TIP #90: Consider having less and better things.

We grow up wanting things, more things, more things. At least I grow up wanting more. I could not wait to get this or that. Even this days many times I am guilty of this but I have improve significantly. (I think at least)
I am not a minimalist, I had said that I want Enough. I would had for example multiple pens years ago, now I have one.
It’s hard to fight against the consumerism, and decided when you should update or replace stuff. It is a hard to walk line, and I am the first one to miss the line more than what I should, but I try, hard everyday.
Instead of go to the super store and buy 20 t-shirts, go to a good store and buy 4. Instead of get a box of pens get 1 good pen.
When we stop looking into the quantity and begin focus on quality and utility our relation with the stuff change.
We don’t need to continue getting stuff to show up. To prove that we can. To fill an emptiness that consumerism make you feel.
Try to go a month without buying anything other than food and medicine. Try to think really well before you buy something. Don’t buy because it is cool or cute or nice.
i.e. I wrote somedays ago about the Daily Bag. I said that most people should replace their bag. I also show the bag I hope to buy someday and said that my bag was 10 years old at least. Could I replaced it, the answer is yes. I have not done it because the one I have is working great. Someday will be enough, and will be replaced.
i.e.2. My car is the same, is fully paid, more than 120,000 miles, but everything worked. There is no reason yet to change it. For that I need it, it’s perfect. In case of any doubt, yes, I believe that they are cooler cars in the market as well as nicer ones… I just try hard on not to buy on those reasons.

TIP #89: Got Journaling

Do you journal? No. Why not?
Journal is one of those things that a lot of people don’t do, and most of the people we admire do. We admire people but we don’t copy the good and amazing things they do.
I journal. constantly. It is almost a need. I had solve problems, found answer, caught my own fears and lies, and learn so much from my own self.
Journal is hard. Journal feels weird. Journal is uncomfortable. It is. The issue is not if it is or not all those things. The reality is that the people that journal are more successful, better people, and eventually stop feeling weird and uncomfortable about doing it. (For me continue most days being something hard to do)
i.e. I use an application called Day One on the iPad and iPhone. Honestly it is an incredible application.

TIP #88: The iPhone Flashlight

If you have never use your iPhone (I think any smartphone actually) as a flashlight, please stop reading and search “Flashlight” on the Apple Store (or your appropriate store) and download a flashlight Application.
If you have, share the tip, with that people that had never consider using their phone as a flashlight. You will be amaze how many are around you.

TIP #87: The Daily review. Get your perspective some perspective.

It’s not a secret that I do a daily review of my system. I check the actions, cross stuff I had finish. Notice if there is things coming my way and what to do about them.
The goal if this short revision is to provide me perspective, and be ready for the day ahead. The first thing I do is get perspective. I write down what had my attention. I read my 12 to 18 months goals. Then I go to my Contexts.
Those two previous steps, change everything. Not only that, when the flow of stuff hit me soon after that (email anyone?) I am clear on what are the priorities and how to react to the new inputs. (and I hope more often than not appropriately)
i.e. I had say many times, if you don’t know where you are going, any road will do. Read your goals, otherwise any action will be potentially as good or as bad for those. Stop hoping and begin moving with solid steps.

TIP #86: Using shortcuts for repeated text.

In iOS under the preference panel and under the keyboard settings there is one of those cool tricks. The shortcut list. You can teach your iOS to change “omw” to “On my way!” or “xap @ so it populate my email address.
There is another software even more powerful called TextExpander, that work on the iOS as well as the Mac. In my opinion this are little things that not many people know and are aware but can save you typing minutes, specially for those things we repeat a lot.
i.e. I have create a shortcut for each book that I have written, with the name and the url to amazon. If I type for example: “25tfp” automatically get’s transformed into: “25 Tips for Productivity” and “w25tfp” create “http://bit.ly/25t4p

What happen when the Hero: fail

We are all heroes, many people simply don’t know they are. People that try to be more productive, that clean their inbox, track commitments and do stuff are heroes.
What happen when the Hero: fail.
Think for a moment when your favorite hero simply failed. Superman didn’t stop. Batman returned. Harry Potter came to finish the job.
You only failed when you quit, when you decide not to come back, when you stop fighting. You may have setbacks, many of them, more than the amount that see humanly possible to have, but only failed when you quit.
One of my favorite quotes from Earl Nightingale said:

“Success is simply a matter of luck, ask any failure”

So before you decided that it is time to quit, that there is no sense in continue on the battle, that simply it is too much, stop for a moment and think how your favorite hero would have done. After you get that clear image, remember that you are also a hero for someone, and act accordingly.

TIP #85: Your Daily Bag

Have you ever notice how many people have a crappy bag for their daily use? In many cases a bag they don’t enjoy. A bag they dislike. I know it is incredible for me too, but it is the rule.
Think about your needs, what you carry with you. What you need to carry. What you will want to carry. Close your eyes, imagine color, texture, smell, size. Make the image in your head with as much detail as you can possibly can.
If you open your eyes, close them again, and load that dream bag with all the stuff you carry with you.
Now, see your daily bag. I guess you can imagine the next step. It is time to search for that bag in your dreams.
i.e. Vintage Brown Leather… The closest I have got to my dream is this bag. MacCase Flight Jacket 13″. (http://www.mac-case.com/Leather%20Site/MacCasePLJackets.html)
It is an expensive one, and I have not bought it yet, I continue using the closets thing to that, my old and trusty Swiss Army Architecture 1.0 bag that had with me since early 2000’s; but someday I will upgrade to that image… (The only thing my current bag doesn’t have is that Vintage Brown Leather…)

TIP #84: Automate Backups.

This is also one of this things that I have mention a lot. Regardless people don’t listen. I have wrote about it, even dedicate a whole chapter to it in my book 25 Tips for Productivity.
The problem with backups is that you never had really that time to do it manually. You will always do it tomorrow. The problem is that tomorrow never comes. Suddenly everything is lost.
If you use an iOS device, backup to iCloud. If you are a Mac user, buy a time Machine. If you are a PC user, there are countless options on software. Look for one online, doesn’t matter. You need to have a solution for backups.
On Stephen Hackett’s book “Bartending: Memoirs of an Apple Genius” there is a story of a mother that lost all the pictures of her children that had died on a car accident a few years before. The story had a happy finish (after a really expensive process to save those pictures) but a simply backup would had save so much suffering to that person.
If you don’t know how, please contact someone. Pay someone. Ask for help. So something, but don’t loose information for lack of backup.

TIP #83: Scanning with the iPad (and the iPhone)

Need to scan a document? Have an iPad (iPhone, Smartphone?)
The cameras of our tablets and smartphones this days are so powerful that the biggest problem you will have is going to be the shacking that your hand is producing.
I remember those days that Scan a document in order to fax it to the approbate person was something so complicated and expensive. I remember when I got that really cool and super portable NeatScan that fit in by bag and could scan one page at the time.
I have an application called ScannerPro that will take the picture and allow me to fax or email directly from there.
Try it, look for an scanner application and test it. You will love it.
i.e. If you are an user of Evernote, you can send it to Evernote and it will apply OCR to the file. Easier to even retrieve the file in the future.

TIP #82: Keep it Simple… or not

I think life is complex enough for us to go around making things more complicated than they need to be. I believe that if you focus on keep things simple you will have more time to do other things and enjoy life.
The problem is that simplicity is something relative. What for me is simple, for you may be over simplistic. What for me may be simple, for you may be complex.
Think about process, actions, and things you do that are complex for you… Spend time thinking how you can make them simple; for you.
You don’t need to do anything, that’s the reality. You don’t even need to try to make anything simple. Until one morning you do. That day, remember to keep it simple.