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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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        Last Updated on September 16, 2019

        How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

        How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

        You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

        We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

        The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

        Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

        1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

        Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

        For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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        • (1) Research
        • (2) Deciding the topic
        • (3) Creating the outline
        • (4) Drafting the content
        • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
        • (6) Revision
        • (7) etc.

        Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

        2. Change Your Environment

        Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

        One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

        3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

        Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

        Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

        My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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        Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

        4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

        If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

        Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

        I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

        5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

        I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

        Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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        As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

        6. Get a Buddy

        Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

        I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

        7. Tell Others About Your Goals

        This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

        For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

        8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

        What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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        9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

        If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

        Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

        10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

        Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

        Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

        11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

        At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

        Reality check:

        I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

        More About Procrastination

        Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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