still be highly focused, then stretch your Pomodoros a bit. But not too long, as studies show that too long, and you start to lose focus.

For more information about the Pomodoro Technique, visit, where you will find videos, books, a timer, etc. You can also download the app to help guide you through your work intervals and breaks. Ready to take a bite out of that tomato? Try the Pomodoro Technique and see if it helps you be more productive.

Overwhelmed just thinking about the upcoming holiday season? Relax. If you take a little time to plan your holiday season, it will be more enjoyable for you and your family! Focus on practicing good organizational techniques and time management principles.  Here are some tips to make the holidays enjoyable and the new year start off in a positive manner.

Setting Your Goals for the Holiday Season

  • Christmas_treeWe are pulled in so many different directions during the holidays: travel, family gatherings, parties and social events, shopping, baking, decorating, etc. As yourself: What do I want? This question is an invaluable guide for the holiday season. Think about what you want to do, as opposed to what you think others expect of you. Decide on your goals for the holiday season. Do you want to spend quality time with family? Do you want to try your hand at hosting or baking? Or, do you want to relax and enjoy quiet time? Achieving your goals and creating a meaningful holiday season requires that you have smart plans in place, especially if you want to enjoy the season without overindulging or stressing out.
  • It is difficult to keep all of the mental clutter associated with the holidays in our head! Keep a ‘holiday central’ notebook or create a memo in your handheld device. List items you want to do (notice I didn’t say need to do!), gifts to be purchased, people to send cards to, etc. Create a holiday budget so you know what you want to spend and stick to it.

Dealing with Holiday Schedule Overload

  • holiday_stressorsAll the things you want to do over the holiday season can bring pressure if you don’t bring your wants and needs into alignment and into a manageable schedule. Holiday joy comes from balance and choosing the activities that are fulfilling for you. Avoid taking on too much at this time of year. If you’re feeling too pressured, look for activities that you can reschedule until after the holidays, delegate, or say no to. Recognize that you can’t do everything, especially if you want to enjoy your holiday season!  Ask yourself: What is the worst thing that will happen if I don’t do this?
  • Identify and avoid triggers. If going to certain events or seeing certain family or friends stresses you out and always ruins your holiday experience, avoid that activity. If you must attend, shorten your visit. If you are watching what you eat, plan ahead by eating a small healthy meal at home, so you won’t be as hungry at the event. Or plan out what you will eat at the event, allowing yourself a few treats that you only get to have once per year and stick to your plan.
  • If you regularly exercise, don’t stop over the holidays! Carve out time for exercise, even if it is not as much time as you usually do. The holidays are stressful enough – don’t miss out on a great form of natural stress relief!

The payoff to all of this planning? You won’t have post-holiday regret syndrome! You’ll be calmer and more available to enjoy the company of your family and friends, and you’ll start the new year feeling empowered.

Watch the video here, or read the full article below.

video-superachieverOne of the greatest challenges for busy, successful and creative people juggling several projects, talents and ideas is to live a well-balanced life. If only we could do all that is on our personal and professional ‘to do’ lists while simultaneously attending to our health, nurturing our important relationships and taking good care of our responsibilities.

Everyone knows someone who works full time, volunteers, runs a successful blog, and somehow still finds time to go grocery shopping, cook organic Instagram-worthy meals, foster a loving relationship, walk his or her adorable Boston terrier, and, oh — train for a half marathon. These kinds of “super-achievers” have the same number of hours in the day as the rest of us, but somehow, they always seem to get more done. How do they do it? Here are 5 tips to help you maximize your precious 24 hours daily.

Tip #1: Stop Trying to Win the Crazy-Busy Badge of Honor
crazy_busyStaying busy, but not productive, is the curse of our times. These days we are so busy that we can’t stop talking about it. And busyness has become a cultural symbol of status. Even though people say they’re complaining, they’re secretly bragging. Here are some typical phrases that I often hear from my private clients and audience members:

“I am so tired, I can’t remember the last time I got a good night’s sleep!”
“I’m drowning over here!”
“Oh my God, I’m crazy-busy!”

We have to stop the glorification of busy, and realize that no one is really “busy”… it’s all about priorities. We have to stop using this phrase, and take back control so we feel empowered, not depleted.

Tip #2: Use Time Management Tools that Work for You & Stick to Them
One of the key components to time management is to find time management tools that work well for you and then stick to them. Consistency is key! Use one calendar, one master project list or project management tool, and one task management system. It doesn’t matter if they are paper or digital, old fashioned or a fancy new app. The key is to create a system around your habits, needs, work and lifestyle, learn it well, and use it consistently.

Tip #3: Stop Multi-Tasking & Engage in Uni-Tasking Instead
Multi-tasking is generally less efficient than focusing on one thing at a time. Studies show it impairs productivity. It is impossible to do 2 tasks at the same time without compromising each. Research shows that it takes your brain 4 times longer to process than if you focused on each task separately. David Meyer, Ph.D., a psychology professor at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor has spent the past few decades studying multi-tasking. His research shows that not only is multi-tasking inefficient, but also can cause problems at work, at school, and even, in some cases, be dangerous. Meyer explains, “It takes time to warm up to a new task, especially if both require the same skills.” So focus on one task at a time, give it your full attention, and then move onto the next task.

Tip #4: Use the Power of the Pareto Principle (a/k/a the 80-20 Rule)
The Pareto Principle takes its name from a 19th century Italian economist named Vilfredo Pareto. In the late 1940s, business management guru Joseph M. Juran suggested the principle and named it after Pareto, who observed that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population. Pareto’s Principle (or the 80/20 Rule as it is often called) means that in any grouping of items or events, a few (20%) are vital and many (80%) are trivial. 80% of our results come from 20% of our activity. That means that of all of the daily activities you do, and choices that you make, only 20% really matter (or at least produce meaningful results).

What is the takeaway that we can learn from the Pareto Principle? Identify and focus on the 20% that matters! When life sets in and you start to become reactive instead of proactive, remind yourself of the 20% you need to focus on. If something in your schedule needs to be deleted or not completed with your fullest attention, try your best to make sure it’s not part of that 20%. Use the Pareto Principle as a litmus test to constantly check in and ask yourself: “Is doing this task or activity right now the highest and best use of my time? Is this truly part of the 20% that matters?” Let the Pareto Principle serve as a powerful daily reminder to focus 80% of your time and energy on the 20% of your work and life that is really important and delivers positive results.

Tip #5: Honor Appointments with Yourself
facialCalendar in your personal to-do’s, along with your professional appointments. Our work calendars fill up quickly with tasks, projects, and events. When was the last time you scheduled something fun for yourself and/or your family? A date night with your significant other? A yoga class, time to read, take a bubble bath, etc.? Give structure to unstructured activities and tasks. Try to reverse your calendar and begin with the premise that you need (and deserve) time for play and relaxation. You schedule those first, as well as previously committed time — like when you sleep, eat, exercise, commute to work, and other blocks of time you must expend each day.

Start practicing proactive, positive productivity using the 5 tips above. And remember, be consistent!

In the world of time management, we give a lot of weight to appointments that we set with other people, or events and meetings that we have to attend. We block them out on our calendar and then we make a commitment to show up unless there is a true emergency. And that is certainly a good thing. One would say we are practicing good time management techniques.

And yet, when it comes to making appointments with ourself, we don’t give them the same importance on our calendar. Indeed, most people put themselves last. That yoga class you wanted to take? Missed it again. Getting to bed on time so that you are well rested? Oops, that went out the window when you let something else take precedence over it. Sadly, most of us do not honor appointments with ourself!

me_timeWhen I speak on time management and productivity, I ask my audiences to name something that they don’t allow themselves enough of in their lives. The answers are almost always focused on simple pleasures like reading, sleeping, spending time with family, taking a bubble bath, going for a bike ride, etc. We crave more “me time” and yet we deprive ourselves of it on a daily basis.

We have the imagination to find creative ways to deny ourselves simple pleasures. You should hear the convoluted excuses high functioning, success-minded folks devise as to why they couldn’t possibly, say, sit and read a book for half an hour. It’d be funny if it weren’t so sad that they are denying themselves such basic human treats. Even though I know better, sometimes I catch myself doing the same thing.

Why do we do it? Sometimes it’s guilt, sometimes it’s low self-esteem (a sense that you don’t “deserve” a treat), sometimes it’s because you put everyone else’s needs first. Sometimes it’s a societal dictum or a limiting belief like, “I have to work hard and earn X before I deserve a treat.”

Whatever the reason, the truth is that not only do you deserve to treat yourself to simple pleasures – it’s essential for your health, well-being and creativity.

reading_bookHow can we change this? First, start by recognizing that you give your own appointments the short end of the stick on your calendar and in your own time management practices. Then not only resolve to change this, but act on that resolve. Block out the time on your calendar and then honor that appointment as if you made it with the most important person in your life. Why? Because you are an important person in your life! And you are worth it. Don’t skimp on time for your own personal and professional growth and development.

“But Lisa”, I hear you say, “I can’t possibly. I have too much to do. I don’t have enough time.”

Ask yourself this: What do you spend time doing that you really don’t enjoy – and that you really don’t have to be doing? What isn’t particularly healthy or helpful? What could you be doing less of, if you were honest with yourself?

Maybe you’re a workaholic spending many more hours working than is really required. Perhaps you spend time worrying or stressing or complaining (most people spend more time complaining how little time they have than doing anything about it). Maybe you don’t have systems set up so you are spending too much time doing tasks that could be streamlined. Maybe you’re wasting your evenings watching television programs you don’t really like that much anyway.

Whatever your day is like, you have an opportunity to do less of what you don’t want – and more of what you do want.

I invite you to engage in this rare, but powerful, time management treat. Look for opportunities to not only make some appointments with yourself… but honor those appointments! Trust me, you are worth it.

calendarA few weeks ago, I presented at the National Association of Professional Organizers San Francisco Bay Area Regional Conference. My topic was Make Time for This: Effective Time Management. As I was putting the finishes touches on my slides and handout prior to the conference, I started thinking about the many different systems, tools and strategies people use to manage their time. Specifically, I started thinking about how far we have come with regard to digital/electronic systems compared to years ago. Yet, every time I speak to an audience about time management and survey the participants, it amazes me how many people are still using paper-based systems (paper, pen, notebooks, post-it notes, folders, etc.) compared to digital (software, apps, tablets, smart phones, etc.). And yes, even in a room full of professional organizers and productivity consultants, there were more than a handful that admitted to still using a paper-based system.

So which is better? That’s not an easy question to answer, even for a productivity expert because the winner is in the eyes of the user.

checkmarkA paper-based system has a certain solidness to it. You get to touch your system and hold it in your hands. For people that are very tactile focused, this concreteness can make all the difference. Being able to write with your own hand, feel the pen move across the paper, turn the page, tab it, shuffle paper, put a post-it note on it, etc. can make all the difference. The act of being able to physically manipulate the system is what helps the paper-based user to stay in control of the system and perhaps even enjoy using it. The disadvantages to this “ol d fashioned” type system include a limited/finite amount of space/storage, inconvenient size if the system is too large to fit into a small purse or pocket for example, and the fear that your system can be easily lost or destroyed with no back up.

People that are digital focused tend to do better with an electronic system. There are many advantages, including the ability to set reminders and alarms, an amazing amount of storage (especially if your digital system is in the cloud), portability and often a small size if you use your system on a handheld device, and the ability to share and synchronize with other’s calendars in workplace. Some disadvantages are that you can’t always see the full month view (a real pet peeve for those that are strong visual learners), and it’s not satisfying for tactile individuals who love the feel of pen to paper.

I used a Filofax day planner for years when I was still practicing law. I absolutely loved it! The smell o f the leather, the feel of the paper, the way my pen filled up the pages with appointments, and the fact that it was always with me ready to serve me at a moment’s notice. I was very careful about the way I handled it, and was adamant about not losing it. Some lawyers were so fearful that they may lose their daily planner that they offered a hefty financial reward to anyone that found it and returned it to them! I knew someone that left his planner on a plane and got it back and did indeed send a large check to the finder.

I fought the digital revolution tooth and nail for a long time, as I loved my Filofax and it served me well in the sense that I used it religiously and had great time management skills. But when the Palm Pilot was created (yes, I am dating myself!), I thought I had died and gone to Heaven, which is surprising for such a tactile person (I love to write by hand… even to this day!). I think it was the fact that it looked like a Filofax (leather bound, small size with the device inside) and you could “write” with a stylus. So it was a great transition piece as it mimicked many of the attributes of a paper system, but was the beginning of the digital overthrow — at least for me!

asanaThe Palm was the first in line of many digital time management systems. I am now fully digital using Asana as my digital task/project management system (if you haven’t checked it out, go to — it is free and pretty amazing!), and iCal as my digital calendar system on all of my Mac devices (iPhone, iPad and iMac). BUT I still often make a daily to-do list on good old fashioned paper, and sometimes I even do a Brain Dump on paper when I have a lot of mental clutter in my head and need to get it out. There is still something so satisfying to me about running th at pen across the paper and watching the words appear. And there is nothing like the feeling of physically crossing an item off your to-do list!

If you are still struggling with whether to go fully-digital or continue using your tried-and-true-but-outdated paper system, realize that you can use both. Just be careful not to duplicate your efforts (by using two systems for the exact same purpose) or create systems that conflict and compete with each other.

In the end, there is no “perfect” system. The ultimate goal of any productivity or time management system should be to capture and complete the tasks and responsibilities that make up your personal and professional life, not necessarily HOW that is accomplished. The system doesn’t have to be pretty or stylish (unless aesthetics are important to you), or the latest and greatest digital marvel (unless being a techie is fun for you and you love being an early adopter). The system just has to do its job, which is to help you manage your time and tasks better. Free yourself from the mindset that one is better than the other, and ask yourself which is better for you at this particular time in your life. And if you absolutely can’t choose one or the other, feel free to create a system that incorporates both the paper and digital worlds. Heck, you never know… it just may become the next big thing!

So psyched to be the featured speaker at the July 23rd event hosted by the American Marketing Association chapter in Sacramento, CA. I’ll be presenting “Boost Your Productivity to Be More Successful!” If you are local, come join us. Should be a great event — here are more details:

productivity-July23rdWould you like to achieve new heights through greater organization and productivity?

Come learn tips and tools of the trade as productivity expert, Lisa Montanaro, provides solutions to real-life productivity problems. This fast-paced and entertaining presentation provides practical techniques for managing time, paper, information, projects, and yourself. Enhance your organizational and time management skills to become more productive, achieve your priorities, and make your business more successful.

Grab & Go Strategies:

  • Take control of your day by effective planning & scheduling.
  • Focus on your priorities and work more productively.
  • Handle interruptions and time wasters that drain productivity.
  • Overcome procrastination and minimize reactively running your business and life.
  • Delegate and use others more effectively.
  • Manage information overload.
  • Develop a personal action plan to enhance organizing & time management skills.


5:30-6:30 Registration and Networking/Cocktails/Appetizers

6:30-7:45 Presentation + 15 minutes for questions


Seasons 52
1689 Arden Way Suite 1065, Sacramento, California 95815

See the details here, and register here

Dynamic Public Speaking


Speak Up Summer Camp:
Crafting & Delivering Killer Presentations to
Boost Your Business or Career
June 1-July 20,2017

Want to become a great public speaker or hone your existing speaking skills? You can! Have you been asked to give a presentation and are scared to death, don’t know where to start, or are overwhelmed with how to pull it off? Fear no more! Want to really wow your audience/client and get spin off speaking gigs? Look no further! retro microphone and red curtainSpeak Up is a coaching and training program for aspiring speakers, as well as speakers with experience that want to “up their game” and knock it out of the park! Drawing upon my background as a performer, lawyer, professional speaker, and speaker coach, I will pull the speaker out of you so that you can ace your speaking engagements with confidence. I have successfully presented this speaking program live in many locations across the U.S., including New York, Seattle and New Orleans. Now I am offering it as a virtual program so that you can take advantage of it no matter where you live from the comfort of your own home or office. No travel expenses involved! It is ultra convenient. All you need is a phone and/or computer.

FullSizeRenderAnd it gets even better.

I had the pleasure of co-presenting this program live in 2013 in New Orleans with a colleague of mine. And it got rave reviews! So I’m inviting this colleague to be a guest faculty member for this LMG University program, and co-facilitate it along with me. And she’s not just anyone. My partner in crime is Monica Ricci, who is an accomplished speaker extraordinaire. In fact, Monica and I have shared the stage together a few times now with amazing results. We have been called The Dynamic Duo! (Click here to check out my blog post about how Monica and I came together to present this program live a few years ago in New Orleans!)

lisa-simplejoyliving“Speak Up was one of the best courses I’ve ever taken! Lisa and Monica shared a wealth of information based on their many years of speaking experience. In just 8 weeks, I felt like I had received years of training. The course content was incredibly rich and I continue to refer back to the handouts and notes as I increase my speaking services. Whether you have never taken the stage or you’ve been speaking for a while, you’re sure to learn something in this course!”

~Lisa Luken, Simple Joy Living

maryannI was recently asked by my peers, who made the most impact on me at the NAPO New Orleans 2013 conference. My answer was very easy… The bar was set for my first time NAPO conference at a Pre-Conference Presentation called, Speak Up! Deliver Killer Presentationswith Lisa Montanaro and Monica Ricci. They were amazing! I almost wish I would have seen them at the end, because nothing compared to them for me…sorry Keynote Speakers. These two ladies spoke upand delivered a KILLER PRESENTATION!

~ Maryann Peters, LG Fairmont Group, New York, NY

Join us for this amazing 8 week teleclass-based group program (with video components included) that will help you:
  • Conduct engaging, informative and interactive presentations for audiences large and small.
  • Learn how to prepare and deliver presentations of different types, lengths, and targeted to different audiences.
  • Improve your oral and nonverbal communication styles.
  • Inspire and motivate participants, exude confidence and enthusiasm, and establish credibility.
  • Overcome your fear of public speaking and use that fear to your advantage.Meeting-group
  • Increase speaking confidence.
  • Discover how to connect with the audience, use humor, and let your unique personality and style shine.
  • Learn how to effectively handle speaking snafus, such as interruptions, hecklers, and technical difficulties.
  • Get coaching and feedback from two professional speakers who make a significant portion of their income through speaking.
  • Learn how to use speaking as an income stream and a marketing funnel to build your business.

Whether conducting trainings, workshops, keynotes, or any other type of presentation, this program will help you become a more dynamic speaker!

miriamLisa and Monica really know how to speak, and how to teach others how to speak, and how to have fun doing it. I was already a speaker, but came away with some really practical and easy to implement ways to improve what I was already doing. It’s the little things that make all the difference and they covered them all. My next few gigs went smoothly and my confidence improved because I had a plan for structuring my talk, and what shoes to wear! Investing in learning from these two was one of the best business decisions I’ve made.

~ Miriam Ortiz y Pino CPO®

Two years ago I took Lisa Montanaro & Monica Ricci’s ‘Speak Up Summer Camp Virtual Class.’ I had a great time and learned so much about becoming a better public speaker. They helped me learn where to look for speaking opportunities, how to craft better talks, and feel more at ease giving them. I know you will enjoy this opportunity presented by these fantastic women.

~ Jennifer Lava, Professional Organizer, Austin, TX

Why a Speaking Program, and Why This One in Particular?

Business Man Giving A ConferenceMany entrepreneurs want to add speaking to their menu of services to boost their income and credibility. Through speaking, you can add an entirely new and profitable income stream to your business. If you are already speaking, you can increase your speaking fee as you gain more skills and confidence as a speaker. And of course, you can always speak to get more clients, as speaking is an amazing marketing tool. But many entrepreneurs are still not comfortable with speaking before a live audience due to lack of confidence and know-how! Most speaking programs out there focus mostly (some only) on speaking as a marketing tool. This program will include a marketing component, but will also deliver real nuts and bolts (skills and tools) with regard to the craft of speaking. A program only focusing on speaking as a marketing stream misses the boat. You have to be a dynamic speaker to knock it out of the park in the first place or no one will ever ask you to speak again, let alone pay you to do so! This program will also provide a supportive, fun, and professional environment to ask questions, get answers, share ideas. And for those that choose to do a video submission, it will also provide a much-needed opportunity to practice and get feedback.

What Makes This Speaking Program Different Than Others Out There?

Monica and LisaMonica and I offer a totally unique perspective on how to add pizazz to your speaking engagements! As a speaker, I tap into my performance background to bring in acting, improv, skits, role-playing, characters, accents, humor, and singing and dancing to my speaking engagements (yes, for real!).

Monica brings in her wit, charm, down to earth style and humor to wow her audiences (this girl is funny, let me tell you!). We want it to be your turn! We will teach you to use everything in your bag of tricks, but in a strategic and professional way that draws clients and audiences to you, not repels them. You will learn how to develop “stage presence” in your speaking engagements so you can shine.

deborahLisa and Monica’s Speak Up Program was brilliantly executed! They provided solid advice in an easy to understand format which will help you implement what you’ve learned very quickly. I’d recommend their program to anyone who wants to be a speaker or grow their existing speaking business. An added bonus is Lisa’s high energy and Monica’s sense of humor!

~ Deborah J. Cabral, CPO®, The DeClutter Coach

The Interactive Nature of This Program

Our style will be interactive to encourage participation. We will be posing questions of participants, expect participants to ask questions and participate in exercises. Participants will be given the opportunity, on a voluntary basis (we won’t force you if you don’t want to!), to submit a video of you presenting/speaking, which will then be viewed by the participants and us through private video links. Participants will receive constructive and positive feedback in a safe environment so that they can continue to practice and know what to focus on to improve. You will have the opportunity to watch/listen to other participants present, which will reinforce different presentation styles and uniqueness.

Here’s What You Will Get as Part of the Speak Up Summer Camp Program

  • phone_call8 weeks of group coaching calls with your co-facilitators, Lisa & Monica, and your fellow Speak Up group members covering powerful content to help you become a dynamic public speaker. These calls will be open line allowing for interaction and discussion. This is key to a group program — the opportunity to ask your questions live with other members. (Some of the best learning happens from listening to others’ questions andLisa & Monica’s answers!). The program has a group coaching element to it. Each session will have a designated topic to guide the discussion for that evening. Lisa & Monica will cover the content, and serve as co-facilitators and coaches to provide motivation and accountability. Come prepared to share ideas, ask questions and learn from each other, not just from Lisa & Monica!
  • Mp3 player with clipping pathMp3 recordings of all calls. Can’t make the live calls? No problem! All teleclasses will be recorded.
  • Course materials – Throughout the program, handouts will be provided to reinforce the topics. Handouts may include articles, outlines, templates, checklists, exercises and samples. Handouts will be provided in advance or immediately following class in electronic format.
  • facebook_pagePrivate Facebook group – Where you can network and mastermind with other members, gather feedback, ask questions, AND have access to Lisa & Monica during the entire program (yes, Lisa & Monica will be personally monitoring the page and interacting and engaging with members the entire 8 weeks). In between calls, you will work on your homework assignments and you’ll receive support from Lisa & Monica and other participants the entire way through.
  • LMG University Degree – Certificate of Course Completion.Certificate / Diploma template with red and gold border
  • Status as an LMG University Alumni which provides you with discounts on future LMG University courses, programs and retreats.

Special Bonus for the First 5 People to Register

(If you are one of the first 5 to register, watch your email for your special gifts.)


An audio interview of Lisa Montanaro titled “Breakthrough to Big: Speaking as a Breakthrough Moment for an Entrepreneur” from a telesummit she participated in as a guest expert hosted by Cathy Goodwin.


An ebook by Monica Ricci titled “Your Life Organized: It’s Not About The Stuff.”

hazelI took the inaugural Speak Up!” workshop at the NAPO 2013 Conference in New Orleans. The material was comprehensive and useful; and the presenters were entertaining and inspiring. If you have hesitated to speak publicly, hesitate no more — Lisa and Monica will tell you everything you need to know, put you at ease, and make you laugh while they’re at it!

~ Hazel Thornton, Organized For Life

Schedule & Description of Sessions


June 1 to July 20.


Calls will be open line style via teleclass line, and start at 7 pm Eastern, 6 pm Central, 5 pm Mountain and 4 pm Pacific. They will be 90 minutes in length and will always be recorded!


Week 1
  • The Art & Craft of Public Speaking
  • What is Public Speaking? Purpose & Aim
  • Elements of Public Speaking
  • Effective Orators
  • Overcoming the Fear of Public Speaking
Week 2
  • Crafting the Presentation
  • Content
  • Pre-Engagement Rituals
  • Setting Audience Expectations
  • Structure of Presentation
  • Creating Your Outline
Week 3
  • Delivery – Communication
  • Verbal Communication
  • Non-Verbal Communication
Week 4
  • Delivery – Connection
  • Tailoring Content & Delivery to the Audience
  • The Art of Engagement: Adding Humor and Authenticity
  • Choosing Your Signature Stories
  • Connecting Using Technology
Week 5
  • Expect the Unexpected
  • Handling Distractions
  • Improvising
  • Mastering Q&A
  • Uncooperative Audience Members
  • Technology Snafus
Week 6
  • Groups/target markets to speak for and how to reach them
  • Organizations to consider joining: Toastmasters & NSA
  • Speaking as Marketing Tool
    • Seeding your talks to get clients or to sell products
    • Non-monetary compensation: What to ask for if speak for free
  • Speaking as Income Stream: Pricing out your presentations/overcoming fee objections
Week 7
  • The Business of Being a Speaker
    • Speaker Marketing Materials –
      • You Tube channel, demo video, Speaker One Sheet, Speaker Kit, Speaking page on website
    • Open Q&A on marketing yourself as a speaker
Week 8
  • Putting It All Together
  • Increase Speaking Confidence
  • Constant Evaluation
  • Post-Speaking Rituals & Practices
  • Skill Check
  • Practice Makes Perfect
  • Video Submissions Review & Feedback

Now is the Perfect Time to Participate in a Program Like This

This program can be done from the comfort of your own home or office. That is the beauty of a virtual program. All you need is your telephone, and perhaps a computer/tablet/smart phone if you want to take it a step further. It is an ideal time to take a professional development program and learn something that will improve your skills, and add to your business’ bottom line. Come spring, you are ready to roll, booking those speaking gigs, reaping the benefits of the program. So get ready to have fun while learning how to be a dynamic speak.

Who Are Your Speak Up Co-Facilitators?

Lisa Montanaro


You can read my formal Bio and some fun facts about me and my business here. My official titles are Productivity Consultant, Success Coach, Business Strategist, Speaker & Author. But what I’m sure you really want to know is what makes me qualified to facilitate a program about the art and craft of public speaking. I have a life long love affair and proficiency with the spoken word (just ask my teachers who scolded me for talking too much in class when I was a kid!) If there was a stage, soap box, or any other place to speak, I was on it. Indeed, I grew up on stage as a performer, served as an instructor and interpreter of the deaf (yes, I can “speak” sign language), and practiced law for 9 years in and out of courtrooms.

Once I became an entrepreneur in 2002, I originally started speaking to get more business as a coach and consultant, and then quickly turned it into one of my main income streams. I qualified to become a member of the National Speakers Association (NSA) in 2008, which requires 25 paid gigs a year. Since then, I have had the pleasure of delivering hundreds of live presentations for regional and national conferences, corporations, associations, and in numerous workplace settings, as well as be a guest on radio and cable TV, and deliver online teleclasses and webinars. I was the leader of the Speaking for Fees Special Interest Group of the National Association of Professional Organizers from 2011-2013. I am a member of the Association of Training & Development (ASTD), and a frequent presenter for that group.

I have served as a private speaking coach to many people over the years, including police officers, politicians, lawyers, entrepreneurs, organizers, rabbis — even a farmer! And lastly, I have presented this exact program live on many occasions to rave results, and started noticing how many people wanted to take it but couldn’t be in the exact place at the exact time. That sparked the idea to make this virtual and well, here we are.

Oh and did I mention that I like to talk? 🙂 Actually, here is the REAL reason why I speak. “It is a great thrill and honor to use the public speaking platform as a way to change peoples lives, impact their work, and to ultimately contribute to the transformation of society and this world. Exploring new places and engaging with new people is one of my favorite things to do. I find people and places fascinating and am a lifelong learner that tries to see the world as an amazing school that can constantly fill me up with knowledge and insight. Traveling around the U.S. and hopefully soon, the world, as one of my goals is to speak globally to share what Ive gleaned from my background as a performer, educator, mediator, lawyer, entrepreneur, coach, consultant and writer is an absolute joy and privilege. I love to connect with audiences that are hungry for something new something that just might positively shift their thinking, their business/career, and their lives.” ~ Lisa Montanaro

Raves for Lisa Montanaro

Amy RehkemperLisa delivered on her promise to provide high-level content backed up by real-life examples garnered from her years of experience as a business coach and successful entrepreneur running her own business. She not only gives you solid tips and tools, but answers tons of questions and does mini-coaching moments on the spot so that attendees can tailor the content to their own businesses and learn from hearing her answers to other attendees. She is approachable, funny, and whip-smart too! What a winning combination! Attendees said they got their money’s worth and more, and were excited to implement the best practices into their businesses. Want to ensure that your business building event is a success? Make sure it includes Lisa Montanaro!

~ Amy Rehkemper, NAPO Baltimore Chapter

T AngelaPloetz“Shes bright and shiny on a dreary day, she sings, she dances, shes a Professional Organizer, oh and did I mention shes an attorney too? Shes 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 didnt know where to turn to for the answers. Lisa is multi-talented, but what I really like about her is her approachability.”

~Angela Ploetz, A Red Bench

yonkers“Your ‘Dynamic Presentations: Stand and Deliver’ workshop was very valuable. The practical experience of speaking in front of a group and getting instant feedback was great. I learned techniques that I will utilize immediately. Thank you.”

~ John Flynn, Deputy Fire Chief, City of Yonkers, NY Fire Department

Monica Ricci

Monica-RicciMonica Ricci founded Catalyst Organizing, LLC in 1998 and is a Certified Professional Organizer®, speaker, trainer, author, blogger, media spokesperson and productivity consultant. She presents workshops and keynotes on time management, getting organized and living a simple, powerful life. Monica has appeared in hundreds of national publications, on Fox & Friends and CNN and has been a spokesperson for several Fortune 500 companies.

A leader in her industry, she is a recipient of the National Association of Professional Organizers President’s Award as well as the Founders’ Award, her industry’s highest honor. Monica is committed to helping individuals change their lives by changing their environments, their habits, and their ability to manage time and priorities through her interactive speaking, workshops and training programs.

Her upbeat style and enthusiastic attitude engage audience members so they leave having both learned and laughed. Monica believes teaching people new skills, helping them clarify their priorities and inspiring them to act enables them to dramatically transform their lives and discover their purpose and passions. Monica is the author of Organize Your Office In No Time, a busy person’s guide to being more effective and productive at work.

She has written for and been quoted in hundreds of national publications including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Business Week, Newsday, Investors Business Daily, Good Housekeeping, InStyle Magazine, Mens Edge and Advisor Today Magazine. She has served as a media spokesperson for Office Depot, Rubbermaid, JCPenney, Dymo, Chase, Beazer Homes and several other Fortune 500 companies and was named one of the nation’s “Organizing Elite” by Forbes Magazine.

As a speaker, she presents seminars and keynotes on time management, overcoming procrastination and living a simple, joyful, powerful life. Her speaking clients include Coca-Cola, EarthLink, Longhorn, Paramount Pictures, the U.S. Court of Appeals, GE Capital, Special Olympics Georgia, the U.S. Army, The National Head Start Association, Oklahoma State University and Kennesaw State University.

Raves for Monica Ricci

“Thanks for a great learning experience. I can definitely say that your ideas are already paying big dividends for me!”

~ Brad Feldser, Kennesaw State University

“Thank you so much for all of the great ideas, but especially for taking the time to understand us, our business and our issues. You’ve made a big difference to our bottom line.”

~ Tom Testa, President, Horizon Signs and Graphics

“I thought your presentation was the best I’ve been to on the problem of clutter and disorganization. I believe what set you apart was condensing it all into those five principles, which for me, had the impact of a fastball to the jaw.”

~ Georgia Dzurica, WORDz, A Writing Resource

“I really enjoyed your presentation, far more than I have other events. I found you to be very funny, precise and TIME CONSCIOUS! It must be a side benefit of being organized.”

~ Michael Baker, Greater Atlanta Business Coalition

What You Will Experience as Part of the Speak Up Summer Camp Program


The practical steps, and know-how delivered in an easy-to-understand, step-by-step style. This is where you get to tap into our experience as speakers, including our lessons learned along the way!


Coaching to ask the questions that peel back the layers, dig deep and get to the core of your speaking.


Mentoring to advise you through any learning curves and inspire you to play a bigger game. We are open to sharing our own lessons learned and success principles, as we find that one of the best ways to learn is by listening to people talk candidly about their mistakes made and what they learned from them along the way.


Masterminding so that we can brainstorm ideas together as a group and come up with solutions that are exciting and stretch you, but are also realistic.

Support & Accountability:

Support & Accountability from a group that believes in you and wants you to succeed as a speaker. Think of us as your kick-butt speaking coaches, fearless leaders who have forged the path before you, and cheerleaders all rolled into one. And the other members of Speak Up will be our trusty side-kicks offering their own support and accountability too!

If you want results and are ready to Speak Up, then join us!

Your Investment

Many people have been asking me to share this type of content and create a virtual program like this for years. And I am thrilled to finally be able to share it with you, and to co-facilitate it with my friend and colleague Monica Ricci. But we don’t want finances to keep you from becoming a dynamic public speaker! So we have kept this program affordable.

The program is only $797!

2638585PLUS, You Can Take Advantage of a Private Coaching Upgrade with Lisa

If you want one-on-one private coaching with Lisa any time during the program (or for 30 days after), you have the option of upgrading and adding on a 3-session bundle at the special rate of only $499 (which is $100 savings, as a single Strategy Session with Lisa is $200, so 3 sessions would regularly cost $600). Lisa only offers this upgrade in conjunction with an LMGU program – you will not be able to book this in any other way. This option is available for purchase only until the end of the Speak Up program, and all 3 sessions must be used within 30 days after it ends.

Even at FULL price, you’ll get this 12-hour intensive, info-packed, soup-to-nuts speaking class for only $67 per hour!

Wait! If you’re registering with a friend, please use the link in the Bring a Friend Special Offer section below! That is the only way to get the special discount as part of that program.

Speak Up Summer Camp Program

Full Pay Option

BEST VALUE: 1 payment of only $797.

Easy Pay Option

OR 2 easy payments of $435 each if you prefer to spread the investment out over time

Speak Up Summer Camp Program with Private Coaching Upgrade

Full Pay Option

1 payment of only $1296 (1 payment of only $797 plus the private coaching upgrade of only $499).

Easy Pay Option

2 payments of only $684.50 (for program and private coaching upgrade combined)

That’s an amazingly affordable price to spend 8 weeks learning how to be a dynamic speaker!

Bring-a-Friend Special Offer

Want to take Speak Up with a friend or colleague? You can! 

For the first time, we are offering a special which allows two friends to register for Speak Up together and get a great deal! You each get $200 off of registration. Yup, you read that right! That’s an overall savings of $400 between the two of you. (And don’t forget that if you register before May 15th, you get the extra savings of the Early Bird Rate!).

The catch? You must register at one time. Click on the link below and follow the instructions. You will need to purchase under one name, and then can add your friend’s name during registration. Then the two of you can split the registration any way you want. Simple. 

Why are we offering this option? Because we noticed that when friends take these types of programs together, they cheer each other on, hold each other accountable, practice together, and often even develop presentations together.

So grab a friend and come join us! At this special rate, you would be crazy not to!


** PLEASE NOTE that the Bring-a-Friend Offer is not available retroactively after you have already registered. It must be selected at the time of purchase and the full Bring-a-Friend rate must be paid. Thank you for your understanding. 

LMGU Alumni

To thank you for your loyalty, you get a special rate for this program. Please contact to get the special LMGU Alumni rate!

NAPO Members

NAPO is a professional association that Monica and Lisa belong to and cherish. If you are a NAPO member, please contact to get the special NAPO Member coupon code!

If you have any questions, email

Raves for LMG University

natasharickertWow! Where do I begin when it comes to sharing about the bottom line impact that the Successfully Self Employed Semester offered by LMG University has had on my business, goals and perspective?! Some of the value I received in participating in this 12 week program was knowing that Im going to save a ton of time and money implementing what I learned, versus stumbling around on my own trying to figure it out. During SSES, we thoroughly discussed the crucial topics needed to be a successful business owner. Due to Lisas exceptional expertise, as well as the camaraderie and team spirit of the participants, I accomplished several goals and tasks promptly and efficiently while learning how to increase my sales, legally protect, and automate my business. Belonging to a group of entrepreneurs who come with their unique backgrounds and experiences complimented by Lisas invaluable knowledge and business savvy, we were able to walk through personal and professional fears, and gain broader perspectives around what may be going on behind the scenes. We addressed some of the deeper issues holding us and our businesses back. What a gift to receive on-the-spot input, ideas and constructive feedback regarding my elevator speech, marketing materials, legal business status, and so much more. If youre looking for a program that will show you how to maximize results and profits over the long haul, I highly recommend Lisa Montanaros Successfully Self Employed Semester.

~ Natasha Rickert,