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Technology

Being Productive NOT for Dummies

not-for-dummies

It never stops amazing me when I meet people and ask them how do they stay productive and then to hear for the next 10 minutes of their very complicated methods and systems that they use.

This was the very reason I was an apple user before it was ever cool to be one. I enjoyed their complete all-inclusive “simple” ecosystem. One of the main draws of using Apple products was how well they worked with each other and made it so I didn’t have to go around to a bazillion other places to get what I needed to do what I wanted to. It felt seamless because everything you needed was already built-in; there was no need to download or install anything. It saved time, was easy and uncomplicated. Now I do understand this may not be as true today, which is why I used all past tense in my statements above. I sadly now watch Apple try to become everyone else instead of who they are. I will stop here as this is a whole other blog post rant that I would go on.

Successful task management (the task is used because I strongly believe no one but God can manage time only the task that happens within the time given) is putting into place systems and strategies that enable you to work at your highest capacity without losing sight of your personal identity or your calling in Christ. Here are some ways that help me manage my task and maximize my impact.

Use Technology. I know some of you once you read that you groaned, and started to tune me out. Please wait and finish reading before you do this. Some of you who read this would also be those who are just like those I started this post off describing, the over complicated system type. Hold in there with me and let’s see if we can’t simplify your system a bit.

“Technology is our friend”, go ahead and say it again. It is about finding the right technology tool for you. Below I will list some of the tools I use that you may want to start with and then branch out to find your own. Remember, K.I.S.S. is important here. Keep It Simple Silly.

Trello for group short project management. This is a free tool.

Evernote for all things filling and serves as my electronic brain. This is also free but can cost.

DropBox for my group collaboration projects that will need to be stored long-term. This can be free but cost.

Kindle app. I first buy a book electronically because they are cheaper and I can read them, highlight them and print all of my highlighted stuff off quickly for free. If the book is good enough then I will buy a paper version.

1Password. This does cost but it is well worth it to me as it stores, fills in and secures all passwords everywhere for me.

Unroll.Me is a web service and app that helps me to mark all email as keep, Unsubscribe or add to roll up. This is a free service.

Hootsuite is for all things social for me. It keeps all my accounts in one place for easy posting and reading.

doodle is for all group calendar setting. It allows me to pick some dates and times and then sends to those I’m trying to pick a scheduled appointment with. They will mar all that work for them and then I pick the one that can be attended by most. It then sends an email out telling of the agreed upon date and time. No more back and forth.

Closing, take a look and see how I don’t use a variety of tools for the same function.Try and keep it all very short and sweet. Staying simple is not really simple after all. If we are left to our own ways we will over complicate everything time after time. Now you have taken long enough reading this post, go and be productive.

The Wired Soul book review

the wired soul book cover

Tricia McCary Rhodes, an adjunct professor at Fuller Seminary shares the same enjoyment and connection to technology as the rest of us. But she takes the time to investigate the cost we exchange for technology. What are our screens doing to our relationships, brains, and soul? This was a hard reality check for me.

This may have been why the book started off so great for me but felt like it fizzled out through the rest of the book. I started in with some gut check reality stats and as the book progressed for me I ended up in more known type information.

I cracked the book open and within the first 2 chapters I was completely drawn in and excited, not to mention all the new info that I was taking in during these first couple of chapters. I was telling all of my coaching students about the info I was learning and the lessons that I was putting together to teach them as well.

Then it happened, just as I feared. The book should have stopped there. The remaining of the book really was just drawing out my excitement from the first couple of chapters. I still picked up a gem here or there, but it never felt like the same book that I started reading.

Some good stuff did come from my time in this book. I am walking away with the new knowledge from the first couple of chapters but also other lessons. The importance of journaling and how even that writing on paper will slow us down so that we can become aware of the little things that God may be trying to get our attention with. Some simple breathing exercises, and slow reading and the importance of it.

I won’t be giving up my smartphone or laptop anytime soon, but this book has made me reconsider reading more books in print including my Bible.

To comply with new regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, I need to let you know that Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for the purpose of reviewing.

My ministry day with my iPhone


I still get amazed what we can accomplish today with just our phones. 

Today, I’m going to take us on a brief trip of my day in ministry with just using my iPhone. 

  • Started the day off with using my Bible (YouVersion). 
  • After that I went into my weather app to see what kind of weather I was going to get today. 
  • Easily.Do to check for birthdays and send out text or email cards to them. Also get to see the status of all my packages coming and going. Then get a quick overview of trending Instagram pictures from my friend and the Instagram community. One of the last nice things I enjoy about Easily.Do is it gives me an update of any emails I need to respond to. 
  • Next I move into Trello to check on all my group projects. This handles all my project management. 
  • Throughout the day I am in and out of Evernote. It serves as my electronic brain. 
  • Dropbox is the same with me going in and out all day long as it is my sharing tool with others. 

I am amazed at all that I can and do with my iPhone daily. The apps mentioned are just a couple that I use first thing in the morning. This post would turn into one very long list of I was to mention everything that I use. Even this post was made on my iPhone.

What apps do you find the most valuable to your day? 

Dangerous and Risky and will make you…

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Dangerous and Risky and will make you AWARE!!

There was a show on a few back called, “The Masked Magician”. This show caused a lot of stir in the magician circles because the whole show was a “masked magician” would show the secrets to a lot of tricks. These were not some small pull a silk from what was once my empty hand, but more like cutting a person in half, disappearing from a chained up trunk and more. Tricks that were still being performed and providing the bread and butter for many magicians families.

Through this show, many people began to understand what was a mystery to them at one time. It put on the minds of many who never thought about this stuff before but were now pulled into a new knowledge. The purpose that the masked magician said he wanted to accomplish was only to try to raise the bar of what Magicians would do. He was tired of people doing the same illusions for all these years.

The motive was good, but I’m not sure it was accomplished in the best of ways. The same is true in my opinion when we post well-meaning articles like this one:http://educateempowerkids.org/dangerous-apps/

It is understood that we want parents to be aware of apps out there that may not be the best for kids of different ages. But, we may also have a “masked Magician” type effect taking place as well. Putting titles and info like this one out there in an area that people of all ages read and visit may be doing just the opposite of the intended purpose. Now it may be putting it in front of kids who had no idea of these apps but now are made aware. Then they will go and explore them, just like many did when the secrets were told of illusions being performed.

Is there a better way? Thoughts?

Pocket or Feedly or Evernote. Tools for productivity.

feedly pocket evernote

I have 3 tools that I just completely love using and they fit so well into my productivity system when it comes to absorbing information. Here they are:

1. Pocket. Pocket is my first app that use to snag content and save for later reading. If I’m reading a website or an article online and don’t have time to finish it, then I’ll throw it into Pocket. Save articles, videos, recipes, and web pages you find online or from your favorite apps.

Pocket also has a chrome extension.

2. Next would be my Feedly account. Feedly is blog catcher. I enjoy reading blogs of all kinds of topics. Doing this I have just one tool and that is Feedly. It catches all my subscribed to blogs and holds them until my blog reading day and then I will read and act on, delete, or file.

3. Evernote is where I will file them too. Evernote is my electronic file cabinet. I scan stuff to it, take pictures and send to it, forward emails and subscribe to newsletters while giving them my Evernote email address. Giving this email address out saves my real email from getting cluttered. I will mention one more tool here that I use to keep my email uncluttered and that is called unroll.me. You can record audio with Evernote, do geographic stuff and just a ton of other options as well.

Basically, there is not much that can come my way as far as information and not be able to be handled with one of these 3 tools. Hope they help you if you are not already using them.

Live Scribe Pen Saves So Much Time

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Electronic data is my preferred way of communicating and filing. I will discuss my ScanSnap scanner that I use as well in a later post, today I want to quickly talk about my Live Scribe WiFi pen.

Several people who I know tell me often:
1. They would love to be more electronic, but they can’t stop using paper because of the familiarity.

2. I hear many talk about filling notebooks of notes from going to conferences and the info dying right there.

3. Meetings where laptops are not welcomed and so their productivity is slowed down dramatically.

4. Holding stand up meetings is difficult when you’re trying to balance your laptop on your hand.

5. Finally taking decent notes but no matter how good they may be, always missing some key fact that they can’t remember what was discussed.

The list can and does go on and on.

My solution that I have truly enjoyed is found in my Livescribe WiFi Pen.

All my notes and the audio of everything around me is recorded as I sit there with my pen. The other great fact is that all the time it is syncing with my Evernote account so everything gets filed into my electronic brain, both through text and audio. To reclaim it I can go into my Evernote folder and search for a keyword or phrase, or if I know where the note is I can click on it directly in Evernote and see the notes and/or hear the audio.

The other option is to also play it back directly from my pen by clicking the note in my notebook with my pen and hearing the audio.

Next time you head out to a conference, stand up meeting, or a variety of other options, make sure you grab your Livescribe pen.

New Family Ministry App A Must See.

take two app screen shot

This may be one of my shortest post only because I can let this great app do all the talking for itself.

It has arrived!!

Take TWO Family Ministry, a ministry that is part of First Church of the Open Bible here in Des Moines, Iowa has had our app go live as of 3/25/15. It has everything from videos, stories, jokes and riddles for kids. For the adults, it has devotions, parenting blogs and more.

A few items that bring me special joy to have as a part of the app is:
1. Invite a friend. If someone clicks on this it generates an email that has a great message and all you need to do is add the email of who you are sending it to and hit send.

2. It has a salvation tract that all anyone needs to do is read it as they show whoever they are witnessing to. Takes the fear out of sharing your faith for some.

3. Puts you contact with all of our social media areas.

So much more. make sure you go now and download it. you get all of this and the more for FREE!

Swipe your way to productivity today.

swipes logo

Time to get busy and get down to knocking out your to-do list. So you run around and collect all the sticky notes on your mirror, your desk, your computer screen and all the other misc. areas. Then you turn to the most recent incredible life changing tool – Evernote. You begin to search through Evernote, or as you call it, your brain online to find all of your to-do list in there as well.

Now you are just plain tired and mentally worn out not to mention you have spent 1 1/2 hours just getting prepped to become productive for the day. Have I got a great solution for you that I started using a few weeks back and it has kept me very fluid and able to stay on the go but keeping my to-do list getting done at the right time.

This tool is called…”Swipes“.

Here is how Swipes works with Evernote. Evernote, by its nature, is a workspace for the way we work today, collecting information from multiple devices and from just about anywhere in the world. Swipes, however, is the task management app that not only stores your tasks, but helps you prioritize them and break-down the important things into doable steps. The blend of Swipes with Evernote gives you the possibility to not only collect the things that matter to you, but act on them. This is a combination of pure productivity joy!!

Stop wasting time looking for ways to be productive and get Swipes and get conquering your to-do list.

Remote office not required book review

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When this book Remote arrived in the mail I was excited to start to read it as I already had respect and enjoyed 37 signals as a company. Now after reading the book allow me to say this book did not add to my respect for a great company.

Let me say that I am one who already enjoys working remotely for my main job of being a Children/Family Life Pastor, where a ton of my volunteers live all over the city and hold several different work schedules so having the ability of working on the go comes in very handy. Also, I get the privilege of working for a completely online business called Kidology.org as a Ministry Coach, and as one of their Kidmin Pros. Seeing that such a large amount of my time is remote, getting the opportunity to read a book titled Remote I was excited. Then soon let down.

Remote is a book that had a ton of potential but unfortunately according to this reader feel short. Through the book I kept feeling like they would start a topic that I wanted them to go deeper on but we never seemed to go there. I know they wanted to make a book that anyone could pick up but that didn’t mean we had to stay at the extreme surface level that the book stayed at.

Basically, if you are looking for a book to show your boss who is very office bound in their thinking and working remotely is a foreign concept, this may be the book for you. If you are wanting anything more, then I would not think this book would be your best choice.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Blogging For Books review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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