Whats Saving My Life Now

Here’s my shortlist of “What’s saving your life right now?”
1). Gmail- I’ve consolidated 7 different emails accounts into 2 and using Gmail to manage it all.

2). I have migrated from Apple iCloud to Microsoft cloud to Google cloud. I have to say that Google is the best experience of them all. Less work, less clutter and less hassle when you work in that ecosystem.

3). Newcomer “Amazing Martin” app – a literal swiss knife for tasks, projects and anything else you can throw at it. It’s really unique in the productivity space because you can turn on/off features you need or don’t use. The system has “strategies” that turn on helpful tools like pomodoro timers, labels, and just about anything you would want from a task/project management tool. It’s put my Todoist system to shame in just about every way. I’m on a free 30 day trial where I imported 450 items from Todoist into Amazing Martin. Check this out! https://www.amazingmarvin.com/

The tech I use in 2019

The technology I use is always in motion, just like the industry itself. My choices are organized in two lists: mature or emerging technologies. Mature Technologies are solutions that have full features and are cross platform for use in work and personal applications. They tend to be well funded and established with premium models in the marketplace. Emerging Tech are solutions I am watching closely to possibly switch to, are new or in development, not full featured or all cross platform. Companies are startups or small and may have free offerings.

Mature Tech
Note Taking: Microsoft OneNote
Office Productivity: Microsoft 365
Todo or Project Management:Todoist
Operating Systems: Windows 10, MacOS Mojave
Hardware Companies: Lenovo
Mobile: Apple iPhone 7 Plus
Tablet: Apple iPad
Wearables: FitBit Charge 2
Apps: TextExpander, 1Password,
Cloud Storage: Microsoft OneDrive

Emerging Tech
Note Taking: Notion, Google Keep
Office Productivity: Notion
Todo or Project Management: Microsoft Todo, Notion, Google Tasks
Operating Systems: Windows 10
Hardware Companies: Samsung
Mobile: Samsung Note 9
Tablet: Apple iPad
Wearables: Xenxo S Ring, Samsung Galaxy Watch
Cloud Storage: Google Drive

What technologies are you using this year and what are you looking to use in the future?

Year End Cleaning Up Notes

People love to create things but struggle with organizing and putting them away. I am in this camp.

Sunrise and Sunset

There are two important concepts in data management. The first one is the “sunrise” where information is created and becomes of value to people. The second concept is the “sunset” where data is organized and sorted, archived and deleted.

In my journey of converting 5,000 Evernote notes to OneNote, I found that my sunset data was difficult to manage. I have notes in unrelated folders, poorly written titles, poorly written notes, pictures, audio and video in random places. Imagine all those folks who are using paper note solutions and then trying to recall past information without a card catalog system. This is why I am a digital note taker. Cleaning up all of these past notes has become a chore and it’s painful trying to find information.

Having a powerful search engine helps. A tagging system is also helpful but should be added at the time of the note’s creation.

Get Better at Sunsetting

If you want to avoid the pain of finding old information, try to do the following:

  • Manually convert notes from one system to the next where you can organize, clarify, archive and delete old data
  • Create a descriptive title to the note
  • Take the time to craft the note with as much detail as possible for the “future you” who will not have the space/time context to help understanding
  • Add tags to aid searching
  • Make sure the note has a date/time stamp.
  • Sunset the note so that it is either placed in a folder (storage) and archived or deleted. This gets rid of junk information.
  • Bonus tip: sync your notes on your phone/PC/Mac and tablet to a cloud solution like Microsoft OneNote.

An Open Letter to FitBit’s CEO

Dear Mr. Parks and the rest of the FitBit Management team.

FitBit has a problem that needs to be corrected today. Many of the women (and a small percentage of men) are being harassed and hit on through your service. Many users are threatening to leave the platform because of it. I’m sure you’re well aware of the problem. I’m advocating for all users because when one user leaves, it encourages others to leave as well. Facebook is a great example of this. While still popular, it’s already starting to decline.

We know there are mechanisms for reporting jerks, perverts, scammers and harassers but it is ineffective. In social circles we simply don’t include the people we don’t like or cause us trouble. The answer is “closed” groups within FitBit that trusted users can use the FitBit platform without fear of unwanted and uncomfortable harassment.

You already have the solution present in Challenges. Each challenge is by invitation and typically includes only trusted friends in the FitBit platform. You could develop a similar process to create a closed group of trusted FitBit users for interaction. It creates an insulation from the “friend” list which could include perverts, scammers, harassers and the like.

By doing nothing (including relying on the current app features to deal with the problem) you risk users like myself and many others to leave. It’s time to bring closed, private groups to FitBit before we start to leave en masse.

Thanks for your kind response and attention to this matter.

Michael Potter

Goodbye Evernote

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I love Evernote and have been a paying customer since 2009. I’ve created over five thousand notes since then and have greatly benefited from using the service.

For some time I have been waiting for Evernote to release a native handwriting solution and they just can’t seem to make it a priority. While I know there are ways to do this with third party apps, I’m not interested. I want a single solution. That’s why Microsoft OneNote is my new friend.

Over the next few weeks I will complete the transition away from Evernote to Microsoft OneNote and share my experiences along the way.

Image credit: https://www.freeimages.com/photographer/ticci-32433

Dangerously Distracted!

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In our always connected and busy world you will be pushed and pulled into many directions. Some things will be critical for you to handle now. Some things will just distract you. Some distractions can be deadly!

Webster defines distractions in three ways:

  • something that makes it difficult to think or pay attention,
  • something that amuses or entertains you so that you do not think about problems, work, etc.,
  • a state in which you are very annoyed or upset,

David Allen says “The degree to which your attention is being grabbed is the degree to which you are not free to place your attention where and how you want to.” There is a way to be less distracted throughout your day but it requires critical note taking skills and review habits!

The power of a note and its supporting elements (file folder, journal, Microsoft OneNote or app) is that you can think about something and then put it away. You can take action on it when you actually CAN do something about it. Leaving it “in your head” will guarantee it will distract you in the least convenient time. That’s like getting a phone call every time you don’t want one.

Who wants to live like that?

References

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/distraction

David Allen, http://gettingthingsdone.com/newsletters/archive/0909.html

Image Credit: https://www.freeimages.com/photographer/chidsey-43131

Speed Reading Is Dead

I really don’t understand the appeal of new apps like Blinkist and many courses on speed reading. Unless you’re a student who hasn’t read or understood a reading assignment, speed reading and summary books have little value.

Consider speed living. Everything you do is abbreviated: your work and fun are cut down to the main ideas and lasts only seconds. You have a nice outline of events but it has no detail or substance. No story.

A book is something that should be enjoyed, read slowly, understood and pondered (meditated on) because of the meaning you get from the author. There is life in the words that you miss if you hurry through it.

Consider this: someone will write your abbreviated life story for your funeral. Only your loved ones will know the whole story and the rich life beyond the eulogy summary.

Let’s slow down, read less but with more value. Choose the best books and stories then read for the entire experience.

https://pixabay.com/photo-1342499/