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Evernote: Remember Everything, Write Better

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For as long as there has been writers and deadlines, the “idea notebook” has been a fixture of almost every writer at some point.

However, much as with everything else to do with writing, the idea notebook/scratchpad is moving online. A slew of services have come up to make it easy to quickly jot down and organize your thoughts, including bookmarking services such as Diigo and Del.icio.us, as well as more-targeted note-taking services such as Google Notebook.

However, with the announcement that Google was stopping development of its Notebook product, many began scrambling to find alternative to the service, including some fairly hack-like solutions, such as the ones Google recommended.

Fortunately, Evernote has been around for some time and appears to be a safe bet for anyone who needs help remembering the information they need. Best of all, for bloggers, who often get their ideas in a wide variety for formats, locations and sources, it may be the best tool available.

How it Works

For those unfamiliar with Evernote, the idea is pretty straightforward. You take the things that you need to remember, whether it is a street address, a link or even a task you have to do, and put them in the “Notebook” of your choosing. You can then view those notes later using either Evernote’s Web interface or one of their applications.

What makes Evernote so interesting is the sheer number of data types the system can accept and the ways that you can access the information. Evernote has versions of its software for Windows, Mac, iPhone, Windows Mobile and even U3 (for use on a flash drive). You also have the option of installing a bookmarklet in your browser (to aid in clipping Web pages) and you can also access your information and take notes via the Web.

Best of all, you don’t need to hammer out a text note every time you need to remember something. You can also take pictures of what you want to upload, such as a business card, and upload it that way. Evernote will search the image for any text that it can read and make it searchable for those words automatically.

The idea is that, any time you see something you know you’ll want to come back to later, there is an easy way to take that information and get it into Evernote, once it is there, you should have access to it anywhere you go, either via mobile phone, desktop application or the Web.

Evernote for Bloggers

So how can Evernote help bloggers? The answer is pretty simple. If you write for multiple sites or try to keep a regular schedule on even just one, it can often be hard to come up with ideas on demand. As such, its important to remember the ideas you get when they come in.

Evernote can do that very easily, without even making full use of the service, all one has to do is the following:

  1. Create a notebook for each site that you write for (personal blog, business blog, etc.)
  2. Install the bookmarklet for all of your browsers to capture interesting Web content. The bookmarklet automatically preserves the source URL, making it much more useful for Web content.
  3. As you find content you want to link to or report on, select the relevant text and/or images and clip them the applicable notebook.
  4. Use tags to indicate which topics within your site the article is for and, if you have a stories that require multiple clips, create a tag for each one.
  5. Once you write an article, delete the clips from Evernote to keep it clean. You can also drag and drop notes between different books if you decide the idea would work better on another site.

Though this works best with blogs that get most of their ideas from the Web, since you can upload almost any media type to the site, it can work well with camera phone snaps on the street, doodles on a whiteboard or almost anywhere else you come up with an idea on the fly. However, obviously, you will have to use the media capture device right for that input.

Also, this isn’t to say that Evernote should only be used to keep ideas for your blogs, but that it is capable of replacing your scratchpad at the same time it helps you keep other aspects of your life in order. For most, their “idea” notebooks will likely just be a small part of their Evernote collection.

Finally, it is also worth noting that, while Evernote is capable of bookmarking links, it isn’t meant to be a replacement for a true bookmarking service. Those who need to keep track of a lot of links, rather than just a few story ideas, would probably be better served by another site.

Conclusions

When I first set up my Evernote account, about six months ago, I was skeptical about how useful the service would be for me. For most of the time I’ve owned it, it has gone pretty much completely inactive.

However, I realized that my system of keeping ideas notes, namely using a small legal pad near my keyboard, was causing me too much grief. Not only was my handwriting almost illegible, but if I had to work from home or otherwise didn’t have it with me, I had only what information was left in my head.

Ever since I shifted to Evernote for remembering potential blog post ideas, I’ve found myself with more topics to pull from, better access to my notes and more time to create the content that I need. I spend less time re-researching my stories and more time pulling them together.

I think it is safe to say that Evernote has improved my blogging and is a tool that I’m rapidly finding new uses for. Though I usually don’t openly recommend tools or services, Evernote is one that has proved useful to me in so many ways, I almost wonder how I got along with out it.

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Beware Who You Trust for Advice

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Sometimes I ask questions on Quora.

I asked a question recently about shadow boxing while walking and if this practice burns calories.

Peep 2 answers.

 

I was a personal trainer and fitness nut for 20 years. I know shadow boxing does in fact burn calories and help you get more ripped because since doing it every single day during my walks, my arms are becoming as defined as ropes. True; shadow-boxing does not increase muscle mass. But the individual gave me a false, untrue answer because he fears what he looks like and cares about the opinions of others. He is not shadow boxing while walking or jogging because it is not effective; he fears people will look at him and believe he is a fruit loop, whatever that means.

Yikes.

Exhibit B.

 

This individual actually offers honest, truthful advice; shadow-boxing while walking burns more calories. If he ended it there, the advice would have been helpful. But he also fears criticism, aka, what people think about him, so his fears advise me not to do the extra calorie burning thing, because I would look like a Rocky wannabe jerk.

Yikes.

Two well-meaning guys who offer poor fitness advice because each guy deeply fears what people think about them. If I was not a fitness pro I’d have believed their inaccurate advice and would have cheated myself out of calorie burning. All because of the illusion of fear and its hold over most of humanity.

Blogging Advice

Before you trust blogging advice, check the source. Does the blogger:

  • radiate happiness?
  • radiate compassion?
  • exude success?
  • inspire you to succeed?
  • uplift bloggers?

If so, awesome. Trust the advice because you know the person offers advice from love, harmony and truth.

But if someone adds a fear-based element to the advice – like the fitness guys above who fear what people think about them and allowed their fears to become a projection on me – you know it’s bad advice because fear is not real, an illusion, and stepping into illusion moves you away from truth.

The Truth

If you burn more calories, you burn more fat and get ripped. This is truth. Shadow boxing while walking made me super ripped so the truth shines through. But if I stopped shadow-boxing while walking because I feared what people thought about me or what they’d say about me, I would step into the illusion of fear, away from truth, and would not be as ripped and cut as I am now.

Imagine if I listened to those 2 fear-fitness guys last month when I returned home? I’d look a lot more like Olive Oil and less like Bruce Lee.

Be careful about who you trust for blogging advice guys. Most people mean well – like the fitness dudes – but project their deep fears onto you and offer poor, or downright terrible, blogging advice. I have compassion for afraid bloggers but I won’t listen to their illusory advice.

One Such Example

Many top bloggers feel terror at losing email subscribers so offer advice based on the fear. Meanwhile, guys like me who have no such fear offer advice to help you bond deeply with your most rabid fans through email, exponentially increasing your success. Loss is impossible in a Universe of abundance.

Who do you think inspires you to live your dreams?

The blogger offering advice from the illusion of fear, pulling you away from truth, into smoke, mirrors, and appearances, not really there?

Or the blogger offering advice from truth and abundance.

Follow heart-centered bloggers.

Live your dreams.

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Blogging

Do You Establish Work at Home Boundaries?

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Some people love attention.

I know a few who do their best to grab my attention. Phone calls, emails, cryptic Facebook Messages.

I ignore everything and every one outside of what I do in the moment since I set up work at home boundaries. I close the door and go into my office. No way I stop working for anything or anyone who starves for my attention. The house could burn down and I would scoot out at the last minute because work time is work time and I do nothing else save work during work time.

If you do not respect your time, people will not respect your time. If you give people your time whenever they want your time, for:

  • favors
  • gossip
  • small talk
  • chats
  • general BS

people will gladly ask for favors, engage in gossip, engage in small talk, chat you up and BS for hours, because you chose not to establish work at home boundaries.

100% of the time, if people appear to be using you or eating up your precious time, it is your fault. People treat you how you choose to treat yourself.

How a Happy and Successful Blogger Sets Up Work at Home Boundaries

Easy; I close the door, walk into the office and get to work. I do not leave the office until I complete my work. My phone? I turn it off. I check email rarely. I only check Messenger 2-3 times daily for 5 minutes at a clip.

I set up definite, clear, work at home boundaries to respect my time. People reflect my time-respecting back to me. Easy peasy.

If someone tries to grab my attention through Messenger, or the land line, or through email, or at the door, I completely ignore attempts made to grab my attention and time. Boundaries folks; you need to be clear and firm on your work at home boundaries to ensure everybody else respects your boundaries.

You Are Walking into a Word Office

Would a friend, family member or casual neighbor barge into your 9-5 job office asking for a favor? Would said folks barge into your 9-5 job office to spread the latest gossip? Nope. Then why allow said folks to barge into your work at home office to do similar things? Nope. Put up boundaries. Door closes. Enter office. You are busy. You are working. Even my 3 year old niece understands when Uncle Ryan goes to work in the home office. Everybody else can easily grasp this concept.

What About Impatient or Desperate Online Folks?

I completely ignore impatient, fear-filled, desperate folks who demand I answer Messenger or email requests in 1 minute, 5 minutes, 10 minutes, or in 24 hours. I respect my time and completely ignore people who do not respect my time.

I built my blogging business almost completely on a passive income model so nothing I do online is time sensitive. I have answered most questions 1,000 to 10,000 times through my courses, eBooks, blog posts and videos. It is up to these awesome but unclear folks to find and use the answers I created, to improve their lives.

I am generous daily, publishing a blog post and/or video. Plus I published about 800 posts on Blogging Tips, and over 2,000 posts on Blogging From Paradise. It is on the impatient folks screaming for my attention to follow my blog posts, guest posts, videos, eBooks and courses because I answered their questions many times.

People treat you exactly how you teach them to treat you. I have posture so I set up work at home boundaries for offline and online folks.

Respect your time and work schedule and other folks will do the same.

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Who Do You Surround Yourself with in Your Blogger Network?

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Some bloggers cannot see the forest for the trees, like the beautiful, lush, thriving national park I visited in New Jersey recently.

The masses tend to be caught up in fear, pain and struggle because they cannot see the big picture.

Birds of a feather flock together.

You have heard that one, right?

I circle the globe and change time zones like most folks breathe. Would I be wise to surround myself with people who tremble at leaving their home town or home neighborhood? Nope. Such people would teach me the world makes for a scary, dangerous place. I would get advice like play it safe, be comfortable, get a job, buy a home and take it easy, from such folks. Such folks also live a bland life because if you rarely or never leave your comfort zone, you cannot:

  • grow
  • thrive
  • face your fears
  • serve humanity
  • be a bright light for people to follow
  • live your deepest, wildest dreams

Obviously, I chose to surround myself with bloggers who happily circled the globe as successful bloggers. I also surrounded myself with happy, successful, home body bloggers too; to learn the basics of building a rocking blog effectively. I learned how to succeed from my blogger friend network, sponging up their knowledge, inspiration and insight.

Meanwhile, if you surround yourself with new, struggling or failing bloggers you will get advice on how to struggle, fail, or flounder through your blogging day.

Do bloggers around you complain about losing $50 on blogging? Lose these zero’s immediately and surround yourself with bloggers who invest thousands of dollars on their blogs. High rollers teach you to succeed. Broke jokes teach you how to fail.

Do bloggers around you see making $25 as being a huge amount of money? You better lose the low-aiming crowd to surround yourself with bloggers who see $1000 and $10,000 and more as making coin.

Do bloggers around you circle the globe as swash buckling travelers? Check out this photo from my trip to Vietnam. Kong: Skull Island was filmed here.

Time to ditch the comfort zone crowd to hang with adventurous types.

Don’t get me wrong; I celebrate every cent I make online. But if you think I’m placing a sponsored post for less than $1000, you are insane. Like a famous super model who said she didn’t get out of bed for anything less than $10,000 a day, you need to develop a prosperity consciousness that demands big money and ignores appearance of poverty, lack, limitation and fear.

Who Do You Hang With?

Who do you count as blogging buddies? Happy, highly successful, prospering bloggers? You better, to increase your success.

For example, observe my blogging paperback on profiting. The aftermarket price is $45 USD. If most or all bloggers in your network would feel uncomfortable receiving $45 in royalties for a paperback, you better lose that network and surround yourself with bloggers who believe in abundance. I know John Chow feels comfortable receiving $45 for anything he offers online. Who cares? It is just money. It is only money.

Surround yourself only with bloggers who:

  • have posture
  • have authority
  • charge top dollar
  • profit freely
  • prosper freely
  • exude confidence
  • have a highly developed prosperity consciousness

You learn from the best, gain inspiration from the best and become the best by surrounding yourself with the best bloggers on earth.

But you need to be honest in who you choose to hang with in your blogging circles. Be clear. Be truthful with yourself. Maybe you feel comfortable trading comments with struggling bloggers you befriended 10 years ago but nothing spectacular happens for you if you surround yourself with struggling bloggers, being firmly fixed in your comfort zone.

Release all bloggers who are not happy and prospering.

Fill your blogger friend network with empowered, inspired, happy, successful, prospering bloggers.

Nothing personal.

Just your blogging success at stake.

 

 

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