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8 Reasons Why Livescribe is the Best Tool for Taking Digital Notes

8 Reasons Why Livescribe is the Best Tool for Taking Digital Notes

    A couple of weeks ago I discussed different ways that note-takers can take more effective digital notes as well as some of the pitfalls of digital note-taking. Being a student, more than part time programmer, and someone who is extremely forgetful when it comes to household and family duties, capturing ideas and actions that need completed is more of a necessity than a nicety.

    I have tried a ton of digital tools for notetaking in class, in meetings, and otherwise. I have found that there is one clear winner that has changed the way that I take notes and review them for the better.

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    Being productivity geeks you have probably heard of the Livescribe Smartpen system and have also taken a look at some of their convincing marketing videos on their website. If not, the Livescribe pen is a way to take paper notes on special “dot paper” that stores them digitally in the pen and syncs them with digital recordings of what is going on around you while you are writing. The notes can then be then transferred to your Mac or PC for review and searching.

    I was first extremely skeptical about this system and didn’t pull the trigger on buying a pen until early in 2010. Having had a full year with my Livescribe pen, I can say that I won’t be taking notes any other way in the foreseeable future. That being said, let’s look at 8 reasons why Livescribe is the best way to take digital notes

    Computers distract

    I have found that laptops in class or meetings are too distracting as it only takes me 10 seconds to jump on a WiFi network and get sucked in to Engadget. Writing is natural and keeps your from being distracted by the recesses of the interwebs.

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    Reviewing is actually useful

    Reviewing notes is difficult, mostly because the stuff that we write down doesn’t make any sense to us after we write it. This is where the beauty of recording and writing with the Livescribe comes in. When you want to review something from your notes, just tap the note and listen to what was going on at the exact time. Simple and powerful.

    Evernote integration

    If you are an Evernote premium member you can sync your notes to Evernote through the Livescribe Desktop. Nothing like having your notes anywhere you are with Evernote.

      Livescribe Desktop on Mac, Windows, iOS

      Having Livescribe as a cross-platform piece of software is essential for me as I switch between Windows and Mac all day long. Also you can download the Pencast Player iOS app which allows you to view all your online Pencasts with audio.

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      Search

      The downfall of plain written notes is that they aren’t searchable. Livescribe Desktop allows you to search your notes and uses optical character recognition to find what you are looking for. Something that I do constently is mark next actions with TODO. When I am reviewing my notes I just search for TODO and drop the action items into my system.

      Impress your colleagues and friends!

      I’m only half serious on this one. One of the coolest things is showing Livescribe to someone, especially someone that takes a lot of notes like managers or professors. As soon as they realize that you can record while writing and then export your notes to PDF or share them with someone else via the web, you can see the wheels in their head start to spin.

        Lined journals for those notebook-loving types

        Oh, but you are one of those hawdy-tawdy Moleskine-packing, Ernest Hemmingway types and the thought of using some other type of notebook just turns you off. Well, you are partially in luck as Livescribe gives you the choice of “leather” bound lined- and unlined- journals that you can use. I have to say that the quality is pretty-darn good; even notebook snobs will be impressed.

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        Sharing notes

        Sharing notes as “Pencasts” online is probably the single-greatest feature of Livescribe. You choose what recorded session you want to upload from your Livescribe Desktop and then send the link to who you want to see your notes. You can also control the access to your notes by making it private and inviting certain people or by making it public for the world to see.

        Conclusion

        As you can see there are many benefits to taking your digital notes via a Livescribe Pen including less distractions while note-taking, cross-platform use, useful reviewing, and easy note-sharing. If you are looking for a cross between taking notes by hand and having the digital power of search, sharing, and audio tied to notes, then I can’t recommend anything better than Livescribe.

        More by this author

        CM Smith

        A technologist and writer who shares advice on personal productivity, creativity and how to use technology to get things done.

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        Published on July 15, 2019

        10 Simple Strategies to Make Your Life Better Starting Today

        10 Simple Strategies to Make Your Life Better Starting Today

        Habits are an important part of the direction you take your life, and — as I’ll share with you shortly — there are certain daily habits you can adopt right away that are guaranteed to improve your life.

        Think back to when you were just six or seven years old…

        At that age you probably didn’t have many habits. But, as the years went by, you picked up more and more good and bad habits.

        You may not have thought about it before, but habit forming never really stops.

        That’s why it’s never too late to change your habits and transform your life.

        So, if you feel burdened by your bad habits, start kicking them into shape by replacing them with these 10 positive, life-changing strategies:

        1. Go to Bed a Little Earlier and Wake up Earlier 

        Starting tonight, get yourself to bed 30 minutes earlier than usual. And, then make sure you get up tomorrow morning 30 minutes earlier, too. This small change can have a BIG impact on your day. 

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        Instead of furiously rushing in the morning to get ready for work, the extra time will give you a golden opportunity to start your day off on the right note. You can drink a smoothie while sitting on your porch, spend 10 minutes exercising and stretching, and still have time to read a few pages of an inspiring book.

        2. Be Grateful for the Good Things in Your Life 

        Setbacks and obstacles are inevitable in life. But, with a positive mindset, you’ll be able to overcome most of these. And, when you do, you’ll boost your self-confidence. 

        This is something you can definitely be grateful for. 

        However, if worst-case scenarios are playing out in your life, then sometimes, to stay strong, you’ll need to keep your mind on the good things that are happening to you. For example, your relationship with your partner might be crumbling, but your career is continuously getting stronger. It’d be easy to feel downtrodden and miserable about your relationship problems —  but, it would be much healthier to keep your mind and gratitude on these things that are going well, such as your career.

        3. Drink Water All Day Every Day 

        I’m sure you’ve heard the advice of drinking at least eight glasses of water a day, but are you following that advice? If not, you’re robbing your body and mind of essential hydration. 

        With the right amount of water intake a day, you’ll be amazed how good you feel — and how good you look!

        4. Take 15 Minutes to Set Goals for the Day, and Then Tackle Them One by One 

        This strategy will put your life into a new stratosphere! And, it’s very simple to do. 

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        Simply spend 15 minutes in the morning (either at home or at work) planning what you need and want to achieve during the rest of the day. Once you’ve listed your tasks, the next step is to put them into order of priority. 

        For instance, you have three things to do: catch up with your emails, write a project update, and prepare a briefing for your CEO. It’s best if you put these in order of importance. In this example, your emails can probably wait until you’ve created your CEO brief and updated your project documentation.

        5. Turn Off Your Cell Phone (or Put it on Airplane Mode) When You’re Focusing 

        A 2012 study found that even looking at a cell phone or feeling it vibrate in your pocket can significantly distract focus and reduce your ability to complete complex tasks.[1]

        It’s no surprise really, as our thoughts are subconsciously drawn towards checking our phones when they’re switched on. It’s a bad habit — but one that most of us have. However, when you need 100% focus (like I do when writing my articles), then switching your phone off, or at least putting it into airplane mode, will free your mind and supercharge your focus. Try it and see!

        6. Walk as Much as You Can 

        Have you noticed that most people’s lives are sedentary? They drive to work, sit in front of a screen all day, then drive home and binge on the latest Netflix series. It’s no wonder there’s a growing epidemic of obesity and mental health issues. 

        Our bodies are made to move — so we should move them! This can be as simple as walking up the stairs to your office instead of taking the elevator, and going out for a walk around the block at lunchtime. In the evening, instead of arriving home and crashing on the sofa; spend 20 to 30 minutes walking around your block.

        When you make these things a habit, you’ll be amazed by how much better you feel. You’ll have less stress — and more energy.

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        7. Be Mindful of Your Surroundings

        How often do you stop, think and appreciate the “here and now”? I’m guessing not very often. But, I understand why. Modern life is demanding and fast-paced. There’s precious little time to appreciate the small things. 

        But, if you want to live a healthy and happy life, you must break out of this trap. You can do this by allocating 15 to 30 minutes each day for mindful meditation. This could be in a park, in your garden, or even in your lounge. The trick is to focus 100% on your surroundings. 

        For example, if you’re outside, watch how the leaves on the trees blow around in the wind. By keeping your focus on this movement, you’ll clear your mind from your usual stresses and strains. This will give you brain a much-needed break. And, as well as improving your mental health; you’ll find your creativity gets a boost, too.

        8. Ask for Help When You Need It 

        No one can know or do everything. Which is why you shouldn’t be embarrassed to delegate tasks to others when needed, ask questions when you don’t have the answers, and work with partners and colleagues to clarify intentions. 

        When I first set up Lifehack, I tried to do everything myself: blog writing, website creation, marketing, financial planning, etc. However, I quickly learned that it was much better to hire some help. Not only did this inject some fresh ideas and inspiration into Lifehack — it also made the whole operation way more enjoyable!

        9. Practice Self Care 

        Are you looking after yourself as well as you should? If not, then take steps to improve your diet, exercise more, and to speak to yourself with encouraging words and thoughts. 

        The latter suggestion is often overlooked. But how you speak to yourself determines how you feel, what you believe, and what you achieve.

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        10. Embrace Learning 

        You cannot transform your life without learning something new. That’s because the process of change forces you to adapt. But, many people stop learning as they get older, as they find the learning process boring and bothersome. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. It can be fun and rewarding. 

        Whether you decide to learn to play guitar or study the basics of accounting — embrace learning, and begin changing your world for the better.

        I’m sure you’ll agree that these 10 strategies are simple enough for you to start putting them into action in your life. (I suggest you begin today!) 

        Nevertheless, you’ll probably need to use some extra willpower for the first 30 days or so, as this is the typical length of time it takes to create a new habit. After that, these strategies will be part of your day-to-day life, and you won’t need to think about having to do them. In other words, they’ll have become habitual actions.

        If you need any further encouragement to get started with the 10 strategies, then consider this:

        Even just adopting one of the strategies can turn the tide in your favor. But, when you implement all 10, you’ll create an unstoppable trend towards success, health and happiness.

        So start making your life better — today!

        Featured photo credit: Javier Garcia via unsplash.com

        Reference

        [1] Deborah R. Tindell and Robert W. Bohlander, Wilkes University: The Use and Abuse of Cell Phones and Text Messaging in the Classroom: A Survey of College Students

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