There are many note taking apps in the world, but there is one of note that just hit trifecta status. It is Notability. It allows you to take notes, record audio, draw and other features, all in sync. This means when you are reviewing your notes days or weeks later, you can touch on a spot in your notes and HEAR exactly what was being said in that moment.
For students, office employees, and in many other fields this is game-changing. You can review your notes until you missed something, touch there and hear what was said, so nothing EVER is missed.
This fantastic app has been available for iOS for some time (and is my go-to app for this purpose), but was not available for the Mac until now. All your notes synch via iCloud so whether you took the notes on your iPhone while meeting with your contractor, or on your Mac at the office, you have everything, everywhere. Booyah.
Last week the magic integration of Kindle books with professional narration dropped on iOS! This tilts the book buying choice back in favor of Kindle over the iBook store.
So how can this make me smarter (being as I'm already pretty smart)? Well now when you buy a book, if there is professional narration, you can add it for a discounted price. This allows you to listen to books on walks, getting ready in the AM or waiting in line, and follow along in the Kindle book at the same time, when something catches your ear. The pages even turn for you.
This combined approach to learning is handy because, if a jew of wisdom is dropped on your head, you can immediately highlight it in the book for future reference. Internalizing key insights you are exposed to, through study and reference, is what delivers the value that enticed you to buy the book to start with. This is your easiest path to becoming the expert — by learning, and then by applying what you learned.
When getting ready for bed, if you do a little reading after hours, you can read the Kindle book visually, and pick up the next morning in the same place, listening as you get ready. This is a feature owners of Kindle e-readers have had for a while, but it has finally come to iOS, which is a smart business move by Amazon.
Where you left off in your book, your bookmarks, notes, and highlights sync across devices too — so switching between your iPhone, iPad or Kindle device couldn’t be easier. It is a very pleasant way to absorb information. Most of us are visual learners, and others auditory, but the combination of the two is immersive, and the convenience of switching between the two is unparalleled.
If you’re an iOS or Mac user, chances are good you’ve used or regularly use FaceTime — enabling video calls between Apple devices. With the release of iOS 7 Apple added a FaceTime feature that hasn’t received much fanfare. It’s called FaceTime audio. Rather than saying to Siri “FaceTime my lovely wife” to have a face to face video session including audio, you can instead enjoy a voice only call over FaceTime. You would instead say to Siri “FaceTime audio (insert friend’s name here)”.
A FaceTime Audio call a enables a voice over IP session without using your minutes if your on WiFi or uses your data plan if your on 3G or 4G mobile networks. Using this feature provides high bandwidth audio which delivers voice quality that is much better than traditional cellular carriers provide. I notice this most when talking with AT&T cellular customers where the audio quality sounds very thin and compressed. When you then try a FaceTime Audio call on its heals you’ll immediately notice it sounds 3-4 times better.
Its not all smooth sailing as much depends on the data networks involved for both parties, but if they are solid, you’ll have a far better experience. You can also bump it up to a full FaceTime session with video anytime you choose. Also like FaceTime itself, you can’t conference or do other handy tricks like calling other phone numbers. Only iOS or Mac users can play along, but there are enough of those to make this solution a contender to meet a portion of your voice needs.
In your contacts, when you open a contact entry you’ll see a FaceTime section that now not only includes a camera icon but a handy phone icon too. Siri voice commands also will do the trick.
Talk it up… It’s free or next to it. Give it a spin and reply back with your thoughts.
Are you someone who aspires to be sharp as possible, fit and likes the satisfaction of a good endorphin rush? Are you also someone whose work commitments lead to long days, who also balances a full family schedule? Does this make you feel like working out 3-4 days a week always seems just out of reach?
What a trick it would be to get a work out, while work-ING. The solution to accomplishing both without rearranging your entire work environment is: The voice conference enabled, treadmill desk equipped focus room. This shared resource can allow for slow walks while on office conference calls. In a one hour conference call you can walk a mile or two without even noticing. Multiple people can benefit, and people can demo the idea without setup effort or risk.
Through better circulation to your brain, your clarity of thought increases along with the flow of good ideas. Calories are burned, and the pounds drop. The company's health costs also drop.
I've been using one since 2011 after a colleague shared the idea. I've walked between 2-5 miles a day since with peaks at 15 miles a day. After the first year I'd already walked to LA and back... My FitBit makes it even easier to track progress.
They say sitting is the new smoking: http://www.runnersworld.com/health/sitting-is-the-new-smoking-even-for-runners
Each day starts with a routine. A valuable habit I've found is creating a daily "Today" entry in Evernote. I have a simple template I cut and paste into a new daily entry each morning that looks like this:
Brain dump or tasks:
Hello my productive peeps,
Today we'll learn about OneWake. This simple iOS app can help in multiple ways to keep your day on track. I use it daily in the morning to keep on a routine with achievable timings for morning activities. It helps keep me on point from getting lost in email or something else when I'm trying to get ready in the AM and it's won a long term spot on my home screen.
You can create routines that can be saved and recalled, or make them on the fly. The cool thing is it's flexible; if a task is taking longer than I planned, I can bump it up by 5 or 10 mins and it shifts my other tasks accordingly so I have visibility into how that change affects the timing of other items in my list.
You can also touch and drag tasks around to change the order since life doesn't always flow as planned. It works like the Clear App in this way - Drag and Drop!
I also use it as a reverse calendar so if I know I have to check out of the hotel by 11:00 AM, I can list out the things I want to accomplish or do before then with estimated timings. Then custom taylor a schedule that fits in what I want while still getting me out the door on-time. Super nifty eh?
Manage projects with more than one person? Do you like things complicated or simple?
If you said yes and simple, then Asana.com is for you. Asana is a collaborative project and task tracking tool. Many PMOs rely on MS Project Server which has been a standard for years. This works for highly evolved and disciplined companies. Anything short of that requires a far more user friendly approach to managing projects, AKA Asana's target market.
With Asana, you can create projects and assign tasks to yourself or team members. You can add pertinent folks as followers of a task update and they are notified in real time when an update comes in. Asana brings a "social" feel to task management as all posts, updates, questions and comments are in context for that task. No more hunting through emails (gasp!).
When used live in meetings, there are no notes to send out, or time taken to make a clean list of tasks to send via email. Enter them in Asana in real time. By always having an eye on what the status of tasks are, there is less need for meetings, and meetings are more productive.
I've used Asana for over three years and they develop and deliver functionality on the regular. I'm a huge fan of this tool and wish more people were exposed. Its simplicity and ease of use brings context, visibility and team productivity to its peak.
Folks! A very limited number of you may be familiar with www.thebrain.com. If you are the mind mapping type, your day has come. The Brain is a top tier mind mapping tool that allows you to go deep while maintaining topic clarity. It is robust and powerful. It allows you to connect so much on a topic, or your entire life.
I've been a "Brain" user since 2005. It was so great I thought it should be provided as a tool for kids in school and corporations across our great land. Not many other people are on this bandwagon however.
That said, the company did not evolve the technology fast enough. When iOS was coming up, they sat on their hands. When Evernote started becoming the tool of choice due to its tagging capabilities and mobile awesomeness, The Brain hardly evolved.
BUT my readers - today they have dropped their iOS version of "The Brain". The interface is beautiful, clean and functional. It will instantly become a powerful tool in a mind mapper's arsenal of magic technology.
Its subscription based - but there is a free version as well. I'm not sure if the free version will work with iOS. Happy mind mapping.
A friend turned me on to Squarespace.com. As it turns out, it is fantastic! I'd been wanting to put together a personal site that included my CV, video, photo, music and design portfolios. I started with smugmug.com, but ran into some challenges. I setup my entire site in a day. Its simple to use, yet powerful enough to handle the myriad of requirements I threw at it. Check out my page at www.charlesbyrd.com.
It runs about $10 per month which one may not want to pay forever, but it can handle commerce as well. It has clean templates to choose from too. A trial version is available to kick the tires. Kick away...
For those that like getting more of what you want, you should buy the book "Getting More" by Stewart Diamond. The book provides a framework to authentically see other peoples points of view so you can relate to them better. By doing so, you end up getting more of what you are seeking as well.
I used these techniques today like a ninja to break past some head-butting issues I'd run up against with my manager. The truth is I was not just trying to use the tools the book provides but genuinely felt good about the interaction even though it had been staged for confrontation. I didn't take the bate, and in the end without me even bringing up the elephant in the room, my manager did and conceded to my previously shared opinion.
Its the old killing them with kindness trick. It worked exceedingly well... yet again. A key reminder from the book I have pop up on the regular is "Focus on your goals, not on being right".
Swallowing your ego to get more of what you want is hard, but damn, its effective.