Tools

Earpods — My Favorite Productivity Tool

I’m pissed 😡🤬🤯🤭😡

Somewhere, in the Denver airport, some kid is walking around with my lost AirPod earbud dangling from his right ear.

I can see him now, happily listening to crappy music, laughing obnoxiously while playing that God-awful Fortnight game with his friends.

The left earbud, still in my possession, doesn’t cut it. My brain rejects music in only one ear, and trying to talk on the phone in my left ear is like trying to brush my teeth with my left hand, possible, but messy and ineffective.

It’s not about the money. AirPods are expensive, but the missing bud can be replaced for only $69.

I’m pissed because I’ve lost one of the most effective tools in my toolkit.

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AirPods are awesome. They are game changing. They are (were) one device that absolutely, unequivocally helped me comfortably, enjoyably, and reliably get more done.

That’s because while I maximize my productive time through planning, scheduling, and building systems, I also get more done by using the right tools.

AirPods were my tool. I popped them in for phone calls, music, dictation, podcasts, or just drowning out airplane noise while traveling. I wore them while walking my dog, hustling through the airport, working out, or even sitting hands-free at my desk.

These little wireless wonders have saved me more hours than I probably realize, and now they’re gone; lost forever in a massive airport 1,465 miles away.

I’ve ordered a new earbud. It should show up in two to three days.

Until then, if you’re traveling through Denver and see a snobby-looking kid with one white bud in his right ear, give him your best stink-eye for me. He’ll never understand why you did, but he deserves it nonetheless.

Have any tools you’re passionate about? Tell me in the comments below. I’m always testing out new ways to be productive and love a good gadget more than most :-).


About the Author

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Michael Mehlberg

HUSBAND, FATHER, ENTREPRENEUR, BUSINESS STRATEGIST, AUTHOR, FITNESS NUT, ORGANIZATION FREAK, PRODUCTIVITY JUNKIE

I help high-achieving entrepreneurs live their passion and achieve their dreams by consistently saving time, getting productive, and being more efficient and organized.

Subscribe to my free, short, 60-second newsletter for tips, tricks, links, products, and other discoveries to becoming a more purposeful, passionate, and productive human.

A Simple Tool for Staying Massively Productive Every Day

Sometimes, at the end of the day, it feels like you've kept busy yet accomplished nothing.

It's not that you didn't work hard. You answered emails. You took phone calls. You attended meetings. You made decisions.

But for some reason you got nothing done.

Well, that's not true. You got other people's work done, just not your own. You've made little progress toward your goals. You've been running around solving other people's problems. You've been answering other people's questions, and spending time in their meetings.

There's a solution to this problem. It’s a way to move closer to your goals every day while quickly separating busy work from important work.

It's called the Eisenhower Priority Matrix. Here's how it works:

  1. Split a blank sheet of paper into four quadrants, just like the picture above.
  2. Label the four quadrants with Urgent, Not Urgent, Important, and Not Important, just the like picture above.
  3. Write each task in your to-do list down on your paper. Place it in the appropriate quadrant based on whether the task is important (or not) and urgent (or not).
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Now, here's how you deal with each quadrant:

Not Urgent and Not Important? Delete it. These are things like checking Facebook, organizing files on your computer, or other trivial tasks.

Urgent but Not Important? Delegate it. Making dinner reservations, dealing with unimportant emails, and booking flights would qualify here.

Not Urgent but Important? Schedule it. These are things that must get done, but keep getting kicked to the back burner. This would include activities like calling a family member, exercising, developing a marketing plan for your business, etc.

Urgent and Important? Do it. Right now. This is real work. This is where the rubber hits the road. This is where you make real progress toward your goals. Today.

That's it!

If you've ever wondered why you stay so busy but get so little done, this just might be the answer.

It's a simple tool, but should keep you massively productive every day, and leave you with a sense of accomplishment (and time for fun and games)!


About the Author

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Michael Mehlberg

HUSBAND, FATHER, ENTREPRENEUR, BUSINESS STRATEGIST, AUTHOR, FITNESS NUT, ORGANIZATION FREAK, PRODUCTIVITY JUNKIE

I help high-achieving entrepreneurs live their passion and achieve their dreams by consistently saving time, getting productive, and being more efficient and organized.

Subscribe to my free, short, 60-second newsletter for tips, tricks, links, products, and other discoveries to becoming a more purposeful, passionate, and productive human.

Why You Should Spare No Expense on the Right Tools for the Job

Why You Should Spare No Expense on the Right Tools for the Job

My neighbor is being fitted for a bike.

Fitted. For a bicycle.

Not only was I surprised that such thing was possible, I wondered why anyone would do such a thing. That is until I learned that she was trying to win enough triathlons to make the Women's United State Triathlon Team.

Now, it all makes sense. She could train the most powerful legs in the world and lose every race riding a tricycle. Those with the right tools would speed by.

Using Trello to Organize Ideas, Track Process, and Take Action

If sticky notes are 3M’s gift to random thoughts and ideas, and the Internet is Al Gore’s (ha) gift to communication, Trello is Trello, Inc.’s perfect union of the two; a web app combing the simplicity of sticky notes with the power of the Internet; a gift to anyone who wants to organize their ideas and turn them into reality.

Want to skip the foreplay? Sign up here and play with it. It’s free.

Note: I don’t make a penny for recommending this tool. I just love it that much.

If you’re not ready to dive in, here’s why you should consider it.

Your Ideas are Worth Nothing, Unless...

I’ve written before on just how valuable your ideas are.

Bottom line up front?

If you haven’t taken action on your idea, it’s worth precisely nothing.

Many ideas have infinite potential, but never amount to anything because their creator didn’t execute. It’s easy to understand why. One of the most challenging things to do is take that first step toward transforming an idea into reality. We fear perfection, success, and failure all at the same time. We are overcome with indecision when facing a forest full of trees to cut down.

 As such, any app that captures your ideas, if it’s to be worth anything, must also help transition your ideas smoothly into execution.

This is why I love Trello. It’s an idea organizer, process development, project management, and general productivity tool for turning ideas into reality and getting shit done. 

Trello, the Kid-Friendly Productivity Tool for Grownups

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Think of Trello like an online whiteboard (called a Board) you can cover with sticky notes (called Cards). Your whiteboard is divided into columns (called Lists)—one for each step in your process.

Trello can support multiple Boards, and each can be customized to fit any stepwise process that works for you.

  • Turning Ideas Into Reality - From idea generation to research to a project plan.
  • Managing Sales - From lead to opportunity to sale to revenue.
  • Project Management - From project charter to execution to review to project close.
  • Writing - From idea to research to draft to published to marketing after.

Your Cards are the thoughts, ideas, and tasks that you need to track through your process. They are the digital "sticky notes" containing a title, description, notes, labels, assigned team members, due dates, and other tracking tools necessary for small business projects. Create new ones, delete old ones, move active ones between the columns to represent where each task lies in your process. You can even view the cards with due dates on a calendar. Oh, and if your Card is a bigger task that requires multiple actions to complete, you can list action items within and track them to completion. 

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 It’s Time to Take Action

Trello is free to use for teams, making it perfect for creators, entrepreneurs, and businesses with less than 25 employees. For businesses working in distributed environments, the Trello app on iOS and Android interfaces perfectly with their web app, allowing teams to access their Trello board anywhere they have an Internet connection.

Remember, your ideas are worth nothing if not executed.

And if you don’t have a process for turning your ideas into reality, it’s about damn time you created one. Trello might be exactly the app you are looking for to help you get organized, get productive, and transform ideas into action. 


About the Author

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Michael Mehlberg

Co-Founder | Technology, Apps, and Wicked Cool Productivity Tools

Mike Mehlberg spends most of his productive hours playing with cool apps that would make him more productive, if only he’d use them for real work. Want to get organized and maximize your time? He knows an app for that. Contact him at mike@moderndavinci.net to get organized, get productive, and make the most of each day.

4 Technologies Small Business Owners Can't Live Without in 2018

4 Technologies Small Business Owners Can't Live Without in 2018

Technology isn’t just improving the lives of consumers, it’s changing the ways in which businesses perform and operate. Technology is emerging that caters to consumers, making everything from technical support to the payment process more seamless and efficient.

The question is, as a small business owner, how can you effectively use this technology to better serve your customers?

Take a look at the following technological breakthroughs. They are a great way to engage audiences, while also increasing your collaborative abilities and security infrastructure.

In short, here are the technologies that small businesses can’t live without in 2018:

How to Get the Most Out of Business Travel

How to Get the Most Out of Business Travel

If you do any amount of business travel, you'll want to listen to this podcast. 

With nearly a million flight miles between the two of us, we uncover travel tips and tricks (and hilarious stories) that could only come from experience. 

In it, we discuss how to get the most out of business travel, how to maximize the value of your time, tips and hacks to make travel more enjoyable, and what to do when things go wrong.

How to Get Superhuman Productivity with One Remarkable App

How to Get Superhuman Productivity with One Remarkable App

It’s no secret, you’re pressed for time.

You wear multiple hats, share multiple responsibilities, and have more things to do than there are hours in the day.

Maybe you’ve even committed to being more productive or focused in the new year.

Superhuman productivity you say? I’ll take two helpings of that.

After all, with so many demands on your time, being able to accomplish your goals while still saving time for family, self-improvement, and relaxation sounds like a dream.

But where do we start?

There are literally thousands of productivity tips and apps on the Internet… every one claiming to give you that dream.

This isn’t “yet another productivity tip.”

This is a way to organize your learning, clean up your computer, educate yourself using spare moments in your day (like driving), and literally read your news and articles twice as fast as you can today.

Superhuman. Productivity.

Let’s get focused. Let’s get productive. Let’s stop procrastinating. And let’s download an app to help.

Finding Quality Information in a Sea of Rubbish

Finding Quality Information in a Sea of Rubbish

We're not supposed to read/believe/like/tweet/forward nonsense, but we do anyways. Why? Because it sounds good and gets a reaction. Because, on the Internet, nobody stops you. Nobody will think about what you've written... they will just "like" your post. You get a warm fuzzy while spreading the nonsense further before they move on with their lives.

Of course, we can't fight every snippet of misinformation or uninformed opinion. There's not enough willpower or time to go around. What we can do is cultivate a challenging, questioning attitude while we peruse the Internet. By challenging our worldview, we will learn more. By questioning what we read, we will start to get a sense for quality information vs. the nonsense.

Here are a few things to keep in mind while reading to maintain that questioning attitude:

 

How to Create a Plan Today to Maximize Tomorrow

How to Create a Plan Today to Maximize Tomorrow

This post is for anyone who wants to get ahead; who wants to stop reacting to life; who wants to stop floating through life day by day, hoping for the best. It's for anyone with much to accomplish and little time to do it. This post is for anyone who wants to focus and thrive, yet finds himself distracted and unsure of what to do next.

The most successful people in the world have a plan. Not just a plan for big projects, but a plan for the little periods of time that they know will add up in the long run. When you are done reading this post, you will know how to develop a plan tonight that will guide you tomorrow. You will be able extract maximum value out of each and every hour of your day. Your plan will guide you when distracted and, in the early hours of the morning when your willpower is low and it’s difficult to think, it will provide you with a goal to kickstart your day and accomplish something while the rest of the world is still waking up. Creating your plan will not be complicated... it is as simple as filling out an index card.

Reading to Remember

Reading to Remember

Looking back on shelves full of hundreds, if not thousands of books read provides a certain satisfaction for the intellectually inclined. Yet, while looking at the shelves, I realized that any effect these books had on me was fleeting. Some books were long forgotten, others a vague memory. My problem? I wasn't reading to remember. And for what other purpose do we read than to remember!?

Ask yourself, do you really remember what you read? Do you remember more than the overarching concepts of any book? Can you recite the inspirational quotes, the dozens of tidbits of knowledge that were supposed to change the way you think about life and work? If you're like me, your answer is probably "no".