Alternote: The OS X App Making Evernote Easier

Alternote: The OS X App Making Evernote Easier

“Evernote needs a dashboard,” I decided a few years ago. I kept hoping that Evernote would develop one, but they didn’t. “And a word count where you can see it, not hidden away…” No joy there, either. Until Alternote.

Alternote is a fascinating new OS X app that’s just what I wanted. It functions as an Evernote dashboard: I can view only those notebooks I want to look at. I can have a list of favorite notes.

And there’s a WORD COUNT (yippee!) in the bottom right of each note. (I’m wiping away tears of joy here, trust me.) Word count’s hugely important to writers.

What I like most about Alternote

See above — I can use Alternote as a quick way of getting things done in Evernote.

I love Evernote’s Mac app, but with over 6K notes, it becomes hard to get stuff done, because:

  • It’s easy to be distracted with notebooks and notes;
  • No easily visible word count when writing (see above);
  • Too many notebooks. Yes, distraction again. I’m a Gemini, and we love bright shiny objects.

You can keep up to 100K notes in Evernote, but I weed out my notes and notebooks regularly. Many notes expire; that is, they’re only useful for a limited time. A goals list for example, is time-limited. Once you’ve achieved those goals — or haven’t achieved them — the outdated list’s just a distraction.

So, the biggest plus for me with using Alternote is that I can cut down on Evernote’s distractions.

I also like the Markdown facility; I write almost everything in Markdown. You can repurpose at will in Markdown, especially with The wonderful Marked 2 app.

In summary: if you’re a Mac Evernote user, and want an app that acts as a useful front-end/ dashboard, give Alternote a try.

Write and Sell Commercial Fiction FAST: Bestselling Kindle Genre Fiction Cheat Sheets

Write and Sell Commercial Fiction FAST: Bestselling Kindle Genre Fiction Cheat Sheets
Write and Sell Commercial Fiction FAST: Bestselling Kindle Genre Fiction Cheat Sheets

Whether you’re a new fiction writer, or are an experienced pro, you need hungry markets for your books. Genres come in and out of fashion. Discover the hot genres on the Kindle Store — and write what’s selling NOW.

Our comprehensive new program not only reveals the hottest selling genres, it also helps you to write and SELL them. Enjoy. :-)

, on Twitter: @angee, and find Angela on Pinterest, too.

How to profit from your writing: online store.

Productivity in 2015: Save Your Sanity

We’re barely two weeks into 2015, and if you’re anything like me, you’re exhausted already. I just realized that I spent the entire working day being hugely productive. But I didn’t do my most important task. Productivity isn’t easy. You can be immensely productive, doing things that while important, aren’t essential.

My solution: My 1-3-5 List

I LOVE my bullet journal, but its tasks exist as lists, and it’s all too easy to migrate tasks. You jot tasks down as you think of them. You can prioritize, but you get used to glancing at the day’s list, and are lulled into complacency. You’re aware that you should be doing your Priority One task, but you get caught up in less important tasks, and before you know it, the day’s over. I’ll be implementing the 1-3-5 rule from now on.

If you haven’t heard of the 1-3-5 rule, basically, it’s this:

Complete One Significant Task Before Lunch (Your Least Favorite One, if Possible)

Here’s a website where you can list your tasks.

I’ll keep using my bullet journal, but I’m making sure that my main BIG task for the day gets done. Before lunch. I’m listing it right beside the day’s date, and am drawing a frame around it in red ink. If that doesn’t help me to remember, I’ll write the task on my hand.

If your task has many tasks, it’s a project

I made a fatal error with the big task I didn’t get done; I wrote it down as a task, without thinking about it. Since it’s comprised of many tasks, it’s a project. I should have created a plan for it, and then itemized the tasks. Obviously. Now I can see that. :-)

So that’s my next task: turn the “task” into a project. Then… create a plan for the project. And put a big red frame around it for tomorrow.

NEW — Copywriting Beginners’ Creative Gold Rush

Check out the exciting new program we’ve developed for newbie copywriters, Copywriting Beginners’ Creative Gold Rush. I love it, because it’s working so well for students.

, on Twitter: @angee, and find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Get coaching, and build your skills at Angela’s online store.

Writing Journal 20: Planning Everything

Writing Journal 20: Planning Everything

My writing journal for Monday, September 1, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

An early start, with fiction and nonfiction. Managed 2,000 words on the novella (it’s steaming right along), and 1,500 on the nonfiction book.

Honey’s breakfast, and email. Then my breakfast, while I read over a couple of short stories from students, and make notes, for the students, and for Julia.

Next: planning.

Getting Things Done — you need a system

It’s the first day of the month, so I need to spend time planning. As I’ve mentioned, I use a modified form of the Getting Things Done system.

In GTD terms, Evernote is my Inbox. Everything gets dumped into Evernote. I sort it out at the end of the day, when I do my daily review and word counts.

Projects and tasks get dumped into OmniFocus and Things. Why two task managers? Honestly, I have no idea. I like OmniFocus because of the Forecast views, which Things doesn’t have. I use Things as an extension of Evernote, even though I use Reminders in notebooks in Evernote too.

And I use lots of paper… I have a large Behance Action book which I use with Circa paper, several other paper notebooks both small and large, AND I use index cards.

I think on paper; I remember something when I write it by hand. If I type it, I tend to forget. I tend to doodle a lot, too, when I’m working things out. So paper wins. :-)

Every page of paper gets snapped with Evernote’s camera. Most of these images — cluster diagrams, notes on a scene, ideas which crop up when I’m working on something else — are deleted in my weekly reviews. However, some I keep.

For example, I had a “warning” dream last week, and I’ll keep the notes I made on that. I have these kinds of dreams occasionally. The first time I had one was around a year BEFORE my life went to total cr*p. In the dream, I was in a car, driving down a very steep, narrow and curving road. I knew the road well. Then the brakes failed. This dream recurred for months. Did I pay attention to what was happening in my life? No, but I have ever since.

Whenever I get one of these kinds of dreams these days, I start to pay close attention to what’s happening.

Apropos of dreams: if you don’t keep a dream journal for your writing, start to keep one. Your journal can be a huge source of inspiration.

Monthly and weekly goals — create them

The first day of the month’s an excellent time to plan. You’ve got a whole month ahead of you — four weeks. What can you accomplish in those weeks? What would you like your life to be like a month from now?

I start my monthly planning session by creating some goals for the month. I write some notes about upcoming projects and tasks. Then I look back over the past month, and try to see what I could do better as well as what I’ve accomplished. We can always do better. :-)

Next, I work out what I need to do this week, as far as client deadlines, and my own deadlines, are concerned.

With my planning done, I move on to current projects.

Two video scripts this week

I’ve got a couple of scripts to do so I create some cluster diagrams, and do some research, while keeping the clients’ calls to action in mind.

Writing tip: whenever you’re writing copy, keep your client’s goals in mind.

Lunchtime — I need to run some errands, and stop in at the library to return some books.

I spend a couple of hours at the library, because I always seem to get more done there. I do more work on the scripts.

Then I write 500 words of a Christmas short story. My goal is to create an ebook of 25 Christmas stories,  more or less as writing exercises. I love Amazon. What’s not to like about putting your writing exercises online and selling them? ;-)

Back to the office to more student and client email. I make some notes so so that Julia can send out responses.

Next, the client blogging I didn’t get to yesterday. I create several more draft posts. I finish two more, and schedule them for publishing. I shoot off more messages to remind clients to send me images.

Done for the day. Time for the daily review, and word count.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.

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.
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, and on Twitter: @angee