Posts about interesting observations and interests.

The Truth Zone: How Slightly Adjusting Can Bring Big Results

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What do Joel Osteen, a Fitness App, Jim Collins, Toggla Parenting Class, and How To Measure Anything all have in common? They all focus on measuring and disseminating truth for change.

Truth sets us free. Truth guides us. Truth helps us understand what is and what could be.

I’m excited for you to begin making some slight adjustments in your life that will lead to huge results. I call it “The Truth Zone.”

The Truth Zone happens when speak out truth, regardless of the context. A problem we face today is a denial of the truth. Let’s look at two examples of The Truth Zone helping:

  • The Truth Zone in Health: It just hit me one day. I was gaining weight. It wasn’t going well. I decided to start entering food intake and exercise into this app. Each day, The Truth Zone has challenged me to eat healthier, exercise and take in more water. I’ve lost 8lbs since I started two weeks ago.
  • The Truth Zone in Time Management: My ego loves bragging about how much time I spend working. The truth is, I often waste time or get distracted. Using this app helps me track what I’m actually doing with my time each week. The Truth Zone about my time helps me set more realistic goals and stay on pace with what I need to be doing.

You can enter The Truth Zone in any situation. “What you measure gets managed” (we’re not sure Who Said It).  You have to be willing to start somewhere, track it, and take risks for improvement. Even 1% improvements yield huge results!

Stop denying the truth in your life. Choose something. Enter The Truth Zone. Stay there until it changes.

How will The Truth Zone help you?


4 Secrets and 8 Links to Losing It

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I’m nowhere near the healthiest person I know, but I have been thinking that a few small changes in my sleep, diet, exercise, and time management could do a lot for me, my family, my work and my legacy. Since I started counting a few weeks ago, I’ve lost 5lbs. At 30, I still have double my age and then some before retirement. I’d like to think I could keep going after that. Here are a few things I want to do to make sure I’ll be around then

  • Sleep More: This is no surprise, but sleeping more helps your body, mind and spirit take leaps and bounds in health and productivity. ReWork, a book written by big shots in Silicon Valley, actually has an entire chapter dedicated to sleeping. Rest was built into our lives from the beginning and we do better when we work from rest rather than rest from work.
  • Eat Less (aka Eat Less Sugar): FedUp tells us that Sugar is toxic. So, it’s simple. Just eat less sugar. But, it doesn’t always work out that way. The choice is yours. Additionally, the Leadership Freak blog shares a secret to staying healthy: don’t eat emotionally.
  • Eat More (aka Drink More Coffee): Studies show coffee helps, among other things, in circulation, pain, memory and muscle. Additionally, eating more greens are definitely the way to go. Counting calories, while not actually helpful, motivates me in one way: I say no to emotional eating and yes to healthier choices.
  • Watch Your Time: James Clear has written a brilliant article on improving by 1%. You could do this. Get Toggl and track your time for a week. You’ll be surprised and have some instant ways to move forward.

It’s not about weight. It’s about health. It’s about making steps towards the fulfillment of destiny. You can do this. Today.

Organize or Die (or How CloudHQ Saved my Life)

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I love options. And I hate options. I have too many options for note taking and it’s driving me crazy. This has got to stop, and when I hit “publish,” it’s going to stop. In order to do that, I’m going to list apps I use for note taking, their benefits, and I will come to a final decision.

First, it starts with why? (Thanks, Simon Sinek). Here are 10 reasons for wanting a note-organizer

  1. Preparing for meetings (agendas, notes, including drawings)
  2. Writing speeches and sermons (content, organization)
  3. Journaling (prayers, thoughts)
  4. Clipping websites that have valuable information (the kitchen sink)
  5. Sharing information with others
  6. Direct Report and Discipleship reviews (day to day updates, metrics)
  7. Summarizing Books (I read about a book a week)
  8. Reviewing Past Meetings (outcomes, follow ups)
  9. Personal endeavors (how to’s, hobbies)
  10. Testimonies (God stories)

To boil it down, I need a note-taker (or system) that can

  1. clip content from various sources (content),
  2. search and share easily (community), and
  3. deliver on actionable work (commitment)

Thus, we have the main contenders at today’s event:

  1. Evernote – An industry leader.
    I’ve used Evernote a lot (2,139 times as of writing) since February 2009 just after I got my first iPhone. We have a long relationship. We’ve even tried crazy things like taking pictures of business cards and having them entered in my contacts list. I like this app. Here are my top three positives and negatives

    1. Web Clipper (positive): Take the cake on getting content into Evernote
    2. Sharing (positive): I can get a public or private sharing link, or create a presentation (paid version)
    3. Paid Version (negative): I don’t like paying $50/yr unless the features are extremely worth it. Of course, there’s a free version, and I can make do with out it.
  2. Notes (Apple’s Native) – a thief, and a good one
    Apple’s notes app has done a spot on job of copying the best features of other apps and integrating them directly into an app that’s deeply embedded in everything I do (Mac, iPad, iPhone, iCloud, anything “i”). I’ve used it 453 times. Top three:

    1. Drawing (positive): it’s just right in there. Have an idea? Draw a picture! Works great in 1 on 1 meetings.
    2. Text Markup and Sharing (negative): I love that Apple added this feature in iOS 9, but I’m dissatisfied with how it doesn’t show up as an option sometimes. There might be a workaround, but why are you asking me to do it?
    3. Reminders (negative dressed in positive): Because it’s got great integration, I can have Siri remind me about this note or that note at just the right time. It’s an amazing feature, except that I don’t use Reminders, I use Todoist (considering switching to Asana).
  3. Google Drive – unassuming, except when you need it.
    I use Google Drive for almost everything in my startup (coffee shop, church plant, training center). Everyone on staff (paid and volunteer) has a Google Account and gets access to certain files, folders, and various documents. Everything is interlinked and plays well together (docs, sheets, presentations). I’ve used it 5GB worth in Drive alone. Top three:

    1. Web clipping (negative): They’re coming out with some options, but we’re still not there yet.
    2. Search (positive): Google has, hands down, the best search. Drive just rocks search.
    3. Integration (positive): There are tons of apps and integrations outside of Apple’s Sandbox that use Google extremely well, and they’ve still got us Apple Fanboys covered in certain ways. I can append files to tasks in Todoist, put them in emails to people, and get tons of feedback from hundreds of people on various tasks and projects through Google Drive.

Well, there they are: my thoughts on note-taking apps. It seems nothing does everything I want it do well. As a result, I’m going to try to kill Evernote and Notes.

But WAIT! I found this amazing little gem that allows you to sync between cloud servers and save Evernote notes as searchable PDFs in a Google Drive folder. Huge shout out to cloudHQ (you can also share Gmail Labels (video Explanation) between users with a new feature).  This means I get to keep web-clipping from Evernote. To follow up, I will:

  1. Migrate notes from Evernote and Notes into Drive (perhaps, just keeping them all in one main folder on Drive called “Old Notes.”
  2. Stubbornly save everything into Drive (but I can still clip from the web and get it saved as a PDF).
  3. Come up with a workflow process that integrates content, community and commitment. Perhaps, it could look something like this:
    1. Content: Websites, Drawings, and Other Content is linked in Drive. This can be a place of growth for me personally. Rather than just clipping information as I did in Evernote, I have to spend an extra 30 seconds to make something 1) for sharing, or 2) actionable of it.
    2. Community: Make sure to invite people into specific documents that they would be able to comment on.
    3. Commitment: Filter actionable items into my todo list via a link and make sure it’s got a deadline.

I hope you enjoyed this and perhaps even got something out of it. What would you chose? What have you chosen? Is there a perfect app I’m missing?

6 Reasons To Never Upgrade to the 6 (or 6+)

Better than Bigger

I’m usually one to get the newest piece of technology as soon as I can.  But I’ve been doing some investigating, and I really think you should reconsider. Here are some of the reasons why you don’t actually want an iPhone 6.

  1. Stand up.  iPhone 5 (and 5S, and 4S, and 4) can stand up on it’s own.  Did you also know that iPhone 5 can dance when you get a phone call?  Jony really screwed this one up.  He made the 6 so thin it’s just going to topple over when I try to stand it up.  No, thank you!
  2. Optical Image Stabilization.  iPhone 5 designers specifically chose to leave out the optical image stabilization, but now they’ve put it in the 6.  You know that means?  It’ll be even harder to get blurry pictures with the shake effect I love to put on when I’m at parties going wild.  I’m not a fan!
  3. Apple Pay.  I’m trying to make it harder for people to pay for stuff.  Tim Cook doesn’t even want me to have to wake my phone up.  This seems like the opposite of security.
  4. Precise Thinness.  iPhone 5S was precision measured to be exactly .3mm thick when it was designed.  I often find myself needing to measure distances of just that amount.  An iPhone 6 is going to throw off all of my toy train construction.  I can’t let that happen.
  5. Perfect Headphones Jack. iPhone 5’s headphones jack plugs is flush, so that when you plug in headphones you don’t see any nasty gaps.  iPhone 6 is tapered so you’re going to see the silver part of your headphones.  What a disgusting travesty.
  6. Boxy Style.  iPhone 5 was unique in it’s boxy style.  I’m not sure how Apple’s going to do in court against every other manufacturer that has already come out with a similar design, but haven’t we just spent the last 7 years making fun of other phone manufacturers?  Why are we all of the sudden happy to be just like them. My 5 will live in infamy.

Thanks for reading 6 reasons why I detest the 6.  There’s a small chance I will be forced to upgrade by my evil Telecomm Carrier, so if you see me shamefully holding a 6 or 6+ on the street someday, please have pity.

Project Management Apps (RIP,

——– UPDATE ———

I’m not sure if it’s just because I need the sexiness of a new app every once in a while or if I really am getting busier, but I’ve spent some time reviewing the task management scene and there are some hot new updates I need to throw up here.

I’ve been using Apple’s Reminders a lot recently.  It’s ubiquitous on all my Apple products (MBA, iMac, iPad, iPhone) and keeps track of things in general.  I like the “Today” view as a way of seeing how much I have left before I lay my head down. I also like that Siri can add tasks for me (why isn’t there an API for 3rd parties yet?).  Furthermore, I appreciate that I can share a list with a coworker so that we know how much is left on a project.  However, my iPhone has some kind of a “Today curse” on it, because even after resets and updates, I can’t get it to show me whats on my list for today.  I know this is a major FWP, but it’s stinking annoying.  The other thing that bothers me is how it doesn’t do a good job of handling collaboration or showing advanced views of what I have coming up.  Furthermore, as my list gets increasingly long, it gets more and more difficult to manage things clearly.  I’d like an app where I can dump things into it from any platform, attach coworkers, files and links, and even possibly be able to track and do reviews.

So, I’ve come up with two options: Asana or Todoist (and added a 3rd).

  • Asana is first because it starts with “A.”  They’ve recently redone their iPhone app there are several things that are growing on me.
    • price: free up to 15 users
      • Starting @ $50/m if you need secret projects
    • basic premise: Teams!
    • extra goodies
      • awesome keyboard shortcuts
      • good training videos
      • 3rd party resources
      • email integration
      • customizable views to help you focus
      • other app integrations, like CloudMagic
  • Todoist
    • price: $3/user/month
    • basic premise: Simplicity!
    • extra goodies
      • good keyboard shortcuts
      • excellent help and tutorial section
      • native apps for everything (13 different platforms)
      • simple views that help you focus on exactly what you need to be focusing on
      • custom labels, filters
  • Slack
    • price: free unless you need some advanced features, then $7/user/month
    • basic premise: Transparency of Social Media, efficiency of Email
    • extra goodies
      • integrations tons of different apps
      • fully searchable history (advanced)
      • usage statistics (advanced)

Which one would you chose?

——– ORIGINAL ———

In a couple of weeks I will have yet again trade out my project management app.  I had really started to get into a rhythm with as it offered simplicity with connectivity and a couple of bonus features I came to appreciate.  On the quest for a replacement, I’m reviewing a few and since I was asked by a couple of friends for advice, I figured I would post it for everyone to get some insight together.

My task list has to have a couple of important features in order to make it:

  1. multiple users, so I can share tasks with other teammates (the more the merrier, but I need at least 3)
  2. multiple platforms, or at least a website that’s navigable from a 4in iPhone screen.
  3. less than $30/m, I can’t imagine spending much more than the $0 I was paying for

Programs I reviewed

  1. Action Method (discontinued as of 6/2014), love their methodology written in “Making Ideas Happen,” but the app is one of the pricier options, unless you can get a non-profit discount.
  2. Asana, 15 free users (starting at $50/m after that or for advanced features), and lots of great features like tons of transparency between users, multiple ways to distribute workflows, and a huge library of training videos.
  3. Insightly, integrates with Google Apps, offers CRM, which is super-useful for small businesses that need project management and deal with tons of customers (3 users = free, after that it’s $29+/m)
  4. Videgree, written in my new hometown, Taiwan, and includes a lot of fun features like CRM functions, importing from several different sources.
  5. 5pm, works in scheduling, too.
  6. 2Do, getting more and more beautiful.
  7. Gantt Pro, heavy focus on Gantt Charts, more strictly project management.
  8. Rocket Project, fun independent group that wants to help!

Currently, I’m getting into Videgree, because it ties in with our POS (cash register) system, but I appreciate especially Action Method’s ideals, Asana’s communal aspects, and Insightly’s integration with core products, like Google Apps.  What about you?  What do you use for Project Management, To-Do lists, and/or CRM?