Before getting into the subject, I want to mention that there is another article on productivity that I wrote about a year ago. It was about using to-do lists. See it here.
I can say that who I am and what I’ve accomplished over the past two year is due to using these lists on my smartphone. Given that we have thousands of thoughts each day (many of which are probably brilliant ideas) and given that they come and go extremely fast (we can only hold roughly 7 chunks of data in your short term memory), it would be wise to put them down, to externalize them.
Many successful people use some form of externalizing their thoughts and ideas. There’s a great book Getting Things Done by David Allen which is written under the same principles.
Note 8 and EZPDF Reader
Anyway, this post is about my two most recent and most productive tools. It’s about my Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Tablet (with S-Pen) and an application called EZPDF Reader.
Here’s a review on Note 8:
And here’s a description video for EZPDF Reader:
These two giants help me carry around and easily use an unlimited amount of books. Right now I got 150-200 books on my tablet. Reading and researching is my most important daily habit, to which I attribute a couple of hours of my time.
Then, it’s building and managing my to-do lists. I use the ColorNote application for this purpose. Here’s a quick shot with some of the books from my EZPDF library.
And it has an even nicer bookshelf-like display:
EZPDF Reader application is available on Android and IOS Powered devices for free for a trial period with all its premium features unlocked. If you decide to purchase it, it’s a bargain. My opinion is that it’s definitely worth the investment.
How I do it…
Reading a book with this app becomes a very addictive pleasure. Here’s how it looks:
The app has two special features for pointing devices (Styluses and/or S-Pens) and makes finger-touching unrecognizable when the S-Pen is in use. They are: “Palm Rejection” and “Disable Buttons during Freehand”.
You can highlight, note, annotate and do basically all the imaginable and unimaginable editing you want when using this app.
Besides, it syncs with your Dropbox account or whatever type of cloud storage you’re using.
This means that once I exit from reading and editing a book on my Note 8 EZPDF app and hit the sync button, I can open the same book through EZPDF on my Galaxy S5 an resume the reading and editing process. Such a convenient feature!
I use the same sync feature with the “notes” application. It’s easier for me to do the bulk of my weekly and daily notes on my tablet using the S-Pen and then manage them on my smartphone.
I’m currently reading 5-6 books at a time. I also read one or two research papers every day. The app allows me to save all highlighted text from a book and condense it in a file for later review. I usually review most of the books I read every couple of months so this feature is convenient.
The S-Pen is an amazing tool because it has very powerful handwriting recognition software. The software itself is smart because it is constantly learning and adapting to my writing style. So, it becomes better in time. Check this out:
There are applications specially designed to be used with the S-Pen. Some of them help creating mind maps, while others are good tools for creating lectures, tutorials, painting and paintings (S-Note for example). Everything can be recorded and then played back in a video file or uploaded to YouTube. You can make lots of money with this tablet :).
Technology is a leverage that significantly enhances our powers and can move us away from using brute-force and hard labor to achieve in life. It enhances our mental capabilities as long as we use it for purposes other than mere entertainment.
I do use Facebook on my devices, but most of the time the devices are in my hands I either: edit my to-do lists, read, do personal finance, attend Coursera classes and sync everything in-between.
Is there a device or application that you can point to? One with similar features? Let’s learn from each other.
1. David Allen – Getting Things Done
2. Tim Ferriss – The 4-Hour Workweek
3. Shane Snow – Smartcuts: How Hackers, Innovators, and Icons Accelerate Success
4. EZPDF Reader Application
5. Samsung Note 8 Tablet
6. ColorNote Application
7. Evernote Application