Great Music to Work To

Desktop

I often find it interesting what people have on their computers and how they lay out their desktop. As I use my iPad Pro as my main computing devie I live by the apps I have installed. Below is the latest screen grab of my current iPad screen. I only have 1 screen as I like to organise apps into folders. 

 

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My main apps are:

Evernote for document scanning, note taking and article reading

OmniFocus which is my second brain

Calendar which helps me focus my time effectively  

YouTube is my main consumption tool

Book Recommendations - How I Developed

I get asked quite a lot about what books I recommend for productivity and what books helped me get the current mindfulness I have currently. Below are the books in the order I read them, that led me on a journey to where I am now:

1 - The Beginning

To start with I read the following 3 Books from 99u, they are relatively small reads and are quite easy to consume. These books helped me get into the mindset of a freelancer, treating everyone as a customer and how I should act with that.

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Links:

- Make Your Mark - https://www.amazon.de/Make-Your-Mark-Creatives-Building/dp/1477801235/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1517246947&sr=8-3&keywords=99u

- Maximize Your Potential - https://www.amazon.de/Maximize-Your-Potential-Expertise-Incredible/dp/1477800891/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1517247029&sr=8-2&keywords=99u

- Manage Your Day-To-Day - https://www.amazon.de/Manage-Your-Day-Day-Creative/dp/1477800670/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1517247044&sr=8-1&keywords=99u

2. The Method

The following books helped me then start work on my second Brian (my system) for being able to tackle the tasks that my clients / customers through at me.

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Links:

- GTD - https://www.amazon.de/Getting-Things-Done-Stress-Free-Productivity/dp/0143126563/ref=sr_1_1?s=books-intl-de&ie=UTF8&qid=1517250082&sr=1-1&keywords=GTD

- Making Ideas Happen - https://www.amazon.de/Making-Ideas-Happen-Overcoming-Obstacles/dp/1591844118/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1517250048&sr=8-1&keywords=Making+ideas+happen

 

3. The Mindset

Next came a long these 3 books. Each one targets a specific growth area and enabled me to grow as an individual. They really open your eyes to a new way of thinking and allow you to gain a different perspective.  

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Conference Calendar Website

Over the weekend I came across this really cool website that lists different conferences throughout the year, which then can be filtered by such things as discipline as well as location. Since its the start of the year and most of us will be planning our training requirements it seems like a good place to start. 

http://www.confercal.com/ 

Better Effective Time for Book Reading

I ofhen get asked “how do you manage to read so much?” And people seem to be expecting some kind of magic formula for this. But actually it’s even simpler than that. What I did for a few months is track how long I was doing pretty much everything, and what this showed is that my walk to and from work wasn’t being utilised effectively. I was just listening to some music on the walk, and I also noticed that this ended up just amplifying whatever mood I was in (good if I was feeling awesome! Head if I wasn’t) I firstly decided to listen to some podcasts instead, this solved the mood amplification topic but still wasn’t a truly effective use of my time.

Many people I follow and respect always talk about how they manage to read more by utilising audio books, so this was something I was actually wanting to play around with. But one of the main sticking points was “when?” Could I listen during the day and this is something that always put me off, and then a light bulb clicked! I can utilise the 40 minute commute block a day for listening to audio books and what did you know, in a 3 week period I complete an audio book quite easily, this means with reading one book the old fashioned way and utilising audio books I was averaging reading 2 books a month. This entail made 2017 the year I read so much and I really enjoyed it and learnt a lot.  

So, to summarize! Look at your day, and see what activities you do which aren’t requiring your full attention (like walking to work) and utilise that time much better!

Chocolate Microwave Cake

If you ever have the urge for chocolate or something a little sweet, use the recipe below to make a quick and simple chocolate cake in less than 5 minutes. 

 

1. Get a small bowl

2. Put 1/4 Cup of Flour into the bowl

3. Put 1/4 Cup of sugar into the bowl

4. Put 2tbsp of cocoa into the bowl

5. Put a pinch of salt into the bowl

6. Stir the dry ingredients together

7. Add 2tbsp of vegetable oil to the bowl

8. Add 3tbsp of water to the bowl

9. Mix all together until its a chocolate goo (add extra water if its looking dry) 

10. EXTRA - Place a handful of frozen raspberries ontop of the chocolate goo

11. Place in the microwave on full power for 2 - 3 minutes

12. EXTRA - Sprinkle some powdered sugar on top 

 

There you go a very simple recipe for a delicious quick chocolate cake for 1  

Digital Only Life - Last Hurdle

For a while now I’ve switched from using pen and paper for notes, ideas and thoughts to using purely digital tools. For me my main tool is my iPad Pro 10.9 which I find the perfect size for carrying around to meetings as well as being able to throw it in my bag whenever I go anywhere.  

But one of the last bastians of the physical world was by daily gratitude journal. For me I use the 5 Minute Journal (https://www.intelligentchange.com/products/the-five-minute-journal) and its something I have in my apartment and what I utilise every morning and evening to help me reflect and be grateful for where I am in life. The company behind it launched an iOS (iPhone) and Android app but for me it just wasn’t gelling to me for some reason, and so I needed to work on an alternate. 

I’ve been using the “Day One” (http://dayoneapp.com/) journal for some time as a reflection journal, which I used whenever I’ve encountered a tough day to be able to reflect on it and try to learn from it. I thought this could be the best platform for moving my gratitude journal over to it, but the problem was I would have to manually add the structure each day (the questions I need to ask myself) which would not only add to the amount of time it would take to create an entry, but would also enable my mind to see that its too much effort and try to convince me not to write in it. 

The solution was to utilise the “Workflow” (https://workflow.is/) app to build a structure that would work and then everyday I just run that workflow and hey presto! We have a simple and somewhat “elegant” solution. I’ve now been running this approach for 1 month now and haven’t missed a day. 

If you’re interested in the workflows I created you can grab them below: 

Morning Journal - https://workflow.is/workflows/5c1920ec78974063bcd8491fb784c569 

Evening Journal - https://workflow.is/workflows/9faeb42bb552456a91e45b413367c0dd

Inspiration - Why Leaders Eat Last

Today, I thought I would share with you a video that I watch regularly to remind myself on how to lead others and what not to do. Simon Sinek is a really inspiration person. He has written several really insightful and thought provoking books as well as presented some really good talks. 

The video below outlines how leaders shape how the employees act and feel in an Organisation and also mentions the biological aspects that is in our nature.  

Morning Commute Observation

Every morning at around 6:20am I arrive at a local train station for my 15ish minute stroll to work. What baffles me is the sheer number of people who are running and pushing to get the next train (this happens everyday) I think this is a terrible way to start the day and they most likely only have to leave around 10 minutes earlier to have a more stress-free start to the day . . . .

Begin the day how you want it to proceed! </rant over>

Drive

Inspiration is all around us but sometimes that's not what we need. We need something that drives us, that not only keeps us focus but provides a great foundation to work off professionally and personally. 

My own drive was defined by something I always believed in and that was "Anything is Possible" this philosophy was something that helped to frame my career and enabled me to inspire others. Recently I was reading an article (lost the link sorry) and a quote was mentioned by someone I don't know but it's not about who said it, but the words themselves:

If you want to be successful, it's just this simple:
Know what you are doing,
Love what you are doing,
and believe in what you are doing

The above words are now words I visit on a daily basis that help drive me in what I'm doing. 

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