Tag Archives: productivity

3 Simple Content Creation Tricks You Can Use Right Now

3 Simple Content Creation Tricks You Can Use Right Now

Desperate for some content creation ideas? Try these three simple tricks. I’ve found them helpful, and so have my students. Big bonus: they’re easy, and they help you to get more ideas.

1. Focus on Problems: No One’s Alone With a Problem.

Life is just one problem after another. Instead of cursing your challenges, try turning them into content. Don’t stop there. What challenges do your clients have? Your team?

Here’s a list of five challenges I’ve been thinking about this morning, and the solutions they inspire. These are content ideas, so make the most of them:

  • Evernote – my primary Evernote account has over 5,000 notes. It’s time to weed the notes out again. With over 50 million users, there’s a big audience for Evernote tips and tricks;
  • Images – I need more images! If you want to get your slice of the attention economy, images are essential. Time I learned to create infographics…;
  • My WordPress.com blog needs attention. I’ll brainstorm some ideas for it, and then will use Trick 2, below;
  • Catching up with my reading, specifically news feeds. Google Reader is long gone; I’ve just purchased ReadKit to help me to manage my feeds. I’m sure some of the 50 million ex-Google Reader subscribers are way behind on their reading too.

No one’s alone with a problem – if you’ve got a problem, turn it into content.

2. Get an Idea, and Implement It.

You’ve written down some problems, and solutions. Implement a solution. Here’s why: once you start implementing, you’ll discover what works, and what doesn’t work. Your readers will enjoy reading about your experiences.

You don’t need to create a case study, although you could. My first problem I mentioned in Trick 1 was too many notes in Evernote. (You can have up to 100,000 notes in Evernote, so my 5,000 notes aren’t necessarily a big deal. I just like to weed out outdated material reguarly.)

I manage goals, clients, and products in Evernote; it helps me to manage my writing, and my business.

Off the top of my head, I can think of two pieces of content I can create right away. As I weed out Evernote, I’m sure I’l think of more:

  • Evernote helper apps. I’ve been meaning to investigate a couple of apps which will help me to manage Evernote. I can create content about my experiences with these apps;
  • Managing your goals in Evernote. I want to try something new. I’ll try it, and then write about it.

3. Pitch Three or More Content Ideas at the Same Time.

If you create content for others, as I do, you need to pitch your content ideas. Try to pitch several ideas, rather then just one. How many of your ideas are accepted isn’t important. You pitch more, because you’ll find that this gives you more ideas; once you’re in a creative mindset, your ideas will flower.

For example, this morning I pitched a content creation schedule for one of my clients. I scheduled six pieces of content right within WordPress, adding several points for each post. I also chose the keywords I was targeting, and located some images. While I was doing that, I got ideas for content I can create for another client.

Once you get into a “content” mindset, you’ll come up with more ideas than you need.

Try these simple content creation tricks. They’re very simple, powerful. Make a note of them too, for the next time you get stuck, and can’t come up with ideas.

, and on Twitter: @angee

photo credit: zetson via photopin cc

Productivity Tips For 2014: 1. Create a Quick List

Productivity Tips For 2014: 1. Create a Quick List

Over the years, I’ve become fond of productivity tips which are small improvements. For me, life-changing productivity systems like Getting Things Done tend to waste more time than they save. Your mileage many vary of course.

Setting up new, more productive workflows takes time, without any real guarantee that they’re worth it. For example: you spend an hour figuring out how to use IFTTT to automate tasks. Another half an hour setting up five recipes. You forget all about your recipes a couple of days later. A year later, you delete them. (I’m a fan of IFTTT, by the way, I’m just using it as an example.)

So this year, let’s look at some productivity tips which may just save you five minutes here and there. With luck, you’ll save four or five hours over a month.

Our first tip is…

Create a Quick List for tasks you can do in under ten minutes

What’s a Quick List? It’s a list of tasks which take no longer than ten minutes. These tasks can be for home, or for work.

My “home” Quick List includes: water plants in sunroom, change lightbulb in hall, and the names of people I need to call.

My “work” Quick List primarily consists of email messages to which I need to respond, as well as articles to read in Pocket.

Your Quick Lists prevent tasks from cluttering up your calendar. They’re simple, easy tasks which you need to do, but no one will die if you don’t get them done today or tomorrow.

I keep my Quick Lists in Evernote, one note per list. Each item gets a checkmark, so I can check them off as I do them.

Quick Lists may work for you. Try them.
write a book book coaching

, and on Twitter: @angee

Wish You Could Use Haiku Deck for Presentations? You Can

1haiku

If you’ve been wishing you could use the glitzy iPad presentation app, Haiku Deck, but don’t have an iPad, you’ll be pleased that Haiku Deck is now available on the Web.

You can create Haiku Deck presentations in your Web browser, on any computer. I’ve just tried out the Web app, and it’s excellent. But…

Oddly enough, I prefer Haiku Deck on the iPad. I think it’s because I’m more used to it (and I prefer lounging on the sofa to sitting at my desk):

How I create presentations fast

With Haiku Deck, anyone can create a fantastic presentation in less than an hour.

I use sticky notes stuck onto an Oasis pad to create the presentation outline. One sticky per slide.

Then, sitting on my sofa, with the outline on a coffee table, I relax and create the presentation on my iPad. Best job ever. :-)

Sign up (or log in), and create your first presentation.

In the spirit of cookery shows, here’s a slide deck I created just for you, to show you how easy it is to use Haiku Deck’s new Web app.

This deck took me around ten minutes to create; I was dithering around with images, otherwise I would have finished more quickly.

Once you’ve signed up, or have logged in, you can go to your gallery. Make sure that you sign in with your Haiku Deck ID, if you’ve been creating decks on your iPad, so that your decks are available in your gallery.

Haiku Deck

From your gallery, you can share your decks, or create a new deck, as you can see in the image above.

Prototype your ideas, then export to PowerPoint.

Of course, Haiku Deck doesn’t have all the bells and whistles you’ll find in PowerPoint. That’s OK. You can export your decks to PowerPoint, as you can see from the Export to PowerPoint option in the image below.

Haiku Deck export

Next, just open your deck in PowerPoint.

PowerPoint

 

The deck in PowerPoint

Your slide deck opens, ready for you to get on with your work.

Haiku Deck’s perfect for prototyping presentations, or for noodling with ideas. Just create a slide deck in Haiku Deck, either on your iPad, or on the Web, and explore your ideas. When you’re ready, export your desk to PowerPoint, without publishing it. You can now delete the “starter” deck, because it has served its purpose.

If you haven’t tried Haiku Deck, try it out. It’s a perfect tool if you need to create a presentation FAST. By the way, if you’re a Slideshare user, you can export your decks directly to Slideshare if you wish.

 

, and on Twitter: @angee

Dropbox Tricks: Super-Easy Tricks for Productivity and Peace of Mind

Dropbox Tricks

I’m a HUGE Dropbox fan; don’t know where I’d be without it. Dropbox is a free file hosting service, if you’re not familiar with it.

Last year the hard drive died on my main work machine, and without Dropbox and Evernote, I wouldn’t have been able to run my business. Those two apps alone enabled me to continue working straight through, until the machine came back with a new drive.

Tip 1: Access anything, anywhere.

In my recent 11 Dropbox Tricks You Didn’t Know About piece for Lifehack, I mentioned turning Dropbox into your default Documents folder:

What if you want access to all your files, everywhere? You can do that if you wish. Create a documents folder in Dropbox, and make that your default documents folder across all your computers. Of course, if you have a huge documents folder, you’ll want to get extra storage from Dropbox to make sure that you have sufficient space for all your files.

Dropbox is the perfect solution if you’re constantly shuttling between computers, and your tablet. If you decide to do that, remember to turn on Selective Sync on any computer with a small hard drive.

Tip 2. Add your business reference library to Dropbox.

Create a “Reference” folder in Dropbox,and add all your business reference materials to it. Consider materials such as:

  • Price lists;
  • Work manuals;
  • Your digital portfolio (if you’re a writer, developer or designer);
  • Presentations (you never know when you’ll need one);
  • Contracts and sales receipts;
  • Invoice templates in PDF form.

If you use your iPad for business, as I do, you can use iAnnotate PDF to fill in contracts and invoices as you need them. (Type on PDF is free, if you don’t have iAnnotate PDF.)

Tip 3: Create a vault.

We’ve all got materials we’d hate to lose. You may have old documents and photos you’ve scanned, a project you’re working on, legal documents, copies of your passport and cards if you’re traveling…

Store them in a “vault” folder in Dropbox. I’m sure you’re wondering about security and yes, it’s a concern when you’re keeping secure documents in the cloud.

You can password-protect anything that’s super-confidential at the document level. Most apps, including MS Office let you password-protect documents. (Just don’t lose the password.)

On the other hand, for super, super confidential material, forgo Dropbox, and use 1Password, which will attach documents to Vault items.

Dropbox makes your life easier, every day. New to Dropbox? 11 Dropbox Tricks You Didn’t Know About will get you up to speed.

 

, and on Twitter: @angee

Bunkr: Increase Your Productivity and Enjoy Creating Presentations

Bunkr: Create HTML5 Presentations

If you feel that your productivity goes down whenever you need to create a presentation, you’re not alone. I love creating presentations in Haiku Deck on my iPad for that reason; it makes creating most presentations fast, elegant and easy.

However, some presentations require more.  What if you want to use a couple of slides from another presentation? Or a video? Or an article? Collecting your material, and then using it in your presentation is a hassle.

Enter Bunkr.

This article calls the Bunkr Web app Evernote for Presentations, and it’s an apt description. You collect all the material you want to use in the app’s library, so that that the material is always available when you need it.

The library is amazing. Rather than collecting material in folders on your computer (and then forgetting which folder, and which computer), you can collect material, and find it easily.

Once your presentation is done, it’s viewable on any device.

Export is great too; you can export to PDF, or to PowerPoint if you want to apply finishing touches, or add audio.

Here’s a short video which shows you how Bunkr works.

 

 

, and on Twitter: @angee

Productivity Secret: Get Inspired, Regularly

Productivity Secret: Get Inspired, Regularly

If you’re feeling desperate because you’re procrastinating, and would love a “magic” productivity secret, read on. You’ll love this.

For true productivity, you need a state of flow. In flow, you’re totally engrossed in what you’re doing. You’re unaware of time, and your environment. You work smoothly and efficiently, without stress and pressure. Sadly, most of us can’t switch on a flow state at will.

Although you can’t turn on flow anytime you feel like it, you can do something even better. You can turn the task over to your subconscious mind. When you return to the project, you’ll often find yourself working in flow, because your subconscious mind is in charge.

Let your subconscious mind deal with it

As I said in Enhance Productivity and Stop Over-Thinking:

When you get stuck on a project or task, allow your subconscious mind to help.

Albert Einstein said that: “no problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.”

Let your subconscious mind do the work if you’re stuck. A flash of insight for a solution which allows you to move forward will dawn on you. I get my best inspirations when I’m walking my dog; some people get them in the bath or shower.

Do a little spadework first

You can’t twitch your nose like Samantha in Bewitched, and magic your task completed.

Bewitched

Your subconscious mind is magical

You can however kickstart your subconscious to get it working on the project, so that you’re mentally prepared, and will work on the project in flow, when it’s time to get it done.

You kickstart your subconscious processing by doing some preparatory work now.

For example, let’s say you need to create a presentation for a client. Write out a description of the project (don’t omit this, you’re telling your subconscious what you want it to do). Then create graphics for the project, or get started on an outline. Spend 20 minutes on any kind of prep for the project, and you’ve done the spadework.

Your subconscious mind is now in charge, and working on the project while you carry on with your life. (Yes, you’ve got your very own cobbler’s elves working for you. :-))

Alternatively, do a little sleep thinking. Think about the project tonight, as you’re falling asleep. Imagine yourself completing the project quickly, and efficiently. This is another way of alerting your subconscious about the importance of this project.

Your subconscious mind is your own personal supercomputer. Put it to work. It’s a wonderful productivity secret. You’ll find yourself developing your own shortcuts to working with your subconscious. You’ll become inspired, more or less at will.

We spend a lot of time working with your subconscious mind in the 3O Days to Writing Success coaching program. You’ll be amazed at how efficiently your subconscious will work for you.

 
, and on Twitter: @angee

Be Lazy AND Productive: 4 Stress-Free Tips

Be Lazy AND Productive
Be Lazy AND Productive

 No one survives. As the Anne Lammott says: “100 years from now? All new people”. Whatever we’re obsessing about today is trivial when you take the long view. And stress is not only pointless, it may shave a few years off the time you have.

So – relax.

You can be both productive, and lazy. If you’ve got a cat, you’ve got the ultimate role model for laziness and productivity. Think of big cats – lions. They lie around, until they need to move. Then they move.

Back in January, I wrote this blog post:

Here’s something which helped me to bolster my determination to keep my resolutions. I spent half an hour looking through my 2012 notes in my Evernote account.

I love Evernote for many reasons, but that’s a big one. The longer you use it, the more you get out of it. I’ve been a Premium user since 2009, so I can watch my obsessions change over time. As the years go by, you can see how trivial some of your obsessions are in retrospect. Your current biggest worry won’t matter after you’re dead – it won’t even matter next year.

Try these tips to be both lazy and productive.

1. Sleep on it (seriously)

Got a problem? Write it down. Then forget it for now. The “write it down” part is the magic. When you write something down, it lodges in your brain, and triggers your subconscious mind. Allow your subconscious to come up with the answer for you. It will.

From Healthline:

The funny thing about your brain, as researchers from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) recently discovered, is that it’ll keep solving a problem for you while you do something else. In fact, giving your subconscious time to work makes for better decisions.

Your subconscious has huge processing power. Let go of the problem so it can work on it.

2. Be the hare AND the tortoise

Everything moves in cycles. So does your body and brain. Try quick sprints of activity, during which you focus, interspersed with periods in which you relax.

The Pomodoro Technique helps you to work in sprints. You don’t have to work in 25 minute blocks of time. Use ten-minute sprints for some tasks, 45-minute sprints for others. The total cycle of focus/ relaxation is key.

3. Life is short. Your To Do List is never-ending

You’ll NEVER get everything done. Fact. Accept it. If you’re worn out at the end of the day, and commit to pulling an all-nighter to meet a deadline, consider that that strong burst of productivity can lower your over-all productivity for at least a week.

Since you’ll never get everything done, trim your task list to a Post-it.

4. Your life on a Post-it note

Post-it note in Evernote

Post-it note in Evernote

Grab a stack of Post-its. Use one for each day and write a maximum of three items on your daily note. Perhaps you’ll have just a single item – but no more than three. After you cross off your three items you can be as lazy as you like.

My favorite app, Evernote, has just made it easy for you to snap your Post-its into your Evernote notes. (I snapped the above image of a Post-it into Evernote.)

You CAN be productive, and lazy. Try it.

, and on Twitter: @angee

photo credit: ehisforadam via photopin cc

New in Evernote: Tables of Contents, Automatically

Evernote Community in Google+
The Evernote Community in Google+

I’m a huge Evernote fan.

Tip: if you are too, join the Evernote Community on Google+ – see you there. :-)

Basically, most of what I do with clients and students lives in Evernote. This means that not only can I collaborate with others, I can work anywhere, anytime.

The challenge with Evernote, as with any freeform database, is finding your stuff. With thousands of notes, finding exactly what you want instantly can be a challenge.

Evernote makes it easy. You can:

  • Save your searches
  • Drag notebooks and notes to the Shortcuts sidebar
  • Link notes to each other…

And more.

You can also create your own tables of contents, to access notebooks and notes quickly. A table of contents might include the projects you’re working on this week, a list of reference material, or several checklists.

Create your own Tables of Contents

You can create links to notes very easily. These note links (right-click on a note, and choose Copy Note Link to create one) work not only within Evernote, but also outside Evernote. I copy note links to Trello cards, for example, as well as to items in The Brain.

To create a table of contents for anything, you just the copy note links you want to a new note, and it’s done.

While it’s easy, and essential when you have lots of notes, it also takes time.

With the latest version of Evernote however, it takes no time at all – Evernote will create tables of contents for you automatically.

Select and click – automatic tables of contents

My thanks to Jason Frasca for the tip. As Jason points out, you just need to select the notes you want, and click Create Table of Contents Note.

Create a Table of Contents note

Create a Table of Contents note

As you can see in the image above, it couldn’t be easier.

Give your table of contents note a relevant name, and drag it to the shortcuts bar, or click the Reminder icon so you can access it easily.

, and on Twitter: @angee