Did you know that trust fuels productivity and exposes gaps in leadership?

It may seem counter-intuitive but when you decide to believe the best, instead of assuming the worst, you will discover that it is the most powerful attitude you can have as a leader towards your people.

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How I Integrate My Life into Evernote, and Evernote into Mine

As a writer and a speaker I find myself in constant need of ideas and inspirations which usually does not come easily. They come in just when I was busy doing something else and was not even planning to write. Yet, just when I decided to sit down and write I find myself struggling to even write one word. I am sure that there are a lot of people out there struggling with the same symptoms I am experiencing. Then came Evernote.

Evernote Logo

Now whenever I felt a sudden jolt of inspiration, I immediately fired up Evernote on my iPhone or my iPad depending on what was most convenient at the time. This, coincidentally rings a bell with Evernote’s motto, which is “Remember Everything”. I know that my memory often lapsed and Evernote helped me tremendously in remembering everything.

I first started using Evernote as a note-taking tool in classes and in lectures as a student. I also use it to write down the points that I need to remember while reading my textbooks. Thus, that way, when I go over my study notes for my exam, I can find most of my notes from Evernote rather than rummaging my pile of textbooks frantically searching for the God-knows where part of the textbook. With Evernote it all became searchable and most importantly, it’s almost blinding fast.

As Evernote became even more mainstream in my life, I began to discover more and more use for Evernote. For example, whenever I attend seminars or when I give out seminars, I recorded the speakers in order to be able to re-listen to the content. I recorded some of my own seminars / talks in order to do a self-review. Or, in some cases, I could post it somewhere online so that it may become useful materials for someone else. While doing all that, I could also, take pictures, for example, of handwritten notes that the speaker wrote on a whiteboard. From the start, Evernote has always had the unique capability of accurately searching for words even in handwritten notes. I have attached a screenshot of Evernote’s search result from a seminar about communication that I attended in the past. Neat, isn’t it? Evernote also came preloaded with OCR technology, meaning that if you have a scanned image or PDF files, it can easily search through words within those files.

Searching for handwritten notes in Evernote Desktop

Searching for handwritten notes in Evernote Desktop

Notice how I typed “skillful communication” in the search bar and this is one of the search results.
I now use Evernote for literally everything, from notetaking, creating todo-lists, going paperless (I scan almost all my important paper documents into Evernote), travel notes, productivity tool and source of ideas and inspiration. It was about a year ago that I finally decided that with my ever-expanding use and need for Evernote I needed something with even more power and that is where Evernote Premium comes into play. With only less than about USD$4 per month I get the capability of attaching, and searching within Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, Powerpoint presentations, and PDF files. I also get a massive upload limit of 1 GB per month and many more Premium-only features.

I can sync my Evernote notebooks and notes across all my devices, such as iPad, iPhone and my Mac.  The extra benefits offered only by signing up with Evernote Premium is the capability to store some important notes where I need immediate access, offline. This is useful, for example, when I am overseas and might not have access to Internet. For me, paying for Evernote’s Premium account, became a no-brainer decision and so far, Evernote have not disappointed me at all. I am grateful that the Evernote team continues to dish-out improvements and new features to improve and make an already amazing piece of productivity tool even better.Don’t take my word for it though, you have to try it yourself to believe it. You will not be disappointed.

Screenshot of my Evernote Desktop

Screenshot of my Evernote Desktop

I highly recommend my blog readers to use Evernote to improve your productivity and get your life super-organised. In fact, if you sign up via the link below to give the free Evernote Basic a try, you and I will earn a free one month access to Evernote Premium.

Sign up for a free Evernote  account

Discussion Question: Do you use Evernote? How has Evernote helped you in your business or personal life? Please leave them in the comments below.

Hi Hackers, Thank You For Helping Me Improve My Website.

I believe that an apology is in order for some of you. If you are some of the unlucky people who visited my blog between Thursday evening and Sunday midnight, then you might have been treated with a healthy dose of weird webpage along with some weird music playing in the background. If that is you, I apologize for confusing you. It must have been quite a horrible experience. I understand (Believe me, I do). If you missed out on it, well, good on you. I am sure you are curious though, WHAT happened?

Here’s the story. When I tried to logon to my website on Sunday morning, I saw that my website was defaced (meaning they changed the home page) by one, or some folks who claimed  to be Iranian hackers. Needless to say, I got panicked for a bit and the only thing I could think of was to email BlueHost. They are my hosting provider. I asked them for assistance to undo the damage by the hackers. I was unable to do anything or think of what to do other than wait for their reply. I had a lot of important appointments that day and I had no choice but to focus on them while waiting for the email. By late evening, the email came (hooray!). It was not exactly what I had expected because it did not have precise instruction. After re-reading the email a few times, I realized that since they do not know how I build my website they couldn’t have provided too much assistance for me. I was a bit disappointed but I got the message. I need to learn to defend myself as they have suggested. This incident also gave me a a slap-in-the-face reminder to actually improve the website cosmetics.

That night I spent the next few hours learning about what might have happened to my website. I went through a few sections of the website and eventually managed to pinpoint where the hackers have attacked and cleaned it subsequently. Along the way, I also learned a few potential security holes or leaks and learned how to plug those holes. After a few hours, I have managed to do a simple cleaning of my website as well as putting in a few important enhancements to hopefully prevent it from happening again, ever. You will notice that the layout of my website has undergone some changes.

I am still working on improving the website all around. Therefore, for my blog readers, I would really appreciate your help with your inputs on the new layout through the comments section below. Feel free to navigate around and test the new layout. If you are having any difficulty at all, especially with the comments section, please kindly contact me using the form below.

Waze – Featuring the Productivity App

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In my welcome post a few weeks ago, I wrote about posting useful contents for my blog readers. As a productivity enthusiast, I spend a lot of time scanning the Apple App Store for useful apps that can help improve my productivity and allow me to maximize the effectiveness of my life. Each month, I will regularly post about at least one app or productivity tools that I found useful and helps with my own productivity or makes my life a lot easier. For this month’s featured app, I present Waze

Waze Splash Screen

Waze Splash Screen

Waze is a community based traffic and navigation app providing turn-by-turn guidance. It featured real-time traffic updates as well as few other useful tools commonly not provided by most GPS devices or apps. Waze’s strength comes from its nature as a crowd-sourcing app which meant that it gathers nearly all of its information from users making live reports. Waze also boasts a very strong database of addresses and locations, relying on both Google and Foursquare to provide additional landmarks and addresses. This provides a very welcome extension to its already broad range of addresses. Having Foursquare embedded into it makes it even more appealing as you do not need to know the full address of a place to be able to reach its location.

Waze also provides a unique ability to share your location with friends. This feature is useful, for example, to share pick-up location, or a meeting-point. When you link your Waze account to your social network accounts such as Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare, you will get the extra benefits that sets Waze apart from other GPS applications. They range from the ability to notify your friends of your current location while driving, or that you are currently looking for parking. You can even share your driving paths to get from point A to point B.

Finally, being almost entirely user-driven, Waze allows users to post reports, such as traffic jams, police sightings, accident, road hazard, safety and / or speed cameras, and road closure.  It is, in my opinion, these abilities that made Waze so powerful compared to other maps app which do not give its users such freedom.

Waze Report Options

Waze Report Options

Since I first downloaded the app last year, I have been using it extensively. If you are like me, then you probably are not very good with your directions and often got lost trying to get to a new place. You probably also still drove the longest path to get to places you are familiar with, only because it is the easiest route to remember. I often look with envy at people who just seems to know their way around really well. Furthermore, they are always quick on finding alternative routes if one route is blocked or there is traffic jam ahead. With Waze, that is no longer an impossible task for me.

Waze also adapts to my driving routes, if for example I continued to disregard its driving directions. After a few drives, it eventually learns to provide directions according to my usual paths.

I often have problems remembering the street names of places I have been to. I knew how to get into a location if I started from a familiar place or if i am in the right neighborhood. However, put me in an obscure unknown location and you will find me driving around without directions. Waze, with its Foursquare database search capability, helped me tremendously in immediately getting to that location. I no longer need to worry about spending precious time looking for a destination.

User reports have helped to redirect my driving path to avoid accidents and major traffic jams by using slightly longer, but less condensed routes. Even in developed country like Indonesia, Waze continues to shine and I am still able to navigate my way around with it.

The one thing I haven’t mentioned at all is that Waze provides all of these amazing features at absolutely no cost. It is a free app, and is available across major platforms like iOS, and Android. There is no subscription fee and maps continue to be updated in real-time thanks to more users joining the growing number of fans. I have provided the links to download the app below. Go ahead and give it a try, as you can never go wrong with a free app. For tutorials on how to use it, the in-app tutorial video should get you started in minutes.

Waze

Have you used the Waze app? How have you used it and what do you like / dislike about it? Do you use similar apps? Let me know in the comments.