My Application Mix

UnknownI’m a fan of productivity and applications that can “improve” my efficiency.  Like most productivity junkies it’s your system instead of your apps that make you more productive however finding the next greatest app is always on my mind.  After years of tweaking I think I’ve probably got the best application mix I can ever recall, and I’ve finally dumped Outlook!  Here is the rundown (Mac applications only) and for each application below I own the iPhone application as well.

Evernote Premium – Yes I pay for the premium subscription and yes it’s worth it.  Evernote is my digital notebook and the place where meeting notes, invoices, guitar chords for songs, messages, etc. are stored.

Airmail 3 – I’ve used Airmail before but never converted it to my primary email client.  When version 3 was released I thought I’d give it another go and I’ve now converted 100% to it.  With integration to 2Do and Fantastical it’s enhanced my productivity substantially.

Fantastical 2 – A great calendar application and definitely worth the cost.  Integrates into Airmail and allows simple calendar entry and multiple calendar access.

2Do – I’ve come to realize there is no perfect task management system, but 2Do is about as close as it gets.  I use to be an Omnifocus user but it just became too cumbersome to constantly tweak.  I need to enter tasks and complete tasks in a flowing manner.  Omnifocus seemed like a aircraft carrier, while 2Do seems like a sleek destroyer that is much more nimble.

Olive Tree Bible Software – I’ve used it so long and added texts to it’s library it has become indispensable.

Day One App version 2 – Journaling is important!

Microsoft 365 subscription – Because you have to.

How to Conference Well

conference-pic20 years of attending conferences have taught me a lot about what not to do and how to get the most out of almost any conference experience.  Here are some tips I’ve used over the years:

 

  1. Pre-register as much as possible  – Pre-registration keeps you out of lines and relieves mistakes.  Register for everything you can online because on site registrations take forever and too many mistakes happen when the lines get long.
  2. Minimize group think – While going with a group of people is fine, I try to break off the group during the conference so I can digest the material myself.  Don’t use others as a filter for the information you are hearing at the moment. Connect at the end of the day with your group or after the conference.
  3. At the registration table don’t pick up unnecessary trinkets – If you aren’t going to use the notebook or the coffee mug you don’t have to take them.  It’s more stuff to carry.  Determine what your minimum carry is and stick with it!
  4. Schedule your day and have a backup plan for each session – I’ve been in too many sessions that had really interesting names only to find out they were terrible. Plan to have  an alternate session if at all possible for each time slot.
  5. Seat selection is critical – Get to the session early enough that you don’t have to sit in the middle of a row of chairs.  The most ideal seat is one that is far enough back you can still see the speaker and the screen clearly, but one that you can easily exit from in case the session is not what you expected.
  6. Write down what you hear – Don’t rely on the slides that you might have received or on notes someone else took.  I’ve given enough presentations to know that really good information leaks out around the edges of the normal talk.
  7. Network with people you don’t know – This is generally an opportunity to connect with people who have the same interest as you.  Don’t eat lunch with your group, go sit by a stranger and strike up a conversation. You will end up learning more by talking with others outside your organization than group thinking the information with others you went with.
  8. Plan the information to immediate action – Spending time at a conference can be refreshing while you break away from your everyday tasks and learn new and interesting things.  While you are away make a plan for how you will use the information when you get back.  When you get back it is too easy to fall back into the everyday cycle and not implement or forget about the information you are learning now.  Take time while you are still away and make a plan.
  9. When you get back share the information –   In one of my previous positions I required that individuals who went to a conference had to come back and present at least some of the information that they heard.  Nothing is better at validating learning and understanding than having to share it to a group of peers.

I spoke to you again and again….. God is calling you

UnknownToo often people believe that God is distant and does not want to communicate with them.  They believe that their situation is “different” or “challenging” and that their life situation is so bad they wonder why God would want to talk to them or listen to their situation.  Some even question if God has the time to worry about their situation!

While reading the book of Jeremiah I was reminded that God is listening to us intently – desiring to pull people out of their troubled situations into greatness.   If we are in the middle of sin, he’s calling us “again and again” to repent and turn towards Him.   In the beginning of the book of Jeremiah it states that the tribe of Judah was doing some rotten things against God (read the first 7 chapters of Jeremiah to find out why God isn’t happy with them). It would be difficult to make your life more of a mess than what the people of Judah had done. Yet God makes this statement to Jeremiah about Judah:

“While you were doing all these things, declares the LORD, I spoke to you again and again, but you did not listen; I called you, but you did not answer.” Jeremiah 7:13

Sometimes when things are not headed in the right direction and we are crying out to God and wondering why we think he isn’t listening, he actually is…. Later God explains to Jeremiah:

I have listened attentively but they do not say what is right. None of them repent for their wickedness saying ‘What have I done'” Jeremiah 8:6

When you are in the middle of a season where you cry out to God and ask Him to intervene or cry out and wonder if He is listening, these verses serve as a reminder that He is calling us again and again and He is listening attentively no matter the situation we are in.  Even if we are have forsaken Him.  God is not too busy to communicate to you.  You haven’t messed up so badly that He wants to ignore you.  He loves you and wants to speak to you again and again and He is still listening to you attentively.