Productivity Tool of the Week: The World’s Greatest Note-Taking Tool

February 15, 2010 at 6:00 AM (Productivity) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Total Read Time: About 1 Minute

I’m still a little on my productivity kick from going through the 4-Hour Workweek, so here’s my productivity tool of the week (don’t know how long this will last).

Evernote is a great tool that can help compile your thoughts and ideas in a safe and secure place.  Everyone should know that when you get an idea that you want to remember then you should write it down immediately.  But not everyone has a pen and paper available all the time.  Evernote is simple, and can be accessed from any computer with internet access, or almost any smartphone.  Simply log onto your account, open whatever notebook you want to add your note to, and write it out.

The benefits of using Evernote include being able to organize your notes into categories (called notebooks).  For example I have a notebook called American Resurgence Blogs where I write down anything I want to remember about blog posts and ideas.

You can also store images on Evernote, like things you see that you want to buy.  Simply take a picture on your smartphone, and send it to Evernote.

Evernote is also searchable.  After you’ve been using it for a while you will probably have quite a collection of notes.  It might end up being more difficult to find what you’re looking for.  In the top-right part of the screen you can enter into the search bar what you are looking for and it will search through your notes and bring any of them that contain what you’re looking for to the front of your screen.

This is just a sample of the benefits of using a program like Evernote.  It can be very organized, and can be accessed from any computer in the world with internet access.  It is a very useful tool for remembering idea that comes your way. 

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33 Rules to Boost Your Productivity

February 11, 2010 at 6:00 AM (Productivity) (, , , , , , , , )

Was doing some reading today and came across this post on a fellow blogger’s site.  It actually has three volumes to this post (for a total of 99 rules), many are very helpful, some are not practical but funny.  Worth the 5 minutes to look them over though.  Enjoy my friends. God Bless

33 Rules to Boost Your Productivity Volume 1

33 Rules to Boost Your Productivity Volume 2

33 Rules to Boost Your Productivity Volume 3

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The iPad, Stop Whining People

February 5, 2010 at 4:00 AM (Gadgets) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

Many people know about Apple’s new product: the iPad.  There’s been a lot of buzz around this new product, including a lot of negative press about it.  Well, here’s my two cents about the problems people keep citing with the iPad.

1. Multitasking.  A lot of people are complaining that you can’t multitask with the iPad.  Here’s the problem: you’re not supposed too.  How many of us still don’t have enough RAM on our computer because we’re running 5 different programs and have 37 different websites open at one time?  The idea of limiting the multitasking capability is, in my humble opinion, a good thing: you will be better able to focus on what you’re doing, and won’t sacrifice the speed of the device.  “But I can’t listen to Pandora and write my essay at the same time,” some people whine.  Then use the iPod feature and load some music, not that hard, and that is what it’s designed for. For me, simplicity is a plus.

2. No Flash.  This is a good point.  This has been one of the biggest annoyances with my iPhone.  At least half my writing is done through websites that use Flash which means I can’t use my phone to write if I need to.  And there aren’t usually app’s for me to use instead.

3. Not light?  It only weigh’s about a pound and a half, and it’s far lighter than any other computer. How weak are you?  Go do some curls with your Barbi and Ken weights.

4. Not easy on the eyes.  This is also a valid point.  The screen is not meant to be looked at for too long, as your eyes may quickly fatigue.  Here’s the quick fix, don’t stare at it for too long.  Look away every couple of minutes at something farther away.

5. The keyboard gives no visual cue (I kid you not).  I actually read this one.  Someone was stating that they missed the visual cue that the iPhone/iTouch gives when you type a letter (it gets bigger above where you touch when you hit a letter).  Unlike a keyboard where you can feel the keys move, or the iPhone, the iPad doesn’t give you any cue that you typed a letter.  Here’s my quick fix, look at the space where you are typing, not at your fingers.  That is what you’re supposed to do anyways.  You don’t look at your fingers when you type on your computer do you?  I hope you’ve broken yourself of that habit.

6. No camera.  Seriously, do you really want a 10 inch camera?

7. No USB, or DVD drive.  This is something that Apple should have handled immediately.  I anticipate there will be external versions, but it should have been handled properly to begin with.

and last, but not least:

8. The name, another valid point.  It is obvious the kind of comedy that is going to come out of this name, Apple could have done better, but odds are we’d have made fun of whatever name they chose, that’s just how we are.

Overall I think it’s going to be a great product (I’m saving for mine right now).  The question you have to ask is: what do you want it to do?  If you want something to run your 25 different applications simultaneously, sorry.  But if you’re wanting something for internet, writing, a portable computer for taking to classes, etc. I think it’ll work for most people.  And here’s something to consider: if the people want it, then Apple will deliver.  When the people screamed for cut and paste on their iPhone, Apple delivered.  Apple has given us portable video on our iPods, the best phone on the market, great computers, and if there’s something that the people want, Apple will make it happen.

Is the iPad the perfect product?  No, course none of the Apple products are.  Will it be an effective new tool for our world?  In my opinion, yes.  God bless.

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What are you really afraid of?

February 2, 2010 at 6:05 PM (Lessons From History, Productivity) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

The above is a short lecture from Tim Ferriss called Practical Pessimism.  It gives you a couple practical tools to help you face your fears, and most often you realize that you’ve been making a mountain out of a mole-hill.  I would recommend that you watch the video, and attempt the tools that it puts forth.  The quality of your life can depend on it. 5 minutes of your time, what’s the worst that could happen?

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Thomas Pain is Encouraged About Americans

January 7, 2010 at 2:13 PM (Lessons From History) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Last April Thomas Pain was encouraged with how the Americans responded.  Let us not forget this year the strength we began the last year with.  We need to build on it and be certain that we get our country back.  Listen to our brother’s words, and wake up to see what our country has become.  Then once you see the tragedy that has become America, do something to help us get it back.  God bless.

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Automatic Text Message Reminders

January 6, 2010 at 12:57 PM (Productivity) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Back from a difficult few weeks.  My dad passed away on December 22.  Back on the productivity trip that I was on before.  The tool I’m talking about today is called Text Reminders.  Text reminders is a free service that enables you to have preplanned text messages sent to you.  You can remind yourself to do anything you want: check the mail, get on task, call so-and-so, etc.  You basically write your reminder, tell it when you want to receive it, and it shows up at the appointed time.  Great service in general.  I have the following message sent to me: “Are you being productive, or just active?”.  Four times per day I get that message and it helps me stay on task and keeps me from procrastinating or wasting time.  Hope it helps you.  Enjoy.

http://www.textreminders.net/

Tim Ferriss 4-Hour Workweek

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Great Tool to Help End Procrastination

December 15, 2009 at 10:48 AM (Productivity) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

When I talk about procrastination, I talk from years of experience.  I’m the guy who will write a 5 page paper less than 24 hours before it’s due, even though I had the assignment for over 3 months.  My wife still makes fun of me for getting her a moose ornament one Christmas (exchanging ornaments is a tradition we have) because I waited till the last minute (it had a nice little message on it, by the way).

I’ve procrastinated just about everything, but now I’ve found something that helps me stay focused and get work done.  Its called the Pomodoro Technique.  It’s really simple to learn, but extremely effective if used.  The idea is to have 25 minutes of focused work, then you get 5 minutes of break time.  These numbers aren’t fixed, but they do work well for most people, the idea is your focused work should be significantly greater than your break time.

To go along with this I found a free App you can download for your computer, which will help you stay on topic, and off Facebook and Twitter.  Its called the Focus Booster.  It is a simple countdown timer that always sits at the top of your screen, meaning it is never in the background, always in the front and visible no matter what screen you’re using.  It can be set to almost any time periods and can be extremely effective.

Here’s how to use it.  I recommend using Parkinson’s Law along with it.  Parkinson’s Law states “that a task will swell in importance and complexity in relation to the time allotted for its completion.”  This means essentially that deadlines matter.  Essentially if you give yourself a shorter deadline, say 25 minutes for a task, if you crack down on focus you can likely complete it in that time period.  Obviously you can’t do everything this way, like rebuild a ’70 Camero in 40 minutes.  But if you set a realistic, maybe a little short deadline, and crack down, you will get more completed in less time.

I use the Focus Booster two ways.  1: I keep my ToDo list right next to me, set the timer for 25 minutes, and start hacking away.  2: I will set a time for a specific task, say 10 minutes to write a blog post, click start, and get it done.  Simple as that, and yet enormously helpful.

Try it, experiment with it, and post how you use it below for others to learn from.  This is something no one should be without.   Good luck, and God bless.

Get the Focus Booster

Learn more about the Pomodoro Technique

4-Hour Workweek for more on improving productivity and cutting back on work time.

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Episode 3 of the Wellness Resurgence: A Definite Chief Aim: Focus and Goals

October 28, 2009 at 2:31 PM (Productivity) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

A new episode of the Wellness Resurgence is up.  Out of my little incident with laziness today I thought I would change the topic from prescription and nonprescription drugs to the idea of having clear cut goals and solid focus toward those goals.  Feel free to leave comments, and please rate the video and subscribe to the YouTube Channel.  Thanks friends.

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Laziness…I’m Tired of It.

October 28, 2009 at 10:26 AM (Productivity) (, , , , , , , )

This time I’m talking about myself.  I’m tired of having lazy spells.  This morning I slept far more than I needed to, and then dilly dallied for another hour.  So what did I get accomplished?  Almost nothing.  That has come to describe the middle of my week for the last couple months: lazy and unproductive.  I’m tired of it.

My place is dirty, I need to write more articles to make my quota for the month, I have various blogs on top of that, and a book to get started on again.  I don’t have time to be lazy.  I seem to lose focus around Wednesday and don’t get it back till Saturday.  I hate this cycle.

Now, I’m not talking about rest in general, although I do wish I didn’t have to sleep.  Rest is a good thing and should be enjoyed.  Many people do not rest adequately enough which is probably why many people are in first or second stage Adrenal Fatigue.  We do need to know how to rest, slow down, calm down, and say “no” to things.

However today I’ve crossed the line from rest into laziness.  It is similar to the line between enjoying your food and gluttony.  The former is fine, but the latter is excessive.

Lord, please help  me to stay focused on the things you have put in front of me.  And not to be like the sluggard.  Thank you Jesus.

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