Talking to Our Technology

Siri, Cortana, and OK Google: The newest cast of next generation assistants.

Each of the above are digital technologies designed to allow us humans to interact with our devices by speaking to them.

talking head

On first blush, this may seem like a strange way to get things done since we’ve been keyboard bound to our technology since the days of the typewriter (it’s like a computer with no screen, no need to have power and prints directly on paper…Google it if you’re younger than 40).

I’m finding, however, that talking to my technology is an efficient way to get data in and out at a moment’s notice.

It’s not perfect yet, but amazingly accurate.

My current talking tool is OK Google since I’m Android based for now. I’ve used Siri and Cortana with similar results.

Spend a half hour or so researching what your tools can do and give it a try. You may find that you’re much more efficient in just a short time.

Here are a few links to get you started:

Siri: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204389
Cortana: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-10/getstarted-what-is-cortana
OK Google: https://support.google.com/websearch/answer/2940021?hl=en

If you’re feeling really frisky, just launch your assistant and ask it for help.

Are Your Systems Helping or Hurting Your Business

Systems in your business (processes that you put in place to ensure a consistent experience for the customer/client) are absolutely critical to your success as a leader.  However, we also have to make sure that, as leaders, we review and revise our systems periodically.  It’s easy to get tied up in the day to day grind and forget what hoops our customer/clients are having to jump through because of our systems.

As with all things, there are pluses and minus to systems.plusminus

Case in point:

I’m in the middle of transitioning the phone and internet at job from not only one vendor, but to a whole new technology.  We’re leaving the old world of copper pair PBX and jumping into hosted VOIP for our phones. We’re also changing vendors for the internet from ancient bonded T1’s to fancy 18Mb broadband.

As you might expect, the process is fraught with potential gotcha’s.  With all things technology, the process is a house of cards with many potential points of failure that will cascade throughout the whole operation.

I’m working with a great Business Account Manager with the new vendor.  She’s responsive, courteous, and has in depth knowledge of the offerings available to me.

However, she’s getting hamstrung badly by outdated business ordering systems.  For example: to get an answer to a question, I have to talk to her, then she talks to an in house person, who checks a database, who then has a tech come out to the site.

As you might expect, the process has gone sideways and the product that was supposed to be available to us, is not.  Even though the database said it was, and the in house person said it was, the tech said everything was working, and the Business Account Manager gets to deal with my calls of “Why aren’t we getting the program we were quoted”.

Leaders, my challenge to you today is to follow up with a customer and get feedback on the process of getting your service or product into their hands.  Review your systems internally and talk with the folks who have day to day, hands on experience with the systems and ask for their input on how to improve the systems.

Not only does this invest in your people, but you might just get the best idea to improve your system that you’ve never thought of.

What systems can you improve in the next two weeks?

If you want to stay productive skip the smart watches; or follow this advice.

The tech world is atwitter (and on Twitter) about the forthcoming release of the Apple Watch.  A connected smart watch that promises to provide you with apps galore, keep track of your location, pulse count and give you notifications from your iPhone right on your wrist in an instant.

Yesterday I saw a tweet from Michael Hyatt (whom I respect as a leader and tech user – get connected with him online with stat!), referencing an article by a tech writer about his Apple Watch Nightmare.

It’s not the first smart watch to the market.  Pebble, Android Wear and numerous other devices all promise to take the notifications from our smartphones and place them right at our wrists, without even having to check our phones.

Pebble Steel Watch

Heres the problem though…we’re already a distracted people and these kinds of devices have huge potential to worsen the problem.

In my coaching practice, I work with high level people to help take them to the next level.  Right now, many of my clients state that distraction and time management are the top issues holding them back.

For example: One Executive at the top of his organization is dealing with the massive influx of email, phone calls and his direct reports dropping by his office during business hours. Notifications that he has email, text, or phone calls going right to his wrist is going to reduce his attention span to next to nothing.

Another client, a Vice President with almost 100 people in his division is already struggling with the volume of notifications that he gets on a daily basis. During a time I spent with him, he was on the phone or answering texts/email for all but a few minutes of time. Imagine his chaos of getting notifications to his wrist while he’s on the phone already…

Still yet another client, responsible for a multimillion dollar complex, has a list of projects that is literally in the multiple pages when printed.  The influx of notifications going right to his wrist would be impossible to keep up with during the day.

They are not the only ones, and I suspect that you’re dealing with this tension as well…

So what’s the solution?

I see two approaches that you can take (and I advocate for both positions depending on your personality).

1) Don’t get a smart watch. Very few things in life are important enough that you need instant notification.

2) Turn off all but a few notifications. As a matter of fact, I regularly encourage clients to turn off all notifications on their cell phone, limit their email checking to twice daily, and put their phones on do not disturb for extended periods of time.

Intentional management of your time requires focus, and distraction from daily influx of notifications can really ruin your flow.

You may think that it’s not possible to build in time to be disconnected, but I encourage you to try it.  We never used to be this connected, and by communicating with your clients, coworkers and family what your schedule is, it’s not only doable, but the secret to a successful career.

I’m not all against smart watches. As many of you know, I’m a tech oriented kind of guy.  From network administration, to Ham radio, I love my tech toys.  As a matter of fact, I’m a smart watch user myself with a beautiful Pebble Steel connected to my Android phone.  But I’ve throttled notifications to just text messages from my personal cell number and my calendar alerts.  No email, no text from the business number. I check my various notifications when I intentionally choose to, on my schedule.

The bottom line is that technology can help or dramatically hurt your productivity, and the only way to ensure you are able to succeed is to take ownership of your time and be intentional about your schedule.

How are you dealing with distractions from your devices and daily work life?

Triggering Stoplights and How to Run a Business

The road out of our neighborhood dumps right into a super busy 5 lane, business laden, artery. Thankfully, there’s a stoplight to let us get across without having to dodge the oncoming 45mph traffic.

But there’s a catch:  Many people don’t understand how to trigger the stoplight and they end up causing a huge problem for themselves and others behind them.

The road is marked well, huge white line that you should stop behind.  It’s set back from the actual artery road by about 10 feet and as a result, folks creep past it for some reason.  Here’s the problem though: in failing to comply with the rules, and a lack of understanding of the process that causing stoplights to change, these folks end up really upset that they can’t get through the light and usually end up running the light.

InductionLoop
I see the same things happening in businesses around the country. Managers and Leaders not following the rules of ethics and interpersonal relationships and a lack of understanding of what causes human motivation end up with employees that are screeching through the intersections of the corporate world causing all kinds of problems.

Sadly, many companies expect that command and control tactics will generate revenue (and while they may to a point, the personnel costs are extraordinarily dangerous) resulting in turnover, lack of loyalty, and a general malaise that is reflected in the lowered bottom line.

We all want to be treated fairly, valued for our contributions, placed in roles that play to our strengths and have peers and leaders who care for us as an individual.

We crave a company that understands what fires our passions and how we can make a contribution that has meaning and value.

When we don’t get those things we end up with a dysfunctional intersection of red lights and people running through them to get where they want to go.

Make an investment today in learning how to motivate and understand your people.  Invest in training in the DISC personality assessments and implementing strengths based roles in your company and watch the change that will happen.

For you strong CS personalities – here are the three major ways to trigger stoplights:

  • Straight timed lights – mostly found in older rural areas with light traffic.  They change on a set schedule…you’ve just got to wait.
  • Induction loop sensor lights – look for a little black or grey box or rectangle in the pavement in front of the white line showing you where to stop (see the picture at the top of this post). The metal in your vehicle will induce an electromagnetic field as it passes over the wires telling the lights you’d like them to change.  (Motorcycle folks take note – you want to be on the middle line right near the top of the box to get best results…trust me on that one!)
  • Motion sensor triggered lights – the cameras mounted on the stop light poles have a fixed field of view that they scan for motion of a car coming to a stop.  When they sense the motion it triggers the light.  During the times the sun is shining in the camera you might need to flash your high beams a few times to produce enough contrast for the sensor to trigger.

Our neighborhood has the induction loop trigger and when you pull past the white line, there’s no way to trigger the light.

You’ll sit there forever wondering why the traffic light is broken, when all you had to do was follow the rules and have a basic understanding of the process.

How to get your news fix quickly

Last week I posted about how to free up between 25 and 55 minutes each day by no longer watching the news on TV.

You can read the post by clicking here.

In response to the question of where do I get my news from, I wanted to share my personal process for staying abreast current events.

news feed icon

It’s simple (of course) and takes me less than 5 minutes to skim through the headlines and then see what, if anything, I want to get more depth on.

I’ve created a Twitter list that curates 10 news organizations posts.  I made the list public so anyone can view using their web browser. You don’t have to be a Twitter person to view the list.

Just click or link to https://twitter.com/jdregan/lists/news

You’ll note that the news organizations are widely varied in their world views.  From Fox News to CNN, BBC to English Al Jazeera, and few local St. Louis feeds, I’ve purposely chosen to get as wide a perspective on what is “news”.  Using this method, it’s easy to weed out the FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt) stories and also see agreement in what stories all sources are reporting on.

Following these various news organizations also allows me to see what people of different perspectives than mine believe is important. While I may not agree with their viewpoints, I believe it’s important to understand where people are coming from. I appreciate the differences we all have!

Take a look at my Twitter news feed and see if it helps you to streamline your news gathering. Feel free to start your own..it’s all about what works best for you to get the news you want without wasting your time on the FUD on TV news.

What other ideas do you have for quick news fixes?

 

Using Evernote to become a Mental Jedi Master…or Ninja (if that’s your thing).

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…

Evernote

The kind of work that mankind was burdened with required the use of brawn and adherence to the rules set by a sect of people called The Management. The majority of humans had set hours that they had to be in a large box called the factory or office or farm. They arrived, completed tasks created for them by The Management, left and went home to their families with a paycheck. The rule of the day was following and information was presented on an as needed basis, typically on large signs encouraging safety, profit and timeliness.

It ain’t like that anymore! Those days are done! Now most of us are what’s fashionably referred to as “Knowledge Workers”. This is polite wording for “your work has no real tangible product”. It’s in the ether, a minuscule piece of a much larger project, or simply idea based.

Making the jump from production based to knowledge based work is still a huge source of friction for most people. And those who are able to successfully integrate knowledge into their daily work seem to be like the mysterious and powerful Master Jedi (or the Ninja for those who are into the oriental arts).

I’m not yet at the Master level yet, but I’m past the padawan stage thanks to learning to use the secret tool known as Evernote.

Many articles are written about Evernote, and invariably someone (or many someones) comment that they just don’t get it. The software is too open ended for them. They are not wrong…and that’s why Evernote is so powerful. It can be used in the way to best suit the individual. I’m going to share how I use Evernote in my daily life to show you some tips on how you can take the knowledge that’s available to you today and shape it to fit your needs.

Evernote: Your Digital Brain.

Here’s the problem: Email, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, News, Sports, Entertainment, Work, Home, Friends, Family, Maintenance, Bills, Expiration dates, Owner’s Manuals, Notebooks, Serial Numbers, Articles, etc.

How do you keep track of all this information (knowledge) in a manner that doesn’t reduce you to spending inordinate amounts of time looking for something? That’s right..Evernote.

Remember Everything

Free Evernote (although the yearly premium membership of $45 is a no brainer for me). Works on the web, desktops of Windows and Mac Users, iOS, Android and Windows Phone. Each one in constant sync with the other. It’s literally available everywhere you want it to be. Imagine being able to conjure any information you need from any location…it’s like a Jedi trick, but available to everyone.

Having the ability to include text notes, pictures, audio, clip web pages, forward emails, and attachments of all kinds increases the effectiveness of Evernote. If you can see, hear, or type it, Evernote can process it and have it ready for you.

Structured by the concept of Notes, Notebooks, and Tags, you can further group your disparate information into easily searchable terms. This is the second Jedi trick of Evernote…a quick search to return the one item you need from the thousands of notes stored in your Evernote Notebooks. You almost don’t need to know where things are, just start typing some words related to your information and…BAM…there it is. Premium users get enhanced OCR and search-ability inside attachments which really helps.

John’s Evernote Jedi Notebook setup.

Just a few Notebooks as large holding areas for information, I’ve come to lean on Tags to parse out my information more effectively. Here’s a list of my Notebooks, with my coaching client’s blurred for privacy.

Evernote Notebook List

Evernote is where any piece of information that I need goes first. I have set my default Notebook to be called !Inbox and when I clip, email or otherwise add information, it goes here by default.

Following the Getting Things Done methodology, I process my Inbox at least once per day:

  • Is it a ToDo? It gets a reminder set for an alert and email reminder then into !ToDo it goes.
  • More than just one step to complete? Into Projects.
  • Interesting thing I might want to do someday…Maybe Someday becomes it’s home.

The Notebook stack (like subfolders under a main directory) Reference is where everything else lives. You can see from my list that I have a lot of things that are Miscellaneous in the Misc notebook…literally if it doesn’t fit in the remaining categories it goes into Misc. Remember, you can tag and search for it without having to dig… CRM-Hello, Penultimate and Skitch are notebooks created by other apps that utilize Evernote for storage: My iPhone based CRM app, Evernote-Hello, Digital handwriting app Penultimate and photo editor Skitch respectively.

One very interesting Notebook is my Paper Notebooks. I’ve scanned in pages from 207 handwritten notebooks and can now search them in Evernote (to a greater or lesser degree if I printed vs. cursive since I write with the dexterity of a rhinoceros).

Tagging is what separates the novice from the master.

Evernote allows you to assign tags (multiple tags) to your notes. Since I’m a data driven kind of Jedi, here’s the screenshot of all my tags. It’s a little overwhelming, but take a good look through the list to really understand the breadth of how using tags allows you to search easily for things (REALLY: spend one minute looking at the list by clicking on the image to enlarge it).

Evernote Tag List

You’ll note some special character prefaced tags. These are what I use to keep my getting things done methodology clear. The @ tag reminds me to do or have something AT a location. The # denotes projects that I’m working on.

Again, I’ve blurred out my coaching clients tags, but they get their own tag to help me quickly pull up all information about each client in one nice little list.

If you got to the end of my tag list (and you really should, it’ll inspire creativity in your tag list), you’ll see the UP tag. This tag is a list of my daily tracking from the Jawbone Up band. It’s connected to Evernote through the IFTTT.com website using a recipe to send a daily summary of my activity into Evernote for review later.

I’ve got pictures of the serial numbers for everything and anything over around $100, tagged appropriately. Our house was burgled back in 2008 and having the serial number photos made replacement from insurance the most wonderful process it could have been. Yes, the thief stole my laptop, but Evernote stores everything in the cloud too, so I just opened the web browser of my desktop and away we went. This is a good point to remind everyone to include a password on your personal computer…and Evernote allows for 2 factor authentication on their apps. This means that my password and an ever changing number is needed to log into my account making it virtually impossible to hack.

I make it a point to get copies of my doctors visits and scan them into PDF files, the bar codes on my prescriptions get tagged there too so that when I remember at the last moment to renew: then I at least have the number to call it in. I’m still working on setting reminders ahead of time…it’s part of why I’m not yet a Jedi Master…

My Leadship Notebook, along with the Leadership Article Tag is a library of leadership related articles that I use in my coaching and leadership training classes…not all 961 at once (and I have to process my #ToRead list this weekend so probably another 10 to 20 out of the 64 notes will make the cut). When I hear a client or friend struggling with something, or wanting to learn something, I’ll search Evernote by Tag and Notebook and then ask them if they’d like to read something that I found helpful. I can email it to them right from inside Evernote.

Whew…I sound like an ad-man for Evernote (I’m not. Anyone want to send me cash? That’d be cool!). I’m just passionate about minimizing the time I spend looking for knowledge and being effective at managing the amount of information that we all deal with in our lives…

Heck, I used it this morning to find out the size and capacity of the battery on my motorcycle after it was sluggish on starting (I scanned the owners manual into a PDF and threw it into Evernote back in 2009). Search for the word Suzuki and up it popped (tagged Vehicle in the Misc Notebook).

If you’ve gotten this far, I’d recommend you use the excellent tutorials at Evernote.com’s getting started site to smoothly transition yourself into an Evernote aficionado.

Head to Evernote.com and give it a shot. This is seriously my secret to productivity: use Evernote for everything. It’s my trusted system and it never forgets.

Leave me a comment if you have any questions about using Evernote, I’d be happy to help!

Alas, building your own lightsaber is part of the Jedi training that you’ll have to master by yourself my friend…

Using ASANA to keep your team connected and on track

[It’s been a while since I posted here. Between the day job and the exciting growth in leadership training and coaching that we’ve had at Lead Thru Example, I postponed the blog until I could make sure that the content that I post was valuable. I strive to be consistent, but I’d much rather provide valuable content to all of my readers that just throw things up. Thanks for being patient!]
 
Sometimes a ToDo list just doesn’t hack it.
 

When you’re working with a team, you need everyone to be on the same page. Whether your team is a high powered corporate group, small business just getting off the ground, friends who regularly get together to watch the game, or a busy family with (or without) kids, being able to share information and keep track of who is doing what is critical.

Thanks to ASANA there’s an alternative to the email chain hell that most of us deal with on our teams. Offering their web based application for free for teams of 15 people or less, ASANA has created an application that is super easy to use, and incredibly full featured.

Asana

Asana

I stumbled upon ASANA just as it came out of beta through a mention on Twitter. I immediately signed up and started using the application for my personal projects.

The ability to share and assign tasks to other members smoothes out communication. Where before I’d have to email them, create a personal ToDo to track their responses and ask followup questions, ASANA is a central dashboard where each team member can see what is going on, not only in their own projects and tasks, but also those of their team mates. I can pop over to the browser tab with ASANA running and see the status of tasks assigned to me and how far along my team is on the tasks that I’ve assigned to them.

…and not an email needs to be sent! In a nod to those folks still embedded with email as their main communications method, ASANA has the option to send you email updates when you are assigned tasks, when tasks are completed, or updated.

The layout is very logical: Workspaces at the top left (companies, families, etc), Projects in the middle window with tasks laid out in a user configurable list and task details on the right side. Each task has a comment thread system so that team members can update the task with notes, attachments or details. If you have used Facebook commenting you’ll feel right at home on ASANA.

Check out the video showing the interface at https://asana.com/guide/videos/two-minutes.

The tutorial guides are phenomenal! Spend a few minutes crawling their site and you’ll immediately see just how valuable ASANA can be for you.

Where I had just dabbled with project management tools before, I’ve since implemented ASANA as the primary task tracking tool at two companies and am using it in my personal life as well. I can’t imagine ever going back…

Take your team to the next level and try ASANA today.

Keeping your To Do list in Any.do

In our last post we covered the calendar.

Now we’re going to attach our To Do list.

To Do lists are the next level up from the calendar in terms of getting your life organized.

What goes on the ToDo list varies from person to person and system to system.

Many people prefer the Prioritized Daily List. Each task is prioritized using and ABC and 123 system.

Many others use the Getting Things Done method, where each task is characterized by the context in which you do it: @Work, @Home, etc.

I have used both of these methods and found that the context based Getting Things Done method is most appropriate for my hectic schedule.

Being able to sort my list by both chronological order and context has been the challenge to date.

Enter Any.do…a To Do app for iOS, Android and Google Chrome.

Beautifully designed, sleek and hiding a few killer features, I’ve found Any.do to be a close to perfect answer to my To Do needs.

I use Any.do on both my iPhone 5 and my Chrome browser on my desktop and laptop.

The desktop app only works if you have the Chrome browser installed and is slightly stripped down compared to the iOS app.  It’s still very functional, and if you spend a lot of time at the desk, you’ll find the Chrome app to be worth installing.

One thing that sets Any.do ahead of other To Do apps is the ease of entry of items.  You can enter items extremely fast and add what options you desire in terms of priority, folder, reminder, notes and contacts.  I find that I’m in and out of the app much faster than apps like Evernote and Asana (which I use for other purposes we’ll cover in later blog posts).

task details

One feature that’s well thought out and very helpful for rapid fire To Do entry folks is called “Moment”.  Allowing you to quickly look at what you have planned for the day, this video shows the process in nice detail.

The killer feature for Any.do is location based reminders.  You can have Any.do remind you upon arrival or leaving a location.  This is perfect for shopping lists, writing down business mileage at the end of the trip, etc.

location options

locations 2

Reminders can also be time based, although for my use as a To Do manager I tend to not have a time associated with my tasks unless it’s absolutely necessary.

reminder options

Tasks can also have a repeating pattern that while helpful, lacks the free form, oddly recurring options that other apps have. Not a deal killer for me however.

recurrance options

Overall I’ve been very happy using Any.do.  The only glitch I’ve seen occurred when changing a date in the Chrome app. Somehow the date was stripped from my tasks on the Chrome app and it then removed the dates from my iOS versions as well.  I’ve not seen this happen again, but it’s an unnerving glitch to keep in mind.

Give Any.do a try and take your productivity up a level.

Let me know how you like using Any.do in the comments below.

Using Google Calendar to Organize Your Life

Everyone knows that you need a calendar.

Not everyone knows how to use a calendar to it’s full potential to help:

  • get organized
  • be on time
  • communicate priority
  • be comfortable that you know what you have planned for the day

In order to achieve those goals the first thing we need to know is: What goes on the calendar?

Not as much as most people think! The calendar is a bastion of “MUST DO” items. These are items that MUST occur on a specific date and/or a specific time.

Items that should be done, or you want to get done, do not go on the calendar! They go into your todo list. The calendar becomes effective only when it contains must do items that are date and time specific. When you glance at your calendar you want to see, at a glance, what you have to get done that day. Keeping your calendar on a MUST basis will pay dividends down the road.

Now comes the debate of paper vs plastic (electronic)…if you can use paper, great. I don’t because I like the flexibility of seeing my calendar on a phone call no matter where I am. It helps me to say “No” more effectively if something is already on my calendar. I also like to have multiple copies in whatever context I happen to be (home, work, on the road, etc). For me, electronic is the way to go. I’d recommend you try both if you don’t have a system. If you are frustrated with paper, or want to go electronic, read on.

There are many calendar applications, websites, and programs available to use. And each has it’s strengths and weaknesses. I judge a calendar through the following lenses:

  • ubiquity – it has to work on all platforms and form factors
  • synchronization – every device needs to see the same information, an update on one should propagate to them all
  • functionality – reminders, recurring events, and color coding of type of events
  • price – the cheaper the better

For my uses (and I’m pretty rough on my calendar) the winner is Google Calendar. Here’s a snippet from my calendar (you can click on all the images in this post to get an enlarged view):

TypicalWeek

Google calendar is free when you sign up for a gmail.com email account (which is also free). It can be used on Windows, Mac, and Linux, Android, iOS, Blackberry and Windows Phone and it stays in sync on all devices. You can even integrate the calendar with various existing calendar software packages to take advantage of the cloud based sync function in your existing software.

To sign up for an account just go to: www.google.com/calendar and click on the red sign up button in the upper right corner.

Google Calendar Sign Up

If you already have a gmail account, just click on the calendar button in the black navigation bar from your gmail window:

Access Google Calendar from Gmail

Now that you have a calendar it’s time to decide who (if anyone) you’re going to share calendars with. I have multiple calendars so that I can see my whole life in one place. I find it confusing and frustrating to not see all my responsibilities (home, work, family, friends) in one place. Here’s a look at my calendar list:

Calendar List

Creating an additional calendar is as easy as following the directions by clicking here.

I also have access to calendars that are owned by other people, but are being shared with me. Here’s the list of calendars that are being shared with me:

Calendars shared with meI’m sharing a few of my calendars with other people too, so that they can see what is going on in my life too. Share and share alike.

Sharing is a killer feature that you should heavily consider. You can get the details of how to create and share calendars by clicking here.

I have chosen to use multiple calendars instead of just color coding specific events because you can then hide or view calendars based on what you’d like to find. I can turn off the work calendar when I’m on vacation, I can show just the family calendar to see when I’m going to be visiting with everyone, etc. To show or hide a calendar just click on the colored chiclet next to the calendar of choice in the “My Calendars” list on the left side of the window. One click on, one click off. You can also click on the disclosure triangle (little grey downward pointing triangle) and choose “show just this calendar” to hide all calendars except the one you’re interested in.

Adding events is as easy as clicking on the blank calendar space and entering some details. I like to use the edit event button to get access to more details. See below for an example:

Edit event detailsI typically add a reminder to my time critical events. I’ve chosen to enable Google Calendar to send me a text message at the time I choose. To enable SMS text messages follow these directions.:

I’ll choose the repeat option if the event is regularly recurring. You can choose just about any kind of recurrence you can think of. This is a great way to remember bills, vehicle maintenance, medicine refill call in, birthdays, anniversaries, etc. Use repeating events! It’s a secret ninja tool to organizing your life!

Pick the calendar of choice and click on the red save button and you’re cooking with gas!

The last thing that I’d recommend is to set up your calendar on your mobile device so that you can access your events while on the go. Since there’s any number of devices you can use, just click this link to set up your particular device.

Learning to use your calendar effectively is a key to getting organized. Following the steps laid out in this post will get you well on your way to feeling less stressed and knowing that you have your events written down and ready to go when you need them.

How have you found that using a calendar has helped you?

Practical Guide to Getting Organized Using Free Software

There are seemingly endless articles these days about how important it is to be organized in both your personal and work careers. These articles are true! However, many of these articles focus only on the “Why” of getting organized, but lack detail when it comes to the “How”.

Get Organized

I’m starting a series next week that details the “How” of getting organized using freely available software. It will provide a step by step process and overview of each piece of software that will have you up and running by the end of the post.

I am a firm believer in being organized. It’s the difference between two skilled people in creating a successful career. Being organized projects a powerful image to those around you that allows rapid trust building, and in today’s work and home environment trust is the true difference maker.

As we go through this series, I’ll take each category of organization that I have found to be critical and unpack how to use free software to master organizing each category.  We’ll cover:

  • Calendar
  • To Do / Tasks lists
  • Collaborative Project Management
  • Personal Filing Cabinet

Each of the categories will use one piece of software.  All of the software has a cloud / synchronizing component that allows the software to be used on desktop, laptop, and mobile devices of various operating systems.

I’ll focus on the following process as we discuss the software:

  • Sign up and download (if needed)
  • Overview of the software’s intended usage
  • Initial setup
  • Detailed explanation on getting you using the software right away
  • Hints and Tips for streamlined usage.

At the end of each article you’ll not only have the software running in front of you, but you’ll have entered information and will be one step closer to being the organized person you’ve always dreamed was possible.

If you’re a  self starter, below is the software we’ll be covering:

Join me starting on September 10, 2013 at johndregan.info as we tackle our Calendar!