Welcome to the Year of the Horse. I am not one to typically set New Year Resolutions. This year, however, I have a Year of the Horse resolution. A couple of weeks ago I asked Tess if we should just reduce our clutter by buying kids the Kindle Paperwhite, which is currently on special on Groupon in Hong Kong. In doing so we could eliminate the ever accumulating number of books that cycle through our flat.
Tess replied with, "Our problem with the clutter is not books... the problem is paper."
That hit home and stung a little bit because I am the source of a lot of paper clutter: ever accumulating and constantly collecting clutter.
A few days later a friend and I were speaking. Having just left his company, he is starting a new business. His goal is to start a business with no paper by using the latest available technologies. I asked him what he was using to keep track of all of his notes and paper. When he replied Evernote I rolled my eyes. I have tried Evernote twice in the last three years and never really liked it that much. But times change, applications advance, technologies improve and he convinced me to try it again. This also started a conversation about The Productivity Curve: a topic that you will read much about in the coming posts. (Visual from this web site.)
After my friend and I parted ways I spent a few minutes online looking at articles entitled, for example, "the top 10 ways to use Evernote" etc etc. I felt a strange tingling in my body as if God was blessing me with afterburners I had not felt in a while. Over the next 24 hours I did a lot of research into Evernote and many other applications and tools including IFTTT if this then that. I also looked into the latest advances in voice recognition technology. The last time I looked at voice recognition technology, its success and price point had not yet reached the tipping point to make it worthwhile as a regular tool. But this week I discovered that was no longer the case. On Friday afternoon, using my iPhone5, in the space of 15 minutes, I responded to 20 emails using voice recognition technology.
I hesitate to use military metaphors. But boys will be boys and guys will be guys - we tend to be wired in that direction. For example when they were younger, if we didn't buy Sebastian and Jasper toy guns, they would just pick up a stick and turn it into an M-16 anyway. Much of the perfection of voice recognition technology has actually been pioneered in the military space. As I continued my own search for the best uses of Evernote and voice recognition technology, I felt as if I was in a jet fighter arcing my way up into the sky faster and faster. (Not that I have ever done that, of course, I have only imagined it or experienced a weak visual simulation in an IMAX theatre!)
In any application, perhaps Evernote, I am looking for more than just a To Do list: I'm looking for the creation of value. As Sebastian and I ran an errand this morning, I was deliberating on a dilemma that one of my favourite applications was operating in isolation. I cannot even remember the application, but I remember the insight... tag and clip to Evernote, post to Typepad, sync to Dropbox: if this then that.
In conclusion, this week I bit the bullet and bought a mini iPad as I saw a glimpse of the potential productivity in the future. I could hear my Blackberry weeping as it crept closer and closer to life support. My new years resolution for the Year of the Horse is to make a hard hard turn into The New Productivity Curve: to have a tremendous increase in horse power. To go from 4 cylinders to 12 cylinders... not just to break the sound barrier but to break the Productivity Barrier, the outside envelope of which I probably don't even know exists. It's just out there waiting to be broken and RescueTime can help me track it, too.
And to start the process this entire blog post has been written using voice recognition technology, on my new mini iPad, in Evernote.