paula rizzo listproducer

I’m Paula Rizzo And This Is What Makes Me A High Performer

Want to instantly become more productive?

What about feeling you are in control of your own schedule and life?

Start making lists. Lots of them.

Externalize all your thoughts on a piece of paper, or better yet, a to-do list application. From what you need to do to launch that million-dollar product that is going to revolutionize the world as we know it, to what you need to pick up from the store on your way back from work, lists will make you more productive and organized. Get into the habit of thinking on paper. Make lists.

Become a “compulsive list maker”.

That’s what Paula Rizzo did and that is what makes her a high performer.

Having a list for everything makes her:

  • More organized
  • Less stressed
  • Empowered
  • More successful
  • More efficient
  • Focused
  • More productive

Yeah, yeah, but lists are only for home chores… can you use them at work?

Besides a busy blogger with a very active social media presence, Paula is an Emmy Award winning producer and she attributes much of her success to being organized, ready and prepared for anything. In other words, to making lists.

But enough with the introduction, I will let Paula speak for herself now…

Who are you and what do you do?

I’m an Emmy-award winning television producer in New York City and the founder of is all about using lists to be more successful, productive and less stressed. I’m always looking for great list-making techniques, apps and ways to make people’s lives easier.

What’s the first thing that you do when you wake up?

I refuse to take my smartphone into the bedroom with me, but I must admit — it’s the first thing I check when I get up.

How does your typical morning look like?

I get up much earlier than I need to everyday because I really like to start my day in a gentle and slow way. I usually check some emails, do yoga for a few minutes, eat breakfast, drink tea and read the newspaper. I love to start my day informed and feel like I’ve accomplished something, even if it’s just responding to a few emails, before heading out the door.

Besides sleep, what activity takes the most out of your day/night?

Sitting at my desk.

How many emails pass through your inbox every day?

At work as a producer I get hundreds per day. And for I get a few dozen. That’s not to mention all the personal emails I also receive. I need lots of filters and folders to get through the day!

How often do you think about your goals, review them, and take action on them?

I think about goals daily. I keep a list of them in Evernote and check in on them pretty regularly. It’s nice to have everything out of my head and in one spot.

What are the essential habits that you’ve formed to help you achieve your goals?

Writing them down, making a list of everything I want to do even if I don’t understand how it could possibly happen. One of my favorite quotes is from Oprah Winfrey and she says “You become what you believe.” (Note from Kosio: check out this video for some more Oprah motivation). I think that’s an essential mindset for achieving goals.

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?

Evernote is like an extension of my brain — it basically manages my entire life from personal information to maintaining my blog. (Note from Kosio: if you want to learn how to really benefit from Evernote check out this super cool ebook).

What’s your workspace setup like?

I usually divide it into three spaces — now, next and coming up. So I’ll have projects I need to work on now right in front of me, the ones that are next are close by and the ones coming up are off to the side.

What’s your best time-saving trick?

Evernote — it’s a great place to store all the information that you know you’re going to need at some point. Then when you need it — it’s so easy and quick to find it!

How do you deal with failure and how do you pick yourself up if you are struggling?

Without the failures, the success wouldn’t be as sweet. But it’s frustrating none-the-less. I try to keep a positive attitude and think there’s a reason it didn’t work out and it’s because something even better is out there for me.

What motives you to do what you do?

That’s a tough question. I’m not really sure. Since I was a kid my parents always said I was relentless — in a good way! When I put my mind to something, I really like to follow through.

What’s in your RSS reader (what blogs do you follow)?

If you invite me for a cup of tea what types of books would I find on your shelf at home?

Some novels, but mostly self-help books. Some of the newer ones are Gary Vaynerchuk’s “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook,” and “10% Happier” by Dan Harris.

If you could have dinner with any person (dead or alive) who would it be and what would you ask them?

Barbara Walters — she’s been an inspiration to me my entire life. I’d love to know how she stays focused and productive.

What’s your favorite success quote?

Oprah Winfrey: “You become what you believe.”

Over to you now

Paula has a new book coming out soon – “Listful Thinking: Using Lists to be Productive, Successful and Less Stressed”, so be on the lookout for this list-making-productivity-boosting gem. For more information on Paula and to get some really practical productivity tips head over to (and don’t forget to sign up for the newsletter). You should also follow her on Twitter as that is where the action happens these days.

In the meantime, start making lists. Take out whatever is in your head right now and put it in a piece of paper (or Evernote). List-making will make you more organized, more in control and even happier – some of the basic requirements for increased productivity and high performance. Take action. Make lists. It is that simple.

Are you a “compulsive list maker”? Share your thoughts on list-making and on this amazing interview in the comment section below: