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Get The Most Out of Your iPod

Get The Most Out of Your iPod

(Okay, any portable media device will do, but with the market share of such devices being the Apple iPod, I can get away with that title, right?)

The first thing most people do when presented with a portable media device (besides saying Thank You) is look for ways to add music to it. Music is great, and it’s a wonderful thing to throw in there, but if you’re looking to get more done, and looking for some other uses, try these:

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  • Business Card– Most of these devices now allow you to carry along files. Try adding an electronic business card, either the typical formats like vCard or an Outlook export, but also a flat text file with your name as the filename. This text file should include all the info you might want to pass someone that you meet out and about. That way, if you have no other means to share this information, it will exist on the portable media device that you might never forget at home. Ditto your resume (or CV) in .pdf format.
  • Slideshow– Do you have a presentation, a 30 second elevator pitch for your new and growing startup? Put it on your portable device as a series of JPG files. That way, even if the screen is 1.5 inches, you’ve got SOMETHING to show people your concept in visual form.
  • Audio Books– The Apple iTunes store is only one outlet, but there are plenty of Audiobook sites that can provide books in downloadable MP3 format. Listening to audio books throughout the day and during your commute will keep you up to date when you can’t afford the time to sit down and read the book in question. And sometimes, even if you’re reading the print book, the audio format can give your mind a new angle on the same material. Audio books usually cost a little less than the actual print book (but then I can’t mention libraries as a way to shift that content onto your player).
  • Podcasts – Now, this is where the fun is. Podcasts are free. There are lots of great programs out there that can help enrich your interests in a particular business, connect you with folks who practice the same crafts as you (There are something like 80 beer podcasts, for instance), and with people who share your passions. They’re fairly easy to find via podcast directories (Yahoo! has one, Podcast Alley, the list is endless). Adding podcasts to your iPod is a great way to boost the value of using your portable media player for more than just tunes.
  • Personal Reminders– Got a minute. Record your to-do list into Audacity, and burn an mp3 of it onto your player. You can even name the file nag.mp3 if you want. But it’s helpful. Burn a private RSS through FeedBurner.com and subscribe to it. You could keep your agendas on a not-publicized blog and really have an interesting record of your days in the future.
  • Business Communication– Are you a marketer or some other kind of promotions specialist? Are you a manager of a distributed team? Recording a podcast for your contacts to subscribe to gives you a media alternative to email that can be easily integrated into someone’s daily listening habits. If your contacts need up-to-the-minute information, hit them with a daily summary. If your team needs reminders as to what’s on your mind and what’s important, why not record a “Sonja’s Things to Remember” post every Monday for them to download (and later grumble about)?

I read about some venture capitalists who are now requiring people to submit their business plans in audio podcast format. They can then take the plans on a walk in the park, our to the gym to work out, and not have to sit in a static place reading about yet another great tagging / social / web2.0 site with a name that could either be a candy or a Yugi-oh character.

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I’ve seen hacks for throwing maps on your iPod, as well as some hacks involving throwing a full-fledged Linux OS on there. These could be useful, too, depending on what other apps you add. There are plenty of ways to use this robust platform for more than just playing music. And if you buy a video device, all the more angles open up. What are your thoughts and hacks? How would you add to this concept?

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-Chris Brogan records podcasts and other creative content at GrasshopperFactory.com

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Last Updated on November 19, 2019

How to Become an Early Riser and Stay Energetic

How to Become an Early Riser and Stay Energetic

When you become an early riser, you’ll experience a lot of benefits including feeling more energized and having more time to do what you want.

If you’d like to become an early riser, there are some things you should know before you run off to set your oft-ignored alarm clock.

So how to become an early riser?

Here are five tips I’ve discovered to be most helpful in making the transition from erratic sleeper to early morning wizard:

1. Choose to Get up Before You Go to Sleep

You’re not very good at making decisions when you’ve just woken up. You were in the middle of a dream in which [insert celebrity crush of choice here] is serving you breakfast in bed only to be rudely awakened by the harsh tones of your alarm clock. You’re frustrated, angry, confused, and surprised. This is not the time to be making decisions about whether or not you should stay in bed! And yet, most of us leave the first decision of our day to be made in a blur of partial wakefulness.

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No more!

If you want to be a consistently early riser, try making your decision to rise at a specific time before you go to sleep the night before. This frees you from making the decision in the morning when you’ve just woken up. Instead of making a decision, you have only to follow through on your decision from the night before.

Easier said than done? Of course. But only for the first few times. Eventually, your need for raw willpower to get out of bed will diminish and you’ll be the proud parent of a new habit!

Steve Pavlina suggests you practice getting out of bed during the day[1] to get a few of the “practice sessions” out of the way without the early morning fog in your head.

2. Have a Plan for Your Extra Time

Let’s say you’ve actually made it out of bed 2 hours before you normally would. Now what? What are you going to do with all this time you’ve discovered in your day?

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If you don’t have something planned to do with your extra time, you risk falling for the temptation of a “morning nap” that wipes out all the work you put into getting up.

What to do? Before you go to bed, make a quick note of what you’d like to get done during your extra hours the following day. Do you have a book to write, paper to read, or garage to clean? Make a plan for your early hours and you’ll do more than protect yourself from backsliding into bed.

You’ll get things done and those results will fuel your desire to build rising early into a habit!

3. Make Rising Early a Social Activity

Your internet or social media buddies just don’t have enough pull to make your new habit stick in the long term. The same cannot be said for the people you spend time with as part of your early morning routine.

Sure, you could choose to read blogs for two hours every morning. But wouldn’t it be great to join an early breakfast club, running group, or play chess in the park at 5am?

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The more people you get involved in making your new habit a daily part of your life, the easier it’ll be to succeed.

4. Don’t Use an Alarm That Makes You Angry

If we’re all wired differently, why do we all insist on torturing ourselves with the same sort of alarm each morning?

I spent years trying to wake up before my alarm went off so I wouldn’t have to hear it. I got pretty good, too. Then I started using a cellphone as my alarm clock and quickly realized that different ring tones irritated me less but worked just as well to wake me up. I now use the ring tone alarm as a back up for my bedside lamp plugged in to a timer.

When the bright light doesn’t work, the cellphone picks up the slack and I wake up on time. The lesson learned? Experiment a bit and see what works best for you. Light, sound, smells, temperature, or even some contraption that dumps water on you might be more pleasant than your old alarm clock. Give something new a try!

5. Get Your Blood Flowing Right After Waking

If you don’t have a neighbor, you can pick fights with at 5am, you’ll have to settle with a more mundane exercise. It doesn’t take much to get your blood flowing and chase the sleep from your head.

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Just pick something you don’t mind doing and go through the motions until your heart rate is up. Jumping rope, push-ups, crunches, or a few minutes of yoga are typically enough to do the trick. (Just don’t do anything your doctor hasn’t approved.)

If you live in a beautiful part of the world like me, you might want to use a bit of your early morning to go for a walk and enjoy the beauty of the world around you.

If you have a coffee shop open within walking distance, dragging yourself out of bed for a cup of coffee to savor on your walk home as the world wakes around you is a wonderful experience. Try it!

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Featured photo credit: Nomadic Julien via unsplash.com

Reference

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