Author/productivity coach Lisa Lelas to speak at B.I.G. meeting at MCC

By Corey AmEnde - Staff Writer
Regional - posted Fri., Feb. 14, 2014
Lisa Lelas, a nationally-recognized productivity coach, is the featured speaker for the Manchester/South Windsor chapter of Believe Inspire and Grow at its meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 26. Courtesy photo. - Contributed Photo

Nationally-recognized productivity coach and best-selling author Lisa Lelas will share her insights and expertise on staying organized at the February meeting of the Manchester/South Windsor Believe Inspire Grow (B.I.G.) pod. The meeting is scheduled for Feb. 26 in the first floor gallery space at Manchester Community College from 9 to 10:30 a.m.  You can register for the event via email at  The first meeting is free to nonmembers.

The Manchester/South Winsdor B.I.G. pod was just founded last month by pod leader Gina Johnson and assistant pod leader Mary Kay Kemper.  More than 50 women attended the first meeting that was held at Axis901 at 901 Main St., in Manchester.  The goal of the group is to provide educational and networking opportunities for women who are looking to re-enter the workforce or grow an entrepreneurial venture.

As a successful business woman and a single mom raising two teenaged daughters, Lelas can easily relate to the group. “As an entrepreneur, it’s challenging when you’re raising children and taking care of a family and running a business,” said Lelas. “So a lot of it is finding that balance because otherwise you’re on that hamster wheel going around and around, feeling like nothing is getting done.”

Lelas is going to focus her speech on organizing your home and office for better productivity. As a former casting directory in New York City, Lelas has a showbiz-themed motto: “If life is a stage… make sure you are sitting in the director’s chair!” With that seat in the “director's chair” comes a sense of control over one’s life, but the full extent of that control can be limited due to a lack of organization.  Lelas has a few tips to offer to help people stay organized.

First, she says, place a dollar value on your time. “A lot of women, especially middle-aged women raising kids and doing all these million things to keep things going, they tend to just give away their time,” said Lelas. 

“We’re just so afraid to say no. Oprah calls it the disease to please,” added Lelas. She suggests placing a dollar value on your time to help determine what you’re willing, or not willing, to spend your time on. 

Having a daily to-do list is another way to stay organized and the planning of this list is also crucial. “I believe that the 10 most important minutes of every day are the 10 minutes you’re planning the next day,” said Lelas. She suggests taking 10 minutes each day to write down what you want to accomplish the next day. Even if it’s just three items, Lelas says this will help teach you how to prioritize.

Speaking of priorities, checking email first thing in the morning is a priority for most people, but Lelas says this habit is a big waste of time. “I would much rather people check off one thing on their to-do list before they turn on the computer or go check the mail,” said Lelas. “Because if you get sent off course, other things all of a sudden are more important," she said. At least you will enter the day accomplished if you check one thing off the to-do list first, she recommended.

Lelas says another big waste of time is clutter, especially the piles of paper on the desktop. “Clutter is nothing more than delayed decisions,” said Lelas. One of the catalysts to clutter is what Lelas refers to as random placement. That’s when you take one item such as a pair of scissors, use those scissors, and then put them someplace they don’t belong. Lelas said you can alleviate this problem by making sure that everything in your house and office has a home – a place that they belong. 

And for those of us who may need some help staying organized, Lelas runs a non-profit organizing support group called “clutter cutters.” This group is based on the shoreline, but Lelas said she is in the process of bringing one to the Manchester area.

Another tip Lelas offers, and this one is more from a design standpoint, is to have a streamlined space in each room; an “oasis of a clutter free zone. I like to have one horizontal space in every room completely clear of clutter, and I make it a secret zone in each room and designate a space,” said Lelas. 

In addition to organizing the stuff and materials items around your home and office, Lelas says it’s also important to keep your mental outlook clear of negative thoughts. One exercise she suggests to get on the path of positive thinking is to give yourself a compliment every morning, out loud, in front of the bathroom mirror. “Start treating number one as number one,” said Lelas. “It’s not being selfish, it’s being a better role model because you’ll be a better person, a better friend, a better parent when you start treating yourself with respect.”

Lelas is the author of three self-help books, all of which will be available for purchase and signing after her presentation.  In addition to being a writer, she has also appeared on "Oprah" and is the organizing segment reporter for WTNH on Saturdays on "Good Morning Connecticut."

Lelas is originally from Vernon and attended Rockville High School. Her first job was with the Reminder and its affiliate newspaper at the time, The Tri-Town Reporter.

For more information on Lelas, visit or follow her on twitter @organizerlisa.

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