Sunday, May 19, 2013

3,000 Ever Notes and Counting

If you don't yet use Evernote, but do use a smart phone and/or tablet plus one or more computers, you may be missing an important productivity application.  Stay tuned for how this could be useful for the way you work.

First, how important IS Evernote to me (and potentially to you)?

Well, the counter on my Evernote rolled over 3,000 this past week....a little more than 1,000 notes per year, or around 20 new notes/week.  I mention this because it is a measure of usefulness.  I use Evernote multiple times daily, either referring to, editing, or adding new notes.

What does Evernote DO that makes it so useful to me and 50 million (February 2013) others?

For me, two things: 1) store digital snips of life, and 2) allow easy access to those snips via search or notebook on any of my platforms (PC laptop, Mac Mini, iPad, iPhone, or random computers with web access).  It all synchronizes securely via the Evernote cloud.  Some basic Evernote functions are:
  • Notes - that might sound obvious, but I find notes are even useful for initial composition because they are available everywhere I work.  I add pictures, hyperlinks, formatting, audio, PDFs, and more to make notes even more useful.
  • Audio - I often record audio from within Evernote.  For example, I record conversations with our financial consultant for future reference.  
  • Pictures - Evernote is not designed for massive numbers of pictures, but it shines with the addition of pictures to notes, either individually or several at a time.  I usually add a picture to my daily journal entries in Evernote.
  • PDF documents - I have a small sheet feed scanner about the size of a brick.  It will directly scan paper documents into Evernotes all day long.  All I have to do is title the note and add any tags.  Evernote automagically scans PDFs (and pictures with legible writing) and adds those words to the search database. For example, if you are searching for a PDF document containing "fenestration", it will go through all your notes, find and display the note for you.  
  • Web clips - I use this a lot.  When I find a web page with information I might want to refer to later, I use the web page clipper extension in Chrome and clip to Evernote.  Clipping is better than bookmarking: 1) it provides searchable notes, 2) bookmarks are hard to locate again once you have more than a few hundred, and 3) web pages change, and the information you want could disappear.
  • Other files - If you have the paid version of Evernote, you can store MS Word documents, Keynote files, etc.  This is useful if you are working in multiple locations.  
  • There's more - Evernote has other tricks, too, but this is enough for synopsis.  And, it keeps getting better.
There is a LOT more that I could write, but let me end with this: Evernote has changed the way I work and think.  It is one of the few apps that appear on my iOS dock and PC taskbar.  But don't take my word for it....just try Evernote for a few weeks.  It's free, although there is a paid version which has some additional tools.

Do you use Evernote already?  Please share with me and other readers what you have found most useful about the program/app.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Maintaining Focus on What is Important....with TULIP

For some time now I have been planting fresh "T-U-L-I-P" at the beginnings of my days to help me focus on what is important.  TULIP is an acronym for five attitudes: thanksgiving, un-offended, love, identity and purpose.

TULIP is used as a memory aid in another context, but I like it for what I am doing.  You may want to focus on a different set of attitudes; the point is to keep them in front of us every day until they become an unconscious part of life.

I "plant" these in my journal at the beginning of the day.  Writing them each day keeps them fresh in my mind.  Because they are fresh, they continue to transform my mind, and help me remember to act on them during the day.  I become what I focus on.

Here is how I use TULIP:
T-Thanksgiving = I want to stay in a place of thankfulness.  Hard things will happen in every life, and I want to give thanks in all circumstances. 1 Thessalonians 5:18
U-Un-offended = I have chosen to live an un-offended life.  Offense blocks love.  Love is the essence of God and His Kingdom.  Love is more powerful than we can possibly imagine.
L-Love = Jesus commands that those who follow Him love their brothers and sisters. John 13:34-35 It's easy to pay lip service to that command, but I want to pay it feet and hands service, especially since I have seen its power.  Jesus loves everyone.  Why would I do less?  I have begun to say "I love you" to people: mostly behind my eyes, but when the circumstances are right, I say it out loud.
I-Identity = I am a son of the living God, and an heir. Galatians 4:7  If God is the King of Kings (Revelation 19:16) and He has made me a son, that makes me a prince.  I chose to walk in and from the princely identity of my sonship.
P-Purpose = My purpose is to worship God with my life.  I have other specific purposes within that; some I know and others are being revealed to me.  I write them out.
This is an actual example from my journal for May 9, 2013:
  • Thanksgiving - Lord Jesus, I am deeply grateful for my Linda.  She's yours really, but you brought us together.  I love her on so many levels. 
  • Un-offended - I will live un-offended today.  I will not allow offense to turn off my love.
  • Love - I will change atmospheres by loving those around me today.  I will say "I love you" to those around me with my heart or my words.
  • Identity - I am a prince of the Kingdom.  I will walk, talk, think and act as one today. I am an embodiment of the love of Jesus.
  • Purpose - My purpose is to worship the King.  I will live my life today as worship.
This works for me.  When the opportunity for offense comes, I often remember my affirmation of living an un-offended life.  More and more I am speaking "I love you" behind my eyes.  Affirming my identity makes me walk taller and modifies my behavior.

How do you keep focus on that which is important to you?