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New post at my new home!

July 27, 2011 Leave a comment

Please check it out!



New Home!

July 24, 2011 Leave a comment

tabletproductiv has moved! I created my own hosted wordpress site at All posts have been moved as well.

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1 way the iPad is changing Healthcare

July 24, 2011 Leave a comment

I just read a great article by Jeff Bullas called 5 iPad trends to watch. Amazingly Jeff neglects to mention how the iPad is making some amazing inroads into Healthcare. In this post I am kicking off an additional blog focus, how the tablet is improving the practice of medicine.

There is not just one reason why the tablet is improving the practice of medicine; click here to see a list of 10 to start. For this post I will focus on just one simple reason; information accessibility!

I am not a doctor. In general I do not need to access very much information to do my job of running an Imaging department. On any given day I may need to remember the current status of a particular project or issue. I may need to remember the cost of some capital item I am trying to get approved or maybe I may need to remember the name of an employee or physician in a meeting. Contrast this with the volume of information a physician or any medical professional from a nurse to a radiology technologist needs to retain and access at any given moment. Take the Physicians’ Desk Reference (PDR) for instance. The PDR “is a commercially published compilation of manufacturers’ prescribing information on prescription drugs“. The most recent version in 2011 has information on over 1100 drugs including pictures, potential complications and general prescribing information. Think of all of the paper that is included with any of your prescribed medications and then multiple that by 1100. Trust me, the book is big! Now, think about having all of this information searchable on a tablet! Another example is the medical dictionary. Take the Stedman’s, one of the three primary English Dictionaries, which has over 54,000 terms and 900 illustrations. And this is just a general dictionary utilized by just about any healthcare worker from the radiology scheduler to the general internist. Now, consider all of the other medical books and journals and you have literally 10’s of millions of pages of medical information. What would it be like to have all of this information at your finger tips on the floors?

Consider this from Jon King, MD, a general surgeon at Banner Estrella Medical Center in Phoenix taken from this article in American Medical News. Before Dr. Kim started using his iPad in practice, “he routinely would have to leave the exam room to get anatomical drawings or medication lists to review with the patients”. Would you like to review electronic medical drawings on an iPad before your surgery or would you prefer a scribbled “illustration” on a piece of paper or white board? And, it is not just the practicing physicians that are transforming the practice of medicine, just ask the new surgical residents at Loyola in Chicago that are each provided their very own iPad to access Loyola’s newly digitized medical library.

Ubiquitous information access at the bedside quickly and easily… just one way the iPad is improving medicine. And, I am not talking about utilization of the tablet to view electronic medical records or other point of care applications; just the ability to access information quickly and easily!

Think this advantage is just in medicine? Check out this article on how the iPad is beginning to replace that 40 pound rolling bag that all pilots lug along on their flights!

Much more to come!

P.S. The picture above is a screen scrape taken from my iPad visualizing an MRI via the Citrix Receiver app for the iPad.

Soaring Satisfaction Levels for the iPad

July 22, 2011 Leave a comment

I ran across this article yesterday while reading one of my healthcare journals. An “internationally recognized authority on media tablets and e-readers” at the University of Missouri has found that user satisfaction with the iPad is defying the typical satisfaction life cycle for technology devices. In most cases “satisfaction tends to drop off significantly after about 13 weeks. That clearly is not the trend with the iPad” says Roger Fidler, program director for digital publishing at the Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri.

I guess you can guess that my satisfaction has not waned and is certainly increasing as I discover new and better ways to leverage my device. How about you? Is your satisfaction with the iPad still on the rise?

Part 2, How to keep track of your notes

July 20, 2011 Leave a comment

I’m an Evernote fanatic…there, I said it! Ever since my very first note/link way back on May 14, 2008 I have been diligently capturing links, notes, pictures, emails and now various other documents. Being the techy nerd that I am I’ve tried many applications out there that do some (and sometimes all) of what Evernote does. But, for whatever I reason I have not wandered from this great app cum service cum virtual networked memory. I heard once that because we are connected through our various devices that our memories have basically exploded in potential  as every piece of information we may want to remember is instantly available to us. This is especially important for memory-challenged folks such as myself.

In my previous post I wrote that a tablet can not be embraced as a serious productivity tool without snapping the pencil in two and simply storing information directly into the tablet. Instant information capture is a great way to store your notes in a more virtual fashion, but to truly leverage your virtual expression you are going to need some way to intelligently store and index all of these notes. Without this intelligence, your notes will wallow in the same way that your notebooks do. For me, Evernote provides the intelligence that I need.

To be honest, my implementation of Evernote is far from the most creative or efficient out there. I have read about tons of different ways to setup and utilize Evernote and will provide some useful references below. However, if you want a simple way to utilize this great tool look no further than my basic process.

  1. Install Evernote everywhere! Evernote literally can run on just about every computer, smartphone, tablet and browser currently in use. Don’t believe me, click here. The best places to start are with the web clipper on each computer you browse on, the desktop version on your work computer (if allowed), home computers and finally on your tablet.
  2. Open the desktop version and start creating your notebooks. The easiest way to do this is to create a logical notebook to match each of the paper notebooks you are using now. I have created over 27 different notebooks in the three years I have been working with Evernote. Seems like a lot, but consider all of the projects you work on, the staff you support or manage, the clients that you serve, etc. All of the information you generate through your life needs a logical home that is easily found. For example, I have 7 direct reports and another 3 I indirectly support; each of these folks has their own notebook in Evernote where I organize all of my communications with each of them. I have a notebook for my boss, a general notebook for general stuff, a notebook for this blog and many others.
  3. Create one additional notebook called “unprocessed” and set this as your default notebook. I recently created this additional location to keep track of all information that has not been categorized yet. Think of this as your stack of unprocessed paper in GTD terms.
  4. Figure out your Evernote email address by visiting the Settings screen. This simple little email will allow you to literally capture anything and everything from any device that has email capabilities. I use this functionality from my Blackberry and it is here that I utilize the “unprocessed” folder. Any email I send to Evernote is automatically stored in this folder. Whereas if you are utilizing the Clipper or the Desktop version you can drop your notes directly into their proper location.
  5. Start creating tags for each note you create. A tag is simply another way to cross-reference information. As an example I have regular meetings with each of my direct reports called “PMIs” which is simply an acronym for “personal management information” or something similar. Because I have a notebook for each direct report I will place my notes for each meeting in their appropriate notebook and tag the note as “PMI” as well. This allows me to find notes by people and by topic without having to utilize the search tool.
That’s it! Simply following the above steps will set you on your way towards a true virtual filing cabinet. In fact, I am slowly moving away from physically filing paper in manila folders by scanning most every piece of paper I want to save. I have found that it is faster to do this up front and a lot faster later when I am trying to find things. Think of filing a piece of correspondence into a folder and 2 years from now you try to find that same piece of paper in your two or four drawer filing cabinet after having forgotten how you labeled the folder. What you end up doing is going through 2-3 different potential folder names trying to locate the folder and then in the end you go through every folder in your cabinet. Now, if you had scanned that document, placed it into a virtual folder on Evernote and added a tag most likely you would have found what you were looking for in about a minute…on your iPad wherever you may be working at that moment! Amazing!
Give Evernote a try and let me know what you think.
If you are already using Evernote and find my process a bit simplistic, check out some of the resources below for some additional ideas.

Other Alternative Evernote GTD/Productivity Implementations:

Random ways to use Evernote:

A real alternative to Evernote – Springpad:


The elephant pictures comes from the Honolulu Zoo

How the iPad will really change your life, Part 1

July 16, 2011 2 comments

Get rid of paper now! Get rid of the legal tablets, the spiral binders, the scraps of paper, the napkins and your sweaty palms! You will never truly leverage your tablet while still using your paper and pen as a crutch! Kind of like riding a bike, you can never truly ride on two wheels with the training wheels on!

Why get rid of the paper? Well, what is the point of having an iPad at work to simply read email, surf the net in meetings and play Angry Birds? You can do all of these things on an iPhone or a Droid. Use your iPad to surf the internet and your co-workers will think you are wasting their time in meetings! However, if you use your iPad to save you time later and provide value for your co-workers by taking and sharing notes immediately; you will truly justify owning such a convenient device. So, how is possible to take notes fast enough with an iPad?

Step 1, get a good stylus. In all honesty, the best way to truly leverage the value of the iPad is to start writing on the screen. Everyone who has tried to type on an iPad knows that the keyboard is not ideal for extensive typing. For me, I did not really understand how the iPad would improve my productivity until I was able to take advantage of the electronic notes I took using a stylus and note taking app. Taking notes by typing on the screen just did not seem realistic.

As I have written here, one of the biggest problems I used to have with productivity and data capture was the process of processing all of the notes I generated on a too regular basis at meetings. This information would wallow in my notebooks which was fine as long as I had the notebook with me, but not so fine if I slacked from processing the action items on each page. I would love to say that I am the GTD poster child, but I am far from it; I just was not consistent at processing my daily notes. And, even when I was consistent; I was never great at taking all of this knowledge from my notes and placing them into an index-able filing system. Trust me, I tried everything from legal pages which I would file into neatly labeled file folders to loose leaf pages that I would place in project binders; both of these methods worked, but the processing work to maintain these systems was just too much of a pain for me to be consistent.

Step 2, get a good note taking app. The first app that relatively worked for me was Penultimate. Finally with this app I was able to take notes in a meeting and then send these notes to Evernote for archiving. This all worked great until Penultimate changed the interface a bit almost forcing the user to take notes in Portrait Mode.  This drove me nuts as I like to take notes with the iPad sitting in landscape sitting on the conference table in front of me. Here is a picture of what the screen looks like when taking notes with the iPad sitting horizontally.

Notice the layout of the title, time and other buttons along the top and the three main control buttons on the left; they are sideways.  You are basically writing along the page as if you turned the paper sideways. This is logical I guess until you send the file to email or Evenote. When you do this the file appears like this; sideways! Maybe there is some setting in Penultimate to fix this, or maybe I am just anal; but when apps cost less than 5 bucks, a small annoyance is enough to push me to try something new.

So, after a recommendation from my brother-in-law I tried NoteTakerHD (a detailed review can be found here). This app really worked for me for almost 6 months. NotetakerHD truly allowed me to keep up with notes at a meeting and it allowed me to easily archive all of my notes to Evernote for easy organizing.

NotetakerHD is definitely not the only notes app out there, but it is one that worked for me. Another one that I am looking forward to trying is WritePad. I understand that WritePad actually “learns” your writing style and then instantly translates your writing into text. Sounds cool to me.

In a future post I will review my process for organizing and archiving my notes in Evernote because quite honestly it is just as easy to loose track of notes in Notetaker as it is with a notepad or notebook; you still have to stay on top of organizing and filing. But, the true advantage is that these notes go where ever your iPad goes and if you are like me your iPad generally follows you around.

So, if you want to truly start leveraging the iPad and you are not confident in your typing abilities on the iPad, buy a stylus (Stylus Reviews here) and try out one of the numerous note taking apps out there.

P.S.  The picture of the pen above comes courtesy of Elite Choice. The pen is the “1010” fountain pen valued at over $174,000!

How effective is your TPS Report?

July 14, 2011 Leave a comment

I have spent so much time researching tools, processes, apps, etc. to make myself more “efficient”. Lately I have been asking myself if I spent all of this time trying out the next best tool or process because I am was looking for that silver bullet that will eliminate my daily waste? Or, was I trying out these tools because it is kind of fun to play with new technology. By this I mean that it is kind of easier to justify time spent screwing with a new tool or app because this app “may have the potential” to help work when in fact incessantly trying out tools is just another form of procrastination.

It is with this realization that I write this new post on effectiveness vs. efficiency. There are tons of  articles and posts on this topic on the internet; here and here for instance.

This topic has been running around my mind since  reading The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferris. The majority of Tim’s book focuses creating businesses that are essentially on auto-pilot while you live your perfect life…whatever that may be. However, in Chapter 5 (The End of Time Management) Tim gives the reader some challenging thoughts on what truly is important. Take a look at this quote.

Effectiveness is doing the things that get you closer to your goals. Efficiency is performing a given task (whether important or not) in the most economical manner possible. Being efficient without regard to effectiveness is the default mode of the universe.

When was the last time you really took a look at the work that you do? When was the last time you considered whether the meeting you just attended truly helped you achieve your goals…the goals that your boss holds you accountable for? Obviously we can not all attain some (or any) of the goals Tim writes about in his book, but we can take a bit of his advice and spend some of our planning time considering our task list from the perspective of effectiveness rather than just efficiency. Pick that task that is going to take you a step closer to your goals (and your boss’s goal for you). And, if that task is a truly difficult one break it up into a manageable project…just as David says.

And, in case you have a problem taking advice from Tim, why not check out another gem from David at the Huffington Post.

Finally, keep the following clip in mind while you are considering your daily tasks!

Now, I just need to start following my own advice!

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