Archive for category Evernote

Using Evernote Tabs and Tags

I have posted many times about my extensive usage of Evernote: I’ve just broken the 25k-note mark! I organize my notes by using a good mix of notebooks and tags. But going beyond that, I also organize certain notes based on when I need. For example, there are times when I need notes…

  • Today
  • This Week
  • This Month
  • This Year

When I’m doing my period review (daily, weekly, monthly, yearly), I tag notes as per my temporal needs as listed above (i.e., “today”, “week”, “month”, “year”). I then use Evernote’s feature to have multiple tabs open:

On the Mac version of Evernote, I do the following:

  1. Open a new tab (Command+T)
  2. Filter on the given tag (Command+J to search for the tag)

For example, when I do my weekly review and planning for the upcoming week, I create one note for each meeting I have coming up, and then I tag those notes with “week”. That way, it’s easy for me to find those notes and drop in comments or any other information I’ll be needing in those meetings.

Another tip: depending on how I’m working on my notes at a given point in time, I also leverage the option to open a “new window” in Evernote. That way, I have one window with tabs for the different periods I’m organizing, and another window for anything else (sometimes with tabs for different projects, people, places, etc.).

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My Successful 30-day Ever Better Challenge

On my 2018: Annual Review post, I’ve mentioned I was going to try a 30-day Ever Better Challenge in order to address one of the items I didn’t do so well last year: exercising more!

My challenge was to do at least 20 minutes of any sort of physical activities every day. How did I do? Nailed it!

I have not skipped any day.

The physical activity (that is, related to exercising) I enjoy the most is rollerblading. I’ve done it three times during this challenge. Each time lasted a full hour, non-stop, in which I cover about 8 miles. Two out of those three times actually happened back-to-back on consecutive days; at first, I didn’t think I’d be able to pull it off, but I actually did! That’s an option I like because it is a good workout for my legs and lower back, good balance, and I use that time to listen to podcasts, audiobooks, music, etc. All of that, surrounded by a nice scenery.

Unfortunately, I can only go rollerblading on a more frequent basis when Daylight Saving Time starts, so I have time going to the park when I’m back from work.

The majority of the days (21 days), I did roughly 20-minute sessions as soon as I got back home from work. The ritual is:

  • say hi to the family,
  • make sure everyone’s well and nothing is required from me immediatly,
  • change into workout clothes,
  • exercise!

I now go through that flow without thinking about it, so I believe the habit is being formed.

I perform activities that can be done inside of the house: pull-ups, jumping on a mini trampoline, weightlifting.

In this period, I was out of town for 4 days. During those days, I walked an average of 4 miles each day, and I considered that my physical activity for the day, as I was out and about most of the time and there wasn’t much else I could do.

Another benefit I get from this is that I get to watch some good videos (TED and the like) while I’m exercising.

Moving forward, I’ll continue following the same rituals, and will add a couple more reps to what I do when exercising at home.

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Quotes That Inspire Me

For the last one year or two I’ve been keeping track of interesting quotes I find that somehow either inspire me or make me think. I have a “Quotes” note in Evernote where I keep them all.

The quotes I collect usually come from the following resources:

Momentum: As part of the rituals I have when I get to work, the first time I open a new tab in the browser I take a couple of seconds to contemplate the great inspirational photo that Momentum shows me, as well as to read the quote of the day and ponder on it;

Tim Ferriss’ 5-Bullet Friday: Tim’s weekly blog post includes a “quote I’ve been pondering on” section;

5-Minute Journal: As part of my Morning Ritual I update my 5-Minute Journal. It includes a great quote each day.

Intelligent Tuesday: Another weekly blog post that includes a good quote worth pondering (these are the makes of 5-Minute Journal).

I’ll start picking random quotes I’ve been noting down and use them as inspiration for blog posts. Let’s see how that’s gonna go.

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Speaking at the Houston Tech Fest 2016 on Saturday

I’ll be speaking at the Houston Tech Fest 2016 this Saturday. If you haven’t heard of this event, it’s a huge 1-day conference, free of charge, with tons of sessions (11 tracks!).

I’ve presented sessions there for at least 5 editions of the conference, and after a 3-year hiatus, I’m happy to be back, as I’ve known so many people there and have always had a great time.

Below you find information about the sessions I’ll be delivering and the panel I’ll participate, so make sure to come by and say hi. 🙂

Oh, also, if you come attend to my sessions and enjoy it, you can also contact Improving and request I come to your company for a Lunch and Learn! Check out the list of sessions available and spread the word out: Free Improving Lunch and Learns.

Software Development is a Joke!

Room 305 (SoftDev) at 1pm

Several of my technical presentations introduce some kind of humor, but sometimes people end up learning the joke and not the concept. So I decided to do a humor presentation based on software development, introduce some technical stuff, and maybe people won’t laugh, but rather learn the technical stuff!

After so many years writing software, I can’t help but laugh at so many (good and bad!) experiences myself and other developers have had. Not to mention things that just can’t make sense to normal people: how can this ˆ[A-Z0-9._%+-]+@[A-Z0-9.-]+\.[A-Z]{2,4}$ be called a regular expression? (If you know by heart what that expression means, you are probably the kind of people who’ll try to explain to me why zerobased arrays are kinda cool…just don’t!).

The Business of Software (Panel)

Room 306 (Mobile)

Want to build software? Get your act together first!

Room 300 (Mixed) at 4:10pm

Software developers are supposed to create applications that make people’s life easier, automating tedious tasks, encouraging users to get their work done, organizing complex workflows into digestible information and actions, helping them separate the most important information from the least important.
But still, most developers forget to automate their own boring tasks. We forget to organize our information. We sometimes use tools that do not help us get our work done. So how can we build software that fits our client needs, if we don’t understand those needs ourselves?
This session is not only about software development; this session is about things we can do and tools we can use to organize ourselves, so we can free up our minds to more important things. Tools covered in this session include (but not limited to): Evernote, application launchers, screen capture tools, tablets, smartphones, etc.

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Catching up with my Book Reading

I have the bad habit of starting to read several books and then taking a long time to finish (I just finished a book that I started to read 3 years ago!). I like books both in printed and electronic format. I grab them and start reading. Next thing I know, I’m reading 10 books at the same time.

I decided to organize things so I can finish off the books I’ve started, and put a little more thought into what books I’m going to read next. This is what I do…

Put all books in a single place…

I put all of my digital books in PDF format in a Books notebook in Evernote. This allows to search across all of these books (a feature of Evernote). I also add one note for each print books and audiobooks I have.

 

Tag them…

I use 4 different tags:

  • Backlog: used for books I want to read;
  • To Read: used for books I want to start reading as soon as possible;
  • Reading: used for books I’ve started to read but haven’t finished yet;
  • Read: used for books I’m done reading.

Use “Saved Searches”…

I created one “Saved Search” for each one of those tags. It looks like this on my search menu:

I’ve been focusing on my “Books – 2-Reading” search, as I want to finish off those books (there are 11 in the list right now!).

This is how I create each search:

This is how I save the search:

 

Write book notes…

For each book I’m reading, I create a separate note named after the book’s title, and tag it with “book notes”. I then type in whatever comments I want, put snapshots of specific pages, URLs, anything else related to the book that I find I may need in the future. These notes also go into my Books notebook.

I know I can annotage things on Kindle books and export my notes, but as I mentioned, I have books in Kindle format, PDF, print, audiobooks, so I decided to follow the flow described in this post for any type of book format.

Signing off now. I have some reading to do!

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Getting Organized, Setting and Tracking Goals

Last week I talked about my 2015: Annual Review. This week I’ll briefly talk about how I’ve tracked my goals in 2015, since this is also how I plan on tracking my goals in 2016.

I’ve been using Evernote for a long time, and I keep trying out different things based on suggestions I find on the web. Throughout 2015 I’ve tried a couple of things that I think improved my use of Evernote quite a bit.

For setting and tracking goals, this post by Michael Hyatt got me inspired: How Evernote can Help you Achieve Your Goals in 2015. I’ve used his templates and think it worked out well for me.

I also borrowed several ideas from Evernote Scott channel on Youtube. These are the main ones:

How To Use Evernote To Achieve Your Goals

How to get more done with Evernote and have peace of mind every single day: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.

I read and watch tons of material on how people organize their life, projects, goals, what tools they use, etc, and the links shared in this post are the ones that stuck with me last year, so I hope it may be useful to you as well.

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