I just put a resource list together for my Goal Getting workshop and thought, this is a pretty valuable list, I should share it…

productivity meme

If you’re like me and saving time is everything, I got you with those quick click-through Amazon links:

  1. The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results - Jay Papasan + Gary Keller

  2. The Four Tendencies: The Indispensable Personality Profiles That Reveal How to Make Your Life Better (and Other People's Lives Better, Too) - Gretchen Ruben

  3. Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs - John Doerr

  4. 12 Week Year: Get More Done in 12 Weeks than Others Do in 12 Months - Brian P. Moran and Michael Lennington

  5. Procrastinate on Purpose: 5 Permissions to Multiply Your Time - Rory Vaden

  6. Take the Stairs: 7 Steps to Achieving True Success - Rory Vaden

  7. Smarter Faster Better: The Transformative Power of Real Productivity - Charles Duhigg

  8. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business - Charles Duhigg

  9. The 10X Rule: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure - Grant Cardone

  10. No BS Time Management for Entrepreneurs: The Ultimate No Holds Barred Kick Butt Take No Prisoners Guide to Time Productivity and Sanity - Dan Kennedy

  11. Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World - Cal Newport

  12. Stretch: Unlock the Power of Less -and Achieve More Than You Ever Imagined - Scott Sonenshein

  13. GRIT: The Power of Passion and Perseverance - Angela Duckworth

  14. The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8AM) - Hal Elrod

  15. How Will You Measure Your Life? - Clayton Christensen

If you’d like a bit more information about each of these titles, carry on for slightly more context on and notes from the 15 best books for goal setting and productivity-minded individuals.

  1. The One Thing - Jay Papasan + Gary Keller

    I’ve read this book more than any others on the list — at least three or four times — and whenever I am struggling to focus, it’s the one I come back to. The authors ask a valuable question, which apply in so many circumstances: “What is the one thing I can do such that everything else will become easier or unnecessary? This book taught me to learn how to say no so I can do fewer things, better. It taught me the importance of time blocking to get my most important work done, and how to use the domino effect to grow motivation and reach.

  2. The Four Tendencies - Gretchen Ruben
    To be honest, I breezed through this book because it felt fluffy and repetitive. BUT — the concept was eye-opening and useful for personal discovery. It answers the question, how do you respond to expectations, both internal and external. By understanding this, we “can make better decisions, meet deadlines, meet our promises to ourselves, suffer less stress, and engage more deeply with others.” If you’re short on time, I recommend heading over to https://quiz.gretchenrubin.com/ to take the test + read about the different tendencies.

  3. Measure What Matters - John Doerr
    Hi, the author’s name is basically ‘doer’ and he wrote a book on productivity! I’m going to pay attention. People who record their goals and measure weekly progress are significantly more likely to achieve their goals. Besides the fact that this book feeds my nerdy craving for data and totally validates it, I love the push to set harder, higher goals. Those who set higher goals may not reach them as often, but studies show subjects with stretch goals are more productive, motivated, and engaged. Want harder goals? Ask harder questions.

  4. 12 Week Year - Brian P. Moran and Michael Lennington
    This is another one that I breezed through with a “yeah, yeah” mentality, but I really liked how the authors emphasized the importance of splitting goals up into smaller, more manageable chunks of time. It bothered me that they presented the 12 Week Year as a novel concept (hi, have you heard of quarters?!), but I appreciate the push to make bigger commitments in a shorter amount of time and to have the courage to measure your results.

  5. Procrastinate on Purpose - Rory Vaden
    One of my all-time favorite quotes comes from this book: “Work double time part time for free time full time.” This book is also full of reminders to say no to things that are not crucial, and figure out what else you can delegate. Being a strong leader and leveraging other people’s skills is a great way to get more done!

  6. Take the Stairs - Rory Vaden
    If you want to know what a person believes in, check their calendar and their checkbook. How they spend their time and their money is an accurate indicator of what they believe in. This is a quick read that encourages you to take the time to develop discipline and habits that will benefit you in the long run.

  7. Smarter Faster Better - Charles Duhigg
    Similar to most of the books on this list, Duhigg suggests setting stretch goals weekly with 3-4 results you want to create. He explains that our goals explain our mental models and we tell ourselves stories about what we expect to see and the good news is, we create our reality, so see the future play out the way you want it to. He lays out a pretty straightforward formula: set big goals, figure out what needs to happen first, determine obstacles and distractions and how you will overcome them, and take action.

  8. The Power of Habit - Charles Duhigg
    The thing I love about this book is the relief that comes from knowing you don’t have to be disciplined at everything all the time. Learn to develop positive habits and within weeks and months you will eliminate extra emotional energy wasted on making decisions and negotiating with yourself about the same choices over and over again. “People do not decide their futures, they decide their habits and their habits decide their futures.” - F.M. Alexander

  9. 10X Principle - Grant Cardone
    Ok, this book is intense. Especially the audiobook, which I listened to. I do not recommend this for anyone who isn’t ready to be called out for not taking big action. Of course, that’s why I liked it. Put bluntly, Cardone will tell you as long as you are alive you will either be accomplishing your own goals and dreams or you will be used as a resource to accomplish someone else's goals and dreams. Which one do you want? And are you willing to put in the work to dominate? 

  10. No BS Time Management for Entrepreneurs - Dan Kennedy
    My biggest takeaway from this book is a sign that landed on my fridge — 1440 — the number of minutes we all have in a day. Similar to Tim Ferriss books, there are some really great “life hacks” in here for scheduling your days and weeks wisely, time blocking, and making tasks like emailing and meetings more efficient.

  11. Deep Work - Cal Newport
    This one changed the structure of my work day, and helped me develop more discipline for distractions. I know when I have important tasks that need to get done (typically creative efforts of life-blood tasks for my business), I have to do them first thing in the morning before I’ve opened my inbox or ventured out into the world, with headphones in and a clearly dedicated work space. Now that I understand deep work, I find it easier to get done, and quite energizing for the rest of my day!

  12. Stretch: Unlock the Power of Less -and Achieve More Than You Ever Imagined - Scott Sonenshein
    The best ideas come from the people who have the most ideas. Be willing to write down (and eventually toss out) a lot of terrible ideas and plans. But somewhere in the pile will be the gems that can change your life.

  13. GRIT - Angela Duckworth
    I wish I had written this book as my autobiography. Duckworth outlines how extraordinary results come from ordinary people who exhibit passion and persistence. After outlining the importance of resilience, she teaches how to stay consistently motivated by combining small, low-level, daily goals with a larger vision.

  14. The Miracle Morning - Hal Elrod
    Another huge game-changer for me. For about 18-months after reading this book, I followed Elrod’s formula for a morning routine and kicked mine off every morning at 5am. I have since adjusted my schedule but still incorporate the steps he suggests as part of my daily routine: meditate, affirmations, visualizations, exercise, read, journal/write.

  15. How Will You Measure Your Life? - Clayton Christensen
    Honestly, this one should be at the top of the list as I think it’s an excellent resource for figuring out the big picture of what you want from life. Christiansen helps us determine our priorities and balance professional life with all the other things that matter. At the end of the day, goal-setting, productivity, and success are great, but I consistently find that relationships and family are what make my life feel full of joy.


One of the things I’d like to do this year is to show my work. So… Here’s a peek into my brain + how I think/plan.

A few days ago I was struggling with the frustration that most of my goals for 2019 are financial, which was feeling empty and inauthentic. Money for the sake of money has never made me happy.

When something feels off like that, I start asking questions…

Such as:

  • How might this be different?

  • What if the opposite were true?

  • When this problem is solved, what is different?

  • How would my future self do things differently?

And then I think.


Questions open me up to a free write + brainstorm, which I almost always do on a blank white sheet of paper or a white board so it feels like a DRAFT.

(This allows me to create freely, without judgement and leaves room for any idea — even, and especially the terrible ones — to make it out. Terrible ideas are tossed, but I find that I am able to come to the best conclusions when I at least consider them as options.)

After reframing my goals, what will future Richelle be/think/do differently?

working hearter

Ta-da! A resolution; one that feels more aligned with my values, more purposeful, and more achievable.


Dream so big it scares you.

But then make sure you write it down and do it because a goal not written will remain a dream, but a dream with a plan can become a reality.

Setting massive goals for yourself takes practice. It takes a hell of ton of confidence to say, “I think I can do this” when it’s something you’ve never done before, and therefore have no evidence to suggest that you might be able to achieve it.

I remember the first time I set terrifying goals for myself. Several years ago, shortly after starting my business I bought a black posterboard and metallic sharpies and filled up the 18x24” sheet with my goals for the next few years. Among them, I set an annual revenue goal of $100k in 2016, and then $200k the year to follow. At the time, it seemed almost laughable to think that either was possible. I had most recently been working at a university earning $3,166 a month for a whopping annual salary of $37,600. Who was I to think I could nearly triple that with no real business experience and zero clients on the books?

On paper, I wasn’t qualified because it wasn’t something I had ever done before. However, after a year of hustling and learning how to asking the right questions and asking for help, I sat in the lobby of a local hotel totaling my contracts for the year. After hitting ‘enter’ on my =SUM(A2:A13) to get the column total, I began crying. The previous twelve months had been full of hope and full of stress, and every ounce of sweat had apparently culminated to create my new salary: $92,000. Sure, I hadn’t quite reached my $100k goal, but I could barely believe I had come that close.

The following year when I doubled that number again, I figured there had to be something to this posterboard full of goals on my wall.

So how do you set big hairy scary goals for yourself?

Step One: Think about the things you want; the greatest life you can imagine for yourself.

Step Two: Write it down (preferably somewhere you will see it regularly).

Do you want to make a million dollars next year? Take an extended trip to to southeast Asia with your partner? Quit your job and build a business?

Put it to paper, and commit to believing that it just might be possible. What’s the worst that can happen?

Oh, you’re worried you might not make it?

Guess what? I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you might not. Especially with that attitude. And in fact, if you are achieving 100% of your dreams 100% of the time, you’re not setting them high enough.

But who cares if you hit the massive goal or not?! Shoot for the moon and you’ll probably land among the stars.

Can you at least try to believe that they might be possible?

Don’t think about hitting your goal like a pass/fail opportunity that means you’re going to flunk out of college. Consider what your worst-case scenario might look like… instead of making a million you bring home a cool $200k? Instead of a six month trip to Asia, you only end up being able to go for three months? Didn’t end up quitting your job, but ended up with a promotion instead?

Sounds terrible.

Dream bigger. Set massive, “impossible” goals for your life and you just might surprise yourself with what you are able to accomplish.

Want to learn how to set bigger goals, and then get them? Join me for a Goal Getting Workshop on Jan 26!


I’m late to the game sharing, but I actually had my ‘word of the year’ (trend alert) embossed on my 2019 planner in November so I’d be ready.

This year I’m focusing on being FIERCE.

I’m not interested in being fearless. I’m no longer worried about being too much. I will not tolerate mediocrity or living a life of duty instead of the life of my dreams.

I want to lean into my big goals more fiercely than ever before.

I have set myself up to face a lot of new challenges this year and while it’s already making me uncomfortable in many ways, I’m also wildly excited to push my comfort zone and experience the growth that comes from leaning into uncertainty. If there’s one skill I’d like to refine, it is the ability to feel discomfort and act anyway, with a heartfelt and powerful intensity.

Fierceness is the combination of a positive mental spirit, bold words, and unapologetic actions used collectively — and that’s exactly what I have in mind for the next twelve months, and beyond.


It’s a tale as old as online form applications. You fill out the same god damn information about yourself (has anyone invented an app yet that can store and input this information on repeat?!), write a thoughtful cover letter using the appropriate amount of buzzwords from the job description, double check your social media to make sure all your tagged photos are appropriate, and hit send.

And then you wait. And wait. And wait. Sometimes forever.


Not even a “thank you for applying, but we went in a different direction” automated email. Nothing like being ghosted by a Fortune 100 company.

It’s been over five years since I last applied for a “traditional” job and I remember painstakingly waiting to hear what was going on with my application. Did they even receive it? Did I make it past the auto filters into a real live person’s inbox? Is the position even still available or did they go with an internal hire and just list the opening to fill some corporate red tape requirement?

As seems almost fair and natural, I would talk to my friends and complain endlessly about employers who didn’t take the time to respond to “no thank you” job applications. How hard can it be to send a two-line email?! Don’t make me wait! Seriously, at least let me know what’s going on so I can let go of the idea of working in your super swanky downtown startup?

Now, as an employer, the tides have turned and I sort of hate to say it, but I TOTALLY GET IT. When trying to fill a position you might receive dozens (or hundreds - at a larger company!) of applications. My job, in addition to keeping my entire business running, is to use the limited amount of time I have to narrow my search down to the best candidates as quickly as possible.

While I do think it is a nice courtesy to drop people a line and thank them for applying even if I’m not interested in a conversation, it is absolutely not necessary and unfortunately not my priority.

This has been a hugely eye-opening mindset shift for me and has changed how I think about pursuing work.

If for some godforsaken reason I was applying for a “regular” job through an online portal (I genuinely hope and expect that I will NEVER have to do this again!) and hadn’t heard back but was expecting a response, I would be contacting the right people at the company until I did. None of the waiting and whining I used to do. I would take control of the situation in an attempt to influence the outcome.

What does reaching out do for your new potential employer? Sure, there’s a possibility they might be annoyed that you’re contacting them, but what do you have to lose? If they already weren’t going to hire you they already weren’t going to hire you soooooo….

Worst case scenario: nothing changes, and you’ve done your very best.

Best case scenario: you stand out the crowd! You’ve shown this person that you are seriously interested in the job, willing to hustle, not afraid to reach out and let someone know what you want, and that you’re willing to follow up for as long as it takes to get a job done.  I can’t even tell you how blown away I’d be if someone took the time to find my phone number, call me, and let me know how thrilled they are at the idea of working with me. I’d certainly pay attention to their application.

Hiring managers, general managers, entrepreneurs are all extremely busy people and while applying for a new job might be your NUMBER ONE PRIORITY, you have to understand that it is very unlikely theirs.

A gentle, friendly check-in note will never do any harm. (If someone is offended or bothered by your followup they honestly sound like a terrible person to work for and you’re dodging a major bullet. Or maybe that’s just me?)

Anyway, if I were doing it, here’s what I’d write:

Hello Hiring Person, 

I’m sure you are busy, but I wanted to follow up on the status of your job search for [position]. I can’t stop thinking about how I’d love to dig into [a responsibility you’re excited about from the job post] by [1-2 creative ways you’d attack the problem.]

Hope to hear from you soon to set up a call to further discuss how I can use my [x, y, and z skills] to achieve the business objectives of [your company].

All the best,

Good luck in your job search, and if you happen to be interested in a job as a General Manager, Freelance Event Planner, or Social Media Associate, check out our job postings over at Alchemy Events.


I posted a bunch of before and after photos of the guest house recently, and everyone gets excited about how amazing the result looks. I agree, but I wonder, if I only post evidence of the bookends do they consider the middle?

Before and after is fun, but during is when it counts...

austin house renovation

During is when you’re in the ring beaten and bruised and worn down and feeling stuck.

During is tears on the concrete floor and overwhelm that leads to paralysis.

During is sleepless nights and long days.

During is making decisions when you can barely remember to feed yourself.

During is worrying how you are going to afford all this.

During is wondering if you are making a big mistake.

During is being frustrated, confused, unsure.

During is feeling unmotivated and pushing to keep moving.

Wherever you are in your process, just keep going.

The after will come, but only if you endure.


For the third year in a row, I’m heading into isolation to perform what I call an Annual Audit. The weekend after Thanksgiving consistently feels like the perfect time to reflect, express gratitude, take accountability for the current year, and set goals and plans for the year to come.

Each year as I’ve done this, I have watched myself accomplish my goals at a rapid pace, which quite frankly continues to blow my mind. I believe in the power of gratitude and appreciating the present while simultaneously pursuing a better future. Making decisions about the life you want to create for yourself and then fiercely forging ahead with massive action is the only way I know how to be successful, but it’s working.

I will post a more detailed follow up of how the session ends up, but to give you some insight into how this process works for me, here’s how the next few days will go.

Phase One: Inventory & Gratitude - Looking at the past year, I take an inventory of how things have played out. Where am I now in comparison to the goals I set for myself last year? How are my relationships? Where am I spending energy? What do my finances & investments look like? What new things did I try? Where did I travel? What are the things I would like to have done differently? What did I learn about myself this year? I scan my calendar, planner, Instagram, and journals to capture a snapshot of my year and create a summary of how my life went.

Then, using the data collected I take time to write thank you notes to the people that contributed to my year — good and bad. This includes employees, friends, family, people I’ve dated, and anyone who played an important role in my 2017. Starting with gratitude for what I currently have sets a positive tone as I ask for more, bigger, and better.

Phase Two: Create a Personal Plan - Dividing my life into categories I imagine the best possible life in each arena and write it down in present tense. Since I am truly satisfied with just about every part of my life, I ask myself questions like “How can it get any greater than this?”, “What do I desire in 2019 knowing ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE?”, “What kind of person do I want to become next year?”, and “What would I be thinking, feeling, and doing if I was already that person?”

FYI, the categories are: Business/Career, Finances, Relationships + Sex, Community, Spirituality, Personal Development, Home, Health + Fitness, Recreation + Fun, and Self Care.

Phase Three: Create a Business Plan - There are some big changes coming in my business and career this year, so I’ll be spending a full day brainstorming and planning ways to take action and get the results I want. Among the questions I’ll be asking, the big one is: “How do I continue to provide value for my clients?” This includes current and future clients of Alchemy Events as well as new business ventures I’m pursuing.

I’m beyond thrilled to explore new opportunities this coming year and can’t wait to announce what’s ahead! Stay tuned.