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How to Use GoodReader to Get Things Done

How to Use GoodReader to Get Things Done

    iPad has changed the way I do everything digitally. The way that I interact with devices, read, write, organize, and get things done. It is engrained into my life and I wouldn’t want to go back to the way I was before without it.

    One of the apps that have slowly creeped their way into my life is GoodReader for iPad. GoodReader is an app that allows you to read, manage, organize, access, and annotate just about any file that you would want to. It was released as primarily a PDF reader / “annotater” at first, but now hos taken on a life of its own with ways to download files, sync with Dropbox, create, edit, and manage annotations on PDFs, and much more.

    Here are a few ways that I use GoodReader to get things done.

    Syncing documents with Dropbox

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      This is what I use GoodReader for the most and without it, my PDF reading / annotating on iPad wouldn’t exist. This feature allows you to sync an entire directory of documents from your Dropbox folder and with a decent WiFi or 3G connection you can keep documents and PDFs in sync with all of your other Dropbox enabled devices.

      I have an extensive collection of technical PDFs that I use for reference as well as to learn new languages and technologies that I keep synced between a Dropbox folders and GoodReader on my iPad. I can then make annotations, create new bookmarks, and search these documents on iPad. Any changes I make can be easily synced back to Dropbox.

        Where this workflow gets very interesting (and possibly dangerous) is if you have a shared folder in your Dropbox that many people are using a well as synced to GoodReader with your annotations and changes. In my very limited experience with this, having multiple accessors of a single document or folder and those documents syncing with GoodReader seems to work but I have a feeling that it wouldn’t if there were multiple editors of the same document.

        Better (paperless) meetings and discussions

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          One of my issues to resolve this year is to make my life more paperless. GoodReader helps with this.

          Instead of printing out email and agendas for meetings I can create a PDF copy, upload it to Dropbox, email it to myself, or even sync it manually through iTunes. I can then open all documents that I need for the meeting or discussion and use GoodReader’s tabbed interface to view each document when I need it. And, of course, I can make a new annotated copy or annotate the document directly and sync it back Dropbox.

          I can see this process is going to save paper (and headaches from missing notes) this year.

          Signatures

            One of the quickest ways that I have found to sign a digital document is with GoodReader. Yes, I do use PDFpenPro on my Mac, but if I have access to a PDF on iPad that needs signed, I open it in GoodReader, use the freehand drawing tool with my handy stylus (oh, the horror!), zoom in, sign it, save it, and load it up to Dropbox or email it to whomever I need.

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            Showing things off

            The first rule of doing any type of freelance work is too assume that everything will go wrong. I remember about a year ago I was going to show off an interface design to someone and how it would work. I asked them beforehand if they WiFi there I could use. “Of course they did.”

            As I got there, took out my laptop, and then quickly realized that there was no WiFi connection, I was out of luck and couldn’t show anything. Of course, no one that knows the freelancing game would do this; they would always have a backup.

            When I am showing off a design or interface to someone I am working with, I take images of them on my Mac or PC, create PDFs, load them to Dropbox, and bring them down to GoodReader. I even go as far as including hyperlinks on interface buttons in the PDFs that will link to the next screen of the interface to show off the flow of the system.

            Accessing Documents from (almost) anywhere

              One of the greatest things that I enjoy and use with GoodReader is its excellent file access options. You can always sync a folder or document with Dropbox like I pointed out above, but you can also access documents from a ton of different places including mail servers and providers, your Google Docs account, box.net, a WebDAV server, and much more.

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              One of the things I love to do with GoodReader is access my Gmail account and see the entire list of attachements that have an @Action or Read/Review label. I can then quickly go through my list of attachements that need attention on my comfortable chair, leaned back, like Steve Jobs. Perfect.

                 

                I also offload most of my photos to box.net, mostly because of my huge, free 50GB account. I can then access these photos from GoodReader and through email or Apple’s Document Interchange, do just about anything with them.

                Conclusion

                As you can see, GoodReader for iPad is in my “top iPad app list” and made its way to my list of best productivity apps for iPad. With its outrageously small price tag of $4.99, you may be slightly insane for not using it for all of your document reading and handling needs on iPad.

                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 February 15, 2019

                7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

                7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

                Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

                Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

                Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

                So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

                Joe’s Goals

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                  Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

                  Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

                  Daytum

                    Daytum

                    is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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                    Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

                    Excel or Numbers

                      If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

                      What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

                      Evernote

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                        I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

                        Evernote is free with a premium version available.

                        Access or Bento

                          If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

                          Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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                          You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

                          Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

                          All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

                          Conclusion

                          I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

                          What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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