My thoughts on the Apple Watch 1.0.1 Update

My thoughts on the Apple Watch 1.0.1 Update

OK.  I’ve had a short amount of time with the update, and I have to say I am happy.  I was not unhappy with the watch before, but I was also a forgiving sole when it comes to 1.0 products.  The wife’s watch delivers tomorrow and I am convinced she would not have been as forgiving.

Key things I noticed:

  • Not sure, but the raise to view the watch seems a little snappier.  I was not unhappy before with it, so I am a bad judge there
  • 3rd party apps load WAY faster.   I am seeing apps load in 2-4 seconds now vs. over 10 before.   This is noticeable.
  • Siri does seem a little more responsive.
  • Overall, things just run smoother.  Less glitchy
  • Apple Pay loads faster.  It was not slow before, but seems instant now

What am I still missing?

  • 3rd party watch apps.
    • Yes, I know you want to keep it pristine Apple, but come on, let developers go crazy and sell apps with in app purchase watch faces.  It’ll be a hit
  • The ability for the screen to stay on a touch longer.  Sometimes it seems a bit too aggressive.
  •  A way to do pages of apps.  Your “fancy” app layout engine sucks and puts way too much cognitive load for me to find things.  (let alone understand where you put stuff when I load an app).
    • I think this HAS to be fixed  Go to app pages like the iPhone . PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE

 

A Pebble Watch Kickstarter Backer – My first week with Apple Watch

A Pebble Watch Kickstarter Backer – My first week with Apple Watch

Thursday marks my 7th day with my Apple Watch.   There are enough great and detailed reviews, people poking fun, and downright haters out there that I don’t need to write a full review.  What I want to share is the difference with my Apple Watch vs. my Pebble.
Admittedly I am a gadget geek.  I like to buy things, understand what they have to offer and typically have more forgiveness for cutting edge things than the average person.  This is partially why I don’t “review” things.  I would just gush over them.  When others find the worst, I am trying to find the best while forgiving the worst as an early adopter.  I tend to like to see what things offer today and dream about the “What If” for tomorrow.  This is just who I am.  (and many of you are)

The Pebble

I was a proud owner of the original Pebble Watch (Kickstarter Edition).  When I first saw the videos coming out about the Pebble, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it.  I love the Pebble watch.  It has been on my wrist mostly without fail since the day I got it.

Pebble Learnings

The first thing I noticed about getting notifications on your wrist wasn’t how much better it was, but how it made me feel as if I was signaling people I had to leave, or they were boring me.  If I pulled out my phone while we are talking, at least they knew I was being pro-actively rude.  By looking at my wrist, I felt I was being passively rude.  I didn’t like it.  Plus, I couldn’t do anything, just look.
One of the key things I liked about the Pebble was the customization aspect.  I was forever tinkering and trying out new watch faces. I really enjoyed the simplicity of the Pebble Watchface Generator.  I could easily upload my own images, those I found online, etc and make myself a new watch face.  I made watch faces for special occasions, teams, etc.  I made Seahawks watch faces,  Napster Watch face when I was working there, and fun seasonal watch faces.
The battery life was amazing.  I could go on a short business trip and not have to worry about charging.  I could easily get 5-6 days on one charge.  This was really helpful.

The New Pebble – Pebble Time

Once the new Pebble Time was announced, I started drooling.  I knew about the Apple Watch, but was not 100% dug in to figure out all I could do there yet.  I knew I loved my Pebble, maybe a Pebble Time was the right choice.  I knew Apple wasn’t going to let us all do our own Watch Faces, and that was one thing I loved doing.  I knew the battery was going to be better for an e-Ink display.
The microphone was also a big draw.  Not being able to respond to messages was tough.  It made the first Pebble more of a notifications remote viewer instead of something I could do much with.  The idea of being able to respond to messages with a microphone, or dictate reminders; these things got me excited.  So, I pulled the trigger and pre-ordered one.

Then… The Apple Watch

Once I pre-ordered, I really spent some time thinking about the two watches.  What would I get with the Apple Watch if I chose to go that way instead?  I already know I am an iOS Fanboy.  Trust me, working in mobile for more than 15 years as both a developer and product manager, I’ve had my share of Phones.  I have always tried to have at least the latest iPhone and Best Android phone on the market every year. Many times I have had 2-3 Android phones as part of my job.  I still currently have a Moto-X and iPhone 6 Plus.

The Screen

Seriously, have you seen the Apple Watch screen?  It is amazing.  Once I really started comparing The Pebble Time and Apple Watch, I knew I was feeling a bit jealous of the bright screen.  Even at the expense of the battery, I was jealous.  I figured, hey.. I charge my phone every night, why not just charge my watch too.  (I can justify about anything in my mind when it comes to gadgets)
The next thing I started reading about was the challenges for Pebble when it came to the Microphone, iOS integration and what apps would work with the Mic.  It started to feel like on iOS, Pebble Time was going to have more challenges ahead of them.  For all the things I love about Apple, the closed ecosystem comes at a price.   If they were going to build a watch, it would have the best iOS integration of any watch.  I was sure of it.  Did I want to bite off a sub-par experience for daily interaction for custom watch faces and battery?  Was this my tradeoff?

What I have learned I like so far

Turns out that the integration with iOS is amazing for Apple Watch.  The new Siri is far better than before.  I have always liked Google’s Voice speech to text much better than Apple’s.  I think with this new version, they are appearing to be closer to On Par with each other.  I have also loved having the interactive notifications.  Quick replies need some work, but have come in handy.  (far too often I sound like a terse jerk responding, I need to tweak these)  I also think Siri responses are a bit awkward at first, but I will use them often I think.
Glances have been a big surprise.  I am liking the way a lot of these work.  My goal is to keep these small in numbers and useful.  I don’t want to over-do it.  This would likely take the usefulness away if I had too many.
I have also liked having apps that do things.  My most-used app on my Pebble was my fake Starbucks app.  On my Apple Watch, my favorites apps so far include:
  • Maps – walking turn by turn is actually fantastic
  • Omnifocus – makes it easier to tick things off quickly once reminded
  • Overcast – quick easy access to pick up where I left off
  • Calendar – a much better micro-view into my day
  • Drafts – still the fastest way to capture some quick idea

What I don’t like so far

One of the biggest annoyances so far is the fact my watch has to be laid down on a table to be charged on some goofy puck.  I am already in line for a Night Stand by ElevationLab.  I love this. Why couldn’t Apple have taken some of the money the spent on that useless, plastic box this came in and given me a nice stand?   That would go along much better with the $600 price I paid.

The Layout engine for apps is annoying.  David Sparks intentionally does not call it the “Home Screen”, and I agree.  The Watchface is home.  The Apps are on a different screen that looks quite pretty, but functionally sucks.   How do you organize this?  Well simple, you drag your icons around to be near each other by category.  In practical life, the auto layout component perpetually screws up what you are trying to do and it takes FAR too much fiddling to get what you want.
How to fix the App Screen?  Turn off that damn auto-layout engine and let me place icons where I want.   Let me cluster icons together into my own world-map of categorization.  Let me separate icon clusters into their own continents.  Let me pinch and zoom in and out to the items I need by cluster.   If you want to get clever Apple, if I touch a cluster while zoomed out, snap to that cluster and zoom in… but don’t make me fiddle so much.
My Current Layout
 IMG_7315
Another thing I don’t care for is only having 12 friends.  Seriously, is there no other way to send someone a digital touch unless they are in that group?  No, I don’t have 12 friends with Apple Watches, but the ones who do are not necessarily the ones I want to communicate with all the time.  Can we just make that work from the normal contacts on your watch?  It’s as if 2 different groups built those out and didn’t talk to each other.

Summary

Yes, I am still a fan-boy.  Yes, I love my watch.  Yes, there are issues.. but overall, I am happy with my purchase.  I like seeing where this is going.  I know this is only V1 and it will change over time, but I like to be one of the people who try this out and collectively we help shape what will be an amazing market.  No we don’t have direct influence at Apple, but we do have a voice, and hopefully people do listen.
I am happy with my choice and have since cancelled my pre-order for Pebble Time.  I guess it just wasn’t meant to be.  For all the challenges a restricted ecosystem imposes on others, and the compromises that get made to accommodate Apple in these cases, Apple has a distinct advantage..  With their ability to go around those restrictions, and build to order, they end up with the most functional Smartwatch I’ve seen or used.  It’s one of my favorite gadgets I’ve ever had.  And yes, I will get V2.

Some good reading


The Definitive Review – The Verge
Custom Watch Faces – Daring Fireball
Apple Watch Review – Cult Of Mac
Wunderlist Vs. Omnifocus – How I struggle with the choice

Wunderlist Vs. Omnifocus – How I struggle with the choice

I may be a bit of a productivity junky.  I am that person who spends more time learning about being productive than being productive sometimes.  I have definitely forced myself to stick to my guns when it comes to making progress on tasks for work however I am perpetually tweaking my tools.

My previous solution of using Evernote had so many advantages I loved but at the end of the day, finding a simple view of what I needed to be focused on for the day provide challenging.  (without a lot of adding/removing tags, moving notes, etc)

I went all in on Omnifocus for quite some time.  The thing I realize I liked most out of Omnifocus was the flexibility to create perspectives.  The planning and defer options were key.   I could really start to focus on what mattered and not feel overwhelmed by ALL of my tasks.   The hard part was, I never felt I was a master of Perspectives.  I even bought David Sparks great Omnifocus Video Field Guide.  I watched it on my plane trip to London.  It really helped me learn some new techniques.

I was forever feeling like I was missing tasks in the view I cared about.  That worried me.  I also felt that quickly adding tasks became a challenge.  To really be good I had to assign to a project AND context for every task.  Context became a bit of a struggle because sometimes I wanted to use it more like a tag.  I want to mark something as @read and @commute so when I am in the mood to read, or on my commute, I could get things done.  This was not possible.

I switched over to Wunderlist AGAIN!  I really like the look and simplicity of Wunderlist.  A couple of my favorite features are Attachments and Comments.   A bonus now is the fact they have folders and #tags.  The attachments piece makes it easy for me to attach a document to my tag and get to it quickly.  Arguably, this is a bad habit.  I really should not bloat my task list with attachments, but I do it.

The Comments make it super easy to track progress if I am TRYING to get a task done but it’s not completed.  Maybe the task is “Verify requirements for NEW FEATURE with Alex”.  If I reach out to Alex on email, I add a comment.  I then set a follow up reminder on this for a day or two and hope Alex responds.   If he does not, I go find Alex.. or call him, or some other method.. smoke signal maybe.  I annotate my task and keep track.  This helps me understand why my task is not done.  In Omnifocus, I used the notes field for this and had a keyboard shortcut of .dd to insert DATE/TIME stamp for each entry I made.  Wunderlist just does this better.

I REALLY struggle with OmniFocus vs. Wunderlist.  Here is where I see some key gaps that would make Wunderlist the perfect app for me.

Smart Folders or Saved Searches

I really want to look at things I have flagged AND due today.  Currently this is two different lists.   If I could create a smart list and set some criteria (similar to a saved search), then I could fix this issue.  It also would make it infinitely more powerful by searching for things like #read and #commute to fill gaps in time when I need to pick off a task.

Defer Dates

There are a lot of tasks that recur, or are not needed until a certain time.  Think of them as START DATES.   If I know I need to test run my generator in June, and It’s April right now, I don’t want to see that task until June.  It just clutters up my list.  I could REALLY use Start or Defer dates to help.  Follow up items are an other great use for this.   Follow up with Bob on Friday.. and that task disappears until Friday.

Folder View

Wunderlist gave us the ability to organize by folders finally.  The one thing they missed.. they don’t let you view a folder all at once.   I have a bunch of projects going on at work.  When I am planning my day I want to skim all of my projects for tasks I need to complete.  Currently, in Wunderlist, I have to go project by project and look at each list to see if I want to accomplish something today.  Just let me click the WORK folder and see all tasks grouped by project.  This would be so much easier.

SUMMARY

For now I am stuck.  I keep bouncing back and forth between Omnifocus and Wunderlist.  Omnifocus is a bit too powerful and cumbersome at times, but has the power I need when I want to be a GTD Ninja.  Oh.. but it looks like crap IMHO.  Wunderlist looks amazing, and is super quick and simple to use.. but lacks the ability for me to be a power user.

UGH.. what to do.  I’d love to hear your thoughts.  Just please don’t tell me to use ToDoist.  The Mac app is a wrapper on the webpage and NOT a good experience.  It is just not for me.  I want a good thick-client experience.

iCloud Drive – Apple needs to fix this product

iCloud Drive – Apple needs to fix this product

I am not sure why Apple feels the need to restrict the way I use iCloud Drive.  They believe they are helping users by trying to take the file system away from the user so they don’t have to think about it.  I can’t speak for everyone, but this is my largest frustration.

iCloud Drive

When I look at iCloud Drive, I see a bunch of folders by application.  I don’t organize my files this way.  I organize them by project I am working on.  If I am working on “Project X”, I put all files related to that project in a folder, then it is all in one tidy location.  iCloud Drive, by default, tries to force you to put everything in a sub-folder by application.  That is just strange.

Apple should look at something like Dropbox.  I can see every folder I want and organize HOW I want.  It does not have the concept of “by application” filing systems.

IMG_6815

The really strange part for me is when I contemplate opening a file on a project.  Let’s say on my iPhone, I open Pages.  I can’t get to anything other than what is in my Pages folder.  Apple won’t even expose the entire folder structure to you.  This drives me bonkers.

I get they are not trying to compete with Dropbox directly, but if you want me to dump a bunch of files in your system and become dependent on you, it better work with my workflow.. or it won’t fly.  I would love if Apple got to the point of sharing simplicity like Dropbox.  I know they are trying with some stuff integrated into Mail.app, but it is not enough yet.

My preference is to let the user control how they organize.  File systems are intuitive. Don’t try to “save me from myself”.. let me do it my way.

 

Annual Photo Backup Reminder Program

Annual Photo Backup Reminder Program

OK.. it’s the end of the year.  When was the last time you backed up your photos?

I know many of you have a process for backing up of your files.  I also know that many of you (despite knowing better) have yet to put the time and effort into doing this important task.   Yes, you should back up your documents and other files as well, but lets stay focused on pictures here.  This is where I get the most panicked phone calls; missing and lost photos.

Double Backup – two locations

The general rule I have is to always maintain at least 2 backups.  One on-site and one off site.  Why?  What happens when your house burns down?  If you didn’t have a copy somewhere else, you have lost all your precious memories.  I know what you are thinking, my house won’t burn down.  Well, it happened to my sister.  She DID have backups at home, but they were lost in the fire.  Seriously, Even if you just backup to a USB drive and take it to work or a friends house, do it. If you do this task once a year, the worst case is you lost a years worth of pics.  Not everything.

I personally use a combination of locations.  I may go overboard, but I am very protective of our pictures and memories.  Here is my setup:

  • My main location for files is in my pictures folder on my Mac.
  • I have a backup stored on a network drive (Drobo) that I manually copy
  • I have a time machine backup running to my Drobo as well
  • My remote copy is stored on Dropbox.
  • EDIT: I have since moved my Offsite Backup to Crashplan
    • Many people have so wisely pointed out that Dropbox is not a good backup solution, it is a sync solution.

Notice, I have 2 local backups, and one remote (off site) backup

I happen to store my photos in a nested folder structure that is by year/event.   This enables me to easily find and share photos as needed.

  • 2013
    • Michelles Birthday
    • Easter
    • Camping
  • 2014
    • Vacation to mars
    • Work event

Some online resources you can also use include:

Crashplan – automatic backup

Backblaze – another automatic backup solution

Flickr – you get 1 TB of storage now.. for free

Google Drive – yes, you can upload them to your drive account

 

Smartphone Backup

If you are anything like the rest of the world you are taking more photos on your smartphone and less on a regular camera.    Don’t forget to back these up.   I suggest at the end of the year  to take a snapshot of your phone pics and copy them to your YEAR/PhoneBackup folder.  I have one of these for each of the past 5 years.  I know I lost some photos prior to that, but I am pretty diligent now.

The method of retrieval depends on Mac/PC and the type of phone you have.   (iPhone/Android/other).  A little research and you can easily find ways to copy all the files at once to your computer.

Another thing I do is run backups from my phone to online services.  I use iCloud Drive for photos backup on my iPhone.  I also run Carousel (from Dropbox) to maintain a backup of photos from my device to the cloud.  I am an Amazon Prime member, so I am considering trying out their free photo backup solution as well. (it is free for prime members)  I don’t really need it, but that nagging in my head about backing up is telling me to add another online service to protect these photos.  (maybe I have an issue with OCD here)

 Anyway…

Just take the time to do it.  Back things up.  Get them off your computer drive and on to some external source.  Get a copy out of your house.  By making sure  you are redundant with these you can protect against corruption of files, fires, theft, etc.  Trust me, you will be happy you skipped that episode of Nashville to take care of this.

Old Webserver written in PERL

Old Webserver written in PERL

I came across some old code I had written a long time ago.  I remember seeing a post about accepting webserver traffic by running a PERL Daemon on a machine on port 80.   I decided to try it out.  It was fun.. and useless.  I wish I remember where I got the initial idea from.  That was the basis for my initial code writing.   None the less, it’s funny to go back and read this now.

PERL Web Server

Fantastic Podcast Concept – Serial

Fantastic Podcast Concept – Serial

If you are in to Podcasts, I urge you to check out Serial. This is a weekly podcast put out by NPR.  It covers details of a convicted murderer, who by all counts, it doesn’t seem should be behind bars.  I am still going through the podcast, almost fully caught up now.  I can’t wait for the next one!

The Serial Podcast Website has maps, evidence, etc from the case.  It is a great bit of supplement to what you normally get in a podcast.  This also feels more like a “show” than a podcast.  I liken it to what it must have been like listening to radio shows “back in the day”.

timelines_january_13_1999_-_serial

 

Each episode is roughly 30-60 minutes long.  These are great for my commute.  I am hooked.  It is a different experience for sure.  Go check them out.  Also, it appears they are going to do a Season 2 of Serial.  Content TBD.  I am looking forward to that.

Subscription Services Carry Over to Magazines

Subscription Services Carry Over to Magazines

I am very fond of subscription services.  Largely because I think managing physical things in a digital world is a waste of time, and far less convenient.  Why should I keep a DVD, or CD around to watch or listen when I can get access on all of my devices online?  (or offline)  Magazines is a next logical step for me.

I do find I still enjoy the editorial skills found in a good magazine periodical.  Not all blogs are created equal.  Some are good, but some leave a bit to be desired for content.  This is why I am trying out Next Issue.

Next_Issue___Unlimited_Access_to_140__Magazine_Subscriptions_Free_Trial 2

 

Next issue give me access to a bunch of magazines I would tend to buy on the shelf periodically.   Not only do I get every issue now, I get a lot of magazines for one low price.  I am paying for the higher tier service at $15 a month to get everything.  They do have a cheaper tier if you want.

I find if valuable to pop in and read a few magazines for the month.  Quite often I would pay $5 for one of these in a store.   Why not get all of them for one price.  I look at this the same way I do music.  I have been a long time Rhapsody subscriber (8 years).  I have not, nor will I, buy media the same way again .

Check out more at Next Issue

Urgent vs. Important work

Urgent vs. Important work

We have been having this recurring discussion at work lately about the difference between Urgent work vs. Important work.  Understand how this fits in your decision making process is key in my view to being productive, yet understanding the proper interruption cycle when things are not going as planned.  I thought I’d share the matrix that is going around just because I find it valuable.

When you are getting ready to think about a piece of work, or more importantly engage with others.. where does the work fall in this matrix?  And is it the same for them as it is you?

 

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Detailed Routine Using Evernote for Tasks and Tracking

Detailed Routine Using Evernote for Tasks and Tracking

This post covers an update of how I am using Evernote as my task manager, and in my daily routine. I had covered some of this in my Using Evernote for Tasks post, but I have refined it since then, so I wanted to update.

 

What was important to me for a task manager?

There were quite a few things I have realized over the years that are important for me when it comes to tracking tasks.  What I realize, is I consider “tasks” to be anything from quick ToDo items, to projects that I break down into smaller tasks, or even workspaces for tasks.  I tend to do most of these things in Evernote.

I intentionally break down shopping lists and recurring home chores in a different process. That is covered later.

The key items for my Evernote tasks has come down to the following:

  • Set DUE DATE reminders on tasks
  • Timestamp updates to tasks to show progress, recent events, etc
  • Quite often, the task needs a workspace
  • An easy way to create a Daily journal of the work I am doing
  • An easy to create weekly journal based on the M-F week
  • Linking parts of tasks to Evernote Notes (Evernote is my workspace)
  • Cross Device visibility
  • Tagging by project – I find that folders get too restrictive, I will explain later
  • Sorting recently edited by tasks/notes:
    • Today
    • Since Yesterday (for reviews)
    • This Week

 

Previous Attempts of Task Related Software

I’ve tried many things in the past.  Some worked better than others for a period of time.  Below is a summary of the key things that have/have not worked for some period of time.

Omnifocus (http://www.omnifocus.com)

Omnifocus is always top of discussion when it comes to power users.  I often think of myself as a power user because of the time I have been in tech, I’ve been a developer and I often try a lot of software.  Here is what I learned.  Omnifocus just didn’t work for my workflow.

 

Who knows, maybe I’ve not spent enough time with Omnifocus.  I think Omnifocus is beautiful ugly but well designed.  I think they have done a great job of providing GTD context options as part of the tool.  They really have put a lot into the thinking behind how you use Omnifocus.  I just felt, at the end of the day, it was not as easy for me to use simply.  I couldn’t link my Evernote notes as easily here and it just felt like a hassle.

 A2763351-35FC-40DC-A1AE-96EE3903EDE3

 

Wunderlist (http://www.wunderlist.com)

This was my favorite of the standard “To Do” type applications.  I felt there was a great balance of features, simplicity and looks.  One of my favorite features of Wunderlist is the shared lists.  I still use this today for my shopping lists.  My wife and I share lists together that we can jointly add to.  They include

  • Grocery
  • Lowes (for hardware needs)
  • Target
  • Costco

 

This product is quick and easy to use, syncs great across devices.. but again, cross linking to my notes in my workspace was a challenge.

 687CFF6F-20B8-46F5-BEAE-988C1A214737

 

Trello (http://www.trello.com)

Trello is really amazing.  It is a digital KanBan board. It provides you flexible lanes of work that are called lists.  These lists can contain cards.   The cards contain all the details of the items you are working on.   This was my most recent favorite tool to use.  Again it comes back to the integration (or lack of) with Evernote.  I am just too tied to Evernote for my workspace.

 F1E6DEBD-6653-4ADA-9FAB-CAED0DFB5610

OTHERS

  • Asana
  • Things
  • ToDoist
  • Toodledo
  • Remember The Milk

Current Evernote Folder Structure

I am in a perpetual state of tweaking my folder structure to provide the optimum balance of “Ease of use” vs. “Comprehensive Structure”.  Why I care about the latter, I don’t know.  I should really focus on the ease of use part.

Some of the folders have a . (period) in front of them.  This is only to force a sort order on them.  You can also prefix with numbers, but I am fine with the order I have here and didn’t need more control.

Here is my current structure

  • ..Inbox
  • ..Journal
  • ..Tasks
    • .Due Today
    • .This Week
    • .Upcoming
    • .Waiting For
    • .Archive
  • .WORK
    • .Customer History
    • General
    • Team
    • Meetings
    • Reference
    • Routine Meetings
  • Personal
    • Career
    • Home
    • Ideas
    • Networking
    • Tasks – Personal
    • Tasks – Upcoming

 

..Inbox

This is where everything comes in to for Evernote.  It is my default notebook.  It doesn’t matter what capture tool I use, things will drop here for processing later. This can also become my “working folder”.  The reason being, I know it will get processed every morning at the longest.

..Journal

This is where I track everything happening by day.  Below when I describe a typical day, you will see how things will end up here.

..Tasks

I have a process each morning, and each week where I look at the work I am doing, and place the tasks in the appropriate buckets.  UPCOMING is where all of my tasks go when I am waiting to schedule them.  When I need to move them to get worked on, they go into the THIS WEEK bucket.  Each morning I try to place the items I want to get accomplished in the DUE TODAY folder.   This is where I spend my focus to ensure I complete work.

Each task I create gets a due date, or gets moved to an upcoming folder so I don’t lose track of it.  I love having tasks in Evernote so I can make the note a “work area” for the task.  Some tasks have almost no body to the note, some tasks get tons of data in them, attachments, journaled entries of progress, etc.  (almost mini projects).  It just depends.

Daily Workflow/Weekly Workflow

When I get in the office in the morning, I have come to really appreciate a structured morning.  I almost never allow myself to get into work and be thrown right in to the thick of things.  If that happens, my day goes to hell in my head.  Sure, fires may not be happening, but I don’t know that.  I really like to stick to my routine.

Details of morning

Here is my morning ritual for work, in rough order.

Every morning at 7AM, my IFTTT Recipe Runs.  This gives me my starting note for the day.  This is the start of my basic checklist.  When I get to the office, the newest note in my Evernote Inbox is this.

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The first thing I do is highlight all of the items in the list and hit COMMAND-SHIFT T.  This converts those items to checkboxes. Then I go to the title of the note and hit COMMAND-SHIFT-D, which makes my title a full date format I like.  Also note that my IFTTT recipe auto tagged this note as JOURNAL when it was created.  (saves me a step later).  Now, my note looks like this.

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Next I start going through my Checklist.  The first thing is reviewing my Calendar.  This way, if there are any morning meetings I must run to, or prep for, I have that knowledge.

From here, I go to my ..tasks list and see what reminders I have to take care of.  If you click the parent in the stack, you can see all tasks with due dates.  This lets me move any due today into my Due Today folder.  This becomes my area of focus for today.

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Now a simple little trick I do is this.  I highlight all of the items I have moved to Due Today, then select CREATE TABLE OF CONTENTS.  This generates a list of notes and links them automatically.   I copy/paste that over to my dated journal note I mentioned earlier (for today), and paste them below the checkbox items.   I then do a quick highlight of them, turn off the bullet number, and turn on checkboxes.  Now, I have my start of my list for today that I care about.  I work from this Today’s List and keep it in my inbox.  It also makes it easy to get to the notes as I get to the task.  They are linked.  This is how I make each task my “workspace” in Evernote.

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I also go back to yesterday’s list to make sure I didn’t miss anything. If I did, I move it to Today’s list and prioritize.

 

Throughout the day

Now that I have my list of things I need to focus on, I can start going through my tasks. As I complete them, I check them off in my Today’s List, as well as the Evernote Reminder checklist.  When a task is completed, the Evernote Note associated with that task gets moved to the ARCHIVE.  This way I keep a running record of all items completed, and then my Note Links stay intact and don’t break either.

I create a bulleted list below the tasks of the day.  This gives me a way to lightly journal the day as it progresses.   When I do little things I want to remember, talk to people, field a call or go to a meeting, these all get added to my bullet list for the day.  If I have to go to a meeting, I will create the meeting note based on my Meeting Template.   When the meeting is complete, I ensure it is tagged with MEETING, I copy the note link to paste in my daily journal and I move the note to the MEETING archive folder.  (also extract any action items out of it)

End of day

At the end of the day I want to capture all of the work I did and make sure it goes into the Daily Journal entry.  This is pretty easy in Evernote.

  • I search for all notes edited today (using a saved search option)
  • Once I get that list, I select all and click CREATE TABLE OF CONTENTS note
  • I select all from that new TOC note
  • I go back to my daily journal and paste it at the bottom of my note below the bullet items for the day (separated by a horizontal rule).  This way I can see all notes that I touched that day.

A typical end of day note will look like this.

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End of week

At the end of the week I do my weekly review.  Everyone has their own version of what that entails, and I will say I refine mine on a regular basis.  the key things I like to make sure I do are the following:

  • Clean off desk of any remaining work papers
  • Scan any documents I need to save into Evernote
  • Prep any notes for next weeks upcoming meetings as needed
  • Write my weekly update
      • Overview of the week
      • Progress on goals this week (with links to notes)
      • Upcoming in the next week
      • Links to any key documents, sites, etc

 

Next..

This covers my daily routine for Evernote.  In an upcoming post, I will cover more of how I use Evernote for Meetings, Sharing and how I integrate other tools with my habits.