Darren’s Guide – The Best Tools and Techniques For Winning at Business and Life

Darren’s Guide – The Best Tools and Techniques For Winning at Business and Life

Products I Love
We owe it to ourselves to bring out best every single moment of every single day.  Why would anyone want to waste time being less than the best human he or she could be?  When it comes to getting the most from myself and my day, I'm ALL IN. Introduction In my 20 years in technology business I’ve seen and used a lot of tools. This guide is aimed at anyone who wants to make effective use of the Internet in daily life, whether it’s in business or in personal life. These tools are equally helpful regardless of whether you’re trying to run a business across multiple time zones or just trying to stay in touch with family and friends and keep your life moving in the right direction. I…
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Online Meetings and Collaboration

Online Meetings and Collaboration

Products I Love, Technology
This post is part of the series The Best Tools and Techniques for Winning at Business and Life The Habit Online meetings can be just as productive as a meeting held in person, provided everyone remembers that the meeting is still a meeting. Turn your camera on.  It seems weird at first but it doesn't take very long before it feels normal, and makes a huge difference in the quality of the conversations you can have. Especially in larger meetings and when some attendees are present via phone only, announce who you are when you're talking.  It takes no extra time to do, and brings refreshing clarity to the call.  Not only is it courteous to other attendees, others can focus more clearly on your comments and questions when they're not trying…
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Capturing Meeting Action Items and Notes with OneNote

Capturing Meeting Action Items and Notes with OneNote

Products I Love
This post is part of the series The Best Tools and Techniques for Winning at Business and Life Free If you had the previous version of this guide, you’ll notice that Microsoft OneNote has replaced Evernote in my list of recommended tools. In truth, either is a fine choice; you can probably be effective with either tool. OneNote integrates so naturally with Microsoft Outlook that it brings a host of useful features that in my opinion cannot be found anywhere else. Meeting Notes and Todos While I don’t recommend having your nose stuck in a computer during meetings, it can be helpful to use a computer to capture the deliverable to-do items at the end or after the meeting. OneNote is a great tool for this. With simple keyboard shortcuts and…
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Why I Think Mind Mapping Isn’t Crazy (And The Tool I Use)

Products I Love
This post is part of the series The Best Tools and Techniques for Winning at Business and Life Xmind.net: Free with Professional version available Don’t write this off. Just don’t. I know that “mind mapping” sounds like a weird, touchy-feely thing that people do right before they go off to yoga class and never do anything productive with their day. Not so. If you will learn to effectively map out your goals you’ll be much better at actually achieving them. If you’re still resistant to trying out this tool, do yourself a favor and get some 3x5 index cards out and put your goals there. If you’re not willing to do that, I can’t help you. Once you’ve done that and seen the benefit, come back to this guide and…
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Why I Keep My Files in Dropbox

Why I Keep My Files in Dropbox

Products I Love, Technology
This post is part of the series The Best Tools and Techniques for Winning at Business and Life Dropbox for File Sharing Free with paid version available for home users with large amounts of data enhanced collaboration features for business Dropbox makes it a breeze to sync files between multiple computers and multiple people. It is simply a must-have application for anyone who needs access to files from multiple places. Even more than that, if you need to share files with business associates, Dropbox makes this task a breeze. You simply set up your files in your own folder structure and share only the specific files and folders you need to share. You have complete control over who has access to the files, and you get notifications anytime someone updates them.…
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Long-distance Kanban with Trello

Long-distance Kanban with Trello

Products I Love
My team recently had to make the switch from the traditional artifacts associated with scrum - white boards, racing stripe, sticky notes, and paper everywhere - to an electronic tool. Finding a suitable replacement that works as well as paper was more difficult than I thought it would be. We tested several products, including Wordpress plugins, standalone web applications, and also tried repurposing existing apps we already used. We even considered writing a homegrown kanban app when all other roads appeared to have dead ends. For some reason Trello came to mind. It was an app I had heard about years ago and dismissed as irrelevant; but in minutes I was able to perfectly duplicate everything that had previously been on our physical scrum board.  A few more clicks and…
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How To Make More Effective Use of Your Office Productivity Software

How To Make More Effective Use of Your Office Productivity Software

Products I Love
This post is part of the series The Best Tools and Techniques for Winning at Business and Life Google Apps for Business / Office 365 for Collaboration and Document Collaboration Google: $5/user/mo | Microsoft: $13/user/mo Every team needs a collaboration solution. Individuals can benefit from having a classy email address on a personalized domain. These service are both really good. Both Microsoft Office 365 and Google Apps for Business work great. One will most likely stand out as better for your situation, so I recommend getting trial accounts for each and making your decision based on your own needs. Here are a few observations based on my experience with both solutions: Exchange vs. Gmail. Gmail works really well in the cloud. Exchange and Outlook go really well together in offices on…
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The One Thing, by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan

The One Thing, by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan

Books, Products I Love
Worthy of Repeating I wrote in a recent post about how some of the concepts mentioned in this book, combined with lessons learned from great mentors through life, have shown me how to stop dreaming and really reach goals, one step at a time. If you haven't already ready it, I encourage you to take a look at that post also. Build Your Own Roadmap This book is really a fast, easy read, and is really down-to-earth common sense stuff.  While I was reading this book I could hardly wait to finish it and get started putting the ideas into practice.  Some of the themes in the book you've heard before.  Does "starting with the end in mind" sound familiar?  But the way it's presented in this book just makes…
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Microsoft OneNote

Microsoft OneNote

Products I Love, Technology
This post is part of the series The Best Tools and Techniques for Winning at Business and Life Microsoft OneNote is a really great application, and it seems to be getting better with each release.  In the last year it seems Microsoft has felt the pressure from competing products like Evernote with lower barriers to entry.  This has really been great for consumers, and it has allowed a really useful tool to see more publicity as a result.  Although Evernote is also, a really great tool, we'll cover that in another post. Interface OneNote has a really fabulous user interface.  It's set up to be useful right out of the gate.  On top of the notes area you can see all your Sections and Section Groups, providing easy access to unrelated…
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An Often Overlooked Way to Protect Against Computer Crashes

An Often Overlooked Way to Protect Against Computer Crashes

Howto, Products I Love, Technology
There are tons of great applications and tools to help protect your PC from disastrous operating system failures, but I'd like to highlight one very simple way to protect your critical data in the event of a PC crash.  This solution won't protect you from a hard drive failure -- you'll need other tools for that -- but what we're talking about here will make it significantly simpler to recover in the event something goes wrong with Windows.  There are similar techniques available for Mac OS, but in this post we'll only be covering Windows. Keep Your Information Separate That's the secret.  I suggest creating a partition on your hard drive to store your critical data.  The system files run in one place, and your information stays in another.  That way…
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