The Triple Hat Trick

Here is something I am trying for 2010… I hesitate to call it a new year’s resolution, so let’s just call it an “experiment”. Sometimes it is tough to get focus with my big fancy fiddly collection of GTD lists. There are just too many items on the lists, and even when I filter on just the “next actions” the list is still pretty long. To gain focus, I plan to identify no more than three critical tasks that I want to accomplish in a given week.  Sort of a hat trick if you will. The screenshot below shows the template I am using each week. The template is available on the Downloads page.

I expanded the concept just a bit to cover two other areas where I wanted to improve. The first was *redirection*. I found that the majority of the meetings and conversations I had were not ones that I scheduled nor were they topics that I selected. As a result, a good percentage of the work I did during a given week ended up being external requests and/or tasks that I didn’t even know existed prior to the start of the week. To help shift momentum, I added another hat trick for “Agendas” to the top of the page. This list is for meetings or discussions that I want to drive during the course of the week.  Difficult conversations and project roadblocks are definitely candidates for this Agendas list.

The other area I wanted to improve was Read the rest of this entry »

Note Taking & Note Page Templates

Part of my new year’s resolution is to be more prolific and to share more ideas, tools, templates, etc.  In the past I often tried to wait until I had things nearly perfected, and felt that everything needed an exhaustive write-up.  I may still do some of that, but you’ll also be seeing a lot more raw content.

So let’s get to it…   There are a lot of times where it is slightly rude or just not feasible to take notes with your laptop.  Good ole pen and paper still have their place.   As I mentioned previously, I use a small 5½” x 8½” binder for this purpose, along with some custom note pages.  The note template I use is in the spirit of the Cornell note taking method, but with some modifications.

One of the primary modifications is that there Read the rest of this entry »

Happy New Year! …Web Site Overhaul

Happy New Year!  I recently update the website. There were some issues with the older version of WordPress I was using, as well as some limitations. The updated site fixes these issues and (hopefully) makes it easier to follow the various discussions. For example, there are now a few different ways you can track content, as mentioned on the subscription page:

  1. You can still subscribe to the main articles via RSS, and now there is also a link to the RSS feed for the comments.
  2. You have the option to subscribe to all comments for the site, or just the comments for individual posts.
  3. For those that prefer not to use RSS, you can also subscribe to both the main blog articles and the comment streams via email.

Another big improvement is that comments can now be threaded.  If your reply pertains to a specific previous comment, click the “REPLY” or “QUOTE” button and reply directly underneath that comment.   Your response will appear indented within that thread.  If you want to start a new comment thread, just scroll down to the comment box at the bottom of the page.

More articles to follow soon!


Configuring Google Voice as a Jott / reQall Replacement

I’m a big fan of reQall, Jott, and the various other voice-to-text services out there.  I currently have a reQall Pro account and use it on a daily basis.  Naturally, the first thing that came to mind when I heard that Google Voice was going to have voice transcription capabilities was using it to augment or maybe even replace my current tools.  After some trial and error, here is the method I came up with to configure Google Voice for this purpose.

By the way, if you would like an overview of the Google Voice service, there are some nice articles on


  1. Create a Google Voice account.  Until it’s open to the general public, you’ll need to request an invite here.
  2. Go through the basic setup following the instructions to add your home phone number and create your account.
  3. Once your account is created, click the Settings link at the top of the page and go to the General tab (see screenshot below).  Make sure that Notifications are set to go to your desired email address.  Optionally, you can disable the “Send a text (SMS) message to” checkbox.  I disabled this because most of the messages are ones that I leave to myself, so I don’t need a text message telling me that I just left a message ;-)
  4. The Call Screening, Call Presentation, and Caller ID settings will not really matter for what we are doing.  Set these however you wish for your other callers.  Do check to see that the “Transcribe Voicemails” box is checked, and save your changes.


The idea here is to create a greeting that mimics what you might hear when dialing into Jott or reQall.  This greeting will only be heard when dialing in from your cell phone.  There are several ways Read the rest of this entry »

Evernote CEO Discusses App (SXSW Video)

Phil Libin, Evernote CEO, discusses the current state of the app in this video from the SXSW ‘09 conference (courtesy of Arik Hesseldahl). One of the interesting notes is that the company is now “net margin profitable”, meaning that they are turning a profit even when you consider all of their overhead expenses. Their primary source of revenue according to Phil is their premium subscriptions, so they are already profitable even without the new ads.

Phil Libin, Evernote from Arik Hesseldahl on Vimeo.