One of my goals for this year and in particular in working on the blog is to use tools to be more successful. There is nothing worse than a goal that is not attainable because of lack of want to or know how and sometimes tools can assist in making a goal more attainable.
A new years resolution to go to the gym only works while the motivation to work out is there. Going to the gym and not working out because you don’ t know how only discourages you and you don’t go back.
I am one of “those people” that needs constant motivation to stay on track. I do that by motivating myself and finding tools and resources that keep me focused and on task.
For example. I am working on doing more to lift some of the burden of household chores from my wife. She does and has done a fantastic job over the past 22 years and I know this is an area that I can do better at. So I have picked up the responsibility to doing the grocery shopping. I hate grocery shopping, but it is a task that I can do so I had to find motivation (other than just being more helpful). So I dove into the task to find tools that would make grocery shopping more interesting for me and make me want to do it. Enter an app for my phone. I downloaded the Out of Milk app and started using it. We make the grocery list on the computer and sync it with my phone. Bingo.. we have a winner. I am actually finding grocery shopping fun, walking up and down the isles scanning products and adding them to the shopping cart.
Apps and software have made much of what we do these days more tolerable. They have also made managing tasks, lists, notes, and resources more accessible. A few years back I started using an app called Evernote ™. It was a cool way to take notes and have them available across different platforms. My computer, phone, tablet etc. Then I started using for Scouting.
Some of the cool things about Evernote ™ that I really like are the note taking and sharing of information I gather. With Evernote ™ I can clip and save things right from the internet. I can save PDF files for retrieval later and I can record voice notes.
Evernote ™ has all of this in one nice bundle. I have many notebooks within Evernote ™. This is nice to I stay organized and have everything right at the tip of my fingers.
Our Troop uses Troopmaster ™ to manage the Troop’s administrative functions. But Troopmaster ™ does not have a corresponding app for my phone or a mobile way of accessing information from Troopmaster ™. So I save the reports and most frequently used items from Troopmaster ™ as PDF files and drop them into Evernote ™. I can’t tell you many times we have been at a Scout property and they need a roster with phone numbers, ages, etc. I just open up Evernote ™ and there it is. I can even print the roster from Evernote ™ if they have wireless printing available. I had to do this last summer at summer camp.
Scoutmaster conferences are easily tracked and noted using Evernotes voice memo feature. It is nice to talk with a Scout and then capture some of my thoughts right after we are finished without sitting a writing it all down. Then once I get home I can transcribe the voice memo into a note for future reference.
Project planning is another great use for Evernote ™. In 2012 I used Evernote ™ to plan and track our Philmont trek. Everything from setting reminders to making checklists to ultimately making notes along the journey. Adding pictures to remind me of tasks, people, places, and things we needed to do.
As most everything we get now electronically from the BSA comes in PDF format, dropping our reservations and other correspondence from Philmont was easy to save and retrieve.
I am still learning of new features and ways to use Evernote ™, but so far it is a great tool to make my Scouting life and my personal life more organized. It is a way that I stay focused and on task and therefore more productive.
Some of the other ways in which I use Evernote ™:
Building Packing list for Backpacking. It is a nice way to make checklists and track weight and gear.
Lists for places I want to go. Using the clip it feature on the web I can save maps, brochures, and information about places I want to go, in particular backpacking.
Saving ideas for future planning with the Patrol Leaders Council.
Recipes for Dutch oven or backpacking meals.
Using Evernote ™ Hello I save business card and meeting information. That is really a neat feature and a fast and easy way to build and maintain contact lists.
That’s just a few. I follow the Evernote Blog also. It is amazing all of the different ideas shared there for use cases, tips, and what’s happening with Evernote ™.
Finding a good way to stay motivated and on task is important. It is critical if you are like me and have many irons in the fire and want to stay focused. But like everything else if you don’t commit to using the tools then you as good as that new years resolution to go to the gym.
I hope that helps you find a tool that will help you manage your irons in whatever fire you place them.
Let me know what you use.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
- Follow The Scoutmaster Minute on WordPress.com
Go To Wood Badge