Evernote Premium Gets It Right With Business Cards Scanning

Best Way To Collect Business Cards with Evernote The core reason why I run a cloud office is to work anywhere. Working anywhere means you are going to meet a lot of cool people and collect plenty of business cards. Think of the last conference you attended. How did do you keep track of everyone you met while on the move? And who logs all of your business cards?

When it comes to my cloud office, I ruthlessly look for ways to simplify my workflow. It’s easy to get lost in the learning business when you are in the knowledge business. I choose apps that are easy to learn but powerful enough for remote work. Evernote is one of my essential core cloud office apps. But last December 2013, Evernote Premium upped the ante by simplifying the business card scanning workflow into a powerful business intelligence tool.

This is how I now organize my collection of business cards with Evernote and my iPhone:

1. Configure your initial settings on your Evernote app on your iPhone and/or iPad: Go to Evernote App > Settings (upper left) > General > Camera > Business Cards > Save Contact Info to Contacts (optional) and/or Select Notebook to save all contacts (I prefer this option because I do not want to add all my Evernote contacts to my iPhone. I can easily find them later in Evernote). In this setting panel, you should add your LinkedIn contact info (recommended otherwise, what’s the point in collecting business cards). I also recommend you complete “My Contact Info so you can easily forward via email, your own contact info on the spot.

2. Take a picture of your new contact’s business card with your Evernote app on your iPhone (Android – not yet). Select the business card feature after taking a picture in order to scan and optically recognize the characters on the card.

3. Choose if you wish to email “My Contact Info” to your new friend. This feature instantly emails your contact information to your new contact. Your new contact will remember you with this workflow.

There are plenty of benefits for choosing Evernote Premium to scan business cards. Evernote will contextualize your new contact according to the date and event entered in your calendar. Evernote will OCR your contact info and will locate your contact on LinkedIn immediately. Think of all the business cards you collected and quickly forgot how you come across this new person. Evernote will even link your previous notes or research to this new contact, thus becoming a powerful business intelligence tool.

Finally, here are a few additional resources and quick silent video to show you how fast this workflow can work for you. Good luck and remember everyone!!

How to Eliminate Piles of Business Cards from Networking Events

Evernote Can Remember Every Business Card You Collect

On the Future of Law: Changing the Game, the Curriculum

Thanks for PicJumbo and Unsplash for cool stock photos

Thanks for PicJumbo and Unsplash for cool stock photos

Imagine your lawyer advising you of the statistical probability of winning your case at 75% with a 15% margin for error.  How about crowdsourcing equity participation agreements with thousands of similar agreements to determine which provisions are more likely to be litigated?

At a 2013 ReInvent Law Summit, Professor Daniel Martin Katz answered questions like “Why Can’t a Law Firm Become a Process Engineering Firm?”, “Why Can’t a Law Firm Also Be a Design Firm?” and “Why Can’t a Law Firm Also be an Analytic Firm?” His answer: the current partnership model of the law firm. The good news? The technology exists to disrupt the law firm. We just need to reinvent the lawyers.

Enter the Canadian Bar Association’s Legal Futures Initiative. I was shocked to learn CBA had the balls to spearhead, what is now becoming a North American movement of creative lawyers coming out of the closet. As a bonus, the CBA chose Twitter  #cbafutureschat for the discussion channel. And badaboom, the CBA enlisted the self described “raconteur, runs with the hunted, one woman wolf pack”, Sarah Glassmeyer.

The Twitter participants agreed new lawyers would benefit from a new and unconventional learning curriculum.  However, there’s a silent sub-category of unemployed or re-designed lawyers interested in a future-proof curriculum without the traditional law firm trappings. My Twitter friend Lesley tweets “maybe if we made the game more enjoyable, more would stick with it“. Yes, it’s possible to make it fun. To paraphrase Alvin Toffler in Revolutionary Wealth, the new wealth is all about options.

Twitter feed #cbafutureschat

Twitter feed #cbafutureschat

My Unconventional Continuing Legal Education Curriculum for Redesigned Lawyers:

Learn WordPress. Your blog is your platform. Think like the next generation of news journalists and manage your online reputation and business. Don’t let LinkedIn be your one and only platform.

Learn Quantitative Methods: Lawyers are in the prediction business (coined by Daniel Katz).

Learn SEO: Do you Google yourself? Enough said.

Learn Basic Design Skills: Our clients are visual thinkers. Are we really going to write a 10,000 word opinion?

Learn Data Analytics: Be a better marketer and learn what triggers action.

Any knowledge professional planning to be in business for the next 10 – 15 years will need a future proof curriculum to operate his or her digital platform. What’s your next step?

Freshbooks: My Simple 4 Step Cloud Accounting Workflow

Simple Cloud Accounting

Simple Cloud Accounting

How’s the tax season going for you?

I don’t think anyone hates accounting as much as I do. I’m bad at organizing my invoices, receipts and all the crazy paperwork surrounding this annual tax slumpfest. However, if I want to run my business anywhere, I need a simple system to keep me organized year round. This is year 3 of my simple cloud accounting system and I am happy to report an almost stress-free pre-tax season (paying taxes is always a drag but…).

4- Step Cloud Accounting Workflow:

1. Freshbooks: Imagine entering expenses from your smartphone in 45 seconds.  Ever wish you could easily create an invoice from your tablet while on the run. Simple? This describes my Freshbooks experience.

My accountant tried to get me on Quickbooks because of its “Journal Entries” capabilities (now available on Freshbooks). I don’t even know what that means, Commerce degree notwithstanding. I don’t like Quickbooks. It’s just too complicated to learn.

It’s easy with Freshbooks. For example: I just finished fuelling my car. I now take a picture of the receipt. I enter the amount, click on taxes, chuck the paper receipt and 45 seconds later, I drive off. Some of you would rather save the receipt. My recent audit experience tells me digital receipts are good enough. Besides, you have your bank statement & credit card statements.

Finally, Freshbooks can easily be integrated with PayPal and other online payment solutions so you can get paid for selling your digital services.

2. Digitize my paper trail and upload to cloud: I digitize (Scan Snap) all of my paper receipts, such as professional dues, office supplies, car repairs, meals and all other usual monthly bills. I turn on the OCR function of my scanner so I can search by keyword later. I try to scan every week (takes me about 10 minutes). I bought the ebook from Brook Duncan’s Document Snap on how to Go Paperless and it is without a doubt, the best investment under $20 I ever made.  Basically, my system goes like this: All my receipts are uploaded to a cloud provider, such as Dropbox. I name all my digital receipts according to the date it was created, like 20140221_20.00. Remember the fuel expense I took a picture while on the go? Well, I digitized that picture into a searchable pdf with my CamScanner Pro app on my iPhone and upload it to my Dropbox account which is linked to my app.

3. What about e-bills: If you are like me, every month you get an electronic bill. How do I save those e-bills? I emailed the receipts or bills to my Evernote account. I tag my bills with “2014” + “expenses”. That’s it. Don’t go complicated. Evernote has a powerful tagging system that can bring up your e-bills under 2 seconds.

4. What About Super confidential files (like your tax receipts, etc…): I am a big Transporter fan. Transporter is perfect when you absolutely need to keep your data private and non-accessible by third parties (for example, governmental requests). The cool thing is that you can still access your private information from your iPhone or iPad.

There you have it. Say goodbye to your annual accounting angst and start running your business from anywhere.

The Proven Way to Fitness (and Performance) Resolutions for Business Pros and Other Workaholics

Forget Resolutions. Get a SystemTo put it bluntly, goals are for losers…use systems as opposed to goals” – Scott Adams, creator of Dilbert and author of “How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big”. Thinking of a New Year’s Resolution? It turns out only 8% successfully achieve their goals.

Energy and resilience are two of three essential features to career or work success according to Harvard Business Review. With energy in mind, I joined Strava last July, the virtual community of running and cycling athletes (I am a recreational runner). Nothing happened.

But everything changed when I signed up for Strava’s December challenge, 10 + 33 Miles. Strava challenged me to run 33 miles during the last 10 days of December to burn off my Christmas calories. Whoa, suddenly my motivation was on behavioural steroids. I increased my running output by a whopping 300% from the previous December. I ran through 6” inches of snow, ice roads, and bone chilling record breaking temperature, a cold (which ironically lasted only 3 days) and high winds. Out of 12,554 participants, I ended up 5314 on the leaderboard. Who cares. I finished.

Why did I outperform under Strava? Strava is similar to RunKeeper or Garmin Connect. To find out, I reverse engineered my motivations and discovered the highly addictive Strava system at work.

What makes a great system to for transformative excellence: 7 factors

1. Join an Exclusive Tribe

The need to belong is one heck of a powerful motivator. According to Matthew Syed, author of Bounce, Mozart, Federer, Picasso, Beckham and the Science of Success, “The need to belong, to associate, is among the most import human motives”.  The same psychology is at work with Strava. I am not an athlete but I sure want to hang out with this secret orange running / cycling society. Besides, I want the orange Strava “Proving It” tee-shirt.

2. Get a Deadline

The secret sauce of this 10 + 33 challenge was the deadline. I had to run 33 miles in 10 days. I could see the deadline from my running shoes. Daniel Ariely is a well known behavioural psychologist, an expert on habits and the author of Predictably Irrational, writes “Committing to a deadline is a powerful motivator because it puts your reputation on the line”.

 3. Commit Publically 

Daniel Ariely’ s writes: “Suppose that, rather than invoking the Ten Commandments, we got into the habit of signing our name to some secular statement – similar to a professional oath- that would remind us of our commitment to honesty. Would that make a difference?” The answer is a resounding, yes. When you make a public promise to do something and you tell your friends, colleagues and family, the odds of completing the task is “amazing”. When you sign up for a Strava Challenge as opposed to just signing up for Strava, you are invited to tell your friends. Do it. It works.

 4. Choose Simple Cues

Strava makes it so easy to track your runs. It also makes it simple to upload and compare with others. Download the app on your smartphone, sign up, press start and run outside. That’s it. The user experience is smooth and without distractions. According to web design experts, Conversion XL an app or product will quickly be adopted if it has the following features:

  • useful
  • usable
  • desirable
  • findable
  • credible
  • valuable

5. Find Flow 

Every endeavour pursued with passion produces a successful outcome regardless of the result” – Nick Bollettieri – famous tennis instructor (quote from the Bounce book). Moreover, “world class performance comes by striving for a target just out of reach, but with a vivid awareness of how the gap might be breached”.  But more importantly, learn the science behind “flow”. Flow is the concept popularized by University of Chicago’s psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihaly. Csikszentmihaly found happiness arises when skill and challenge intersect. “Physical activity, especially involving a challenge, is the surest way to release a combination of dopamine and cortisol in the brain. Running is one such challenge, and the growth in its popularity attests to the satisfaction that people realize from it.” – Satisfaction, The Science of Finding True Fulfillment by Gregaroy Berns, M.D..

6. Get Social

This is where Flow and Exclusive Tribe meet. The leaderboard effect. With RunKeeper, I have to go out and invite my “real” friends to join me on RunKeeper. I don’t like asking anything of my Facebook or Twitter friends. With Strava, I get to compete against the world without asking anyone to become a friend. I run in blizzard land Northern Ontario and have no chance of ever catching up with Brutus in South Africa. But hey, this hyper active leaderboard has over 15,000 participants. I can’t to win but surely I can squeeze in the top 30%.

7. Reward Yourself

Visualize the reward. For example, if I complete the 100 KM Challenge this month, I get an exclusive invitation (reward) to buy a tee-shirt. Yes, I understand you are perplexed but the reward is an exclusive orange tee-shirt. According to Heidi Grant Halvorson, social psychologist and author of Nine Things Successful People Do Differently, there are two (2) types of motivational personalities: Promotion-focused and prevention-focused people. Learning where you are on this spectrum will serve you right in ensuring you have the proper reward system. If you are promotion-focused, you work quickly, you are an optimist and you seek positive feedback. If you are prevention-focused, you tend to be accurate, work slowly, stressed out by deadlines and are uncomfortable with praise.  The key is to find your type of reward in accordance with your motivational personality.

The one missing key ingredient

Habit. Goals are useless because they are not in themselves, transformational. If your system includes “purposeful practice”, you are on a path of excellence, according to Bounce’s Matthew Syed. Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit, asserts the right human psychology is grounded in 2 basic rules: “First, find a simple and obvious cue. Second, clearly define the rewards”….”Particularly strong habits…produce addiction-like reactions so that wanting evolves into obsessive craving that can force our brains into autopilot”. For example, don’t run because you want to lose weight, run because you want to sleep well at night and have boundless energy in the morning.

In summary, I showed you an example of how systems (such as Strava) are a much better predictor of transformative performance than simple goals or resolutions. Still need a framework to nail your system down? Download Scott Adams’ How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big” and the Strava app (iTunes) or here for Google Play on your phone. A better resolution might be, “get a good habit”. But don’t go Strava crazy. Like this post, please share with your friends.