In Episode 21 of the Wandering But Not Lost Podcast, co-hosts Matt Emerson and Jan O’Brien share the power of personal notes. In the Reach Your Peak segment, they discuss techniques that will help you Get Things Done. And in Wandering Zen, Matt is back in NYC and will share a few activities that you just may want to add to your itinerary that may be the things that make the most lasting memories.

Key Points/Takeaways


WBNL 52 Tip – Power of Personal Notes


When was the last time you received a personal, hand-written note in the mail?  If you are like me, you still have it!  Writing personal notes is one of the most impactful and least expensive ways to connect to people and grow your business.

Here are the top reasons why you should include writing personal notes as a daily success strategy for your business:

  1. Personal Notes are always opened and read
  2. They leave a lasting impact
  3. Personal, written note cards can make someone’s day
  4. They help you build and deepen the quality of your connections and relationships
  5. Personal notes make you really stand out from your competition

Our recommendations on how to implement this powerful practice and get the best results:

  • Write the note in the moment – immediately after the interaction or when the feeling
  • Keep it simple and to the point
  • Use a blank card so you can hand write a personal message
  • Always have a supply of blank note cards, envelopes, and stamps on hand
  • Consider using colored ink (not black) so it is obvious that it was handwritten
  • Hand address the envelope with both the destination address and return address
  • Use a stamp that draws attention

Commit to writing and mailing at least 1 note every day!

Reach Your Peak – Getting Things Done

The basic premise of the book is to get everything out of your head, off your mind and into a trusted system you know you will use. Older time and resource management systems can be inefficient in today’s fast-paced, multi-tasking world.  Our minds are powerful instruments – constantly reminding us of things to do, unfinished projects, seemingly endless “open loops” of information.

Our stress levels are increased when we don’t have a method of emptying these thoughts and collecting them in a system that we individually trust and know we will use.

Two key questions to ask for all of your projects:

  1. What is the successful outcome? What has to happen so this can be checked off as completed? If it takes more than one step it’s a project.
  2. What is the next action? If this was the only thing you had to get done, what is the very next physical thing you would have to do?

Five Phases of the Workflow Process

  1. Collect
  2. Process
  3. Organize and keep track of items awaiting action
  4. Review
  5. Do

Basic Categories for Your Buckets

  • A “Projects” list
  • Projected Support Material
  • Calendared actions and information
  • “Next Actions” lists
  • A “Waiting For” list
  • Reference Material
  • A “Someday/Maybe” list

Read the Full Blog Post to also get the GTD Flowchart and worksheet downloads:
Getting Things Done: A Guide to Stress-Free Productivity

Wandering Zen:  NYC.6 ~ Activities to Enhance Your Visit



Overwhelmed and don’t know where to start planning your next NYC getaway?  With literally thousands and thousands of things to see and do, it can make even the most detailed planner manic.  In this series, we’ll devour the big apple one little bite at a time. Once you’ve walked the parks, hit 5th Avenue, strolled the museums, eaten some pizza, taken in a show, and completed your sightseeing list, there is still an entire city out there to wander and explore.  Today, we are going to narrow that huge list down to 5 things to do while in NYC that not only will enhance your visit but might provide you with some of the very best memories and laughter.

1 – Golfing at Chelsea Piers

Nothing says New York City better than a driving range!  Wait, what?!?  If you are craving a little outdoor time that also includes a club and bucket of balls, look no further than The Golf Club at Chelsea Piers.  Located on the Hudson River near 11th Avenue between 17th & 22nd Streets, this four-tiered “super-range” features a 200-yard hitting fairway, a full-service teaching academy, Full Swing simulators, and membership options for frequent golfers.

If golfing isn’t your swing, there are a variety of other options available here too.  Bowl a few frames, hit the ice, or bat around some balls, as a matter of fact, there is even much more for the sports enthusiast in everyone here at the Piers.  Not to mention, food and shopping as well.  So get your game on, and experience something that most don’t on your next visit.

Wandering But Not Lost Matt Emerson The Noat House Central Park

The Loeb Boathouse ~ Central Park

2 – Boating in Central Park

This is a Central Park classic.  The peaceful lake nestled in the park between The Ramble and the Bethesda Fountain is home to a fleet of over 100 rowboats that are available for rent from 10 am until sundown.  Your adventure begins at the Loeb Boathouse where you rent your boat (don’t miss enjoying a drink or lunch here too!).  Once on the water, you will experience New York from an entirely different point of view and, depending upon your mood, the millions of others in the city and your fellow boatsmen may just fade away to where you’ll feel like the only ones on this incredible and romantic lake.  If you are with a larger group and weather permitting, Gondoliers are also available to take your party for a cruise on the lake.

3 – Cocktails with Madeline


The Murals at Bimmelmens

Bemelmans Bar at the Carlyle Hotel in Manhattans upper east side is an NYC institution.  This art deco lounge is a haven for people who prefer a sophisticated ambiance and classic cocktails. 

Made famous for its murals created by Ludwig Bemelmans who was well known for his work in The New Yorker, Vogue, Town and Country and the beloved children’s classic Madeline. The walls of the bar come alive with Bemelmans’ interpretation of Central Park. Nearly every surface has his signature style and it is truly spectacular. The warm tones and dim lighting really sets the mood here. 

Although there are several tales floating around about how this all came together, the official story is that Bemelmans did the work in exchange for 18 months of accommodation at the luxurious Carlyle for himself and his family.  Take a step back in time, relax and soak in the history.

4 – Lights, Camera, Action 

If you are wandering through New York City and it feels strangely familiar, it probably is because there is no doubt that you have been there before – or at least – seen it before.  New York is hands down the most recognizable and popular location for film and television.  On the set of New York ( is a comprehensive website that will unlock an entire itinerary of your favorite locations to visit.  We recommend that you visit this site prior to your next trip and select a few places that coincide with your other travel plans, or if you are looking for something completely different – make a whole day out of it.  Your Hollywood adventure in New York City can take you to so many incredible places and just might be one of the best ways to see the city.

On my very first visit to the city, I was with someone who did just that.  We had breakfast at Tiffany’s, walked barefoot in Washington Square Park, had a moment outside of the Plaza Hotel and ate at the Automat.  My wife is also apparently a location scout as well and on our last visit we had to recreate the scene from You’ve Got Mail in Riverside Park when Joe Fox and Kathleen Kelley, aka Shopgirl met and realized that they had much more in common than not.

From the Godfather to Zoolander, you can be the star here in New York.

5 – The Little Things

I’ve found that some of the very best memories can be made by taking a moment here and there to stop and do something that is not on any sightseeing or travel itinerary.  Case in point:  During one of our first visits to the city my wife and I found ourselves down in Battery Park City walking along the Hudson.  We were headed to a show that night and needed to get back to the hotel so we headed east to jump on a subway uptown.  On our way, we found ourselves in a beautiful neighborhood park which had, what looked like, a really fun slide.  We looked at each other, looked around to see who was in the area, smiled, and headed for the top of that slide.  It had been years, perhaps decades since we’d been on a slide.  I went first and it was indeed really fun. I then took my spot as the official photographer and awaited my wife’s turn.  Well, let’s just say that her scream and the face-plant that followed is to this day one of our favorite memories of New York!  Laughter then, laughter now, and probably laughter forever about something that would have been so easy to have just walked by.  Remember to look around you as you wander – you never know what you might be missing!

New York City offers so many activities, sights, and experiences and we hope that this series is helping you to create a plan for your next visit.  We’d love to hear your stories.  Please share so we can add them to the list!

Chelsea Piers



91st Street Garden, Riverside Park, NYC

Battery Park City, NYC

 Mentioned in the Episode (Resources & Links)



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