How Many Productivity Apps Do You Need?

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We are spoiled for choice when it comes to productivity apps that promise to change our lives and make us more productive. Each new app attempts to disrupt the field with new features, new ways to input our stuff and then spew it out in another cool way with lots of different colours, font sizes and swipes.

The difficulty this throws up is with that choice — which is a good thing — comes with it the temptation to experiment and play — which is a bad thing. Experimenting and playing takes time. Time, that for most of us, we cannot afford to use in this way.

How many apps do you really need?

This got me thinking. How many apps do we need to be productive? My definition of personal productivity is getting the work that matters done in the most efficient and effective way. So how does having more apps help this? More apps mean more time looking at apps and lists of things to do. That’s not doing the work. If you have to check your calendar to see if you have time to work on the projects Trello is telling you need to work on and then to open Notion 2 to see how all this fits into the bigger picture of your life before finally opening Google Docs to start writing the report you are supposed to be working on. That’s not being very productive. That’s being very inefficient and unproductive.

App switching is one of the most inefficient and ineffective things you can do.

I sometimes joke with my colleagues and friends when they tell me they have found a new app that promises to improve their productivity. If they have time to be switching apps then they are obviously not very busy. I don’t know where they find the time to switch. The truth is I have never come across anyone who has switched a productivity app and then become a lot more productive. I have often found the reverse to be true though. I’ve seen many people switch apps and become much less productive because they spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to get a particular feature to work that worked perfectly well in the app they were using before they switched.

So, to help see if you have too many apps, here are a few indicators to look for:

  • If you are checking a task off in more than one place — that’s too many to-do list apps.
  • If you have to look in more than one place to see where you need to be and when — that’s too many calendar apps.
  • If you can’t remember where you put a note — that’s too many notes apps.
  • If you can’t remember where you started writing your report — that’s too many writing apps.

You only need one to-do list manager, one calendar and one notes app. If you are using more than that, you have too many apps and they will be causing a drag on your productivity, effectiveness and your efficiency.

One app for one type of work.

If you write reports, essays, articles and other written documents in more than one app, then you should ask yourself if you really need so many writing apps. I use two writing apps. Each has a specific use. Short and long-form writing is done in Ulysses and my books are written in Scrivener. Ulysses’s export options allow me to send any written document out in any form I want. That would be MS Word, Apple Pages, Google Docs, PDF or even email if I chose. So there really is no reason to use any other writing app. This means if I want to do some writing, if it not writing my book, then whatever it is I want to write will be in Ulysses. Easy to find and no decisions to make about where I will write the document.

The same goes for creating presentations. I use Keynote for all my presentations and even if a client sends me a PowerPoint file to check, I can check it in Keynote, make any corrections and export it as a PowerPoint file. I have no need to spend time learning two apps. I only need to learn how to use Keynote and as I have been using it since 2004, there’s not much left for me to learn.

What is productivity all about?

Productivity is not about the apps you are using. Productivity is about the work you are doing. If you have too many apps, or the apps you do use are slow and inefficient either because they are too complex or you haven’t learnt how to use them properly, then you are not going to be as productive as you can be. You are not going to be remembered by the apps you use, but rather by the content you produce. That’s what people remember about you. The most incredibly productive people alive don’t use any apps, they use a simple pen and paper to collect their notes, ideas and to-dos. Sir Richard Branson, Cheryl Sandberg and Dwayne Johnson (The Rock) collect everything into notebooks. We don’t need sophisticated apps to manage our work. We just need to do the work. That is what productivity is about — the work. It is not about the apps.

 

Thank you for reading my stories! 😊 If you enjoyed this article, hit that like button below 👍 It would mean a lot to me and it helps other people see the story.

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My purpose is to help 1 million people by 2020 to live the lives they desire. To help people find happiness and become better organised and more productive so they can do more of the important things in life.

If you would like to learn more about the work I do, and how I can help you to become better organised and more productive, you can visit my website or you can say hello on Twitter, YouTube or Facebook and subscribe to my weekly newsletter right here.

Why You Need To Start Thinking More About Yourself Than You Do About Others.

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A recent comment from a student of mine pointed out that an exercise I have students perform in my Ultimate Goal Planning Course helped him to realise that he was spending far too much time thinking about what other people wanted and not enough time about what he wanted.

I must confess that the exercise was not necessarily designed to elicit this response, but I realised he was right. We do spend far too much time thinking about what other people want.

Where did this come from?

Where this comes from I can only guess. It probably comes from when we are growing up and we are told that to think about ourselves too much is wrong and that we should always put the comforts and convenience of others first. And on the whole, when talking about good manners this is good advice. But for discovering what we want and what we want to achieve in life this advice is wrong. It is wrong to study medicine because your parents want you to. It is wrong to go to law school because your teachers told you that would be a good profession for you. These are wrong choices if none of those professions is what you want to do. These are right choices if these are the professions you want to go in to.

If you are going to build a life for yourself and create a life you will love, flourish and grow in, then you need to put yourself first. It does not matter what your parents, grandparents or friends want you to do. That’s what they want you to do. It is their desire. It is not necessarily your desire. If you do follow the path your parents want you to follow, sure you will make them happy, but you will not make you happy, and your happiness must always come first.

The only way to a life of joy and happiness is to build your own path.

The truth is if you want to lead of life of true happiness, joy and passion you must create your own path. You must decide for yourself what you want to achieve and you must decide for yourself what you want to do. Taking advice from parents, friends, teachers and professors is fine — I would say advisable — but in the end, the choice must be yours and yours alone.

I was very lucky growing up. My parents’ attitude was they would provide me with the education I needed and support me in higher education if I wanted support, but after that what I did was my choice. They never pushed their opinions on me and whenever I talked to them about what I wanted to do, they listened, asked questions, but never offered any opinions about what I should do, unless I asked for it. I had the freedom to make my own choices, but with that freedom came responsibility for my own life. Which on its own was a great life lesson. My life, my responsibility.

Your life. Your responsibility.

And that is the way it should be. Your life. Your responsibility. Just one look at the business pioneers in the last twenty years and the two top people; Bill Gates and Steve Jobs were both given the freedom to make their own decisions about their future. Of course, they made a few mistakes, took a few risks (dropping out of university might be considered a big risk) but they had the freedom to make their own choices and make their own mistakes and learn from those in a way that meant they had to accept full responsibility for those mistakes. There was no else to blame.

Until you are prepared to accept full responsibility for your own life, you are always going to be following in the footsteps of others. The problem here is what others want you to do might not be in your own best interests. I’ve seen so many people take positions in their companies that were not positions they really wanted to do but were told by their superiors that this position would suit them. Their superior’s motives were usually because that position needed filling and they were the only person available to take the position. Not only is this bad for your future career, it is also allowing others to dictate the direction your life goes in.

Saying “no” is hard but…

I know it is hard to say “no” to other people, but saying no is often in your own best interests. I know, you are risking disappointing other people, but when it comes to the direction your life goes in, that is far more important than you disappointing a few people. Their disappointment may last a couple of days, your “yes”, on the other hand, could cause a lifetime of disappointment and misery for you. When put that way, the decision you have to make is easy.

What are your fifty things?

To help you decide what is important to you, take some time to write out the fifty things you want to do in the next ten years. Make sure they are the things you want to do, and not things other people want you to do. This list is all about you and nobody else. Think about the places you want to visit, the work you want to do, the cars you want to buy and places you want to live. Everything you want to buy, want to visit or want to experience. Get them written down and start making them happen for you. You will find the first fifteen to twenty things are easy to write. After that things become more difficult because you have to go really deep inside yourself to really know what you want. This exercise will be the start of you building the life you want to live.

Your life, your responsibility

If you want to build a life for yourself, a life you can be proud of, a life of achievement and success on your own terms, then you are going to have to take responsibility for your life. Once you make the decision to break free from the voices of the people around you and start making choices about your future for yourself, you lose the opportunity to blame others when things go wrong, but you gain the freedom to build a life worth living on your terms.

If you want to know more about my Ultimate Guide To Goal Planning, you can get more information from the information page here.

 

Thank you for reading my stories! 😊 If you enjoyed this article, hit that like button below👍. It would mean a lot to me and it helps other people see the story.

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My purpose is to help 1 million people by 2020 to live the lives they desire. To help people find happiness and become better organised and more productive so they can do more of the important things in life.

If you would like to learn more about the work I do, and how I can help you to become better organised and more productive, you can visit my website or you can say hello on Twitter, YouTube or Facebook and subscribe to my weekly newsletter right here.

Never Let Anyone Take You Away From Your Core Daily Disciplines.

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Your core daily disciplines are the things that give you control, flexibility and freedom to live a great life. They are the things that are important to you. It could be your fitness, your self-development or your family values. If health and fitness are important to you, you will exercise regularly and eat healthily.

Your discipline ensures you go out for the run in cold wet weather or despite there being a plate of cookies on the meeting room table you refrain from eating any. If self-development is important, you allocate time every day to learn and develop the skills you want to learn. These are your core disciplines and they are based on the things that are important to you.

Choosing the easy option is the reason you don’t achieve your goals.

The reason so many people fail to achieve the things they want to achieve is that they allow other people to distract them from the things that are important to them. Your friends call you on a Thursday afternoon and invite you out for a few beers. You had planned to go to the gym, but you’ve had a hard day at work so you agree to go for a few beers. It hard to motivate yourself to go to the gym and it’s hard to say no to your friends. So you take the easy option and go for the beer.

On its own, that one night out for a few beers instead of going to the gym is going to do little harm. But the problem is not the one time, the problem is you likely regularly make those kinds of decisions. You regularly take the easy option instead of staying focused on your core values.

Being a disciplined person gains you respect from your peers.

Many years ago I worked with a guy who made it a priority to go to the gym Monday to Friday after work. He was in incredible shape and he ate clean and I mean clean — clean sources of protein and a lot of fruit, veg and nuts. On a weekend, he allowed himself the freedom to eat and drink and do whatever he liked. Interestingly, once you got to know Andy, you knew not to invite him out during the week because he would always say no. Andy got a lot of respect from the people around him. We all wished we could be like him (and look like him!).

The truth is we can all be like Andy. We can gain the respect and admiration of others and we can set an example for those people around us by not giving in to the easy decisions. By staying true to our core values and disciplines.

Don’t give other people the power to determine the course of your life.

When you allow other people to prevent you from doing what is important to you, you are giving other people control of your life.

  • If exercise and maintaining your health is important to you, you will find time every day to exercise and to each healthily. If you allow the agendas of others take your exercise time or to push you to eat unhealthily or drink too much alcohol, then you give those others control over your life.
  • If studying new skills and improving your education is important to you, yet you allow other people to change your schedule so you cannot attend your class or practice your skill, then you are giving other people control over your life.
  • If spending quality time with your family every day is important to you yet you allow your boss to keep you late at the office doing additional work, you are giving up control of your life to your boss.
  • If you are responding to work messages and calls on a weekend instead of playing with your children you are giving up control of your life to your boss, colleagues and customers.

Take responsibility and control of your life.

To take control and to take full responsibility for your life and your time You need to establish boundaries that cannot be broken by the agendas of others except in extreme circumstances. If you don’t do your daily core disciplines because you are not in the mood or you feel lazy, you are giving in to your weaker self. Stop yourself. These are your core disciplines, these are the habits and actions that will transform you from where you are today to where you want to be in the future. It’s our negative, undisciplined self trying to maintain an easy life and we must ignore that voice and pursue the goals and dreams we have for the future. You need to develop the strength and discipline to do those daily activities that will move you a step closer each day towards where you want to go.

Once you establish these boundaries, and you do not allow the wishes and agendas of others to cross those boundaries, you will start to receive respect from the people around you. People will look to you as an example to follow, people will want to be like you and people will start asking you how do you do it? Just like we all saw Andy as a shining example of how to live life. You will also start making progress towards achieving all those things you want to achieve in life.

It’s not all discipline and rigidity.

I am not suggesting you say no to everything that comes your way. It is important to have some flexibility in your life. But when pursuing the important things in your life you need to become uncompromising. Sure, if you want to keep Friday nights free so you can hang out with your friends, great, schedule that time. If you want to go out clubbing and drinking on a weekend, wonderful do it. But when Monday comes round, you get back to your focused, disciplined life and become uncompromising again. You go to the gym, you do the class, you spend time with your family and you allow nothing to get in the way of pursuing developing yourself into a better person.

That’s how you go from where you are today to where you want to be in the future.

you for reading my stories! 😊 If you enjoyed this article, please hit the like button below👍 It would mean a lot to me and it helps other people see the story.

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My purpose is to help 1 million people by 2020 to live the lives they desire. To help people find happiness and become better organised and more productive so they can do more of the important things in life.

If you would like to learn more about the work I do, and how I can help you to become better organised and more productive, you can visit my website or you can say hello on Twitter, YouTube or Facebook and subscribe to my weekly newsletter right here.

If You Want To become more productive do less.

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As I search around the world of productivity I am always struck by how many people take pride in the number of tasks they are completing each day. I see numbers such as twenty, thirty and even as high as fifty tasks completed and announced on Twitter or Facebook as if it was a badge of honour.

If that is the number of tasks you find yourself completing every day then perhaps it is time to take a look at what it is you are actually doing each day.

Unimportant tasks should not be on your daily list.

Whenever I come across someone completing thirty plus tasks per day I know they are unproductive. They are unproductive because they are completing too many unimportant tasks. Often they will have tasks like “take the dog for a walk” or “brush teeth” on their list. Of course, taking your dog for a walk and brushing your teeth are important in their own way, but these kinds of tasks should not be on your to-do list. They dilute the effectiveness of your list and you shouldn’t need to be reminded to do those tasks.

Focus on the tasks that will have the most positive impact on your day.

To have a better to-do list and to become more effective you need to focus on the important things. The things that will take your life forward and move you closer toward achieving your goals. Those are the tasks that should be on your list. Each and every task on your list needs to have a positive impact on your life. Putting unimportant, mundane tasks on your daily list only fools you into thinking you are being productive. You are not. It’s like running on a treadmill, you are going nowhere, but believing you are moving forward because you are building up a sweat.

How the Golden 10 can help.

This is when the Golden 10 really helps. This is the ten minutes at the end of the day where you plan the next day. It is where you can take a look at your list for tomorrow and decide which tasks will have the most positive outcome on your day. Choose two or three tasks that, no matter what, you will complete tomorrow. Don’t add more than three, when you add more than three, you are trying to achieve too much. All you need is two or three. Over a week, that is ten to fifteen tasks you complete that have a significant, positive outcome on your life. For all the other things you have to do, the things that have no positive outcome on your life, you just get done when you can do them.

Throughout the day, I am adding a lot of non-important tasks to my inbox. These are things like “send receipt to student”. I add it to my inbox so I do not forget to send the requested receipt. It’s a two minute Job, but when I am asked for it, I am usually working on something important and do not want to be disturbed. I just dump the task in my inbox. I know I will review my inbox at some point in the day, so it’s off my mind and in my inbox. Those tasks get done in the few minutes I have between doing the important work.

Separate out your mundane routine tasks.

I also have a number of routine admin tasks that need completing each day. None of these tasks is important from my goals or life perspective — they just need doing — for these I keep them in a separate project called “routines”. Separating my routines in this way allows me to hide them from my daily list of tasks so I can focus on the most important things. This is how you become productive on the important things in your life. Separate the mundane, just have to be done routines from the tasks that have an impact on your life.

This simple adjustment to the way you use your to-do list, over a short period of time, will bring you tremendously positive results. You will start making progress on the things that are important to you and you will develop the habit of focusing all your attention on tasks that have a positive outcome on your day.

Productivity is not about how many tasks you complete each day. Productivity is about making progress on the important things in your life — day after day — and eliminating all the distractions and unimportant stuff from your life.

 

Thank you for reading my stories! 😊 If you enjoyed this article, hit the like button below It would mean a lot to me and it helps other people see the story.

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My purpose is to help 1 million people by 2020 to live the lives they desire. To help people find happiness and become better organised and more productive so they can do more of the important things in life.

If you would like to learn more about the work I do, and how I can help you to become better organised and more productive, you can visit my website or you can say hello on Twitter, YouTube or Facebook and subscribe to my weekly newsletter right here.

How To Stop Re-Organising Your Work And Just Get The Work Done.

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Last week on my Productivity Mastery Video Series, I talked about why your to-do list is not going to do the work for you and sometimes you just need to get the work done.

This is something I see all the time. People spend so much time reorganising their to-do lists, playing around with the settings and changing colours and view options and not doing the work. Then they complain they are so busy they have no time to do the things they really want to do.

This is one of the reasons why I don’t recommend feature-rich productivity apps. There is always too many things to play with and this playing around is often at the expense of the work that needs doing. These apps, while on the surface appear to give you everything you could want in a productivity app, very quickly become a procrastinator’s heaven, sucking you in on a never-ending quest for the perfect set up and preventing you from getting the work done.

Collect | Organise | Do

My to-do list manager collects all the stuff I need to pay attention to, it is a place to organise all that stuff at the end of the day and it tells me what work needs doing next. That’s it. My ratio of work to organising is in the region of 95% of my time I am doing and 5% I am organising the stuff I collected. I feel there is still a few more percents I can squeeze from the organising side of the ratio. If I could get it to 2% organising I would feel I have a perfect balance. The less time you spend inside your to-do list manager, the more work you get done. That is the mindset you should be adopting.

Output -V- Input

Becoming more productive is not about the tools you use to be more productive. Becoming more productive is about your output. What to-do list managers and other productivity tools do is tell you what needs doing next and the fewer steps it takes to tell you that the better.

Just because your to-do list manager can maintain a dashboard of all your current projects, can automatically assign dates to your tasks and prioritise things for you doesn’t mean you do not have to do the work. No matter how feature rich your to-do list manager is, it is never going to do the work for you. To become more productive, you are going to have to increase your output. Productivity is your output measured against your input. So if you are collecting everything and spending too much time organising what you collected, then your output will suffer and you are not being productive. To be more productive you have to reduce the time it takes to collect and organise your stuff so you can maximise the time you spend doing the work — the output.

Set up for speed.

Make sure the way you collect stuff into your system is as easy as it can be. Set up keyboard shortcuts, learn the fastest way to collect on your mobile devices etc. When it comes to organising, set your system up so moving tasks and commitments into their right placeholders takes as little time as possible so the time available for output (the doing) is maximised. When you place your focus on maximising the doing, you create a system that works for you and a system that takes your productivity into areas you have always dreamed of.

The more time you can find to do the work and the less time you spend organising your work, the more productive you will be. If you can spend ten minutes or so the night before deciding what you will work on the next day and start your day with those tasks, you will find you make a great start on improving your output. Too often when you don’t plan the day before, you spend far too much of your most creative time (the morning) trying to decide what to do. That’s not a good way to become more productive. That’s just wasting valuable creative time.

The ‘perfect tool’ does not exist — everyone is different.

App switching, playing around with settings, colours and layout of the productivity apps you use is not doing the work. It is time wasting. Maintaining a simple system of lists of things to do, a calendar that shows you where you have to be at the right time and a notes app that allows you to find your notes when you need them is all you need. The simpler these apps and systems are the more productive you will be.

Focus more of your attention on your output and less on the tools and you will very quickly see fantastic results in what you get done.


Thank you for reading my stories! 😊 If you enjoyed this article, hit the like button below👍  It would mean a lot to me and it helps other people see the story.

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My purpose is to help 1 million people by 2020 to live the lives they desire. To help people find happiness and become better organised and more productive so they can do more of the important things in life.

If you would like to learn more about the work I do, and how I can help you to become better organised and more productive, you can visit my website or you can say hello on Twitter, YouTube or Facebook and subscribe to my weekly newsletter right here.

How I Get My Work Done - The Tools I Use - 2018 Edition

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It’s been a year since I last updated my “The Tools I Use” blog post, so this week, I thought it would be a good idea to update it so you can see what tools I am using now to get my work done and to create the videos, blog posts and podcasts I create each week.

For the most part, little has changed. This is because I strongly believe once you have found a device or an app that works for you, you should not change it. Instead, I find using the same tools year after year I am able to go very deep into learning the app, get faster at using it and work with it without having to figure out how to do something. That is a huge time saver and allows me more time to do work that really matters.

So, what has changed?

The biggest change over the last twelve months is in how I edit my videos. I have started to use Adobe Premiere Pro to edit my headshots because Premiere Pro allows me to adjust the lighting and sound better than Screenflow does. Screenflow is still my go-to app for recording and editing my screencasts, but for the introductions and other headshot type videos, these are edited in Premiere Pro.

Another area that changed over the last twelve months is how I write my blog posts and other short-form writing. In the past, I kept all this in Scrivener, which worked very well, but I found writing in Scrivener on my iPhone was not the easiest thing to do. So, I invested in Ulysses and now use Ulysses for all blog posts, online course introductions and other short-form writing I do. For writing books, Scrivener still wins hands down every time.

I made a physical change to my journaling this year too. After a year of trying out a digital journaling system in Evernote, I returned to paper-based journalling. There was nothing wrong with using Evernote as my journal, but I missed writing by hand. There is just something more special about physically writing out your thoughts and ideas than typing them. I found a great leather bound journal made by a U.S company called Gallery and since buying the journal I have not looked back. It just feels so much better writing rather than typing.

 

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My journal of choice is Gallery Leather’s large ruled desk journal.

 

Finally, I began using Asana for managing my weekly content schedule. Asana has allowed me to see visually, in a board like set up, all the content I am working on for the week and helps me to manage the scheduling better than a list view would do.

Hardware

  • Mid 2013 Apple iMac 27in (my workhorse for writing, research, web-surfing and music listening)
  • Mid 2014 Apple MacBook Pro 13in (For the hard graft of video and podcast editing as well as all Adobe products I use.)
  • 2016 9.7in iPad Pro with Smart Keyboard and Apple Pencil (for writing and teaching materials)
  • 2017 iPhone X in Space Grey with 256GB memory

Software/Apps

Todoist

Todoist is the core of my whole productivity system. It controls my daily tasks, it makes sure I am doing stuff that is important to my future goals and it makes sure I collect all the daily stuff that comes into my life so I can organise it later.

Evernote

Evernote is my go-to notes application. I have been using Evernote for nine years now and I have built up a large collection of articles, ideas and reference materials over those years. I use Evernote to collect articles I find interesting or want to refer to at a later date. I also use it to collect ideas and plans for future use. I even use it for brainstorming ideas.

Fantastical

Fantastical is my calendar app of choice for all my appointments. I’ve been using Fantastical for about three years now and I chose it because of its incredible natural language recognition abilities. Over those three years, Fantastical has got better and better and now with its desktop app, it has become an all-round great calendar app.

Newton Mail

For years I used Apple’s built-in mail app on all my devices. That was until I was introduced to Newton about eighteen months ago. To me, all the traditional mail apps looked too ‘corporate’ and were not an inspiring place to do work. Newton changed that for me. Its interface is gorgeous and it really is a pleasure to compose, read and organise mail. I confess I do still use Apple Mail at the end of a day because Apple Mail has smart mailboxes where I can collect all the action today emails into one place.

Asana

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I use Asana for a specific reason. Asana is my Kanban type board for tracking the content I produce on a weekly basis. This allows me to plan and schedule my content so there are no conflicts and I can visually see the progress on each piece of content. I was inspired for this set up by Steve Dotto’s video showing how he and his team put together their content.

So there are my core apps. These apps tell me what I have to do and where I have to be while at the same time makes sure I get my work done on time.

Now for the heavy lifting apps:

Apple Keynote

I really don’t think I would be a presenter today if it was not for Keynote. I began using it from the very first day it was launched and have never been tempted back to PowerPoint. All my workshops, presentations and even draft design work is done in Keynote. I love the fact I can create outlines, PDF files and so much more with this brilliant app.

Apple Pages

Pages is my go-to app for all formatted written work. I love its interface and the way you can format documents pretty much how you please. I also use the track changes features to proofread client work and then export as a Word file (as pretty much all my clients use MS Office)

Apple Numbers

Like Pages, I use Numbers for my day to day office work. I keep all student attendance lists, client payments and other similar files in iCloud so I can access these from my iPad when I am out and about.

Scrivener

For writing books I use Scrivener. Scrivener is the best app there is for long-form writing such as a book and since the app came available for the iPad and iPhone last year, this has meant I no longer need to carry my laptop with me every day as I can simply pick up where I left off on my iPad with its Dropbox syncing.

Ulysses

One of the best all-round writing apps there is today. It is simple, yet has enough features to handle almost all writers’ demands. I love writing in dark mode on my computers as this gives me a feeling of complete focus and that is how I want to be when I am writing — completely focused. The iPhone app is just outstanding. There are times I just love to sit back on the sofa and write using my iPhone.

Screenflow 7

Screenflow is now in its 7th edition and I upgraded from version 6 over the last twelve months. Screenflow is my app of choice for recording and editing my YouTube videos. I love its simplicity and solidity. It works, it has direct publishing to YouTube and the way it allows you to mix videos and text is just fantastic.

Adobe Premiere Pro

Premiere Pro is the video editing software I use for recording all my headshot videos. Because Premiere Pro has such a fantastic array of tools for adjusting lighting and sound, it is just the best tool to use for this kind of work. Screenflow can do it, but Screenflow’s lighting adjustment features just do not match Premiere Pro’s.

Adobe Photoshop

Photoshop has been my design tool of choice for nearly twenty years now. All my blog post images, online course images, thumbnails and YouTube video thumbnails are created in Photoshop. This is another app that is pretty much open on my computer all day, every day.

Adobe InDesign

I use InDesign for designing my workbooks and other PDF learning materials for teaching. This is another new app added to the list this year and I spent much of last year learning to use it and designed and produced a number of workbooks as well as a book I published for the university I teach at. I really enjoy working in InDesign.

Now for the cloud drives, I use.

I essentially use two cloud drives. These are:

Dropbox

Over the last year, I have reduced my usage of Dropbox. Not because there is anything wrong with Dropbox., it is still one of the best cloud services on the market. I am now using iCloud much more as I am fully invested in the Apple eco-system and iCloud has improved so much over that few years.

iCloud

I use iCloud for specific apps. In particular, I use iCloud for Pages and Numbers files I am currently working on as I can access these directly from the device I am working on. I am now also using iCloud for all my productivity business matters. I am paying for the 2-gigabyte storage option and share this with my wife. As time goes by, I am using iCloud Drive much more.

And now for the little utility apps, I use every day to make my life that little bit easier.

1Password

I couldn’t live without this wonderful app. 1Password is where I store all my passwords so I do not have to remember any. The only password I have to remember is the master password and as I use that every day it’s not difficult to remember. With the fingerprint ID and now Face ID on my iPhone X the functionality on the iPhone and iPad, 1Password is brilliant on my IOS devices.

TextExpander

Another one of those little apps that I couldn’t live without. TextExpander stores little snippets of text I use regularly so all I have to do is type the trigger word or letters and boom! The text appears. I also use TextExpander for today’s date and to correct my most common spelling errors — such as business which I regularly spell as “buisiness” for some reason.

Drafts 5

Drafts recently got a big update and WOW! What an update. Drafts is just brilliant and I could not live without it. Drafts is a clever note-taking app that allows you to send notes and captured ideas almost anywhere. I have a list of Evernote notes that Drafts can append notes to so I don’t need to go into Evernote and search for a note. I can type my idea in Drafts, and then use the actions menu to send the note to any of my pre-defined notes. I also have some pre-written emails in Drafts that I use to send reminders to students. I do not need to type anything except the recipient’s email address.

Scanbot

Scanbot is my scanning app of choice. It’s a great little app that works really well with Todoist and Evernote and allows me to take a quick scan of a document or a receipt and then send it to either my Evernote, Todoist or iCloud accounts. Scanbot is one of those solid apps that does exactly what it is supposed to do and does it very well.

Apple Music

Love this app so much. It allows me to listen to my favourite trance artists as well as go down memory lane whenever the mood takes me. How I survived without it I have no idea.

Apple’s Podcast App

Okay, this one might surprise some people, but I have found Apple’s Podcasts is a solid app that works extremely well. I’ve tried a lot of alternatives, but none of them has been so much better than Apple’s native podcast app that I wanted to change. On my phone, where I listen to most of my podcasts, I am subscribed to Above & Beyond’s Group TherapyJudge Jules’s Global Warm Up, and Anjunabeats’s Worldwide. Perfect music for when you are out and about or just need a pick me up.

And finally for reading I have the following:

Reeder

I use Reeder to collect all the articles from the blogs I am interested in and scan through these every morning while I am on my way to my first client. Any article I want to read later I send to…

Instapaper

Over the last year, I have switched from Pocket to Instapaper because of all the ads I was getting with Pocket. I was using the free version of Pocket, so it was probably to be expected I should get some ads, but Pocket went overkill and it destroyed the reading experience. Switching to Instapaper, a free competitor to Pocket was a no-brainer really.

And that is really all there is to it. I use Safari as my main browser on all my devices and from time to time I use Google Docs and Google Drive for collaboration projects. If I need a browser for doing work, I use Chrome as I have no social media sites saved there and so the temptation to procrastinate is removed.

What you use to get your work done is irrelevant, what really matters is the content you produce. How you produce it doesn’t matter. The only advice I would give is to choose tools you enjoy using. If you do not enjoy using them, or if you actually hate them, then it will affect the quality of your work.

Thank you for reading my stories! 😊 If you enjoyed this article, please hit the like button below👍  It would mean a lot to me and it helps other people see the story.

 

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My purpose is to help 1 million people by 2020 to live the lives they desire. To help people find happiness and become better organised and more productive so they can do more of the important things in life.

If you would like to learn more about the work I do, and how I can help you to become better organised and more productive, you can visit my website or you can say hello on Twitter, YouTube or Facebook and subscribe to my weekly newsletter right here.

Why Project 1 Million Matters To Me.

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PROJECT 1 MILLION is a project to help one million people by 2020 get better at time management and become more productive.

I passionately believe that once you know what needs doing, when and how at all times, your stress is reduced, your health improves, your relationships with loved ones improve and your goals get achieved. Overall, being better at time management and becoming more productive changes peoples lives for the better and I want the whole world to experience these wonderful, life-changing benefits.

Stress is one of the world’s biggest killers today and a lot of that stress is a result of the huge amount of stuff that is being thrown at us every day. We have stuff we have to do for our boss, our colleagues, our families and friends and so on. It is just relentless. Messages, emails, commitments and appointments. It just does not stop.

The problem we all face is how to manage all that stuff being thrown at us and that is where having a simple, workable system in place that allows you to focus on what is important to you, while at the same time allowing you to collect and organise all the stuff thrown at you into a trusted system so you can evaluate it later when you have more time.

I have been very fortunate in life because I discovered the power of being organised a long time ago. I’ve always had the desire to manage my time, to keep my things organised in a logical way and to give myself space and focus to work on the things that are important to me. This has meant I have little stress in my life and gives me the space to focus on the things that are important to me. And that feeling, that way of living life and the happiness and structure it brings with it is what I want to share with as many people as I can. In fact, I want to share it will one million people over the next two years.

This is where I would like to ask you for your help. Please share my latest course with as many people as you know. The Beginner’s Guide To Building Your Own Productivity System is a FREE online course designed to help people, no matter where they are today, to create a system that works for them that is minimal to set up and very easy to put in to practice and follow.

This course is the first of many new projects I will be producing this year and next to help people discover the benefits of being great at time management, at using the digital tools we all carry around with us every day and learning how to be productive with the things that are important to us — whatever they may be.

Thank you for reading this little message and thank you for your amazing support. Without you, none of this would be possible and I feel so humbled and honoured to be in a position to help as many people as I can discover the fantastic benefits of being organised and productive.

The Beginners Guide To Building Your Own Productivity System.

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Over the last few months, I have been thinking how I can best help more people discover the wonderful benefits of getting better at time management and more productive. To show more people how by having a productivity system that works for them can reduce daily stress, begin an unstoppable journey towards achieving their goals and ambitions and to give them more time to do the things they really want to do. 

I have written books, created extensive online courses and produced over 300 videos on YouTube. Yet, I feel there is so much more I can do to help more people discover a world of being better with the time they have each day. 

This is why I have created a new FREE course called Beginners Guide To Building Your Own Productivity System

One of the strongest beliefs I have is that a productivity system needs to work for you. If you prefer using digital technology then your system needs to work digitally. If you prefer pen and paper then it needs to work on paper. And if like me, you prefer a hybrid system then it needs to work both digitally and on paper. We are all different and we all have different lifestyles, ways of thinking and ways of doing our work.

However, the basic foundations of a great productivity system never change. You need to be collecting everything that is thrown at you into a place you trust you will look at regularly, you need to spend some time each day organising what you collected and you need to do the work so you meet your deadlines and you know what is coming up in the next few weeks and months. 

This new course will help you start the process of creating your own system. It explains the principles of COD: Collect, Organise and Do. It also takes you through the tools you need in order to implement COD and it explains why you need PACT (Patience, Action, Consistency and Time) in order to build the habits so the system you build for yourself works without you having to think about it. You will collect naturally, organise naturally and do the work naturally. 

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This course is part of my PROJECT 1 MILLION project, a project to help one million people by 2020 get better at time management and become more productive. I passionately believe that once you know what needs doing, when and how at all times, your stress is reduced, your health is improved, your relationships with loved ones improve and your goals get achieved. Overall, being better at time management and becoming more productive changes peoples lives for the better and I want the whole world to experience these wonderful, life-changing benefits


What’s In The Course?

  • Introduction
  • Who am I?
  • Why build a productivity system?
  • What you need.

Part 1: COD - Collect | Organise | Do

  • What is COD?
  • Collect
  • Organise 
  • Do

Part 2: The Golden 10 Minutes

  • The Golden 10 and why it’s important
  • Building your Golden 10

Part 3: How To Use Your Calendar

  • How to use your calendar
  • The Calendar’s golden rule

Part 4: PACT - Patience | Action | Consistency | Time

  • Patience
  • Action
  • Consistency
  • Time

Part 5: And finally…

  • Learn from the masters
  • Project 1 Million
  • A final word

Also included in this course are free downloads of the Your Digital Life 2.0 workflow, The Golden 10 basic checklist and the PACT guide. 


This course will get you started on the road to becoming better organised and more productive and these are the foundations of building a life of achievement, happiness and success. 

You can enrol in the course right here from Friday 11 May 2018. 

 

It’s The Daily Grind That Will Take You Towards Your Dream.

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I work with a lot of people who have dreams of starting their own businesses or have aspirations to climb to the top of the corporate ladder and the sad thing is most of them are going to fail to achieve these goals.

As most people recognise, success in anything doesn’t happen overnight. It takes years and years of practice. Even those businesses that develop an app that suddenly takes off in the app stores and turn the company from a small, single operator business into a multi-million dollar business did not happen overnight. The developers spent years and years learning to code and developing their craft in order to create an app that resonates with millions of people.

People don’t go from a high-level manager in a medium-sized company into a sort after consultant overnight. No matter what their reputation in the business world is, going from manager to a successful business consultant takes years of contact development, building a track record in consulting and proven results. It just does not happen overnight.

And that’s the thing about success, while most people see the end result, what they rarely acknowledge is the years of craft development, the commitment of time and the sacrifices that have taken place over years in order to get to a level where people say you are successful.

The daily grind of learning, growing and developing your skills are requirements that you are going to have to commit to if you want to achieve any kind of success. Doing the Golden 10 every evening, for example, so you are focused each day on what is important to you and maintaining that focus every day. It means learning skills that will enhance your abilities, practising existing skills so they remain relevant in today’s world and creating work that you show to the world so they can see for themselves what you are capable of doing.

If you are not prepared to put the daily work in, then you are not prepared to succeed. It is really that simple. Dreaming, thinking and talking about achieving success does not achieve anything. At some point, you are going to have to take action and make those dreams, thoughts and words become reality. Action could be reading the books, taking the courses, and building the content. Each one has its own part to play and of course, you are going to have to allow sufficient time to mature these skills and build your fan base. Without any of these, nothing is going to happen to move you towards building the future you want to build.

The problem we have as human beings is we are all experts at making excuses for not doing. We think we have more time than we do and we are more than happy to allow ourselves to be distracted by other shinier projects, other people and of course the naysayers who will tell you you won’t succeed and you should forget about it and live a ‘normal’ unambitious life.

The reality is it is tough to be successful — it has always been tough. This is why so few people become truly successful. It takes a single-minded purpose, a lot of time and a determination that cannot be broken by the next new shiny project offered to you. You have to do the daily work, day in day out and build whatever it is you want to build without allowing yourself to be distracted by anyone or anything. If you are not prepared to do that, then you are not going to make your ambitions, goals and dreams come true.

So, ask yourself, are you prepared to do the daily grind to make your goals happen?

 

Thank you for reading my stories! 😊 If you enjoyed this article, hit the like button below👍  It would mean a lot to me and it helps other people see the story.

Project 1 Million banner.jpg

My purpose is to help one million people by 2020 to live the lives they desire. To help people find happiness and become better organised and more productive so they can do more of the important things in life. If you want to learn more about how I can help you, have a look at the various online courses I have. There might be something there that could change your life!

If you would like to learn more about the work I do, and how I can help you to become better organised and more productive, you can visit my website or you can say hello on Twitter, YouTube or Facebook and subscribe to my weekly newsletter right here.

Why Your Comfort Zone Is The Most Dangerous Place On Earth.

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As we grow up and move along the journey of life we pick up habits, customs and routines. We settle down into a way of life that is comfortable, manageable and acceptable to the people around us. Yet for most of us, we crave for something more. We desire a better job, a better social life, a better house, car and holidays. We have this constant feeling we can be better than we currently are, but, we ignore it. We feel where we are today is where we are supposed to be and all those people who keep telling us we can do better and achieve greater things are just snake oil salespeople talking rubbish and trying to sell us things.

This thinking conveniently ignores the thousands of people who have got up of the sofa and begun going out for a run every evening, read the self-help books, taken the courses and workshops and made the decisions to change their lives and achieve great things. All those hundreds of thousands of people who have watched Jim Rohn talks, been to Tony Robbins’s Unleash the Power Within events and read Zig Ziglar’s books. People, just like you and me, who have changed their lives and created a success because that desire to be better than the person they were was just too strong to ignore and they walked out of their comfort zones. They ignored the naysayers and their so-called friends who criticised them because of their own inability to step outside their comfort zones.

I learnt at a very early age that we all have the power to change our lives at any time we choose. When I was twelve years old, I got myself in with the wrong crowd. I began smoking, I didn’t study in school and I was heading for a disastrous life. As a twelve-year-old, I didn’t know I was heading for disaster. At that time, I thought I was cool. But one day, I had to run a cross-country run during a school games lesson and I came first! This was on the back of no training and a lot of smoked cigarettes. My teacher pulled me to one side after that run and told me I had talent and I should develop it. He told me to turn up for cross-country practice later that week and he would help me become a runner.

I started running, I joined the cross-country team and then in the summer I started running 800 and 1,500 metres on the track. Within two years I was the Bradford and West Yorkshire schools 1,500-metre champion. By sixteen I had become my school’s cross-country and athletics team captain, my school work improved dramatically, I gave up smoking and hanging out with the wrong crowd and I became a school prefect. This all happened because I made a decision when I was twelve years old to change my life, to get out of my comfort zone and do something different and that decision began a transformation that helped me to have a successful school life and introduced me to something I still love doing — running.

Every day, we all have the opportunity to change our lives. We always have a choice to end the destructive habits and routines we have developed and start doing more positive, life-improving activities. If, over the years, because of your addiction to fast food you have piled on the weight, you can choose to stop eating junk food. You can choose to eat healthily. You can choose to get up off the sofa and go out for a walk for an hour every day. If you hate your job you can always choose to enrol at your local college and learn new skills and find another job you enjoy doing. If you find you are struggling to pay your mortgage and are sinking further into debt, you can always choose to get a part-time job and earn some extra money. Instead of sitting around at home complaining about how little money you have, you could choose to sit down and plan out an online course and sell that through Skillshare or Udemy. There are so many ways you can change and improve your life, all you have to do is accept your current habits and routines are not doing you any favours and you can choose to change them.

None of this is easy, I accept that. But what is the alternative? If you continue with your self-destructive, unhappy lifestyle what will the end game be? One thing for sure is it won’t be very pleasant.

It is easy to stay inside our comfort zones and blame external forces for the way our life has turned out. Those external forces don’t care. The government doesn’t care you choose to sit on the sofa every night eating fast food and killing yourself. In fact, the government is probably very happy you are doing it. It means less money to pay for your retirement. No matter where you are today, you have the power to change the direction your life is going in. All it takes is one decision to move away from what is holding you back and start taking action towards a life you deserve and a life you can build for yourself. It really is your choice.

Every day, thousands of people, just like you and I, make decisions to move outside their comfort zones and make improvements to their lives. Sometimes they succeed, sometimes they fail. That’s just the way life is. But this move away from their comfort zones makes them a little stronger, a little more determined to get better and slowly their lives improve. They become more positive, less accepting of life as it is and continue making improvements. The great thing about deciding to walk out of your comfort zone is it shows you that anything is possible and you gain momentum to becoming a better, stronger, happier you.

Your comfort zone is a dangerous place. It prevents you from improving, it stops you from achieving all the things you are capable of achieving and it makes you miserable. So, make a decision today to change something in your life that you are unhappy with and start experiencing positive changes.

Thank you for reading my stories! 😊 If you enjoyed this article, hit those clapping hands below many times👏 It would mean a lot to me and it helps other people see the story.

My purpose is to encourage you to live the life you desire. To help you find happiness and become better organised and more productive so you can do more of the important things in life. If you want to learn more about how I can help you, have a look at the various online courses I have. There might be something there that could change your life!

If you would like to learn more about the work I do, and how I can help you to become better organised and more productive, you can visit my website or you can say hello on Twitter, YouTube or Facebook and subscribe to my weekly newsletter right here.