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The 12 Days of Giveaways: Day 10 – Evernote

The 12 Days of Giveaways: Day 10 – Evernote
    Evernote T-Shirt Design

    We only have a couple of more days left in our 12 Days of Giveaways where we have been giving away some of the best productivity apps, services, and products that the web has to offer. We are quickly approaching the end of our giveaway and today we have one of the best offerings to date from our friends at Evernote. But, we first need to congratulate the three winners of Patrick Rhone’s “Keeping it Straight” books.

    First, aaron_z in the comments from yesterday’s giveaway talked about keeping college and life straight. He’s getting the ebook version of Keeping It Straight. Here’s an excerpt:

    “Walking is like meditation for me. A morning walk will allow me to clear my head and focus on what I am going to do *today* and go to college with a smile on my face. :)”

    Mario Kroll commented on Facebook about how he wants to clean the cruft out of his life. He’s getting the print version:

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    “I’m going to try and keep straight what is most important in my life, my work and my interpersonal relationships and focus on those, while passing on or reducing the many things that add very little value to those aspects or even take away from them.”

    And then Erin Feldman commented on Facebook about responsibility. She’s taking home the signed copy of Keeping It Straight!

    “… Another item is to stop apologizing when I shouldn’t. I need to learn to balance my own sense of responsibility with the realization that I’m not always to blame.”

    Congratulations to our three winners! We hope you can gain some insight that helps you simplify your life and productivity in 2012.

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    Today’s Giveaway

    I have been an on-again-off-again user of Evernote for years now and in the past few months I have added it back to my list of daily productivity tools (with some recommendation from Mr. Mike Vardy).

    To be absolutely frank, Evernote is the best digital notetaking and information management application I have used to date. What makes Evernote so darn good is that I can use it on my Mac, my PC at work, my iPhone, or even my Android device. I can even use it with my Livescribe Pen. Talk about ubiquitous capture.

    Evernote allows users to take notes (rich text too!), send and keep pictures, tag pretty much everything, create notebooks where you can combine notes, and much, much more. Also, Evernote has been picking up its game lately with the addition of the new Evernote Food (for tracking your food choices in Evernote) and Evernote Hello (for keeping track of all the faces of the pretty people you meet). These two apps show that Evernote is trying to place itself as the “one” app that you need to keep track of everything.

    But, instead of me telling you about the awesomeness that is Evernote, we are going to be giving away some prizes that do that much better. Today we are giving away one lucky Lifehack reader

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    • A 1 year subscription to Evernote Premium
    • A stylish Evernote t-shirt (Editor’s Note: If the winner is from outside the continental US, the shirt will not be part of the package due to shipping restrictions. Rather than limit the whole giveaway to this area because of this, we decided to make it global with this exception. Thanks for your understanding.)
    • And the be-all-to-end-all getting started guide for Evernote, “Evernote Essentialsby the infamous Brett Kelly.

    With this prize pack you will be set to use Evernote to become and stay more productive in 2012.

    How to Enter

    In order to enter to the giveaway, you need to leave a comment below or on our Facebook fan page that answers the following:

    “How will you use Evernote in 2012 to stay more organized and become more productive?”

    Leaving a comment on both our Facebook fan page and here at Lifehack.org will get you 2 entries, so but you need to give us two items that you like the most – no copying and pasting!

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    The Fine Print

    Employees of Stepcase and Evernote (including current independent contractors of both) are not eligible for this contest. The winning entry will be judged by the Stepcase Lifehack editing team and the winner will be notified on the platform in which their winning entry was placed (either on the Lifehack.org Facebook wall or by email through our commenting system here on the website). For those entering the contest with a comment on our site, in order to be considered eligible, you MUST leave a contact email when leaving a comment (it’s the only way we’ll know how to contact you). Entries must be submitted by 10 am Eastern the following weekday and winners will be chosen by 12 pm Eastern time on the same day. The winners will be announced the same day on Lifehack.org, and will be notified beforehand.

    Good luck!

    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 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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