Archive | November, 2010

iPhone’s Potential: Five Ways to get the Most out of Your Phone

Five ways to Unleash the iPhone’s Potential

iphone's potentialEver since the iPhone first came out, I have carried one with me wherever I go. More than just stylish or a status symbol, they are genuinely useful for getting things done. They can be used to play games or check reviews for a restaurant. I even keep all my friends and business numbers exclusively on my iPhone, allowing me to remove duplicate contacts on my computer. It’s great having one handy gadget to keep everything organized. But the iPhone can be a drain on time and productivity if you allow it. I’ve figured out 5 main ways that I get the most from the iPhone’s potential. I think they will prove useful to everyone else as well.

There’s An App For That: The App Store is one of the things that really sets the iPhone apart. There are hundreds of thousands of apps for everything I can possibly need. From connecting to client information on my work computer to finding the nearest Chinese restaurant, I can do it all if I have the right app for the job.

Keep Up To Date: Being able to connect through either the 3G network or wi-fi connection is a great feature of the iPhone. As long as I have reception, I can connect to the internet. This can be a lifesaver if I’m in a meeting or just need to know the current sports score. These days, I would feel lost if I couldn’t stay connected.

Connect Remotely: Speaking of staying connected, I can use my iPhone to connect remotely to the database of client information on my work computer. I use this all the time when I am meeting with a client or working from home. Telecommuting is a breeze when I can just pull the information into my iPhone.

Store Your Contacts In One Place: I keep nearly everything I need to know on my iPhone, from phone numbers to to-do lists. It’s great to have everything in the palm of my hand for easy access. However, the frequent uploading and downloading of information can occasionally cause multiple versions of information to stockpile on my computer. I often remove duplicate contacts from my computer to keep it streamlined and neat.

Tethering: The iPhone has a great feature which allows you to connect it wirelessly to you computer and use the iPhone just like a wireless modem to connect to the internet via the 3G phone network. Most people don’t know this feature is built in and it can be very handy when you are in an area with no wi-fi available.

Staying connected is one of the best things about the iPhone, you can always stay in contact with your friends and family. However, if I have to use my home phone, I have to search through several different numbers to find the one I want. This is why I used software to remove duplicate contacts from my Address Book and merge them all into one master list for easy reference. I recommend everyone remove duplicate contacts because it is so easy to do and saves so much time trying to find the right number.

Now that you are enjoying the iPhone’s potential for productivity, how about 7 Tips for Establishing  Positive Daily Routines!

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Five Step Guide to Taking Effective Notes

 Five Steps to Taking Effective Notes

Students and businesspeople feel that the drudgery of writing notes dwarfs the benefits of organization. I think this is a false assumption. There are five note-writing steps for drafting oral and written communications and for daily organization. Follow these guidelines and you will be taking effective notes and soon accept them as a welcome companion to your daily life.

  • Do I Use Paper or PC to Create Notes?: This is the first question that prospective note writers meet. If you have a computer, printer, and basic word processing software, your decision is simple: you will use both. I recommend using 8.5 by 11.5 inch paper, and setting your word processor with margins of .5 inches on all sides but the right. Set the right margin at 2 inches. Select a font, like Arial 12, that you can read easily on paper (note cards) or screen. This format allows you to create note cards measuring about 4 by 6 inches on a standard page. I cut printed pages into roughly 4 by 6 rectangles.
  • How to Organize Notes: Each card should begin with a subject header followed by several phrases on the card. Double space between the header and content phrases, and do not wrap any phrase to the next line. Assume you are organizing content on the Civil War. Have several of the cards mentioned above, begin each with the header Civil War, and avoid full sentences. One note phrase might read, “Booth shot Lincoln Ford’s Theater.” This captures the meaning without unnecessary sentence elements.
  • Do Not Attempt a Speech or Report Without Notes: Were you writing a report about the Civil War, you would conduct research and write daily notes. Writing notes and integrating them into your routine will make giving a speech or creating a 10-page report painless. I leave ample room on each card for bibliographic data, and when finished, I assemble the cards in topical or chronological order. I am then able to write a paper effortlessly and use these same report techniques in speeches. To stay focused, you need notes for oral presentations.
  • How Many Notecards Should I Use?: Aim for about 10 note cards with several phrases on each. I take about one minute to speak on phrases in each card, moving the cards to the bottom as I do. The goal is not to read verbatim, but to use terse phrases on each card to stay on point and keep eye contact with the audience. Most importantly, writing the notes each day will be my salvation in case of unexpected contingencies.
  • How PC/Paper Notes Help with Deadlines: Writing notes daily means that you have organized your oral and written presentations so they are ready for composition and delivery. Nevertheless, I use notes to keep daily tasks on target as well. I write headers that show either topical or time period categories-Complete Before Noon or Buy New Computer Equipment. I assemble key phrases under each header for each card. The benefit of using the hybrid PC/paper approach is that I have both an electronic and a paper copy and can edit on the PC. In a crunch, I print the notes and dispense with cutting them into cards.

Notes organize your content and help you stay on task, but ultimately you will be communicating your written or verbal ideas to others. Very often, this means sending documents or presentations to colleagues with whom you collaborate. Just as taking effective notes in a word processor makes your day more efficient, removing duplicate contacts from address books in applications such as Microsoft Outlook will increase productivity, and software is available to carry out the job. One such program is a cloud based app called Scrubly. Scrubly allows you to merge, delete, cleanup and download your address book quickly and easily.

Other relevant articles:

EnglishCompanion “Introduction to Note Making”
Lifehacker “Geek to Live”
MIT “Tips for Note Taking”

Productivity isn’t all about taking effective notes. Up next is “Five Ways to Unleash the Potential of Your iPhone”
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