Category Archives: Link Post

Early Thoughts on The Week Dominator from NeuYear

Yours truly on The Cramped:

Paper and I have always had a complicated relationship and even when I use the stuff, I count on a combination of my scanner and Evernote to help me live as close to a paperless existence as possible.

That said, there is one major exception to my paper-free existence; despite being an OmniFocus-using, plain-text-file-wielding junky, every day of my life is lovingly planned on a piece of paper.

Patrick Rhone was kind enough to let me share some preliminary thoughts on my new paper planner of choice.

5 Apps That Will Make Evernote Even Better

Who is this for? Those looking for some of the best 3rd party applications for extending and enhancing their use of Evernote.

From Brett Kelly:

As you get beyond the Evernote basics and your love affair with Evernote deepens and you start keeping more and more of your life and work inside it, you’ll almost invariably come to the conclusion that you might be able to do even more with Evernote.


Having tried and tested dozens (and dozens) of different Evernote-capable applications and services, I’ve found these to be crazy useful.

A great list of apps for extending Evernote functionality from the man who literally wrote the book.

Really wish Powerbot would play nice with Mailplane

Productive Counterpoints

Who is this for? Those who struggle to strike a balance of working on how they work and actually doing their work.

No matter what it is that you care about, it’s important to seek out those who disagree with what you believe to be true. When attempting to put your passions and beliefs in perspective, it’s helpful to find voices you respect, yet often fundamentally disagree with.

When it comes to the ideas of productivity and workflow – two concepts that struggle to maintain their meaning, yet matter greatly to me – Matt Alexander is that voice.

We’ve had our disagreements – both in writing and on the podcast – but Matt continues to be a grounding force as I refine my thinking.

While I believe in the importance of examining and refining the way we work, Matt does not. It would be easy to dismiss his ideas, to focus in on where he goes too far. Yet when I look past the hyperbole, he often has a point.

On this week’s Bionic podcast, Matt once again shares his frustration with the obsessive nature of the self-help and productivity genres as well as the authority that many within it bestow upon themselves. While I believe he goes too far, it’s difficult to ignore what he’s saying.

If you’re struggling to strike a balance between working on the way you work and actually doing your work, you’re going to want to give the first segment of this episode a listen. If you have a sense of humor and appreciation for the absurd, you’re also going to want to stick around for the very unrelated second half of the episode (be warned, it is very NSFW).

Like most things in life, the truth probably lies somewhere in the middle. Those who struggle to meet there goals should think about and experiment with the way that they work, but we also have to be careful. It’s easy to get lost when attempting to improve. It’s easier to optimize your skills than it is to use them.

Until you find that balance for yourself, keep experimenting, but be sure to seek out a few people like Matt to keep you honest.

Give this week’s Bionic a listen. It’s equal parts eloquence and absurdity. And if, like me, you’re prone to overdoing it with your attempts to improve, it offers a healthy dose of skepticism.

The Best Reason To Quit

Who is this for? Those who have a difficult time deciding when to stick something out and when to quit.

Gabe Weatherhead:

[T]o me, quitting always means that I’ve found some structure and priority where previously there was a lack. I don’t quit so I can start something new. I quit things when I remember what I want my life to be about.

Like Gabe, I’ve always struggled with the phrase “saying no to one thing is saying yes to something else.” Easily some of the best thoughts I’ve read on quitting since Godin’s The Dip.

If you’re considering quitting, be it a job or a project, read this first. If you’re not considering quitting anything, read this anyway. It’s Gabe at his best.

Make Twitter More Useful

Who is this for? Twitter users with a particular disdain for the ways that others use (or abuse) hashtags.

As we discuss in this week’s Mikes on Mics, social networks like Twitter can be a great tool for nurturing relationships. However as that network grows it can be a challenge to cut through the noise. While I’m not a fan of muting a particular person or topic, I am a fan of finding ways to make the time I spend on sites like Twitter more relevant and more fulfilling.

One of the less appealing aspects of Twitter is the way that many use hashtags. Apparently I’m not alone as Brett Kelly created a helpful pair of filters for popular iOS and Mac Twitter application, Tweetbot. These filters eliminate two of the more personally frustrating uses: excessive hashtagging and hashtag-based chats. This is a great way to find more of the signal by eliminating some of the noise.

Looking for more ways to cut out some common noise? Brett also points to a repository that collects similar filters.

The Creative Turn

Who is this for? Those hoping to shift from creative struggle to creative success.

As readers of A Better Mess know all too well, I’m a big fan of both Yuvi Zalkow and his I’m A Failed Writer video series. It was the perfect mix of honesty and inspiration. Yuvi shared his struggles, but it also always felt as if the videos were helping him to overcome them.

When the series had run its course, I was sad to see it go, but excited to see where Yuvi would take his animated video concept next. After a few months of experimentation Yuvi has settled in on a new format. It’s one that I believe will prove to be extremely useful (and amusing) to those struggling with their own creative endeavors.

The Creative Turn – Yuvi’s new series – is an evolution of his own creative process. He will release one long-form interview as a podcast each month and then follow up with one of his short-form animated videos two weeks later. Each video will boil down the long-form conversation to its essence. I like to think of it as the podcast equivalent of CliffsNotes. The conversations will not be centered on the guests latest work. It looks to examine the time where their creative work went from floundering to flourishing.

As with many creative experiments, The Creative Turn started with a test. One night, Yuvi and I sat on Skype drinking and discussing the possibilities. The conversation started with a long list of things that Yuvi could do and we discussed them (and continued to drink) until they became one clear thing he would do. This conversation was never meant to be used – this will be clear from the audio quality – but as you will see from the abridged version of our discussion, it had a creative turn of its own.

Check out episode “zero” of The Creative Turn and check back two weeks from now to see the animated video Yuvi will create from our conversation.

Turning Your Idea Into a Reality

Who is this for? Those looking for practical and first-hand advice on turning a big idea into a reality.

Jean MacDonald revisits the Mikes on Mics podcast to talk about App Camp for Girls.

A year ago Jean joined us to discuss the community she built for Smile; the makers of PDF Pen and TextExpander. At the end of that episode, Jean shared her plans to develop a program that would help young girls consider and try app development.

A year later, Jean has raised over $75,000 and has already held her first class. We examine how she brought her vision to life.

Be sure to stay tuned at the end of the episode for special bonus interviews where David Sparks, Brooks Duncan, Mike Rohde and Marc & Angel share tactics for ensuring that their own ideas become a reality.