Thursday, May 30, 2013

KustomNote - A Follow up

Two months ago, I wrote about KustomNote, a great tool for creating templates for Evernote notes. A lot has happened since then, so I decided to write a little follow-up on the developments for this productivity tool.

1. The web app has been redesigned. Especially the note editor with its configuration area for the note fields has a completely new look with a much cleaner design.

New Field Editor

2. An Android app which is a great improvement to the web app you could use until now. In the following there are shown two screenshots: An overview of my current templates and the creation of a new note with a "Test"-template, I just created in the web app and seamlessly synchronized on my Android device.

Andoid app - template overview

 Android app - create new note

3. The iOS app for iPhone and iPad is on its way (currently in the AppStore approval process). I am going to add a short opinion on it, as soon as it arrives.

Update from 2013-05-30:

The iOS app (for iPhone and iPad) is now available and it is as good as the Android app. It is the perfect way to create beautiful notes on the go:

iPhone app - template overview

iPhone app - create new note

Sunday, May 19, 2013

A Priority List for Projects

One part of my productivity system is a priority list for my projects that I have in Evernote. In this list all my areas of responsibilties are listed. I update this list regurlarly in my weekly review, with the projects I want/have to accomplish the next week. For every area only one project is allowed. I started this list because there always were projects that I had not finished for weeks which was bothering me.

Below you find an example list with some areas of responsibilities, the projects with links to the regarding project sheet (which will be explained in detail in a later post) and a counter, which I am going to explain below. As you see, I do not always add a project to every area of responsibility.

Projects with priority list (Example)

I know that I could have found these projects in my weekly review and should have reacted accordingly. But there is one simple trick that improves the progress of my project a lot.

If I add a project, I set a counter on 0. When I check the list in my weekly review I increment the counter by 1 when the project is not finished or remove it from the list (e.g. it is finished or I cannot process with the project as I am waiting for someone to fulfill a task for me). When the counter is on 5 (so 5 weeks have passed) and I have not finished the project, I have to think about the reasons. Obviously the "maximum" value for the counter is quite arbitrary and I think you should choose this value by experience.

Maybe the next action I have set for the project is not detailed enough or I do not really want to proceed with the project. The important trick is here that this list always shows me quite plainly when I am not doing enough to finish a project.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Duolingo - a language learning tool

Duolingo is a free language learning service, which I use for refreshing my Spanish. You can also learn German, French, Portuguese and Italian (for English speakers) as well as English (for those who know Spanish, Portuguese or Italian).

In Duolingo you learn a language in small portions (roughly 5 minutes per lessons). There are several skills (like Food, Animals) with a variing amount of those lessons. Every skill is placed in a skill tree and you have to finish certain skills to get to the next, e.g. you have to finish Basics 1 to start Phrases and Basics 2.

Duolingo - Part of the Spanish Skill Tree

It uses gamification elements, which may help learning something. This means you get points for every course you take and level up, if you have enough points. The effectiveness is already proven by a study (though this was funded by Duolingo).

One of the best things: You can do one task perfectly on the go, for example on the bus (with iOS app or web app on Android). The style of the iOS app is very similar to the page and your personal skill tree is shown, after you have signed in with your Duolingo account.

Duolingo iPhone app