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All It Takes Is a Little Discipline

April 13, 2009
img_00024Last year, I re-launched both my websites, Imagine That! Studios and, in order to face my digital Everest: blogging. Sticking with static HTML was going to be detrimental to my geek cred, I knew that. Problem was, my two previous attempts to blog - a place to pontificate on all things that the published ponder - struck me as nothing more than pre-TEN-tious procrastination. The first one went to seed after its first post. The second attempt managed two posts before I looked at it and asked "Why am I blogging about writing when I just lost a day writing for my next novel?" This reboot was my third time at the blogging bat. For this go-round, I pledged to apply disciplines. I figured that my blogging could use a routine. Here's what I came up with:
  • Keep posts close to 1000 words for, 500 words for
  • Proof (and proof again) before posting
  • Spend no longer than three hours on a single post
This was the switch that needed to be thrown for me. Instead of feeling guilty after posting, I enjoyed a lot of satisfaction in rants, validation in my Social Media commentary, and gratification from comments generated. Blogging, it seemed, finally started to take a hold. What was the key? Disciplines. Disciplines can be applied to your iPhone as well. Let's be frank: the iPhone is dead sexy and dead snappy. It's a high tech toy that can do a lot of cool things, as seen in the commercials. But just because you got a smartphone that is smart in its attitude, this doesn't mean you can't accomplish amazing things with it. Yes, Virginia, there are apps out there that help you get the job done! It simply boils down to what you do to make this happen. Sure, "Productivity" tools do not necessarily sound sleek, sexy, or fun; but trust me - there are Productivity tools out there designed for, as my friend George Hrab sings, BrainsBodyBoth. img_00051iPhone's WordPress, once you are verified and online, gives you many of the options you would find in your Dashboard. So, if you've got access and you're on a train? Guess what: You can blog. Take a Note offers a built-in recorder for on-the-spot memo taking, for that idea you know you can verbalize but can't quite type out (yet). Or what if you see that billboard that fires off an idea? Take a picture with your iPhone's camera. Take a Note will categorize and time-stamp both photo and audio, and wirelessly copy them over to your desktop computer. Then are the iPhone standards like iCal and Mail, when synced up with MobileMe and a Gmail account, that keep you connected and up to speed with the rest of your world. The iPhone is insanely cool, but it also wants to be a powerful device that gets things done from just about anywhere. The right tools are only part of making things happen, though, with your iPhone. Once you have the necessary apps at the ready - be they OmniFocus, Read It Later, Keynote Remote, or something similar - now comes to time to establish disciplines geared towards what you want to accomplish:
  • How much time do I need to focus on organizing ideas?
  • How often do I need to stop and organize my goals?
  • How much time and effort is too much?
  • How much of what I want to accomplish is professionally driven, and how much is personal?
  • After I organize my life, do I have enough time in the day to enjoy my life?
It's a bit like staying fit. Along with being a blogger, a podcaster, and a networker, I am also a swimmer and a runner. Now what does exercise have to do with productivity on your iPhone? A lot, actually. Success in any physical conditioning you undertake hinges on how committed you are to it. What separates the men from the boys, the women from the girls, and (let's call it like we see it) the fit from the fat, is discipline. So what if you had an exceptionally long day at work? You're rolling by the gym at 8:00. Gym doesn't close until 9:30. This is why you travel with the packed workout bag in the car. img_00015As I warned in my first column, thought, your disciplines should give you set parameters to work within. It is frightfully easy to invest too much time with your iPhone when taking notes, preparing for projects, and juggling schedules. You start to lose sight of what you want to accomplish; and your productivity becomes something akin to procrastination, and therefore a waste of your time. When you want to accomplish goals, you need to have a plan and a strategy in place. No matter how many hours you have in the day, allocate the time and the concentration needed to efficiently work on your iPhone. Get into your disciplines...or groove, if you want to sound a touch more hip. To discover the productive potential of your iPhone, discipline is key - set the time aside, make it routine, and get things done. By establishing parameters and intent, production becomes easier. By adhering to these disciplines, your efforts will yield an unquestionable success.

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