Links Roundup #23

saddle and rope

Note that this is an extra Links Roundup article. I have simply gathered too much stuff, and must publish another roundup in order to get “caught up”. Enjoy!

Design

Hackdesign is a web site that offers 44 lessons in design.  Either view all the lessons, or get one each week via email.  Lessons include design fundamentals, tools, typography, user experience, iconography, responsive design, and more. The Toolkit might be particularly useful.

Email

Notes for Gmail Gives You a Scratchpad for Emails and Threads is a Lifehacker post by Alan Henry that discusses a Gmail add-on that basically adds sticky notes to either an individual email or a whole thread.

Evernote/OneNote/Note-Taking Software

Once again there is a feature in one version of Evernote (Mac version, this time) that I can’t wait to have in my version (Windows/Android).  Catherine Pope of The Digital Researcher writes, in Find Your Stuff with Descriptive Searching in Evernote that you can now use natural language searching in Evernote.  She gives examples, such as “image from this month”, and Evernote will recognize the date and format parameters and return notes that match both.

How people use a particular tool changes over time, as Jamie Todd Rubin acknowledges in a recent Going Paperless column on How I Simplified My Notebook Organization in Evernote.  The notebook structure he had during his early years using the product became too cumbersome and he came up with a simpler organization that works for him… and maybe for you.  Part Two describes how he simplified hist tag structure.  He also has a good column Add Reminders to Scanned Documents for Quick Action Items.  It discusses using the reminder feature of Evernote so that if you need to take an action on a particular document that you have scanned, Evernote will remind you if you set a reminder.  Yes, you should scan everything (I don’t yet, but will).

There have been a flurry of posts (such as this one) on Evernote‘s new ability to help one self-publish an ebook, via integration with the FastPencil platform.  Note that FastPencil sells a variety of services (at a variety of prices) such as professional editing, cover design, publishing distribution, and marketing.

Cindy Grigg, who does the About.com website on office software, has a truly EXCELLENT article with a 40-feature comparison chart of Microsoft OneNote, Evernote, and Google Keep.  She links at the bottom to her more complete reviews of the three (Evernote, OneNote, and Keep).

Microsoft  Updates OneNote for Android for ‘Full Tablet Experience’ is an article in Tab Times.  It indicates the update is aimed mostly at students returning to school, and that one of its major features is handwriting recognition – draw either with a finger or a stylus.  Another article on the same topic, Why OneNote for Android with Handwriting is Important, makes the point that styli (styluses?) are getting better and thinner, more like writing with a pen or pencil, so that handwriting is more natural.  This can be important because some studies have shown that retention is better with handwriting than typing.

Library Technology

The 2014 NMC Horizon Report is now available.  Description:

The report describes findings from the NMC Horizon Project, an ongoing research project designed to identify and describe emerging technologies likely to have an impact on teaching, learning, and creative inquiry. Six key trends, six significant challenges, and six emerging technologies are identified across three adoption horizons over the next one to five years, giving library leaders and staff a valuable guide for strategic technology planning.

Mac OS

The Mac Power Users is a podcast by Katie Floyd and David Sparks. Their mission is “to turn listeners into Power Users. Each episode will look in-depth at one computing or technology related topic or talk to a luminary of the tech community about their workflow.”  Subscribe via RSS or iTunes.

Meetings

A lot of people have used Doodle to schedule meetings.  Timothy Lepczyk at EduHacker writes in Online Scheduling with Best Day about an alternative tool, Best Day, that has more features then Doodle, including allowing participants to vote on which location and time should be chosen for a meeting.

Microsoft

Cindy Grigg, has an in-depth review of Office 365 in her About.com guide to office software, .  My place of work has just moved to it so I found this particularly interesting.  The Office Software About.com page looks excellent and I have just signed up for the free email newsletter.

Mind Mapping

Catherine Pope of The Digital Researcher blog has a post on Scapple, which sounds like a combination of a mind-mapping tool and a note-taking tool.  More, it integrates with Scrivener, a writing tool that many academics use.  Scapple is available in both Mac and Windows versions.

PDFs

Fatima Wahab writes in the Addictive Tips article Notable PDF: Annotate and Save Changes Made to a PDF Online about the Chrome extension that allows highlighting and commenting on a PDF and saving those as text and PDF.

PKM

Bonnie Stachowiak of the blog Teaching in Higher Ed has a set of links on PKM topics in Delicious.  In our interactions with her I’ve been bowled over by her organizational and communication abilities.  She also has an excellent introductory presentation on PKM.  And don’t forget to listen to her podcast #9, where she interviewed Crystal and me!

Productivity

Maggie Zhang of Business Insider has a useful post 17 Web Resources that Will Improve Your Productivity.  A lot of our old friends are mentioned such as Evernote, IFTTT, and Feedly.  Most others I have heard of but not used.  Worth checking out.

Mihir Patkar of Lifehacker has a good post Use This Flowchart to Identify What Type of Procrastinator You Are.  The article discusses research done by Dr. Joseph Ferrari of DePaul University which identifed three types of procrastinators, the thrill seekers, the Avoider, and the Indecisive.  Listed are some hints for each type on how to deal with the problem.

Security

“Lifehacker’s Five Best Desktop Antivirus Applications discusses the pros and cons of the viewer-chosen favorite applications.  The five are a variety of free, premium, and freemium; and a mix of operating systems.  Programs mentioned are Avast, ESET NOD32,  Bitdefender, Kaspersky, and Avira.  If you aren’t protecting your computer, please do… you’ve heard enough about the risks!

Bob Rankin‘s Internet Explorer: the LEAST Secure Browser? is more nuanced than the title suggests, so read the whole thing.  Overall, IE, Firefox, and Chrome are all reasonably safe, with some security enhancements on the way.

Video

In case you haven’t already noticed, we just love Jill Duffy‘s Getting Organized weekly columns for PCMag.  A recent one has detailed ideas for how to organize video files.

Writing

Hemingway is an app that helps with proofreading a document, and now is available on the desktop for Windows and Mac.  It works with Markdown, a mark up language for plain text beloved by many academic writers.

Jamie Todd Rubin, who I often mention for his Going Paperless columns on Evernote, is a programmer by day and a fiction writer at other times.  In “Open Beta of My Google Docs Writing Tracker Version 2” he shares the application he created to organize and track his progress on all his many writing projects.  He automated a lot of this process with a program which sends the data to a Google spreadsheet, and has now shared that program on GitHub.  This could be very useful for graduate students and faculty, as well as other writers.

 

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Personal Knowledge Management for Academia & Librarians »

Content Curation Tools 2: Alternatives to Scoop.it!

Back in May, we explored one of today’s most popular content curation tools: Scoop.it! Today I would like to broaden that discussion and look at a number of other alternatives to Scoop.it!.

There are different aspects of content curation that have to be considered when evaluating tools. Just like a crossroads with many different paths, your tool choice determines the direction of your content curation activities.

Some content curation tools have more advanced features with regards to the collection and alerting aspect of identifying new content.  For example, Feedly has become well known as the RSS aggregator successor to Google Reader.  It is a content curation tool that has specialized on the collection of content for the user to evaluate. As well as doing a good job of keeping track of RSS feeds you wish to follow, Feedly also offers a search engine which allows users to search for additional sources of information on a topic.  These new finds can then be added to your feed as well.

Some content curation tools have very attractive display and organization features.  For example, Tweeted Times is a specialized application that allows the user to created themed collections of tweets in an attractive newspaper format. Twitter lists or twitter searches determine the content which is refreshed every hour.

Another popular tool that utilizes a newpaper-like layout is paper.li.  It combines entries from Twitter hashtags, photos, blog and newsline articles and Facebook. For example, Michael Steeleworthy published a paper.li paper called The Academic Librarian Review.  I have found this particular tool to be a bit klunky in its skill of returning content that was on point for my interests, but it has remained a popular choice on tool lists for some time.

When considering photos and graphics, Pinterest offers both the ability to easily add to your topical boards, but also to search others’ boards for new items fitting your topics.

Other content curation tools have better defined functionality for the actual curation and annotation of curated content. A prime example of this type of tool is Storify.  Popular in K-12 arenas for several years, this is a tool that is often overlooked by academic users. This tool allows the aggregation of text, video and images from many platforms including Twitter, YouTube and Facebook along with user content which relates the items together into a story or timeline.  One example of an application of Storify with an academic bent is the story created by Jeff Sonderman on the 9/11 anniversary broadcasts.

Another popular tool in the K-12 arena is Flipboard.  This tool allows users to create their own personal magazine.   Articles, blog posts, photos and other media can be aggregated to create attractive, professional-looking layouts in a digital magazine style.  K-12 teachers actively use Flipboard to create resources guides on class topics or current event magazines for their students to read as a part of their civics lessons.  Teachers also create assignments where their students create flipboard magazines on their assigned topics instead of the traditional paper report.  I can see uses for academic professors, college student projects and librarians.  As well as the types of uses popular with K-12, there are interesting applications for academic librarians using flipboard in creating user tutorials.  For example, here is a short flipboard on the tool Evernote. While this is not strictly a content curation related use for the tool, it is still a potentially effective application of the tool for typical work activities.

Understanding what functionality is more important to us is key to making the best decisions about which tool to adopt for our use.  That being said, there are many very successful content curators who use multiple tools in order to reach different groups and to capitalize on the special features that different tools offer. Consider your goals, take a look at some of the tools mentioned here, or in other tool review articles on the web, choose a tool and then get your feet wet.  Whichever tool you choose, getting started with content curation is the most important  part of the process.  You will refine your skills and learn what does and does not work for you as you hone your new skills.

Have you started making content curation a part of your life?  Share with us; let us know your successes and lessons you have learned.

The post Content Curation Tools 2: Alternatives to Scoop.it! appeared first on Personal Knowledge Management for Academia & Librarians.

Personal Knowledge Management for Academia & Librarians »

Why We All Need Journeys

Courage comes through achievement but also through the attempt.
—Chris Guillebeau

I began my adult life as a traveler; in many ways, travel has made me who I am today. I think we all could learn to see our lives more as a journey than a destination. We would be better for it.

Road Trip Photo

Photo credit: Moyan Brenn (Creative Commons)

For me, it started with a three-hour trip downstate to go to college. Then a semester in Spain. Then a couple summers in Texas.

After I graduated, I joined a band and traveled for a year: Canada, most of the U.S., and Taiwan (we were BIG in Asia).

Then I moved to Nashville and spent the first few months going on weekend road trips. After that, I would drive 20 minutes downtown to hang out with homeless people. Later, I would lead mission trips overseas once or twice a year.

Wherever I was, I would find a way to embark on some excursion, some mini pilgrimage. Because in the leaving, I found myself. In the going, I learned something about my identity.

Three lessons journeys teach us

  1. Journeys define us. They are important markers of our lives. And they remind us that we are all travelers of some sort.
  2. Journeys reveal our shortcomings. They show us we are not alone in this world. That there are other wanderers out there, in searching of truth and meaning in this great big, confusing universe.
  3. Journeys teach us about life. Richard Rohr said we go on journeys so we never have to go again. I sort of agree. We spend a semester abroad, take a year to backpack Europe, or volunteer with the Peace Corps to remember that life is the grand adventure. Once we learn this, we never stop traveling (even if we never leave home).

A journey is what you make it

It’s a process of leaving and arriving, of losing yourself and finding it again. And if these are our only criteria, anything can be a journey, as long as you are intentional.

Every once in awhile, I have to remind myself that despite a mortgage and steady job and any other semblance of stability, I am still a wanderer. Still a journeyman in search of answers, still a pilgrim in a foreign land.

And every so often, I have to take a trip to remember this. To find. To lose. To become. Last year, it was Ireland with my wife. Before that, Puerto Rico with a good friend. In the near future, it will be somewhere else.

The lesson of all journeys is this: Life is not stable, and we’re not in control. All we can do is enjoy the ride. (Click to tweet.) So how about it?

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
—Mark Twain

When was the last time you took a journey? What did you learn? Share in the comments.

Note: If this topic resonates with you, check out Chris Guillebeau’s new book, The Happiness of Pursuit (aff. link). It’s a compelling look at why we all need to undertake a quest at some point in our lives. Check it out!


Goins, Writer

022: How to Succeed as a Writer in an Era of Change [Podcast]

Recently, I learned the word literally no longer means what it used to mean. This bothers me, but this is the nature of language – it’s always evolving. In this week’s podcast, we discuss the state of flux of the writing world and how to survive the changes.

Man reading a book

Photo Credit: Darwin Bell via Compfight cc

In today’s episode of the podcast, my co-host Andy Traub and I experiment with a new show format (we had perhaps too much fun with this), including five new segments that blend both the informative with the informal.

On the show, we share a weird way to become more disciplined, some tips on what it takes to overcome procrastination, and the bright future of publishing.

Not to mention: a profound thought on life, a prediction regarding the future of dictionaries, and why you should be paying more attention to Dunkin’ Donuts (seriously). Enjoy!

Listen to the podcast

To listen to the show, click the player below (if viewing this in email click here).

You can also download it at iTunes or on Stitcher.

If you are more of a text person, I totally understand. Below is an article based on the podcast, but if you have about 20 minutes, I really hope you give the show a listen. I think you’ll like it.

A surprising secret to becoming more disciplined

For me, building a daily habit of writing was hard. In fact, it was easier to get up and run five miles than to develop the habit of writing every day. So I got up and ran.

And then a surprising thing happened. When I got back from a run, it was easier to sit down and write. As I grew the discipline in one area of my life, I found that discipline in other areas came a little easier. Or as I’ve heard my friend Jon Acuff say:

Discipline begets discipline.

If you’re struggling to develop discipline with anything, whether it’s writing or exercise or something else entirely, try starting with something easier. And I’m not above bribery, either. Find little ways to reward yourself for your discipline. It works.

The three phases of mastery

Once you’ve committed a certain discipline and started to grow in that skill, you have a choice. You can settle for good or aspire for greatness. Not too long ago, I interviewed a man named Robert Greene who changed what I thought about that.

In his book Mastery, Green shares a simple but counterintuitive message. While most people tend to talk about success and how to make more money or beat your competitors, he says that if you focus on mastering your craft, success will follow. According to him, being great at what you do is the secret to any sustainable success.

His process for achieving mastery looks like this:

  1. Preparation: You’ll spend a portion of your life, often before you even realize it, preparing for your calling.
  2. Apprenticeship: It takes an extended period intentional practice to become great at what to do.
  3. Creative/Active Phase: Mastery comes when you actually live out your calling.

What I love about this is the aspect of apprenticeship, something that I think is lost on our modern culture. Before you can become great yourself, you have to see what greatness in action looks like.

Why now is the best time to be an author

Recently, Amazon opened up pre-orders for independent authors. This, I think, is a game-changer. The inability for indie authors to offer pre-orders used to give an advantage to traditional publishing, and now Amazon is leveling the playing field. That’s a big deal.

If you are enrolled in Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing program (which is free), you can now make your eBook available for pre-order for up to 90 days prior to its release. This allows authors to build energy for their book launch, which means more sales and ultimately more readers.

In other news, you may have heard about the conflict between Amazon and the publisher Hachette. Among the issues between them (which I don’t pretend to fully understand), one surrounds who gets to set book prices. Here’s my thought on that: Amazon is a business. And a business gets to set prices for what it sells.

But isn’t that a monopoly? Shouldn’t we writers boycott Amazon for being evil? Maybe not.

Amazon knows that by offering the products readers want at a better price, they will sell more books. And from an author’s perspective, this is a good thing. If writers are worrying about prices going down, the best way to respond is not with a scarcity mindset, but with an abundance mindset.

In other words, I will continue to use Amazon to reach readers and sell books. And though I’m not necessarily “pro-Amazon” I certainly respect their right to sell books at the prices they choose to sell them at. They’ve done some interesting testing on books priced above $ 9.99 versus those priced below and have seen the lower-priced books sell more copies and generate more revenue.

Based on Amazon’s sales history, lower prices (to a point) mean significantly more books in the hands of readers. And that’s what I care about.

On writing and living

For me, writing has never been about the cash. It’s always been about sharing a message that resonates with people. Since I began this journey years ago, I aspired to help as many people as possible while providing for my family.

As time has gone by, I’ve learned an important lesson: Writing doesn’t just make me just a better writer, it makes me a better person. I read about this recently, discovering that daily journaling (by hand, in cursive – yes, cursive) increases cognitive activity in ways that typing doesn’t.

In other words, writing can help you:

  • Be more disciplined.
  • Think better.
  • Get more done.

That’s why I’m writer. That’s why I encourage other people to claim the title of writer. Because good writing inspires great living, and great living inspires better writing. (Tweet that)

To hear more tips on writing and living, check out to the full podcast. If you disagree with Andy’s prediction about Dunkin Donuts rivaling the popularity of Starbucks, let us know. While you’re at it, please drop a review on iTunes. It helps more people find the show.

Resources mentioned in the show

Here are some books, articles, and podcasts you might be interested in:

  • The Now Habit by Neil Fiore (book)
  • Mastery by Robert Greene (book)
  • Bryan Allain Interviews Me on the Schnozcast (podcast)
  • Amazon’s Update on Preorders for Kindle Direct Publishing (article)
  • Why Writing By Hand Could Make You Smarter (article)
  • A Life Worth Writing About (article)

Have you subscribed to the podcast yet, so you can get brand-new, weekly episodes delivered straight to you? You can do that with any podcast player by copying and pasting this URL into the app:

http://feeds.feedburner.com/ThePortfolioLifeJeffGoins

If you need a recommendation on what to use, I recommend using iTunes to subscribe and then listening on your computer or via the podcast app (for instructions on how to do that, click here), or you can also use Stitcher.

Let me know if you need any help!

What habit are you trying to master? Share in the comments.


Goins, Writer

How to Write a Book: The 5-Draft Method

Not too long ago, a friend asked me to read his book. He’d written a rough draft and wasn’t sure what to do after that. After reading it, I explained how writing a book involves five different drafts. He was surprised to hear that. Most people are.

How to Write a Book

Photo Credit: “The Wanderer’s Eye Photography” via Compfight cc

We have this idea that writing a book is a magical process involving only inspiration but nothing that looks like hard work. The truth is the most creative, successful people I know are also some of the most disciplined — in their own way.

If you have a project you want to share with the world, chances are it’s going to take more of you than you want to give. It might break you and cause you to scream. But in the end, you will be better for it. And it will be worth it.

Here are the five drafts I use in any project, product, or book I create (including my upcoming book, The Art of Work):

Draft #1: The Junk Draft

This is your first try, what my friend Marion calls the “vomit draft.” It’s where you get all your ideas on paper or screen or whatever. It’s where you dream big and swing for the fences.

Save your cynicism and self-doubt for later. Here, anything is possible.

Lesson: Your dreams must be bigger than your doubts. [Tweet]

Draft #2: The Structure Draft

This is where you look at the structure of your project. Does the story flow? Is the argument cohesive and consistent? Will people look at it and see something that resembles some kind of order?

At this point, you need to make a decision. Will you commit to this? Here is where you abandon your project, go back to the drawing board, or decide to forge ahead.

Lesson: Before you can make it pretty, you have to make it work. [Tweet]

Draft #3: The Rough Draft

This is the point at which you have an actual manuscript, something you can legitimately call a “work-in-progress.”

At this stage, you will review you work as a whole and see if what you’ve said makes sense. From idea to idea, chapter to chapter, and sentence to sentence. Now that you’ve got a structure, it’s time to make this thing sing.

Lesson: Excellence takes longer than we want. [Tweet]

Draft #4: The Surgery Draft

At this point, you need to start slicing and dicing, cutting your content down to its most essential message. You’ve gone through enough edits that you’ve added things, beautiful things. Unnecessary things. Distracting things.

You’re too close to the work now and need to have a someone review it. Ask a friend, peer, or professional editor (if you can afford it) to do her worst. Be ready for the criticism to come and decide ahead of time to apply it.

All feedback is a gift, if you choose to see it that way.

Here, you must cut superfluous phrases and nonessential details. You might even kill entire chapters and sections. It’s hard and painful but so important to making your message clear and good.

Lesson: The simplest version of a book is the best. [Tweet]

Draft #5: The Last Draft

This is when you go through your work and try to tweak the parts that could be better, where you make sure there are no loose ends or dangling parts that don’t make sense or resolve.

Simply put, this is the final edit. After this draft, it’s wise to have a whole team of people review your work to catch simple errors. But this is the last chance to make major edits to your project.

This is also when you decide to push forward and ship your work. It’s the decision point at which you throw the manuscript in the trash (as Stephen King did with Carrie before his wife pulled it out) or swallow your fear and push on.

As Leonardo da Vinci said, “Art is never finished, only abandoned.”

You will never have a “final” draft. Your work will never be done, not completely. However, there comes a point when you must decide to release an imperfect creation into the world — or not.

And this is where so many people stop, which is sad. Because by now, you’re closer now than you think. In some cases, it’s only a matter of inches or hours between you and a breakthrough.

If you’ve done the work, this is the easy part. Because chances are, after all this editing and critiquing, you’ve got something good. The question is, will we get to see it?

Lesson: Your work is never complete. But at some point you must decide to finish, anyway. [Tweet]

What comes next

What happens next? What do you do after you finish writing this book? Well, you go write another. Sure, there’s launching the book and promoting it, maybe even traveling some to speak about it. But don’t wait too long before you start your next project.

I’m learning this lesson right now as I finish what I hope will be a breakthrough book for me, something I’ve been wanting to write for three years. Even so, I’m moving on. Soon, I will start writing the next book.

Why? Because when I wait, I stagnate. What makes a writer is not the book deal or a platform. It’s the writing. Just the writing. [Tweet]

You better get on with it. So should I.

More on the writing process

Of course, this is just the overall process. For more on the actual writing process, as well as what to do once you have the book written, check out the following articles:

  • 10 Ridiculously Simple Tips for Writing a Book
  • Book Writing Tips that Work
  • Book Ideas for Young Writers
  • Yes, You Can Publish a Book (Here’s How)

What’s your process for writing a book? Share in the comments.


Goins, Writer

021: How a Photographer Built an Online Business, One Relationship at a Time [Podcast]

At 19 years old, David Molnar had plans of what he thought his future would look like. But in one moment, a horrible accident turned his world upside down. His college athletic scholarship and dream of being a pilot were gone forever. Now, he had to figure out what to do next.

021: David Molnar: How Intentionality, Determination, and Heart Built His Business One Relationship at a Time [Podcast]

Photo Credit: Digital Explorer via Compfight cc

David thought he had it all figured out, but the accident showed him how quickly things can change, which is always the case in life. We are never quite as in control as we think.

The unexpected twist in David’s story, though, held an important opportunity.

Instead of getting angry at the world (which was a struggle), he chose to focus on what he could do. As a result, he found his true calling, which not only introduced him to the love of his life but led to one of the fastest-growing online platforms I’ve ever seen.

In this episode of The Portfolio Life, we talk about how tragedies can be turned into dreams, how serving others is the best way to get what you want, and why building an online business is something anybody can do.

David also shares specific steps he took to create explosive growth in his email list — over 12,000 people in three months — and how you can do the same.

Listen to the interview

To listen to the show, click the player below.

You can also download it at iTunes or on Stitcher.

Endurance is essential to building anything

After spending a decade traveling the world as a successful celebrity and wedding photographer, David was ready for a change. He wanted more time to focus on his family and the freedom as an artist to say no to projects he wasn’t passionate about.

But in order to do that, he was going to have to find another way of making a living.

David knew he had to shift from what he calls a “wheelbarrow business” — one where you have to trade hours for dollars – to a more automated, scalable way of working.

Initially, he found it hard to switch directions. Full of starts and stops along the way, David’s journey is one of perseverance. It took him two years to write the book he had thought about writing for a long time. But once he published it, the book was the catalyst for everything else to come.

Most people spend years making plans and talking about their goals. Not David. Once he got serious, he accomplished amazing things — growing a huge email list and launching an online business — in a matter of months.

Looking back, there were some lucky moments, but there were also unexpected setbacks. What allowed him to endure, in spite of all that, was his commitment to finish.

Three steps to building anything (plus a bonus)

So what do we learn from David’s story? A few things:

  1. He was prepared. He made a practice of self-education by reading blogs and books and taking online courses that could help him. He studied and prepared for his transition. He didn’t just jump into the deep end of the pool; he invested the time in learning how to run an online business.
  2. He was committed. He gave freely to his online community, asking questions, sharing updates, and learning how to better serve an online audience as he was building one. He made his goals and deadlines public, which created accountability that forced him to finish his book.
  3. He didn’t give up. As many do, David could have given up, leaving himself stuck in the cycle of an eternal work-in-progress. Instead, he did something that scared him. He shipped. He found something people wanted and shared it.

And if you want to share something important with the world (a book, an online course, a product), you’re going to have to do the same by building trust, freely giving to people, and helping others solve their problems.

That’s what David did with his book, iPhone Only Photography, and what he continues to do with his online course.

You can’t go wrong with preparation, commitment, and perseverance. They are the glue that holds anything important together. But even those aren’t enough. You’ve got to have a giving mentality. As David says about those willing to give you their attention:

Treat them like royalty.

Remember: When you focus on what you can do for others, and not on what they can do for you, a relationship is built. When tempted to hold back, be even more generous. And when you’re not sure what to do, find ways to add more value.

In the end, it’s all about relationship.

For more on how David implemented these steps that helped him build an online business, check out the full episode of the podcast on iTunes or Stitcher (be sure to leave a review if you haven’t already done so). And to download a free copy of his book, iPhone Only Photography: Shooting Essentials, visit his website (this is an exclusive offer just for my readers and listeners).

I’d love to hear from you

So tell me. What are you thinking of this podcast so far? I’ve done short episodes and longer ones, as well as Q&As and in-depth interviews. What are you liking? What could use some work? I really want to know.

And if you haven’t already done so, I encourage you to subscribe to The Portfolio Life (here’s how to do that in iTunes). It’s free and easy and ensures that you don’t miss a thing.

In other news, here are some places where we can connect in person in the near future:

  • Come see me in Washington. I’m going to be speaking at Moody Bible Institute in Spokane, WA September 8 and 10. While I’m there, I’ll also be hosting a public meetup. Find out more and RSVP here.
  • Say hi in New Orleans. I’m going to be speaking at #FinCon 2014 September 18-20 and I’d love to meet you while I’m there. Get the details of the meetup I’m cohosting with my friend Grant Baldwin. RSVP here.
Special Announcement: My online course Tribe Writers is currently open for registration. This is the online course to help you discover your unique voice, find the audience your words deserve, and build a powerful platform that will get you published. It’s only available a few times a year, and registration closes this week. Learn more about it here.

What do you need to overcome or change to reach your goals? Share in the comments.


Goins, Writer

12 Things I Learned from Wandering the World

For over 25 years I wandered the world.  Along the way, I had many adventures and learned about myself, people and the world.

These are some of the things I learned:

1. I learned that people all over the world want the same basic things: enough to eat, clear water, decent shelter, good health, education and opportunities for their children, an honest way to earn some money and respect.

2. I learned that some of the poorest people on this planet are also some of the most generous. They share what they have, even if it is only a glass of water.  When someone offers you something from the heart it can be considered very rude to refuse the generosity.

3. I learned I could be comfortable in the company of world leaders and dignitaries and, with people in the slums of Africa, South America and Asia.  Take away our outer trappings and labels to find underneath we are all the same.

4. I learned you have no idea what you will do when mugged. In Lesotho,  I had a knife to my throat and still negotiated to keep the things in my bag while offering them my money.  They agreed. Foolishness or a moment of total clarity?

5. I learned that each culture has a different interpretation of personal space. From experience, I have found that the more populated a country is the less personal space you are given.

6. I learned in some countries going by local bus meant sharing a space with more than just people.  As this is the only means of transportation for many, you could find yourself sharing a space with an assortment of chickens, goats, produce and anything else which needed to be transported.

7. I learned to appreciate everything I had and yet to have no attachment to them.  This was taught to me when Iraq invaded Kuwait. During this war I lost most of my possessions, including all my professional documents.  Things can be replaced.

8. I learned how resourceful I was.  In Zambia, daily skyrocketing inflation resulted in a diminishing salary. Being open to suggestion, I found alternative means of earning more money, and lived well for two years and became closer to the local people.

9. I learned to trust strangers.  In Alexandra, Egypt, a friend and I were standing under a street sign trying to decipher the Arabic on our map with the Arabic on the sign when an elderly man stopped to help.  With gestures we indicated where we wanted to go.  He called someone, a young boy appeared, then he waved for us to follow the boy.  We did and we arrived at our destination.  Later, we discovered we were in a part of the city that most Egyptian wouldn’t enter unless they absolutely had to.  Sometimes you just have to trust and know everything will be just fine.

10. I learned the joy of spontaneous laugher, singing and dancing with new friends in Greece, Russia and Latvia.  Freedom is completely enjoying the moment.

11. I learned to be completely aware of my surrounds and notice things that were slightly off.  In Ethiopia this saved me from being shot at.  I was driving toward the centre of a small city when I noticed how still everything was.  In an instant I knew something was wrong.  Within seconds I was facing tanks, soldiers and a mob of people.  Because I had slowed down, I was able to take the next corner and get out there right before shots were fired. Trust that voice that says, “get out now”!

12. I learned to experience life fully and to embrace whatever was presented.  I learned to love all people and to respect this beautiful planet that we live on.

You don’t need to travel to the world for experiences, they are present all around you every day.  You just have to be willing to look at the blessings each holds.

What lessons have you learned from your life experiences?  I would love to hear them.

Photo by Moyan Brenn

The post 12 Things I Learned from Wandering the World appeared first on Change Your Life | The Change Blog.

Change Your Life | The Change Blog

5 Things You Can Fix With Simple Everyday Stuff

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Being a homeowner comes with pride and a sense of achievement. But, home ownership requires a commitment to keeping your dream abode a happy place that’s safe and running smoothly. Fixing things and making occasional repairs is inevitable. Even if you’re not the DIY kind of person, you will have to roll-up your sleeves and get your hands dirty once in a while.

This infographic by Mr. Handyman shows some quick-fix solutions for common household problems.

DIY

Featured photo credit: JD Hancock | Flickr via goo.gl

The post 5 Things You Can Fix With Simple Everyday Stuff appeared first on Lifehack.


Lifehack

Links Roundup #22

saddle and ropeApps for Academics

Crystal pointed me to the site Smallwow Best Apps for Academics.  Created by Nicole Hennig, it is a companion for the 2014 book Best Apps for Academics by Hennig and Pam Nicholas.  Smallwow gets a big wow – excellently organized LibGuide with pages for apps for productivity, reading, library research, taking notes, writing, collaborating, presenting, and a page for resources.  It is pretty iOS-centric, one of the few downsides from my Android point of view, but iPads are very popular.

Catherine Pope of The Digital Researcher blog has an article that points to a Chrome  and Firefox extension that opens up a LOT of functionality for handling your tabs, such as grouping tabs and making a web page of tabs that can be shared with others.

TabTimes has an article on Parallels, an app for iOS and Android that allows one to control a PC or Mac from a smartphone or tablet.  It requires a subscription, but the annual cost has come down to $ 20.

The American Association for School Librarians (AASL) puts out an annual list of the Best Websites for Teaching and Learning which features websites (often apps or software).  Their description:  “The 2013 Best Websites for Teaching and Learning foster the qualities of innovation, creativity, active participation, and collaboration. They are free, Web-based sites that are user friendly and encourage a community of learners to explore and discover.”  The categories are Media Sharing, Digital Storytelling, Manage and Organize, Social Networking and Communications,  Content Resources, and Curriculum Collaboration.   Looks like a useful set of tools.

Citation/Research Management

Colwiz is a research management tool that includes reference management, calendars, to-do lists/project management, PDF managment, collaboration options, and more.  They have just upgraded their reference and PDF options through a Chrome extension that allows you to, while on a journal website, identify references, make it and the PDF available for import, allow annotating PDFs while still on the web, then add the annotated PDFs into your Colwiz library which can be viewed on the web, in the desktop software, or with mobile apps.  The information on the updates was in an email, so I can’t offer a URL other than the top level site.

Catherine Pope of The Digital Researcher has added two posts on how to integrate Zotero with Scrivener, a writing software popular with academic researchers.  The first one is How to Use Zotero with Scrivener – Pt. 1, and the next one is (wait for it…) How to Use Zotero with Scrivener – Pt. 2.

Another useful post from Catherine Pope of The Digital Researcher is Adding Citations to Google Docs using Zotero and Paperpile. I had not heard of Paperpile before, and sounds to me like once having imported a Zotero library one can then use Paperpile to manage references.  Paperpile is a Chrome app, does have a small monthly subscription, and is in the process of adding features, of which it already has an impressive number.

Cloud Storage

Jason Heppler’s recent Profhacker post Use Copy for Cloud Storage Backup and File Sharing discusses Copy, a product similar to Dropbox but with a better pricing structure (including 15 GB free).

The storage wars continue, as the CNET article Microsoft OneDrive Jumps to 15 MB Free details.  This makes it equal to Google Drive.

Evernote/OneNote/Notebook Software

Jamie Todd Rubin, Evernote’s Going Paperless Ambassador, generally writes clear well-organized columns about using Evernote.  In a recent post he describes how his use of Evernote has evolved over his years of using it, and it is interesting to see how a workflow of a busy professional has evolved.

Microsoft OneNote has added a feature in which you can email your OneNote account and put a URL in the subject or message body and it will send a screenshot of that web page into your default notebook.  It is nice, but doesn’t quite have the functionality of Evernote’s Web Clipper.

Catherine Pope continues to have really terrific posts on technologies of use to academic researchers in her blog The Digital Researcher.  Try out this post How to Annotate Images in Evernote.

Melanie Pinola on Lifehacker Australia has a post Send Your Kindle Book Notes and Highlighted Passages to Evernote.  Since Evernote searches the contents of all your notes, this could be a really useful.

A Microsoft OneNote developer has created an add-on called Onetastic that adds some cool options, such as various ways of sorting, adding a calendar or table of contents to a note, and more. The video included in the article is short but informative.  The site for the add-on is here.

IFTTT

Alex Campbell on PCWorld has a useful article on using Feed Rinse to set up RSS feeds and add filters to them to get only the the information you want, and then use IFTTT to send the feeds as SMS texts.  You could, of course, change that to your email or however else you want to see them.

 Mind Mapping

Jacob O’Gara has a nice roundup of the 15 best mind mapping tools on the Digital Trends website.  It has a nice mix of paid, free, and freemium; various operating systems, web based, and apps; lists some features of each and includes screenshots.

Operating Systems

Eric Ligman, a manager at Microsoft, has a post offering 300 or so free ebooks on Microsoft products, including various version of Windows, Office 365, Sharepoint, Moodle-Office 365 Plugin, the various Office products, lots of keyboard shortcuts for various products, various guides for developers and system administrators, and more.

Lifehacker does an annual roundup of their favorite essential applications for different platforms.  For example, Lifehacker Pack for Windows: Our List of the Essential Windows Apps, has apps in many categories, including Productivity, Internet and Communication, Utilities, and more.  The one for Macs is also available, as is the one for Android, Android tablets, Chrome, Firefox, as well as the one for iPhone, the iPad, and the Linux one.

Presentations

Found Slides through the Scout Report.  It looks like a great option for creating presentation slides.  It is in the cloud, syncs to a variety of devices, has a lot of customization options, and its free version allows 250 Mb of storage for publicly available slide decks.  Let us know in the comments if you have used it and your experiences with it.

Productivity Techniques

Alan Henry‘s post on Lifehacker Productivity 101: A Primer to the Pomodoro Technique is an excellent introduction to Francesco Cirillo‘s popular tomato-based productivity tool.  It discusses what Pomodoro is, the steps for getting started, apps that help you work with Pomodoro, who it works best for, integrating it with other productivity techniques, and additional reading.

To-do Lists

Alan Henry‘s Lifehacker post Make a 1-3-5 List for a Faster, Instantly-Prioritized To-Do List advocates having a daily to-do list of one big thing to get done that day, three medium-priority tasks you’d like to do, and five items it would be nice to do.

Writing

John Mello’s recent post in ComputerWorld  Review: 3 Note-Taking Gadgets Keep You Scribbling discusses that some studies show handwriting notes improve recall over typing them.  It then reviews Boogie Board, Adonit Jotscript Evernote Edition stylus, and the Livescribe 3 pen.

 

The post Links Roundup #22 appeared first on Personal Knowledge Management for Academia & Librarians.

Personal Knowledge Management for Academia & Librarians

How to Smack Down Your Inner Critic Once and For All

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Do you have an inner critic that taunts you every time you trip up?

You know, that taunting voice that erupts the second you make a mistake?

You don’t know when it started, but for as long as you can remember it’s been with you, waiting for the slightest opportunity to launch its next attack.

And while you suspect its intentions are positive — to protect you from failures — in practice all it does is make things worse.

Favorite taunts of the ruthless inner critic

I’ve been absent-minded for as long as I can remember. I have difficulty focusing on one thing for long, which often leads to silly mistakes. Like losing things.

And this is where that inner critic jumps in.

“How could you be so careless?”

“Will you ever learn?”

“How could you be so irresponsible?”

This incessant voice was truly bringing me down. It was eroding my self-esteem. Every time I forgot something, it would nag me to the point of paralysis, unable to remedy the situation.

Things came to a head and I decided that I had to find a solution. I had to silence this inner critic once and for all.

At first I tried addressing the tendency to be absent-minded by creating lists using the Getting Things Done approach. This helped me get more organized but didn’t silence the harsh critic when I did forget things albeit less frequently.

I tried meditation and that helped to calm my mind but I struggled to keep up a daily practice that lasted for much more than a few minutes each day. I’m still working on expanding the length of the daily sessions.

After a bit of research, I discovered that cultivating a mindfulness practice was very powerful. I think of it as meditation in action. This turned out to be the answer I was looking for.

Mindfulness — an antidote to the chattering monkey mind?

Mindfulness is a psychological concept. It can be defined as being consistently attentive and aware of one’s mental patterns in a non-judgmental manner.

By using the breath as an anchor the practitioner is able to step back and ‘watch’ her thoughts without identifying with them.

Every time she becomes aware that her mind has run away with her thoughts, she consistently and gently brings her focus back to her breath and resumes watching the thoughts without identifying with them.

One of the benefits of a mindfulness practice is the capacity it creates in the mind of the practitioner to objectively observe, and then change deeply ingrained mental patterns.

I spent the next few months cultivating a mindfulness practice. I would watch my thoughts using my breath as an anchor. Inevitably I’d get lost in my thoughts and I’d use my breath as an anchor to go back to ‘watching’ my thoughts.

My first big test of my mindfulness practice

A few months after starting my mindfulness practice, I found myself on a familiar mental roller coaster. My mind had been particularly unruly that morning.

At about 11am, I discovered that the remote control key to my garage at home was missing.

I felt panic! Fear!

The monkey mind is a cruel mind

The usual tirade of thoughts filled with self-blame and shame ensued. The panic-driven questions seemed so reminiscent of my (well intentioned) caregivers from during my growing years:

  • “How could you have been so careless?”
  • “Can’t you even look after one little remote?”
  • “You should be ashamed of yourself. Seriously.”

… On and on it went.

As the barrage continued my morale dropped.

The shame, anger and hopelessness became overwhelming. I felt that familiar pit in my stomach. My shoulders dropped into a slouch.

At this point something interesting happened.

My mindfulness practice came to the rescue

Instead of slumping into my usual state of paralysis, I went into ‘automatic mode’ and I found myself taking a deep breath.

My attention came back to my breath. The destructive thinking continued to play itself out as I watched.

I chose not to react. Instead I objectively watched my thoughts play out the painful cycle of self-blame.

This act of objectively watching showed me that I had a choice not to react. Not to believe the thoughts like I had in the past. Instead I could choose to just let them pass across my mind like clouds moving across the sky.

I could choose to stop beating myself up. Right now!

Choosing not to identify with destructive thoughts. (Detachment)

I made the obvious choice. I didn’t buy into the destructive thoughts.

Instead, I watched them as my mindfulness training had taught me. I didn’t try to push them away but I didn’t indulge them either.

The destructive thoughts slowed down. They petered out into a mumble. They no longer had any power over me.

Then silence!

A spacious mind inspires constructive action

The silence created a certain ‘spaciousness’ in the mind.

Now my mind started to think constructively.

Rationally.

Now that I had moved past the destructive thinking I was free to take constructive action — i.e. to actually look for the remote.

I decided to retrace my steps to the café that I’d been to earlier that morning. I asked the owners if they had seen the remote. They said they hadn’t. My heart sank.

For a moment the anger and self-blame started to kick in again. The thoughts started to return

“You’re never going to find the remote, it’s lost”

“You’ll have to get another one. That’s a hundred bucks! ”

I went back to my breath. I “watched” the thoughts.

Soon they dissipated.

Spaciousness.

Again.

A-Ha!

At this point it occurred to me that I hadn’t had a good look under the table where I’d been sitting.

I looked under the table …  and there it was!

The little remote was wedged beneath one of the legs of the table. Nicely tucked away out of sight — only visible to someone who was actually looking for it.

How mindfulness broke my cycle of self-blame

If I hadn’t been mindful I would never have retraced my steps or gone to the café. Even if I’d gone to the café I wouldn’t have had the presence of mind to look under the table.

After having been told by the owners that they hadn’t seen the key, I would have interpreted their message as being confirmation of my underlying belief.

That I was incapable, irresponsible and that I didn’t really deserve to find my garage keys since I’d lost them.

Mindfulness brought these destructive underlying beliefs out in the open and I got to watch them play through my mind as they tried to sabotage my day. I then had the opportunity to choose not to believe them anymore.

Are You Ready to Silence Your Inner Critic?

If you choose to cultivate a consistent mindfulness practice you will be amazed with the results.

The following are some specific ways in which mindfulness will vanquish your inner critic – once and for all.

1. A strong mindfulness practice can bring destructive thought patterns out into the open. Cultivating the capacity to ‘watch’ these destructive thought patterns means you can choose not to be victimized by them. Instead, you can take constructive action.

2. If you watch your mind consistently, using your breath as an anchor, you will start to see your mind’s workings with greater clarity over time. You won’t be a victim of destructive thinking and will make better choices that lead to constructive action.

3.You don’t need to either push the thoughts away or indulge them. You just watch them as they work through their ‘life cycle’.  The act of watching is extremely powerful.

Do you have an inner critic? Does it berate you and undermine you, often without you realizing it?

If you do, then just stop.

And listen to your thoughts.

I mean truly listen.

Breathe. Listen.

Breathe. Listen.

It all starts with one deep breath.

Why don’t you give it a try? Right now.

How has your inner critic undermined you today?

Photo by Anthony Cain

The post How to Smack Down Your Inner Critic Once and For All appeared first on Change Your Life | The Change Blog.

Change Your Life | The Change Blog

Attributes and Procedure of Getting CPD Accreditation Status

The term Common Professional Development (CPD) is a well organized approach to acquiring the pre determined specialized education, knowledge, practical training practice for pursuing a certain profession that is mandatory in many countries including the UK. CPD requisites can pertain to several professions such as medical, judicial, research and fellowship programs, logistics and transport etc. as per the regulations in an institution or governmental laws. For instance, according to the CPD rules in practice in England and Wales, a legal executive or solicitor executing full time legal practice in the country (working 32 hours or more in a week), needs to complete at least 16 hours of CPD every year that will earn them 16 CPD points.

Obtaining CPD Accreditation

There are several authorized organizations that offer CPD accreditation programs. Before you proceed to acquire your accreditation it is mandatory to complete your CPD program with minimum attendance fulfillment, participation in several activities as a registered college/university candidate etc. Completing this formality will bestow the recognition of an accredited CPD provider status. More or less the following procedures are adopted by all major organizations that offer independent CPD accreditation to a professional.

Application: The first step is to register and apply for an independent CPD provider accreditation status. While applying the candidate will have to submit proof of attending the CPD program, details, of participation in activities, hours completed etc.

Review: The institute awarding accreditation will take about a month of time to review the certificates and credential submitted to verify the authenticity of the documents before processing the application to the final stage where the accreditation awarded to the CPD provider.

Accreditation Awarding and Conditions: The final stage is the accreditation awarding when the candidate is assigned a particular date when he will receive the status of accredited independent CPD provider and gain the privilege of promoting himself in the professional domain to set a milestone in his career. He will then have the facility to approach potential clients or join any institute as an accredited member. To ensure that the accreditation remains valid for lifetime, keep updating it as and when there are any changes in the terms and conditions introduced in the regulations of the particular profession.

  • Gain better client prospects as an established accredited professional
  • Beat the competitors in the professional world and get exposure to premium career opportunities
  • Explore the new job opportunities for which you meet the criteria of accreditation requirements
  • Build a network of clientele with whom you can keep pursuing your profession with peak high progress

The CPD obligations are formulated in accordance with requirement of the essential and advanced skills and education to pursue any said profession with complete accuracy. Many organizations have strict codes for CPD fulfillment of the all the recruits. However the independent professionals not yet associated with any organization or enterprise, in their own interest can opt for taking CPD to ease out their way to getting hired and setting firm foot in the professional world.

Apprenticeships are also another route you can go down and with Gordan Franks Birmingham apprenticeships it is easier than ever before.