Reason #29,765,863 Why I Love Evernote

Evernote rocks. Let me just sum it all up, right here, right now.

I’ve mentioned this before, but I still have conversations with people all the time where I mention Evernote, and they say, “Huh?” And that just blows my mind.

And the latest reason why I love them? Because not only have they produced the most awesome, flexible, useful piece of organizational software around, they also have a great sense of humor. That’s rare, people.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LNE0R3rEe5Q[/youtube]

What I use Evernote for, just to give you a heads-up:

  • managing all my client projects
  • storing any and all info I find while out searching the interwebs
  • recording all my recipes
  • brainstorm-rain collection
  • notes about places we’re thinking of moving to or visiting
  • read the second one again, and let it sink in. Seriously.
  • essentially everything I want to remember/record/store for the future, on subjects like WordPress, web design, CrossFit, nutrition, spirituality, personal development, family stuff, marketing, copywriting, and more.

Seriously, if you haven’t checked out Evernote, you’re bonkers. It’s awesome. It’s life-transforming. And—hello?—it’s free! Come on, now, people! Go get you some.

Why It’s Not About The System You Use.

climber

Do you have a goal? Professional, personal, or otherwise? I bet you do, whether it’s to get a certain number of clients per month, to stop eating grains, or to learn to juggle.

Now, let me guess: You’ve got a system worked out to get you there, don’t you? You’re going to attend networking meetings, write blog posts, and update your LinkedIn profile. You’re going to only eat at home so you can control your meals, and throw all your old grains into the compost heap. You’re going to watch that Juggling For Fools video, and practice your juggling fifteen minutes every night after dinner.

No matter what the goal is, you’ve got a system, I’m sure. How am I so sure? Because systems are said to be the key to achieving everything these days. Just think about productivity… there’s GTD , ZTD , and Hipster PDA’s; Blackberries, Franklin Planners, and 37 Signals. What’s best? That’s like asking, “What’s the best kind of music?” It all depends on you, what you’re doing, and what works for you.

The point, in any instance, is not what system you use… it’s that you stick with it.

If you’ve dabbled in productivity systems for any length of time, you know what I’m saying is true, because everyone has discovered, researched, and spent time on setting up some kind of system, only to have the thing gather dust and fall by the wayside.
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Why I Love to Chant… oh, never mind

Chanting Rocks.I love to chant. When all else fails, it’s one of the few spiritual practices that doesn’t ever let me down.

I’ve been meaning to write a post about it, just so you all know I haven’t fallen off the wagon completely… grin But then Fabeku beat me to it. Brilliantly.

Of course, our histories are different. And each of us has our preferences, and brings to it what we do. But all the reasons Fabeku speaks about as to why he chants… how it rejuvenates him, how it cleans him out and fills him up… he could’ve been channeling me, there.

Why it matters

So I chant. Fabeku chants. Big whoop, right? Well, as I’ve been a fan of saying for some time now, when it comes to spiritual practices,

It doesn’t matter so much what you do… but it matters a ton why you do it.

I stopped working as a healer a over year ago now. I was talking about this with my wife the other night, and I told her that one of the big reasons why was because I felt dry. I didn’t feel I had anything left to give… I just couldn’t be there for my clients the way I could before. And to be honest, I was never completely satisfied with my answer as to why that was.
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Why the “Six Months to Live” Question Is The Wrong One To Ask

Time to ponder your path
Focus is perhaps one of the most crucial qualities to develop when it comes to bringing your best to work. When you’re focused, you can get incredible amounts of work done in short periods of time. Focus makes staying on task easy. And there’s one question in particular you can ask yourself that’s supposed to inspire herculean amounts of focus.

Now, you’ve no doubt seen this question circulating amongst the well-intentioned, self-help best-seller bookshelves’ residents for years. It’s pulled out time and again as the ultimate refiner of focus, the samurai sword of the cut-through-the-fluff-ers’ arsenal, the go-to tool of the productivity heroes’ utility belts. Ready?

If you only had six months to live, what would you do right now?

Ta da! Answer that question, and all your troubles will be solved, right?

Well…
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Ignore this post. Get back to work.

Being a bunny isn't always fun.

This post is just another form of procrastination. Ignore it.

No, don’t ignore it. Learn from it.

What do you do in order to not do what you need to be doing?

Not what you should be doing, because we all know what happens when you ‘should’ on yourself… but what you need to be doing. There’s a difference.

What’s the difference?

The difference is that ‘shoulds’ are tasks that are often being dictated by a plan. A plan you’ve agreed to at one point or another, but a plan nonetheless.

The ‘needs’ are that which have to be done, or else you don’t make it. What ‘it’ is will be different for us all; for some, it’s survival, for others it’s success, and others, signficance.

I’m not saying that just because ‘shoulds’ come from a plan, you shouldn’t do them. Or that needs always trump them. I’m not saying that at all.

I’m just saying that it’s good to notice where your motivation is coming from before leaving one task to move on to another, so don’t end up wasting time, your most precious resource.

That said, I won’t take up any more of yours… or mine. Back to it, now!

Image by dirtyfeet.

Put The Power Of Ritual To Work For You

Chanting monk

Why, in seemingly every tradition, are there ritual practices?

Because rituals work, that’s why. They work through repetition; through continual practice, the attentive mind learns the steps until they are memorized. Once the mind’s focus is no longer needed to complete the ritual, it goes on “auto-pilot”, and the adept can repeat the ritual and focus the mind deeper, awakening the heart/soul/whatever (depends on the ritual, of course). This allows for a much deeper level of presence to be had, transforming the result of the ritual, and the mind of the practitioner.

Or, as my martial arts teacher would say, “First, the mind teaches the body what to do. Then, the body refines the movement, teaching the mind how it wants to move. Finally, body and mind are united as one.” He also said that once you performed an action 10,000 times, you had it mastered.

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Move Webward, Young Man!

what a tangled web we weave...
This summer, I suffered a computer crash. Luckily, I saw it coming — it would have problems, temporarily freeze, then lock up and crash. Despite my efforts to clean out unnecessary programs, processes, and detritus, the problems kept getting worse, and I knew that I’d ultimately have to erase everything and start over.

So, I did what anyone would do. I backed up everything I thought I’d need, made lists of the stuff I’d want to reinstall, and went ahead with the erase job.

Two things happened:

  • I erased everything and reinstalled just the OS, only to find my problems remained. It turned out to be faulty RAM that I had installed six months before. Yes, I ran hardware tests, but they didn’t show any problems. Major thanks go out to Mariam, the angel on the Mac forum who saved my bacon. Ever since getting my new RAM, everything has run perfectly, like a Mac does when you don’t put junk in the engine.
  • I realized that the way I had been working, managing information, and handling my digital life was way outta whack. I had backups, I’d worked efficiently, I’d streamlined my processes… yet until I had to start completely over from scratch, I had no idea how much fat there was still was left to trim.

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Why You Should Speak Up… And, Stick Around

bad customer service usually results in a road trip

There is a saying in business: “If you are unhappy with someone’s service, ‘talk with your feet.'” Meaning, leave. They say that the window to please a customer these days is getting shorter and shorter.

But that’s a completely ridiculous course of action. (Not to mention, childish.)

The problem with this strategy is that a) you, as a patron, don’t get what you want, and b) the business doesn’t get what it wants. The business obviously wants happy customers, people to have a long-term relationship with and, ultimately, success.

But you want the same thing, right? You want whatever amazing benefit or solution you went to the company for in the first place. Say, for example, you went with a company because you liked the way they did things, i.e. you liked their service or you like their product, and while you were getting it, you were happy.

But then, they changed something. They changed the way they delivered the product, or they changed their logo or their colors (hey, I’ve known people who’ve jumped ship for smaller reasons!). Who knows what it was, but they made some change and you don’t like it.

And what is the typical response? Talk with your feet, right? You unsubscribe, leave, or just stop buying their product. Now, if you’re one of the rare few, maybe you give the company feedback before you leave, saying, “I don’t like this new change; I think you were better before.” But then, you’re gone.

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A Question of Structure: How Much Works For You?

Surfing The Digital Tidal Wave

Bob and Susan are desk shopping at IKEA (where else?). Susan sees a desk with four drawers, a built in cabinet, and a keyboard tray, and starts swooning. Bob sees a minimalistic desktop and calls off his search for office-furniture nirvana. Two flat-packs, a boatload of twine, and two soft-serve vanilla cones later, and the happy couple speed home.

On the way, Susan thinks about all the ways she can organize her stuff in all her cute little drawers, and Bob waxes poetically about the wide-open expanse of nothing that will be his new desktop environment.

two desks, two different ideas of perfection

Question: Who’s happier? Who will be more productive? Who will have an easier time managing their workload?
Answer: Who knows?

To Each Their Own

That’s the funny thing with productivity; what’s good for one person isn’t necessarily the end-all, be-all solution for another. So, how do you know what to do?

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Organizing Your Folder Structure

Surfing The Digital Tidal Wave

When we last saw our hero (that’s you), information was coming into your life at an alarming rate. And now, you have to figure out what to do with it until you’re ready to use it. In essence, we need to look at how you store your information.

Of course, there are lots of systems out there, and you have to find what works for you. What you’re about to learn here, though, is a system of organization that can be used on any standard computer—or, "in the cloud" systems like Google Docs—and it works because it’s built around two fundamental principles:

  • how you think, not how someone else thinks for you.
  • a usage mindset, not a storage mindset.

Looking at those two points, it sounds completely obvious. But you’d be surprised.

How You Think

Before you even take your computer out of the box, there’s a lot of stuff already on it, such as applications, pictures, fonts, etc. For most people, that’s pretty transparent stuff; whether you use it or don’t, you take it for granted. However, there’s another out-of-the-box component that most people don’t ever mess around with, and it’s the cause of hours of wasted time, multiple headaches, and the all-too-common facial expression of blankness mixed with confusion that graces most people faces as they search umpteen buried folders on their hard drives, looking for that one file that they know they saved somewhere, but just can’t seem to find… the default folder structure.

Take a look at a standard Finder window, and (if you’re using a mac, as I do) you’ll most likely see something like this snapshot from Apple:

mac finder window
Mac’s Finder window, via Apple

Take a look in the sidebar, and you’ll see the basic rundown: Desktop, Home, Applications, Documents… and sometimes Movies, Pictures, and such (I know Windows has a similar setup, and I tried to find a screenshot somewhere, but Windows user will just have to extrapolate for themselves on this one; it has been years since I was a Windows user, and like someone who got food poisoning at a B-grade greasy spoon, I can’t bring myself to go back and try again…).

The general idea, quite simply, is that applications get stored in Applications, your documents get stored in Documents, and on and on. Tthis is such a ubiquitous structure, that many people replicate it if they start storing information online, even. The currency? Stuff.

But does this describe how you think about your work? Doubtful.

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