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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 16, 2018

16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed

16 Productivity Secrets of Highly Successful People Revealed

The same old motivational secrets don’t really motivate you after you’ve read them for the tenth time, do they?

How about a unique spin on things?

These 16 productivity secrets of successful people will make you reevaluate your approach to your home, work, and creative lives. Learn from these highly successful people, turn these little things they do into your daily habits and you’ll get closer to success.

1. Empty your mind.

It sounds counterproductive, doesn’t it?

Emptying your mind when you have so much to remember seems like you’re just begging to forget something. Instead, this gives you a clean slate so you’re not still thinking about last week’s tasks.

Clear your mind and then start thinking only about what you need to do immediately, and then today. Tasks that need to be accomplished later in the week can wait.

Here’s a guide to help you empty your mind and think sharper:

How to Declutter Your Mind to Sharpen Your Brain and Fall Asleep Faster

2. Keep certain days clear.

Some companies are scheduling “No Meeting Wednesdays,” which means, funnily enough, that no one can hold a meeting on a Wednesday. This gives workers a full day to work on their own tasks, without getting sidetracked by other duties or pointless meetings.

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This can work in your personal life too, for example if you need to restrict Facebook access or limit phone calls.

3. Prioritize your work.

Don’t think every task is created equal! Some tasks aren’t as important as others, or might take less time.

Try to sort your tasks every day and see what can be done quickly and efficiently. Get these out of the way so you have more free time and brain power to focus on what is more important.

Lifehack’s CEO has a unique way to prioritize works, take a look at it here:

How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

4. Chop up your time.

Many successful business leaders chop their time up into fifteen-minute intervals. This means they work on tasks for a quarter of an hour at a time, or schedule meetings for only fifteen minutes. It makes each hour seem four times as long, which leads to more productivity!

5. Have a thinking position.

Truman Capote claimed he couldn’t think unless he was laying down. Proust did this as well, while Stravinsky would stand on his head!

What works for others may not work for you. Try to find a spot and position that is perfect for you to brainstorm or come up with ideas.

6. Pick three to five things you must do that day.

To Do lists can get overwhelming very quickly. Instead of making a never-ending list of everything you can think of that needs to be done, make daily lists that include just three to five things.

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Make sure they’re things that need to be done that day, so you don’t keep putting them off.

7. Don’t try to do too much.

OK, so I just told you to work every day, and now I’m telling you to not do too much? It might sound like conflicting advice, but not doing too much means not biting off more than you can chew. Don’t say yes to every work project or social engagement and find yourself in way over your head.

8. Have a daily action plan.

Don’t limit yourself to a to-do list! Take ten minutes every morning to map out a daily action plan. It’s a place to not only write what needs to be done that day, but also to prioritize what will bring the biggest reward, what will take the longest, and what goals will be accomplished.

Leave room for a “brain dump,” where you can scribble down anything else that’s on your mind.

9. Do your most dreaded project first.

Getting your most dreaded task over with first means you’ll have the rest of the day free for anything and everything else. This also means that you won’t be constantly putting off the worst of your projects, making it even harder to start on it later.

10. Follow the “Two-Minute Rule.”

The “Two-Minute Rule” was made famous by David Allen. It’s simple – if a new task comes in and it can be done in two minutes or less, do it right then. Putting it off just adds to your to-do list and will make the task seem more monumental later.

11. Have a place devoted to work.

If you work in an office, it’s no problem to say that your cubicle desk is where you work every day.

But if you work from home, make sure you have a certain area specifically for work. You don’t want files spread out all over the dinner table, and you don’t want to feel like you’re not working just because you’re relaxing on the couch.

Agatha Christie never wrote at her desk, she wrote wherever she could sit down. Ernest Hemingway wrote standing up. Thomas Wolfe, at 6’6″ tall, used the top of his refrigerator as a desk. Richard Wright wrote on a park bench, rain or shine.

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Have a space where, when you go there, you know you’re going to work. Maybe it’s a cafe downstairs, the library, or a meeting room. Whenever and wherever works for you, do your works there.

12. Find your golden hour.

You don’t have to stick to a “typical” 9–5 schedule!

Novelist Anne Rice slept during the day and wrote at night to avoid distractions. Writer Jerzy Kosinski slept eight hours a day, but never all at once. He’d wake in the morning, work, sleep four hours in the afternoon, then work more that evening.

Your golden hour is the time when you’re at your peak. You’re alert, ready to be productive, and intent on crossing things off your to-do list.

Once you find your best time, protect it with all your might. Make sure you’re always free to do your best uninterrupted work at this time.

13. Pretend you’re on an airplane.

It might not be possible to lock everyone out of your office to get some peace and quiet, but you can eliminate some distractions.

By pretending you’re on an airplane, you can act like your internet access is limited, you’re not able to get something from your bookcase, and you can’t make countless phone calls.

Eliminating these distractions will help you focus on your most important tasks and get them done without interruption.

14. Never stop.

Writers Anthony Trollope and Henry James started writing their next books as soon as they finished their current work in progress.

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Stephen King writes every day of the year, and holds himself accountable for 2,000 words a day! Mark Twain wrote every day, and then read his day’s work aloud to his family to get their feedback.

There’s something to be said about working nonstop, and putting out continuous work instead of taking a break. It’s just a momentum that will push you go further./

15. Be in tune with your body.

Your mind and body will get tired of a task after ninety minutes to two hours focused on it. Keep this in mind as you assign projects to yourself throughout the day, and take breaks to ensure that you won’t get burned out.

16. Try different methods.

Vladimir Nabokov wrote the first drafts of his novels on index cards. This made it easy to rearrange sentences, paragraphs, and chapters by shuffling the cards around.

It does sound easier, and more fun, than copying and pasting in Word! Once Nabokov liked the arrangement, his wife typed them into a single manuscript.

Same for you, don’t give up and think that it’s impossible for you to be productive when one method fails. Try different methods until you find what works perfectly for you.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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