One area that some people have resistance about is technology.
I thought it would be kind of interesting to divide people into three types of tech – like I did last week, when I talked last week when I talked about three types of journalers.
If we were to divide everyone in the world into where they fell on the technology continuum, we could say that there are tech lovers, tech curious and tech resistant.
Just seeing those three types, where do you fit? Do you already self identify?
So Grateful for Technology
When I thought about this question for myself, I realized, I am a tech lover but I do not consider myself an early tech adopter. I’m probably not an early adopter in anything really because I’m more of a “wait and see” type person. I am definitely a tech lover because I have so many favorite things about technology and I get so delighted when technology makes my life easier.
I frequently find myself feeling very grateful for technology. I love to share my favorite tips and shortcuts and tools with other people,
Sp. for today’s episode, I thought it would be interesting to give you my top 10 technology tips and tools. I will be interested to know if you use and adore these tips and tools like I do or if these are just so obvious to you and you can’t believe I’m taking up podcast space to share them.
It will also be fun to find out if I mention something that you have never considered or heard about before and now maybe this can be a new technology favorite for you as well.
I made a list of 10 of my favorite technology tips and tools and in no particular order, I will share them with you. And I really am curious to hear from you which of these jumps out to you the most!
Organizing Bookmarks into Folders
Probably my favorite tech tool that I am so grateful for every single day and always forcefully recommend that people adopt is organizing bookmarks to my frequently used websites into folders on my bookmark bar in Chrome. I organize them by task type.
For example, when I look across the top of my bookmark bar in my browser, I have a bookmark folder for podcasting and inside of that, I have the links to my website, my podcast host, my google drive folder for my episode content, a link to the spreadsheet with all my episodes on it and all the other podcast tools that I use. Basically every online resource that I use to organize and produce my podcast is all arranged in a podcast folder, so that when I work on my podcast, I’m going to one folder and all of the relevant links are there for me to get to quickly.
I have the same type of folder for social media. I have another folder with bookmarked links for everything I use to create and manage my journals and notebooks. Everything is organized by bookmarks in folders on my bookmark bar.
I can not over emphasize how much time this saves me and how easy it is to get to everything I need with two clicks rather than typing in the same web addresses or navigating through the same folders and pages all the time.
The second thing that I love so much, and I’m always completely delighted when I learn and remember a new one is using shortcut keys.
You probably use or have heard of shortcut keys. The most obvious ones might be copy and paste (so Ctrl C Ctrl V). I am on a Mac, so I use Command C Command V.
I like to get a little bit fancier. I love to open a tab that I just shut accidentally with a Shift Command T, to reopen the tab that I just closed. I also love my undo shortcut key which on a Mac is Command Z.
I’m sure there are so many other shortcut keys that I use and I don’t even realize. And probably more that I forget to use, but I really love the idea of quick little shortcuts that I can just do with a few fingers and get the job done.
Another one of my most favorite tech tips that I just love so much is the format painter.
This tool looks like a little paint roller in Google Docs and Sheets. In Microsoft I believe it looks like a little paintbrush (or it used to). This magical tool is the digital equivalent of the expression “painting with a broad brush.” If you are copying and pasting text or data from one place to another, you can change the formatting so that all matches. It’s like picking up the “paint” or the format from one set of text or data and painting that formatting onto the new text or data so that everything matches and it all looks uniform.
This is such a time saver. It means that I don’t have to search and figure out what font it is and what size it is. I don’t have to know the tabs and indentations and alignment. The Format Painter just does that all for me
The fourth tech tip I have for you is something I had a lot of resistance to when I first started using it. I found it a little confusing and overwhelming. Once I watched a few videos and really figured out how to use it, I started using it and loving it.
I still use it and love it to this day, even though I’m not using it in the same way as when I first got it. The tool is Evernote.
Evernote is a note taking and note organization software and so much more. I really like it because it’s a metaphor for writing notes in notebooks and then putting all those notebooks into different stacks.
You can imagine physical stacks of notebooks.
Here’s a stack of notebooks all about my real estate. Here’s a stack of notebooks all about my podcast. Here’s a stack of notebooks all about recipes that I want to try one day. In the recipe stack, you can have a notebook for drink recipes and notebook for food recipes and a notebook for desserts. Then inside of each notebook, that’s when you find the individual notes.
The Metaphor of Evernote
That’s the metaphor of what Evernote is. It’s just a digital way to organize your notes into notebooks and then stacks of notebooks and it’s all searchable and customizable and you have all the features of Word Processing inside.
You can clip things from the web and save it to a note or a notebook.
Evernote has so many great features and the reason I find it so helpful for me is because it syncs between my computer and my phone.
Sometimes, I’ll make a note while I’m typing on my computer using my keyboard, but then I can pull up that same note on my phone and copy and paste it into a different app like into social media or into a text message.
And then, I still have that note in Evernote so I can re-use it or repurpose it or come back to it later. I used to call my Evernote my digital brain because I could put everything I wanted to remember and think about into and then just use the search feature to call it up when I needed it.
Dictate to Text
The fifth tech tool to tell you about is something I first started using in Evernote because Evernote does let me take notes via dictation.
I can basically dictate my notes while I walk. The one problem with it, which wasn’t even really that big of a problem, is that I would only have a certain amount of time before I needed to restart the dictation.
I would be dictating, saying what I was saying, the program would be typing it into the note for me but then I would get this little tone. And then I would have to go back and hit my microphone button again to continue recording.
So now I’m using a new program that lets me dictate and it transcribes as I talk and I can just keep on going and talking and rambling, and I never get the tone so it never cuts me off.
This tool that I’m currently using for dictation and transcription is called otter.ai. I am currently using the free account, although I would be happy to upgrade to the paid account I just haven’t needed to yet.
I love that it transcribes things for me, and it allows me to dictate what I’m thinking and then I have it in a written format that I can copy and paste and edit and rearrange and use in different places.
The next one that I want to tell you about is getting a little bit more into the geeky-techy category. At least by my standards. Don’t let it throw you off if you’re tech resistant! I’ve got more tips and tools to share.
The 6th tool is another one that I’ve used for years, and I’m continuing to find so many new applications for. I really didn’t think I would continue using it after I stopped working in an administrative role, but I just keep on remembering it and it keeps on popping up for me right when I need it.
A couple of years ago, I wanted a tool that was kind of like a mail merge. That’s when you’re going to write the same form letter to 50 different people and there’s some slightly different details for each of those 50 different people like their address and maybe the salutation.
A mail merge program deposits all the information into the form letter template for you with all the relevant details nicely formatted.
How I Found It
When I needed this a few years back, I googled around to find a solution and I found something that worked on Google Sheets, and it’s an add-on called Autocrat.
I started using it and it definitely saved me time and it really cut down on my errors. It eliminated all the manual copying and pasting that I had been doing. It was just such a great organizational tool and time saver.
Fast forward to the present, I recently realized that I can use Autocrat to help me with my journal and notebook creation. Most specifically for when I have, for example 50 different journal prompts that I want to put at the top of 50 different pages of one journal.
I’ve been able to put all of the information that I want in my journal into a Google sheet and then use autocrat to distribute it across all the pages. It quickly and effortlessly and automatically disperses all of the information from the spreadsheet out onto the journal pages for me, formatted exactly how I want it. It’s been such a great time saver for me and I’m just so delighted that something that I looked for as a solution years ago is still serving me today in something that I never even considered I would need it for.
The next tech tip that I have for you is probably so obvious. I referred to it a moment ago so telling you about it now is more of a reminder.
It is one of my favorite and most-used tech tips. if you’re not currently doing this as a habit I highly recommend that you start. Here it is: one of my favorite tech tips is to Google the exact problem.
If I can’t figure out how to do something on my phone. I’ll Google it. If someone else is having a tech issue, I just think to myself, “if there was a tech guru standing next to me, what would I ask?” Then I type that into google and get the answer and it’s amazing.
I highly, highly, highly recommend that every single time you have a tech problem or question, or really, even any problem or question, you might as well throw it into Google, just to see if you get any relevant or helpful answers. Maybe you’ll get the immediate solution. Maybe not. Maybe that was a waste of one minute of your time. But more likely, it will solve your problem and reduce your frustration and save hours of trying to figure it out on your own.
Tool number 8 is kind of counterintuitive for me because it’s a notebook. It’s not one of my notebooks.
This is a tech tool that I discovered and started using last year because I am a note taker, I am a list maker. I do like to write things down by hand.
That included (past tense) my client notes when I was on coaching calls. Last year I was still using Office Supply notebooks – they look like shorter legal pads (white not yellow). I was using so many of them and I had stacks and stacks of them, and they were hard to search through and refer back to. I knew I had written something down and I had to flip through multiple pages in multiple notebooks to find the note. The notebooks were kind of hard to organize because I had multiple clients per notebook, but I tried to keep the client sessions continuous even though the calls were weeks apart so I kept having to jump from notebook to notebook.
It was not very workable, but it did give me the benefit that I wanted of being able to write by hand, which was something that I thought was really important to me at the time.
My Note Taking Solution
I found a solution called Rocketbook. Basically, it’s a spiral bound notebook that instead of paper pages, has Dry Erase pages. You do have to use special pens.
Then you’re able to scan the pages with an app on your phone and rocket book will send it to whatever destination you identify.
Rocketbook could send it to my Google Drive, it could send it to my Evernote. It could transcribe and send the note to my email. Or it could just save it in the Rocketbook app.
I love that I can tell Rocketbook to translate my handwriting into text. That way I still have the option to go back and copy and paste my writing and I don’t have to spend time typing up my own notes.
Rocketbook notes are searchable so if I know that I talked with someone about a relationship problem, I can just type in the app “relationship problem” and it will pull up all of the notes that I’ve scanned that have those words in it.
I’m just so in awe of technology that this kind of a product exists.
I don’t use it quite as much as I used to anymore because I have since switched to typing my notes during coaching calls instead of handwriting them.
I mostly use my rocket book now for idea generation. I’ll make a list of my ideas for a journal that I’m working on or the outline for something that I want to create. Then I’ll go do it and then I can just erase the page because the pages are dry erase. So, instead of using paper pages one time each, I can brainstorm and write out my idea and immediately put it into action and erase, or scan it and Rocketbook will organize it for me.
Online Graphic Design Tools
The next tech tools that I love so much and I use all the time, started out with some resistance to one of them I’m going to tell you about. I’m talking about some online graphic design tools. I have been using PicMonkey for years to create graphics and design art, and create vision boards, and all sorts of personal uses,.
Now I use it to create my notebook covers and some of my notebook interiors, and I really love PicMonkey. I’m very comfortable with it and have happily paid for the basic subscription for many years.
Earlier this year I even upgraded to unlock some of the more premium features and that was just such a great investment because I got tools and options that I didn’t even know that I was missing out on. I’m 100% on board with the cost of that upgrade.
And in the meantime, because I was teaching some social media workshops, and I wanted the members of the workshops to have the option of a free editing software, I decided that I would always teach in a different online graphic design tool called Canva.
But, Canva wasn’t as familiar or as intuitive to me as PicMonkey was which is why I had some resistance to using it.
So, I decided I had to improve my knowledge and skills because I was using it to teach. I really like a lot of the features. So, it’s interesting that there are still things about PicMonkey that are so much better and so much more intuitive to me that I can do more quickly and easily in PicMonkey. But then there are some elements of Canva that PicMonkey doesn’t have that I think are better in Canva.
And now, I just love that both of these programs exist and then I can use both of them and that they let me be so creative and so artistic. They let me produce exactly what I want to produce. Even though I talked about 2 different tools just now, we’ll combine them together and call that number 9.
Here comes number 10. My number 10 tech tip that I will share with you in case you find it helpful and if you have a Gmail email account is to use the filters to auto sort some of your emails.
I’m sure we all get a lot of emails. I am quick to subscribe to something new if I’m interested. And I am equally quick to unsubscribe if it’s something that I do not want to see or don’t need to see anymore.
For me when I unsubscribe, it doesn’t mean I hate the sender or the brand, or that they did something wrong. It just means I don’t want to see them as frequently as I’m seeing them in my inbox at the moment.
I know I always have the option to go back and re subscribe to whatever the marketing or email or notifications are.
So that’s just a little side note, not really part of this tip, if you get emails from me and it’s too much, go ahead and unsubscribe. No hard feelings. Because I know whenever you’re ready to hear from me again, you’ll come back. You’ll find my email signup again (either on the Favorites tab at bexb.org or by going to bexb.org/newsletter) and you’ll rejoin.
Sometimes I Don’t Want to Unsubscribe
But back to the 10th item on this favorite tech list. My trick that I’m using in Gmail, (I even hesitate to call it a trick because it’s not a secret and people use it all the time) is to use filters. This way I still get emails that I don’t necessarily want to unsubscribe from because I want to be able to go back and look at them when I want to see them. I don’t need to see them when they send them to me.
The way to do this is to go into the settings of Gmail, and go to the Filters tab, and create a filter so that Gmail automatically sorts those into a file. You don’t have to look at them, unless you get curious about what they’re up to lately or if you want to check to see if there’s a promotion or a launch or you feel like getting caught up with what they’ve been sending out.
I really highly recommend filtering your emails if you feel overwhelmed or frustrated by the amount of emails that you’re getting, but you still want to get them.This puts you in control of the frequency and timing of when you look at those emails.
The 10 Favorite Tips and Tricks
I was going to also give a few bonuses of some of my favorite apps that I love, but this episode is already long enough.
If you liked this departure of topic and you do want to hear about my favorite apps, let me know. Maybe that can be an upcoming post.
What About You?
Did you get any new ideas as you read through this post?
Did you get reminded of a technology tip or tool that you haven’t used lately?
Were all of these completely obvious and common to you? If so, I want to hear your favorite tips and tricks that I probably don’t know about.
I really do not consider myself a techie person or a technology expert, even though I do love technology, but, as you know, I specialize in helping people recognize and release resistance.
If you have technology resistance, I may be able to help you with a more hands on approach through tech tutoring.
It’s so exciting and empowering when you adopt a new technology that makes things easier that you thought you’d never be able to master.
If you want to schedule a one-off tech tutoring session with me, either by yourself or with a small group, just schedule a single coaching session. We can do it on zoom and share screens so we can see how we’re both navigating around or if you’re local to me here in the East Valley of the Phoenix area in Arizona, we might be able to meet in person.