contact us

We'd love to hear from you!

Please feel free to email us at, or use the form on the right to contact us.

If you'd like to subscribe to the mailing list or to the podcast, click here.


Social Media

You can also find us & join the conversation on our Facebook GroupFacebook Page, or Twitter.

Name *

Rockaway Beach, NY

The GTD® Virtual Study Group is a supportive global community dedicated to inspiring and empowering personal growth.

Subscribe to the GTD® VSG podcast on iTunesFeedburner, or with your favorite podcast app.

GTDVSG Events.jpg


Filtering by Category: Blog

116: Better To Rise Early Or Be a Night Owl? An Exclusive GTD Virtual Study Group Panel Discussion!


In an incredibly exclusive event, I had heavy hitters Hal Elrod, Craig Jarrow, Laura Vankerkam, and Mike Vardy join me in a virtual roundtable to talk about whether it is better to start your day before the sun rises, or wait until after the sun goes down to really ramp up your productivity. This topic has become increasingly more and more popular as so many people are looking to squeeze in as many hours as they can to get things done. In this episode, we talk about the basics of rising early, what the research tells us, what the blogosphere is saying, and most importantly, how to create a successful plan to help you become more productive, more successful, and more passionate about life!

Plus, you may be surprised to know that Hal wakes up at 3:30AM -- just and hour and a half after Mike has gone to sleep! There were so many marvelous nuggets of wisdom shared by these very well known folks in the productivity and motivational space. You absolutely need to listen to every minute of this recording to soak in all of the fabulous pieces of advice.

Read their incredible bios and at the bottom of this post, you can hit play in the viewer to listen right here!

Hal Elrod

Hal Elrod is the bestselling author of two books: Taking Life Head On! and his new #1 bestseller, The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed To Transform Your Life... (Before 8AM); and Taking Life Head On! (The Hal Elrod Story): How To Love the Life You Have While You Create the Life of Your Dreams. He's been known as "Yo Pal Hal" since hosting his first radio show at age 15, and he became record breaking sales rep at 19. However, his greatest triumph came in the face of tragedy at age 20 when his car was hit head on by a drunk driver at 70 miles per hour, Hal died for six minutes, spent six days in a coma, and woke to the devastating news that he'd suffered permanent brain damage and would never walk again.

Hal defied the odds to not only walk, he ran a 52-mile "ultra" marathon, became a hall of fame business achiever, international Success Coach, Keynote Speaker, and grateful husband & father of two. He was featured in the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series and has shared his story and strategies for success on dozens of TV shows across the country. Hal can be found at

Craig Jarrow

Craig Jarrow

Craig is the author of the extremely popular website, The Time Management Ninja. He was featured in Biz 3.0 as the number 3 most influential productivity guru in the country, just behind Tim Ferris and David Allen. That's pretty damn impressive. He's authored hundreds of articles on time management, productivity tools, and goal setting. He's also the author of three eBooks: 31 Days, 31 Ways: Daily Tips for Time Management Mastery; Crush Your Procrastination and You are Stronger Than You Think - both of those are the best of motivation and productivity tips from his blog. I know that we wakes up way earlier than I can commit to. As Craig puts it, his goal is to help us "win the battle against wasted time, disorganization, and all other things evil…” You can find him at

Laura Vanderkam

Laura Vanderkam

Laura is the author of What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast which is a compilation of her three popular mini e-books into one comprehensive guide: What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast—to jump-start the day productivelyWhat the Most Successful People Do at Work—to accomplish more in less time; and What the Most Successful People Do On the Weekend—to recharge and prepare for a great week. She also authored 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think; and All the Money in the World: What the Happiest People Know About Getting and Spending. She's been interviewed by Matt Lauer on The Today Show, featured on Fox News, Forbes Magazine, FastCompany, CNBC, The Economist, Inc., Time, US News, Fortune ... should I keep going? She can be found at

Mike Vardy

Mike Vardy

Mike is a writer, speaker, and Productivityist. He is the author of The Front Nine: How To Start The Year You Want Anytime You Want, The Now Year: A Practical Guide to Calendar Management; and The Productivityist Workbook. Mike also co-hosts Mikes on Mics on the 5by5 network. You can find him on Twitter as @mikevardy.

He has appeared in SUCCESS Magazine, The Huffington Post, Lifehacker, 99u, was the managing Editor of Lifehack, an editor for The Next Web, and WorkAwesome.  Mike has spoken at nearly two dozen different productivity and time management focused conferences, including speaking at TEDx twice, and a creativeLIVE speaker. You can find Mike at

Download the podcast here!

Summer break


The GTD Virtual Study Group is on summer break. There will be no recordings for Aug 23 or Sept 13. The Group will resume meetings on Sept 27.

The Magic of the "Push Left" Transition


Thank Nancy Duarte for this fantastic piece of visual eye candy!  As I read slide:ology, I began thinking: how can I implement the Push Left transition in PowerPoint?  What is this "use sparingly" transition I speak such lofty things about? In Nancy Duarte's book she says:

There are times when one slide isn't enough real estate for all your content. Instead of piling it all on one slide, split the content between two will create the illusion that the content is all in the same scene. A transition that makes the slides feel like one large space will help the audience feel like the information is connected within that space. p.190.


How did I implement this idea?  A colleague recently showed me his slide he was using to demonstrate the great power of one of our products.  I thought the idea was great; however, there was so such rich content all on one slide that the font size was down to 8!  I suggested we space out the idea over a series of slides, using Nancy's awesome suggestion. What does it look like?

Here's the before:

How Data Flows (Before)

And here's the after (ignore my lack of talent in photo-stitching!)

How Data Flows (Before)

I'd love to hear what you all think!

What Dora the Explorer Taught Me About Presentations


It might not seem to make sense at first, but if you think about it, Dora and her friend Boots, Backpack & the Map excel in the art of storytelling - specifically, in highlighting for us why repetition is so important in our presentations.

By way of a quick background, you may have guessed that I've been reading a lot lately on how to give more powerful, compelling presentations through design and storytelling.  Through the wizardry of Nancy Duarate of Duarte Design & her book slide:ology, Garr Reynolds' Presentation Zen, and Scott Schwertly of Ethos3, I feel like Luke Skywalker on his path to becoming a Jedi.  I started out as a lost soul in the world of boring bullet point presentations and 12-point font, to seeing that there actually is a better way to present that is more in tune with how our brains perceive messages, to now where I can honestly say I haven't bored a soul (as of yet) with my visually compelling and persuasive presentations.

So, back to Dora the Explorer.  So, one afternoon around 4:30, I took a break from working in my home office, and went downstairs to sit with my kids as they were watching Dora.  For a moment, I dismissed this as just a children's show ... but then, as I sat there trying to figure out with my kids how Dora is going to find the chocolate, bananas & nuts for her mommy's special birthday cake ... it clicked! Dora is a master storyteller who excels at the art of storytelling.  I couldn't believe it - the very methods we use to teach our children about remembering ideas & messages is equally applicable to adults in presentations!  It was like this epiphany I had sitting there at the couch, and suddenly, I was more excited about Dora than my kids!

Here's how Dora does it - first, she lays out in her introduction what she wants to do: bake her mommy a special chocolate banana nut birthday cake.  Then, she lays out the problem.  She has no idea how to get the ingredients.  So, she asks her friend, the Map, to help her.  Map comes out and lays out the Agenda: First, you need to go to chocolate tree; second, you need to go to the bananas, and then you need to get the nuts.  Then, Map repeats it: chocolate tree, bananas and nuts.  Instantly, my kids and I remember exactly what Dora needs to do -- and just in case we didn't get it the first two times Map said it, Dora repeats it: chocolate tree, bananas, and nuts.  I'm guessing by now, you've also remembered exactly what Dora needs to do.

After Dora successfully gets each ingredient, she then repeats where we need to go next - constantly reminding us of our mission, where we were and where we need to go in order to be successful.  Finally, after Dora gets all of the ingredients, they celebrate, goes home, adds all of the ingredients, and we see the final product before our eyes where her mommy rejoices in happiness that her daughter made her this lovely cake!

How have I applied Dora's mastery in storytelling in my presentations?  Simple: like Garr Reynolds does in his book, I'll focus on 2 or 3 themes.  Each theme is 1 or 2 words and is accompanied by an image that specifically relates to the theme.  For example, let's say my 3 themes are: 1) efficiency (image: fluorescent light bulb); 2) control (image: business man on a unicycle reading a report); and 3) return on investment (image: a nice shot of a pocket watch & a $100 bill).  I'm not the pros listed above, but I thought it was pretty clever.

3 themes

Throughout my preso, I remind the audience of where we've been, what we'll discuss next, and where we're heading.  This repetition allows the audience to constantly remember the mission - no different than Dora when she needed the ingredients to bake her mommy's birthday cake.  If you think about it, my 3 themes are the ingredients my audience needs to understand my message!

So, when the Dora the Explorer show was over, it turns out it was me pleadings to watch more episodes of Dora - but alas, my wife shut off the TV.

No Podcast This Week


Due to my mom's recent hospitalization, I am unable to host tomorrow's call. There will be no podcast this week. :(

Our next podcast will be recorded on Thursday, Aug 13 when we'll have Shelley Hayduk from The Brain as our presenter and guest.

Best wishes,

Older Podcasts Back Up!


All the files have now be reloaded on to the feed. If all went well, you should be able to get all the older podcasts. If you experience trouble, please leave a comment to let me know and I'll get on it.

Thanks! and happy listening!

Older Episodes, Another Update


Here's the latest: I was hosting the older files on Switchpod. All the newer files are on my LibSyn account. Switchpod, as best I can determine, was purchased by LibSyn. LibSyn migrated paid accounts over but my account was a free one and was simply discontinued. I wrote to LibSyn and they kindly migrated all my files over this morning. Yay, LibSyn--you guys rock!!!

Now, all that's left is to go through and update the file locations behind the links and it's all done. I'll keep ya posted!

Missing Episodes


Several users reported that older episodes had gone missing. As it turns out, the old hosting service went bust without warning. Fortunately, I have most of the episodes backed up. It may take me a while to get them uploaded but I'll get to work on it ASAP. Your patience is greatly appreciated.

000: This is the new GTD Virtual Study Group Podcast site


Just a quick post to let you know that you're in the right place! All of the GTD Virtual Study Group podcasts will be posted here from now on. 

Official GTD® Virtual Study Group website:

Subscribe to the GTD® VSG podcast on iTunesFeedburner, or with your favorite podcast app.

You can also find us & join the conversation on social media: Facebook GroupFacebook Page, Twitter, or on the Google + Productivity Community.