No matter where you go, you run into people with the same problem—time.
Whether you're a small business owner, or run a big company, it's all about time, and getting things done.
A lot of time saving can be done without too much effort on your part, and by simply using software.
Software that does very smart stuff is what we all need.
In this episode Sean lists three core areas where he uses software to save time.
Part 1: How to handle repetitive tasks
Part 2: What are the factors of communication
Part 3: How to store all your ideas
Right click here and ‘save as' to download this episode to your computer.
This is The 3 Month Vacation and I'm Sean D'Souza.
It was almost the end of the Second World War when Boeing came out with a plane that was called the B-29. It was the first ever high-altitude bomber. It could fly at over 22,000 feet. It's one thing to have a plane that can fly at such heights, but you also have to be able to predict what's going to happen to the plane at that height. These planes they were at a Pacific air base and 2 Air Force meteorologists were given the job to prepare wind forecast so that they could figure out how they could get that plane going in that height. Using the information that they had, they decided that the speed was 168 knots.
However, their commanding officer could not believe the forecast. He thought that they had overestimated the speed of the wind. He thought it was too high. However, on the very next day the B-29 pilots reported wind speeds of 170 knots and that moment in time was when the jet stream was discovered. The question is how do you get to jet stream, because when we look at very successful people what we're seeing is that they're flying at these very high altitudes at very high speeds. While our lives might be completely different from these people, what we have in common is the factor of time. They have the same 24 hours as we do and they make use of their time.
Today I'm going to talk about time yet again, but this time I'm going to focus on software. We're going to look at how software can make your life a lot better and a lot quicker and, of course, you have more time to do the things that you really want to do. In today's broadcast we're going to cover 3 elements. One is repetitive tasks; the second is tasks that involve communication; and the third one which is tasks that involve storage in finding things. This is where we come to a fork in the road because many of you might be using a PC and I'm using a Mac and I switched from a PC to Mac in 2008 and I have never looked back.
There is going to be some overlap. You're going to get some of the software that is available both in PC and Mac, but what you've got to understand is the concept. The concept is more about repetitive, about communication and storage software. You'll find that on a PC. Don’t be too stressed out that this is like a Mac presentation. Let's start off with the first one, which is the repetitive task that I have to do every day.
Part 1: Repetitive Tasks
The first thing that you have to do every single day no matter whether you're a PC or Mac is to find folder. You save something and you need to find a folder and on the Mac you get something called Default Folder. This is one of the best tools that I have found. What this does is immediately it gives you a little heart option and that makes it a favorite, which means that when you've got sudden folders that you use on a regular basis you can assign a little heart to them and then every time you save it you click on the heart, those folders show up and goes to box.
My set up is across computers. It would be this folder and subfolder and I would spend a few seconds maybe 10 seconds, 20 seconds, 30 seconds trying to get to that folder and what Default Folder does is it takes me there in 1 second. I can also set up Default Folder so that it very quickly gets me to that folder by pressing a shortcut and this is in the preferences. Without getting very technical about it, what you've got to do is have a software that can get you to the folder very, very quickly. You can generate thousands of shortcuts all sitting on the desktop.
This saves you 10 seconds here, 5 seconds there, 20 seconds there but more importantly it saves you all that energy of opening up folders and subfolders, which is what we do on a regular basis. That’s the first thing that is very repetitive.
The second thing that we do, which is very repetitive, is answer the same questions over and over again, like for instance your email address. You might be typing it several times a day, maybe your website or a website that you go to. The point is that software like Text Expander will do that for you. You just have a little shortcut, like for instance with me, I just type SX and it types out email@example.com.
If I type browser X, it will spit out 3 paragraphs that tell the person who's just emailed me, “Wait a second. You want this download, you have to go and check on another browser because maybe this browser is not working.” It gives us long message of 2 or 3 paragraphs and it does so in 1 second. Every single day what I have is a whole bunch of messages that come to me that are quite repetitive in nature. When I answer, Text Expander will actually say, “You have been using this on a regular basis. You have been answering this way on a regular basis. Would you like to save this as a snippet?”
For instance, I use the word The Brain Audit several times, because I wrote the book. Text Expander will watch while I'm doing this The Brain Audit, The Brain Audit, The Brain Audit and then it will say, “Do you want to save this as a snippet,” and then I can put in a little shortcut like TBA and then I have The Brain Audit. Not only do I have The Brain Audit, but it's capitalized like T capitalized and B capitalized and A capitalized. All of this stuff is very repetitive and within The Brain Audit I have terms like target profile or reverse testimonials and I have shortcuts for all this.
Who's going to remember all those shortcuts? The program does it for you. It reminds you every time you don’t use the shortcut, “You had the shortcut TBA for The Brain Audit. Use it the nest time.” After a while, the program is starting to think for you as well. These are 2 repetitive things that you have to do, open up folders and store things in folders and for that you have Default Folder.
The second thing is just answers that you give clients, stuff that you have to write in email, email addresses, maybe just your address, maybe you just have to type in your address send this to whatever PO Box number, whatever. That can be made very unrepetitive with this software called Text Expander, which then takes us to the second one which is a factor of communication.
Part 2: Factor of Communication
When I moved to New Zealand in the year 2000, I moved into a rental place. I didn’t really want to spend a lot of money so I bought myself a little plastic chair, which was about $10 at the store. Every one who was back home; my wife Renuka was still in India, all my friends were in India, I didn’t know anyone in New Zealand. What I was doing is using messenger. Back then I was using the PC, so MSN messenger. I would spend several hours on MSN messenger just chatting.
At some point I got what is called RSI, that's Repetitive Stress Injury. The RSI got so bad that I couldn't sleep at night. My shoulders hurt. My forearms hurt. My fingers felt like there was an electric current going through them. I had to go for physiotherapy and then I had to go for acupuncture and it seemed I was so afraid of so much as opening the garage door because I was in so much pain all the time. If you just wrapped me on the knuckles, I would fall down on the floor in pain.
At that point in time, I didn’t have this software. When Renuka got to New Zealand, she was actually doing a lot of typing for me. I wasn’t working. I had to stop working and she started doing typing and the point I was building websites. What is the point of this story? The point of the story is that you don’t need to get RSI to get on to the software. This software is Dragon Naturally Speaking.
If you use Dragon Naturally Speaking several years ago, you're probably very frustrated with the way it worked. You needed to practice for about half an hour train the system then it would get most of the stuff wrong. It wouldn't work on browsers. It wouldn't work on forums. It would do this and it would do that. It is got very good in recent years. You can now train it for as little as 5 to 7 minutes and it will recognize your accent and it will start to work just out of the box. Almost out of the box, 5 to 7 minutes is not a lot of time.
The point is that it's not very easy to get into that mode where you're dictating, but think about every single bus in the '60s and '70s was already doing this form of dictation. They would say a sentence, putting the punctuation, do all that stuff to their secretaries. It's not like it's something that is very hard to do. You just have to get used to it and the way to get used to it is to use a phone.
A lot of phones have this system where you can dictate into the phone and that’s how I started. I started using Siri on my iPhone and I would just respond to emails and after a while I got used to speaking like this, which is I will return your email later, full stop. In fact I got so used to it that one day I had to leave a message on an answer phone and I said, “I will call you back later, full stop.”
You can actually switch very quickly between the way we speak or the way I'm speaking right now and then moving into punctuation. This saves you a lot of time, because you cannot believe how fast you can go through this whole system of dictating answers and that is how I get through a lot of my email every day. I have to be careful that I read whatever I have dictated, because the pronunciation is not always very clear.
The computer will spit out whatever your say, because fort may sound like fourth and that’s what the computer will type. You've got to do the editing and you can’t afford to be sloppy. I'll admit I had been sloppy and then I'll hit send too quickly, so you have to do that a little bit at least, but it saves you enormous amount of time. This is just communication and this is just 1 software in communication.
The second software that I use with communication and this saves me an enormous amount of time is something that Dropbox gives absolutely free. It's called Mailbox. What it does is it allows you to postpone your email for later. You can postpone it for a month or you can postpone it for a day or tomorrow or later this evening or whatever. When you think of it the first time you think, “Wait a second. You were just procrastinating.” No, what I'm trying to do at all times is keep my inbox down to zero.
Here's the reason why I have to do that. I have to do that because every time the inbox is filled with, I don’t know, a dozen, 2-dozen, 3-dozen, 4-dozen emails I have to scan through all those emails and that’s no good. Either I act on the emails or I put them off until later. What I do is supposing I have to get in touch with someone a month later. I will swipe and say, “Get this email back to me after a month,” and then exactly a month later it will show up and then I can act on it, so it acts like a to-do list.
Of course, you're human and you don’t want to deal with some email and you will procrastinate and that’s fine. Most of the time your goal should be to get that email box down to zero. There is other software like SaneBox and other stuff that you can use. This Mailbox it's free and it works really well. The goal is to keep your inbox down to zero. You cannot believe how addictive this is. After a while you're swiping and deleting and responding and finishing off your email so that you don’t have to deal with it and you don’t have to scan through al those read emails and figure out which one do I have to get open into the box and put in that folder and this folder; no, nothing like.
I know you're skeptical. My wife Renuka she is skeptical off a lot of stuff that I think I wonderful because I think a lot of stuff is wonderful. I showed it to her a few months ago, she wasn’t interested. I showed it to her 2 weeks ago, she wasn’t interested. Then last week for some reason she got interested and now she's hooked. I can tell you, you will be hooked. Try and get your inbox down to zero by using Mailbox.
With communication, there are these 2 things that helped me get to jet stream and that is Dragon naturally Speaking. It's amazing and often enough they give it to you at a discount so go and look for the discount. You'll get a Dragon Naturally Speaking and get yourself a Plantronics. If you're swayed by Dragon telling you to buy their own microphone, don’t do it. Get yourself a Plantronics 400 and that’s a very good microphone. I'll list this at the bottom of the podcast. The second thing you want to do is you want to get Mailbox.
What we've covered so far is we've looked at stuff that’s repetitive in nature and Default Folder will help you there and Text Expander will help you there. We've also looked at communication and what I use a lot is Dragon Naturally Speaking and Mailbox and finally we'll look at storage. Let's go to the third part which is storage.
Part 3: Storage
When you write articles, when you create presentations, when you have to write books, you're going to put facts and figures and let me tell you this. Facts and figures are really, really boring. They are so boring because they first of all are intimidating the hard to remember. The only thing that your clients really remember are stories, but the problem is that you cannot the stories. You cannot get to the case studies. You cannot get to the examples and so then you spend enormous amounts of time in research.
The worst time to do research is when you're sitting down to write your article. The worst time to do research is when you're sitting down to do your presentation. You need to have all of this information in advance and episode 41 covered that. It said, “How to save 2 zillion hours in research using Evernote.” Go back to episode number 41. Listen to that or read the transcript and you will learn how I use Evernote.
The second thing that I use and we have brought Default Folder right back. Default Folder allows you to tag your files. If you're even slightly interested in finding a file then you want to tag it when you save it. This is very important because let's say you did a cartoon and the cartoon was about a bear. Then later on you wanted to find something to do with intimidation or fear and you typed in intimidation or fear. What kind of results would you get? Nothing.
What you do when you save a file is you put in some little tags. When you put in those tags and Default Folder does this really well then every time you type in those keywords or something close to those keywords it will bring up that file, which is called bear.psd. You look for intimidation and fear and you got bear and you go, “I could use the bear,” and that’s what I do. When I'm saving files, I'll give them little tags.
You might not do this because you think it takes time, but it only takes time on the front-end. Once you get started and you really are in a project you need all the energy and all the resources at your disposal and all of this software really comes to help you and that brings us to the end of this episode.
We've covered 3 things. The first is repetitive, the second one is communicative, and the third one is the storage. We looked at Default Folder and how it will take you exactly where you need to be. We also looked at Text Expander and how it expands little snippets of text or huge amounts of texts and it does it in a matter of seconds. We then went to communication. We looked at Dragon Naturally Speaking and we looked at Mailbox, which can also be procrastination heaven, but let's face it. Your inbox is procrastination heaven already. You might as well have an empty inbox.
Finally, we looked at storage and we looked at Evernote and that’s episode number 41. Go and listen to it, read it. Default Folder, if you use tags well you will find things like you can’t imagine. These are the 3 things that will get you into jet stream, but what's the one thing that you can do today?
The one thing that you can do today is find a Text Expander. I know this for sure that the PC has Text Expander as well. I think one of them is called Breevy that is B, R, E, E, V, Y. I don’t know how well it works. I know Text Expander works really well. Get yourself a Text Expander and stop this typing over and over and over again. You will thank me later. You will send me chocolates. You will send me to Disneyland. You will be really thankful that you use this software. When you finish this podcast, go back to your office and buy a Text Expander, whichever one for the Mac or the PC and there you will enter your own jet stream.
An interesting fact about the jet stream with climate change that jet stream has changed. It's taking pilots 11 minutes more to get to their destination. Of course, when they spend 11 minutes more in the sky they are causing more climate change so it might take you longer to get to your destination. You don’t want to do that in your office. You want to get to that jet stream and you want to get there as quickly as possible. Get the software and start using it today and then you can send me the tickets later. You can send me the chocolates later.
Before we go, there is a storytelling workshop coming up. It's in Nashville, Tennessee and it's on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th of December. We have dates and we're also in Europe in Amsterdam in the Netherlands and that’s on the 15th, 16th and 17th of December. Story telling is used everywhere, but the beauty of storytelling is its stickiness. When I tell you the story about The Brain Audit, I only have to tell you that story once and then you can tell it 100 times over and never lose the impact and that is the beauty of storytelling,.
Storytelling is used for podcast that’s why you like this podcast because there are so many stories. You read The Brain Audit, there are so many stories and so many case studies and so many examples. It's not enough to just tell the story. It's how you craft the story and that’s what we're going to learn. We're going to learn how you find the story, how you craft the story and then how you connect the story to your business.
It's very easy to create … It's not easy to create story but once you know how to do it, it's easy. The hard thing is connecting it back to your business in a professional way and we're going to do this at the storytelling workshop, where learning how to create a driveway moment, where people just want to listen to the end of your story. Go to psychotactics.com/story-telling-workshop and we'll see you either in Nashville, Tennessee or in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
You have to have read The Brain Audit however, because that’s the condition, that’s the barrier. If you haven't read The Brain Audit, you should be reading it anyway. It's at psychotactics.com/brainaudit. Read the stories. Read the examples. See for yourself how facts and figures intimidate and get yourself into the jet stream of storytelling.
That’s me, Sean D'Souza, saying bye for now and thanks for listening to The 3 Month Vacation. Bye-bye.