1. To-do list, prioritized with three levels
2. Calendar, broken down by hours and month view (required a double entry)
3. Notes, what happened in meetings indexed back on one page by day
4. Contact list
Summary of my solutions:
2. Remember the Milk
3. Google Apps
4. Google Drive, Dropbox, or Yousendit
7. Calorie Counter
8. Google Cloud Connect for MS Office
Notes were the core strength that held me to paper up to a year ago. I saw the “next generation” master the art of thumb typing, but I always prefered writing when note taking. Laptops were too big and slow to take to most meetings.
After purchasing an Ipad last year, I have fulfilled my quest to rebuild my franklin planner in a digital and cloud based way. I am so thankful I never lost my planner. I had left it behind a couple of times and always ran back to grab it. Now with the ability to keep data on a device and backed up to a server in the “cloud” I never have to worry about a crash, lost device, or what computer I’m working on again!
Even better all the applications I’m recommending work locally on the device without a network connection and they sync when the network is available. All the applications are available for what I call the “Holy Trinity” of Ipad, Android, and Windows computer. I’m running an Ipad 2, HTC EVO 3D phone, and Windows XP on my home desktop and netbook.
Since notes were the most important paper based item, I’ll start with Evernote. I pay the $40 per year for professional level service, which is the cost of my old paper based planner refill. Evernote allows you take notes on any device and then read or edit later. You can create notebooks to organize meeting notes, content, marketing, personal. You can “tag” notes with keywords that allow for indexing and searching later across notebooks. Tagging is a higher level of organization that probably make old Ben Franklin jump for joy. You may also install a plug in for your web browser that allows you to clip links to websites, selections of text, or the whole page off a site and store it in Evernote. It makes for an amazing research tool!
For the to-do list, Remember the Milk can do everything my paper can and more. You can add tasks at any time and then add a due date, priority, add it to a list, allow it to repeat, and estimate how much time it will take. Then you can go back and sort your to-do list based by day, week, tag or, or list. They just added “location” based tagging so you can also search by location. There is a free level or service or $20 per year for the professional level. That is what I used to spend on the storage binder and box to archive my old paper planner.
The old name and address book seems so outdated. Now a simple google account can do some much more for you. All your contacts from one google email account will sync across all the platforms. If you have a web domain, I highly recommend Google Apps. For $60 per year you will have your email, calendar, documents, pictures, and storage drive (5gb) all in one place. There are additional features like “Cloud Connect” that sync all documents between Microsoft Office and Google Docs. I write a Word documents, click save, and it is automatically sent to the cloud and is available on my mobile devices. No more dragging and dropping into a shared folder like Dropbox or YouSendIt. Google Drive will replace Dropbox eventually once they finish the ipad support. In the meantime you can purchase “DocsToGo” for $16 on Ipad and $5 on Android to view and edit all your google docs on the go.
The other benefit of the Franklin Planner was purchasing other planner pages for additional functionality. Here are a few bonus apps I use a lot.
YouSendIt and Dropbox for offer 2gb of free storage and have great apps to make the data available on any of my three devices. I have these installed to make it easy to collaborate with others who have a preference of one over the other. Both are highly recommended, but I will be using Google Drive in the future to keep all my data in one basket.
Ben Franklin was a voracious reader. He organized the first paid subscription library in the United States. Now with an Amazon Kindle Account, I have access to my books on any device. The last page read syncs over the cloud, so I never have to remember what page I’m on. That makes for good reading in those periods of normally wasted time like waiting in line at the bank or the doctor’s office. The Miami Dade Library now allows patrons to check out Kindle books via Overdrive. You can request a book, download it, and then it is active to be read for 3 weeks.
Two years ago I lost over 60 pounds using “Calorie Counter” by Fatsecret. This app works across all the platforms including Blackberry and is a great way to track what you are eating, how much exercise you get and how much you weigh. The data has a create calendar view so can see how many calories you are plus or negative over a week or a month. Averaging out the data also helps a lot. Now that I’m no longer tracking my food intake, I still use the weigh in feature to graph my weight. The scale is like watching a stock price up and down on a daily basis. Our weight can vary by 4 pounds based on the food we eat and water intake. Watching the scale daily will drive you nuts and you only remember the good, not the bad. By graphing my weigh over time I can see the average and easily track if I’m trending up or down? I gained back 20 pounds when I stopped tracking my weight over time because the trend is harder to see and very easy to ignore.
I just switched from constant contact to iContact for email marketing, can you guess why? Because they have apps for my mobile devices to write an email when I chose and check the tracking reports. I can also subscribe people at events directly instead of writing it down and typing it in later.
I also just installed a Western Digital 2 TB “My Book Live” network drive. I have moved my photo library off my hard drive and onto the network drive so I can access the information anywhere with a network connection. Western Digtial has apps for all devices so my music, video, and photos are all available on all my devices. Next time I won’t feel like I need to buy the $100 upgrade on the ipad for 32gb over 16gb, knowing that I have 2 tb in reserve and available to me.
I hope, if Ben Franklin was alive today, he would be impressed by the system I’ve created based on his time tested ideas of organization and efficiency.
You get your email and calendar as well. Last year I walked into pool to play with my kids and had my Blackberry on my waist. It was a good 15 minutes before I noticed. I purchased a new phone and was back up and running in 15 minutes.
If you need a technology makeover. I would be happy schedule a strategy session with you to discuss what you need to do and which apps and devices will help you the best.