What’s my favorite mobile app?

Laura Pezzotta asked:

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For my favorite mobile app? There are so many to choose from, but if I had to pick the Swiss army knife I use more than most, it’d be Evernote.

Why Evernote? Versatility. It’s a document scanner, which comes in handy.

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It’s a whiteboard capture utility.

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It’s dictation software (especially when wired together with Do Button):

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It’s a blogging and note taking platform.

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It’s a filing system and a digital notebook.

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The key to Evernote that makes it so versatile for me is syncing.

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I can start a blog post on my laptop, sync, move to my smartphone to continue working, sync, and go back to my laptop for polishing and edits. Half of my blog posts I write while driving, using voice dictation and speech transcription. I’ll write a broad outline by voice (hands-free, of course), sync it, get to a desk, clean it up, and have content ready to go in minutes.

This is a key to high productivity. In your average day, there are a few blocks of uninterrupted time that you can do lots of work in. There are also dozens of time fragments, periods of 5-10 minutes when you’re between meetings, standing in line, etc. You can waste those fragments playing Candy Crush or Trivia Crack, or you can use mobile apps designed to help you maximize them. Evernote is that app for me – it lets me make the most of small slivers of time. At the end of the day, a dozen slivers of 5 minute blocks add up to an extra hour of productivity.

Whatever mobile apps you use, consider how you can leverage them to soak up those time slivers and make them work for you.

As for the second part of Laura’s question, on social analytics… that’ll have to wait for a future post. I’ll give you a hint, though: Google makes it.


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How to manage workflow with sticky notes

On Twitter, Ana Canhoto asked about the stickies on the wall near my desk:

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Indeed it is. I recorded a short video explaining it:

Try it out for yourself. It just takes some sticky notes and masking tape to get set up. No expensive system, no gear to buy, just a wall and some tape!


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Front loading your day

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Ever wish you could be more productive, get more done, work without distraction, or waste less time each day? There’s an interesting answer to this problem if you’re willing and able to do it – front loading your day.

Something funny happens to East Coasters when we come to the West Coast. Our days automatically get front loaded for us. We wake up at 3 or 4 AM without prompting, and by the time 7 PM rolls around, we’re ready for bed. Most people make an effort to acclimate to the local time, which is a missed opportunity. If you can wake up at 4 AM feeling refreshed, you can get a workout in, get breakfast in, get all of your regular work done, and be incredibly productive, all before 9 AM local time.

The secret, to the extent that there is one, is that you can do this right now, wherever you live, without traveling anywhere. Just start setting your alarm clock 5 minutes earlier every single day, unless you’re already a morning person, in which case start chopping 15 or 30 minute blocks off until you’ve hit your target time of day to get up.

Are you willing to make that sacrifice? That depends on how unproductive you feel during the day, and how much entertainment and night life you are willing to cut. If you can shift the evening hours (which for many people is unfocused, unproductive time) to the morning, before the rest of your area gets rolling, you can get a lot more done, from workouts and health benefits to your best thinking, free of distraction.

Try front loading even half an hour into your day for a week and see if it makes a difference for how you feel and how much you get done.


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