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Goodbye 2012

I'm sitting by a crackling fire at my aunt and uncle's house in New Jersey and we're just a couple hours into the new year, which means that it's a perfect time to review the year and look forward.

If I were to title my year, I'd call it the year I got serious. Something interesting happened near the end of 2011-- I realized that I wasn't actually on track for a lot of my goals, that I was going to have to actually get serious about stuff, and that this seriousness had to come in the form of action, not talk. I ended 2011 with a few months of solid productivity under my belt, and a year-end post that optimistically predicted a productive year.

I'm happy to say that the productive year materialized, and that my focus on getting serious has intensified.

When I was young, maybe third grade or so, a psychologist did a study at my middle school. We answered some questions and were offered two choices: a small prize now or a large prize later. I took the small prize now. I think knew it was the wrong move at the time, but the pack of stickers on the table looked like a lot of fun. Later on the big prizes were given to the waiters in such a way that I was able to see what they got. Sure enough, their prizes were a lot better and my stickers were long gone.

How to use Evernote: Starting your day right

On Mike Dariano

I've been through all the task, checklist, and to-do apps out there. Evernote is supposedly working on one but until then I've found a nice workaround in my notebooks. Each day I create a note for tomorrow in my daily journal notebook. These notes are places for me to put one line items about what happens each day. If I make a phone call, have a meeting, or need to expand on what happens I link the one line to a new note.

How I've begun using Evernote as a checklist is to make up the list of thing I would like to do the night before then that day's note has my list. On February sixth for example, when I woke up and had an hour to work I wanted to complete those seven things. Usually I try to have only four things there but some of them were simpler and required less time.

Then I also try to plan my day. I've also found that when accounting for travel times my Google Calendar doesn't have enough details for me. For busier days then I'll make up a list of things I need to do and when I need to do them. For this note, my meeting at work didn't begin until 4PM but I had to leave my house at 245PM so I could do other things before my meeting. Same thing with going to church that night.

I once read an article about a new mother who was finishing law school and writing a book and she said that her number one productivity tip was to have her laptop out with a cup for coffee in the morning along with her list of three things to do right away. That way, when she woke up her list was prioritized and she was less likely to drop into Facebook for five minutes - which really means fifteen.

See more ways to use Evernote

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