Minimalist Writing on the iPad

 

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Thinking about starting a blog or sharpening up your social media posts? Due to information overload, we have developed simpler methods of communication. We read, write, even speak in abbreviated ways. Shorter, more concise language is now the rule. How effective you are in getting your message across is dependent on brevity. Text messaging is a prime example.

Here’s an example of the minimalist writing process I use, on the iPad, before I publish to this blog. Even if you don’t blog, you can be short, concise, and to the point in composing emails and social media posts.

(1) Most blog post ideas come at any time, day or night so I keep a supply of index cards in the car, house, office, and bag to get those ideas out of my brain and on paper. Any paper will do. Not to brag, but I’ve written magazine articles on restaurant napkins! 🙂

(2) Type paper notes into an event in my calendar or Evernote: a note-taking, organizing, and archiving app. The software syncs across most devices so it’s always accessible. The goal is to keep the post 300 words or less using plain English and less punctuation. Sometimes I paste the text into iA Writer for its’ clean, distraction-free interface. When I’ve developed something coherent, I’ll still continue to edit, edit, edit. Sometimes, I have to start all over again if it’s too complex.

(3) Copy the text to Hemingway Editor: I bought the stand-alone software for my laptop. They don’t have an app for the iPad but they do have a free website you can use in your browser. Hemingway Editor‘s entire purpose is to make you write more concise.

(4) Paste the text into Voice Dream: Once I’m sure about the post, I’ll review how it sounds. I can even edit within the app.

(5) Paste the text into my WordPress blogging website and format photographs, graphics, and schedule a posting.

The goal is to even shorten this process and I’m finding that the audio and text editing in Voice Dream may eliminate some of these apps in the very near future.

Remember, if you have another tablet brand or device, you can use the same or similar apps  for their operating system.

In the next post on simplifying life on one device, I’ll review social media. Might be the shortest post ever!

Starbucks: Tip of the Iceberg

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I lived through the American Civil rights era , with a life still negatively affected by racial bias in ways too numerous to count. So, I’m often mentally and spiritually exhausted following one racial incident after the other. However, it was refreshing to see that after the “racial bias” arrests at the Philadelphia Starbucks, the company’s CEO immediately addressed the incident. And it’s always encouraging to see younger people taking protest actions to contribute to a movement. But I hope that it’s understood that Starbucks is not an isolated case but the tip of the iceberg.

An iceberg is much larger than what is seen above the waterline. What is beneath the waterline of the American iceberg is the rest of America. “Serious” racial bias training may serve as an example for those corporations and government agencies, under the waterline, to follow, but it’s like putting a band-aid on a 400 year old gaping wound. The whole damn country, “From sea to shining sea,” needs to be shut down and go through psychiatric intervention until racism is removed from the American psyche. Unfortunately, that may take another 400 years.

 

Of Course I Deleted Facebook

The Facebook and Cambridge Analytica data harvesting scandal  should make it clear to everyone to heed  the warning, “If you’re not paying for the product, you are the product.” Public relations wise, connecting everyone in the world is an admirable vision, but in business, it is secondary to potentially reaping economic or political gain from a huge user database.

Of course I deleted my Facebook account that I specifically created to participate in my family reunion group. And I understand anyone who says that deleting doesn’t matter because there is no privacy in today’s world. My decision is personal. My veteran and employment records have been hacked at least four times in the last 15 years.  So serious were the breaches that I have had free credit monitoring for years. Last year, someone attempted to take over my bank account… I’m not in the mood for more break-ins.

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Life Organizing Apps

41FAEE61-3287-4A41-827C-D80954BC8FA7Every Tom, Dick, and Harry has an app so we fill up our devices with them because we can. Who doesn’t have three messaging apps or five food ordering apps or four mapping apps on their phones? I’m ashamed to admit that I have 96 apps in my iPad storage folders and if I took all of them out I would be instantly distracted.

Of all the apps on my iPad, these are the ones that are fundamental to organizing life. The remaining 96 will remain in their folders. 🙂

CALENDARS are the Swiss Army knife of organizing. Before computers, we used all types of paper-based calendars but today’s digital calendars are more flexible. For example, I centralize most everything in Google calendar. It’s web based and syncs across all devices so it accommodates my budget, day job schedules, personal appointments, birthdays, anniversaries and a to-do list. Even blog posts are stored as events on Google Calendar.

A few words of caution…don’t fill up your calendar with irrelevant items or it will appear confused and feel uninspiring to take action on. I also recommend using one calendar for both work and personal activities to prevent scheduling conflicts with both.

EMAIL is still king for the transmission of images and documents, despite the popularity of texting. I use Gmail, by Google. It’s web based; syncs across all devices and is simple to use.

ADDRESS BOOK/CONTACTS used to be stored in Rolodexes or small address books but digital address books are much more versatile. Apple Contacts is the default address book database and it works with many other apps. Again, simple to use and syncs across all Apple devices. Throw that Roledex away.

NOTEBOOKS have evolved to include many of the above-listed functions but can be complicated to use. I’ve tried many note taking apps such as Evernote, Google Keep, Microsoft OneNote, even Apple’s own “Notes” but while Evernote excells at saving whole web pages for later reading, Google Keep is simple to use and syncs across all devices.

Depending on your operating system and personal preference, you may be using different brands of tools (like Yahoo, Microsoft, etc) but these four categories of tools are what I have found to be fundamental for organizing your life on a tablet or smartphone.

In the next post on simplifying life on one device, I’ll review what writing apps and rules I use to create a simple workflow for blogging and other social media.

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