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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 August 6, 2019

Why Do I Procrastinate? 5 Root Causes And How To Tackle Them

Why Do I Procrastinate? 5 Root Causes And How To Tackle Them

Procrastination is something many people can relate to and I, myself, have been there and done that. Yes, I write all about productivity now, but when I first started out on my career path, I would often put off work I didn’t want to do. And most of the time I didn’t even realize I was doing it.

So what changed?

I thought to myself, “why do I procrastinate?” And I started to read a lot of books on productivity, learning a great deal and shifting my mind to the reasons why people procrastinate.

My understanding brought me a new perspective on how to put an end to the action of procrastination.

Procrastination slows your goals and dreams way down. It can create stress and feelings of frustration. It rears its ugly head on a regular basis for a lot of people. This is particularly apparent at work with day-to-day projects and tasks.

But, why do people self-sabotage in this way? Essentially, there are 5 reasons behind procrastination. See if you can identify with any of these in your own work life.

1. The Perfectionist’s Fear

Procrastination is sometimes a subconscious fear of failure.

If you put off a task enough, then you can’t face up to the potential (and usually imagined) negative results. If you’re a stickler for minor details, the stress of getting things ‘just right’ may be too much and cause you to delay continuing the task.

Either way, fear is at the root cause and can sabotage your desire to move forward.

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How to Tackle It?

Try visualizing the completion of your task in a positive way.

For example, you have a presentation that your boss wants you to conduct for a potential client. Visualize yourself standing in the meeting room confident, meeting the eyes of the client and seeing them light up as you explain the concept simply and concisely.

Imagine your boss telling you how great you did and you were the best person for the job. Think about how it would feel to you and focus on this as you move forward with the task.

2. A Dreamer’s Lack of Action

This is a person who is highly creative and has many brilliant ideas but can’t quite seem to bring them to fruition.

The main reason for this is because there’s usually no structure or goal setting involved once the idea has been created. This aimless approach ends up manifesting as a lack of decision-making and significant delays on a project.

How to Tackle It?

Write down a timeline of what you want to achieve and by when. Ideally, do this daily to keep yourself on track and accountable for progression. Creative minds tend to jump from one idea to the next, so cultivating focus is essential.

If you’re designing and creating a new product at work, set out a task list for the week ahead with the steps you want to focus on each day. Doing this ahead of time will stop your mind from wandering across to different ideas.

Learn about how to plan your time and take actions from some of the successful people: 8 Ways Highly Successful People Plan Their Time

3. An Overwhelmed Avoider

This is one of the most common reasons for procrastination; the sheer overwhelm of a daunting task.

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The complexity of a task can cause the brain to lose motivation and avoid doing it altogether choosing instead to stay in its comfort zone.

The search then starts for a more enjoyable task and the harder tasks are put off. This can cause stress and dread when the task inevitably comes up to be completed.

How to Tackle It?

Break the challenge down into smaller tasks and tackle each one individually.

For example, if you have a project that has technical elements to it that you know you’ll find challenging, list each step you need to take in order to complete these difficult elements. Think of ways you can resolve potential hurdles. Perhaps you have a coworker that may have time to help or even consider that the solution may be easier than you initially think. Put each task in order of most daunting to least daunting. Ideally, try to deal with the more challenging parts of each task in the morning so that momentum is created as the tasks get easier through the day.

A reward system will also help you stay motivated so, once completed, you can enjoy your treat of choice.

If you want to know how to better handle your feelings and stay motivated, take a look at my other article: Procrastination Is a Matter of Emotion, Here’s How to Stop It

4. The Busy Bee Who Lacks Prioritization

Either you have too many tasks or don’t truly acknowledge the differing importance of each task. The result? Getting nothing done.

Time is spent switching constantly from one task to another or spending too much time deciding what to do.

How to Tackle It?

It’s all about priorities and choosing important tasks over urgent ones.

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Make sure to question the value and purpose of each task and make a list in order of importance.

For example, throughout your work day, you can waste a lot of time dealing with ‘urgent’ emails from colleagues but, you need to ask yourself if these are more important than working on a task that will affect, say, several office projects at once.

Help yourself to prioritize and set a goal of working through your list over the next few hours reassessing the situation once the time is up.

In my other article, I talk about an effective way to prioritze and achieve more in less time: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

5. The One with Shiny Object Syndrome (Distraction-Prone)

This is another common cause for procrastination; just simple distraction.

Our brains aren’t wired to focus for long periods of time and it looks for something else. So throw in a bunch of colleagues equally looking for distractions or checking your phone mindlessly, and you’ve got a recipe for ultimate procrastination.

However, this type of procrastination may not always be an unconscious decision to sabotage and put off work. It’s simply a result of your work setup or types of coworkers you have. Only you know the answer to that.

How to Tackle It?

Be mindful of your workspace and potential distractions. Schedule a specific time to converse with your coworkers, put headphones on to minimize listening to what’s going on around you, and switch your phone off.

Aim to do this for 20-30 minutes at a time and then take a break. This will be a much more efficient way of working and getting what you need done. This is also why scheduling down time is so important for productivity.

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Whether this type of procrastination is self-sabotage or being a victim of a distracting environment, either way you can take control.

If you need a little more guidance on how to stay focus, this guide can help you: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

Bottom Line

I’m going to be bold and assume you identified with at least one of these procrastination pitfalls.

You could be trapped in the endless cycle of procrastination like I was, that is, until I decided to find out my why behind putting off tasks and projects. It was only then that I could implement strategies and move forward in a positive and productive way.

I killed the procrastination monster and so can you. I now complete my tasks more efficiently and completely killed that feeling of stress and falling behind with work that procrastination brings.

I know it’s not easy to stop procrastinating right away, so I also have this complete guide to help you stop it once and for all: Procrastination – A Step-By-Step Guide to Stop Procrastinating

Featured photo credit: Luke Chesser via unsplash.com

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