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8 Reasons Why Livescribe is the Best Tool for Taking Digital Notes

8 Reasons Why Livescribe is the Best Tool for Taking Digital Notes

    A couple of weeks ago I discussed different ways that note-takers can take more effective digital notes as well as some of the pitfalls of digital note-taking. Being a student, more than part time programmer, and someone who is extremely forgetful when it comes to household and family duties, capturing ideas and actions that need completed is more of a necessity than a nicety.

    I have tried a ton of digital tools for notetaking in class, in meetings, and otherwise. I have found that there is one clear winner that has changed the way that I take notes and review them for the better.

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    Being productivity geeks you have probably heard of the Livescribe Smartpen system and have also taken a look at some of their convincing marketing videos on their website. If not, the Livescribe pen is a way to take paper notes on special “dot paper” that stores them digitally in the pen and syncs them with digital recordings of what is going on around you while you are writing. The notes can then be then transferred to your Mac or PC for review and searching.

    I was first extremely skeptical about this system and didn’t pull the trigger on buying a pen until early in 2010. Having had a full year with my Livescribe pen, I can say that I won’t be taking notes any other way in the foreseeable future. That being said, let’s look at 8 reasons why Livescribe is the best way to take digital notes

    Computers distract

    I have found that laptops in class or meetings are too distracting as it only takes me 10 seconds to jump on a WiFi network and get sucked in to Engadget. Writing is natural and keeps your from being distracted by the recesses of the interwebs.

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    Reviewing is actually useful

    Reviewing notes is difficult, mostly because the stuff that we write down doesn’t make any sense to us after we write it. This is where the beauty of recording and writing with the Livescribe comes in. When you want to review something from your notes, just tap the note and listen to what was going on at the exact time. Simple and powerful.

    Evernote integration

    If you are an Evernote premium member you can sync your notes to Evernote through the Livescribe Desktop. Nothing like having your notes anywhere you are with Evernote.

      Livescribe Desktop on Mac, Windows, iOS

      Having Livescribe as a cross-platform piece of software is essential for me as I switch between Windows and Mac all day long. Also you can download the Pencast Player iOS app which allows you to view all your online Pencasts with audio.

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      Search

      The downfall of plain written notes is that they aren’t searchable. Livescribe Desktop allows you to search your notes and uses optical character recognition to find what you are looking for. Something that I do constently is mark next actions with TODO. When I am reviewing my notes I just search for TODO and drop the action items into my system.

      Impress your colleagues and friends!

      I’m only half serious on this one. One of the coolest things is showing Livescribe to someone, especially someone that takes a lot of notes like managers or professors. As soon as they realize that you can record while writing and then export your notes to PDF or share them with someone else via the web, you can see the wheels in their head start to spin.

        Lined journals for those notebook-loving types

        Oh, but you are one of those hawdy-tawdy Moleskine-packing, Ernest Hemmingway types and the thought of using some other type of notebook just turns you off. Well, you are partially in luck as Livescribe gives you the choice of “leather” bound lined- and unlined- journals that you can use. I have to say that the quality is pretty-darn good; even notebook snobs will be impressed.

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        Sharing notes

        Sharing notes as “Pencasts” online is probably the single-greatest feature of Livescribe. You choose what recorded session you want to upload from your Livescribe Desktop and then send the link to who you want to see your notes. You can also control the access to your notes by making it private and inviting certain people or by making it public for the world to see.

        Conclusion

        As you can see there are many benefits to taking your digital notes via a Livescribe Pen including less distractions while note-taking, cross-platform use, useful reviewing, and easy note-sharing. If you are looking for a cross between taking notes by hand and having the digital power of search, sharing, and audio tied to notes, then I can’t recommend anything better than Livescribe.

        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 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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