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Podcasting Recording Hacks

Podcasting Recording Hacks

Okay, I’m really really into podcasting. Why? Because I think they have some uses that blogs can’t cover. Portability being chief among these. Basically, it’s another way to have a conversation with an audience. If you’re a marketer, this is almost a no-brainer. If you’re a geekhead, this is a way to share knowledge and information in a group setting, without requiring even more reading.

Sometimes, you want to read. Like Manuals.

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But other times, you might want to have someone executing a step by step method of procedure. Can you imagine a tech remoting into a data center, getting ready to upgrade a server, and she’s listening to her trusty iRiver device. She pushes play and hears her coworkers’ pre-recorded steps for execution. It sounds like Mission: Impossible, only without the steps for “shoot this guy; make a copy of his face; put on the mask.”

CEOs can give messages to senior management. Vendors can get their clients subcribed to weekly product podcasts. (I’ve got a million, kids!)

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Most folks get nervous about doing a podcast because of the technical stuff. Well, here are a few hacks to get someone who might not be 100% techie into putting their voice into digital media for sharing purposes. The best part is, most of them are cheap or free:

Podcast RECORDING Hacks

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Quick definition partly copped from Wikipedia: Podcasting is the distribution of multimedia files (audio or video), using a syndication method like RSS or ATOM, for download and playback at a time convenient to the listener/viewer.

  • Odeo– Take an inexpensive microphone (built-in or a $15 jobber from RadioShack.com), plug it into your computer, poke around the audio settings, and you can use Odeo. You really can’t get much simpler than that. I could probably end the hacks right here, really. It’s an easy solution for desktop recording. How about MOBILE recording?
  • K7.net– We mentioned this the other day regarding Adam Weiss’s voice reminder hack. You can use the same thing but talk just a little longer and you’ve got a podcast. Is there a timelimit to the messages? Here’s another hack. Record the time limit’s length as segments, tie them all together using Audacity. The only trick there is, it’s a Seattle number.
  • AimPhoneLine.com– I saw this at Lifehacker, and I thought: well there! That solves the local number. (I admit I didn’t look for non-US numbers, but I’ve got a sidebar hack for that, too: can’t you SKYPE to it?). I haven’t tried out the length, but again, just record little bits and blend them. I now have two new internet phone numbers in a single day. Weird.
  • SkypeCasts– Skype just launched a great tool for this called SkypeCasts. I think this thing will really rock the boat in the “record it easy” marketplace. Hey Odeo- what do you think?
  • Cheapy Digital Recorders– You can get an inexpensive digital record for under $100 US, and those might be a good starting place for something you can shift from your device to the computer for pushing into a Podcast.

Even if you’re not interested in podcasting, these services all offer something of interest to busy productivity types looking to use other tools to get things done. Don’t have access to the keyboard? Use a phone in service for a message that translates directly to MP3. Need to leave lots of people the same message? Email them the file. We can go on like this, but I need your help.

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What Did I Miss?

I’ll admit that I didn’t exactly scour the internet to see other examples of similar services. Do you have some favorites that I missed? Let me know. Load up the comments with your thoughts, opinions, and your variations on the theme. That’s what you’re here for, tough guys!

–Chris Brogan recently launched New Media School, a video podcast that takes a tongue-in-cheek look at podcasting, while still attempting to be marginally informative.

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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Program Your Own Algorithms

Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

How to Form a Ritual

I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

  1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
  2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
  3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
  4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

Ways to Use a Ritual

Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

1. Waking Up

Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

2. Web Usage

How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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3. Reading

How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

4. Friendliness

Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

5. Working

One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

6. Going to the gym

If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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7. Exercise

Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

8. Sleeping

Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

8. Weekly Reviews

The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

Final Thoughts

We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

 

Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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