How The Apple Watch Will Increase Your Productivity

(or if you should even care)

I have had my Apple Watch for a little over two weeks now, and as an unabashed Apple fanboy, I have to say I love it. But, could it help you be more productive in your life and business? Read on…

The Hardware

First off, the watch is beautiful. Apple is known for making stylish and elegant hardware, and this is no exception. The screen is Ion-X glass, making it more scratch resistant. It has only one button and the digital crown on the right side. The band fits well, is easy to change if you wish (no blasted pins!), and is comfortable all day. Whether you get the stainless steel model or the aluminum, you can be proud to show it off. The battery lasts all day, but you have to charge it every night. Who sleeps with their watch on anyway?

The Interface

The interface took a minute to get used to, but I soon had it down like a pro. The main screen is the watch face of your choice (10 to choose from, with the ability to customize several features on each). Swipe down to see notifications, just like on your iPhone. Swipe up to reveal app “glances”, or scaled-down versions of your corresponding iPhone app. Think of it as the most important information from the app at a “glance”. Using the digital crown to scroll allows you to see the information on the screen without your finger blocking it.


The Utility face is a good classic style.


Who doesn’t love Mickey? This face is my favorite.


The Solar face is a good example of a different look.






The Apps

The native apps are useful (mostly), and the number of iPhone apps with an Apple Watch extension are growing every day. It can work as a remote for your iPhone’s camera shutter button, control your Apple TV, or give you updates on sports scores. I even have mine programmed to open my garage door! The Activity and Exercise apps are surprisingly motivating (ask me about “going for a stand” sometime), and the built-in heart rate monitor allows me to go biking or running without the awful chest strap I have used for years.








Your Productivity

There have been several times I have noticed a productivity increase, or at the very least a time saver with this watch. Here are a few:

  1. Text messages – If your watch is paired with your iPhone, texts will come to the watch with a chime and a bump on the wrist, leaving your phone quiet. Easily silenced, you can see your texts while in a meeting without ever having to take your phone out of your pocket. Replying is easy, by voice or canned responses, or you can simply ignore them if needed. In the car, it keeps you from reaching for your phone (don’t text and drive).
  2. Phone calls – Yes, you can make and receive phone calls on your wrist. But seriously, don’t. You’ll look like a goober. However, this can be handy while driving for a quick, “Can I call you right back” conversation.
  3. Calendar – Since it syncs with your iCloud calendars, this app is great. You get a distinct bump on the wrist at reminder time, and many of the watch faces integrate the next upcoming calendar item.
  4. Evernote – the Evernote app is stripped down to searching notes by voice and adding voice notes. Handy, because a full keyboard on your watch would be silly. Remember what I said above. Think of it as the iPhone app distilled to its essence.
  5. Omnifocus – This is my go-to daily task and project management application. The Apple Watch app lets you see tasks that are overdue, due today, upcoming, flagged, or in your inbox for processing. For me, the best part is quickly checking the next task on the list, and tapping it “Done”.
  6. QuickBooks Online – As a QuickBooks Online Certified Pro Advisor, I highly recommend this software for your small business. On the Apple Watch, you can quickly see important items such as cash balance, accounts receivable, and overdue invoices.

The calendar also has a daily view.


Quickly call or text someone in your favorites.


Quickly add an Evernote note, or do a voice search.


Use the digital crown to scroll through all notes.

The Omnifocus glance lets you see every category.

The Omnifocus glance lets you see every category.

Scroll through your Omnifocus tasks, even clear them with a tap!

Scroll through Omnifocus, clearing tasks with a tap!


Check your QuickBooks Online important balances.


Another QBO screen. Collect those invoices!










So, to answer the burning question – should you buy an Apple Watch to increase your productivity? In all honesty, I can’t say that anyone NEEDS this device, any more than you need any watch. But if you properly separate NEED from WANT, and can justify the expense (pay cash!), you will see small ways to shortcut tasks throughout your day.

What do you think? Do you have one, or will you get one? Leave a comment below, and don’t forget to share!

Regrets, I’ve had a few…

I’m in my mid-forties now, and you can’t live that long without making a few mistakes. Poor choices of words in a delicate situation, making a wrong career move, and bad money decisions early in my married life are just a few things I look back on with a cringe. Here are 3 ways I have used to get past regret in my life.

Realize that you are normal

If you hold yourself to a standard of unattainable perfection, you can live with guilt and anxiety your entire life. I once worked with someone who made a significant error on the monthly financial reports. She was a great employee, and had never made a mistake worth mentioning in the time she worked with me. She alerted me to the mistake, we fixed it, and moved on. There were no consequences, and there was no need for any discipline. But, she couldn’t let it go, and ended up crying in her office the rest of the day. Everyone is going to makes mistakes from time to time. Which leads me to the next point –

Don’t let your past mistakes define you

I’ve heard it said that everyone is a product of their decisions made up to today, and I believe that to be largely true. I would add, however, that how we deal with the consequences from those decisions reveals our character and makeup. Every personality type deals with mistakes differently. You may be inclined to blow them off, or you may internalize them. Internalizing guilt and shame can even lead to physical issues. Mistakes are going to be a part of your past, but don’t make them who you are. Learn what you need to from them and move on.

Always look 5 to 10 years into the future

One of the best pieces of advice I have been given, and one I give out regularly, is to make every decision with a view of 5 to 10 years into the future. If you want to save more money, change your career, or finally lose that weight, seeing how that decision impacts your life down the road can really add motivation, and make any mistakes seem small and recoverable.

Seeing ways that we can move past regret for past mistakes or poor decisions can help you make better choices in the future, and be a happier, more productive person. How do you get past prior mistakes? Leave a comment, and don’t forget to share!

Spring Cleaning!

I hate Spring. Before you come after me with pitchforks and torches, I know I’m in the minority here. I know I am supposed to look forward to the beauty and rebirth of the blah, blah, blah, but I just don’t get it. To me, Spring is a time of allergies, higher humidity, tax season woes, and the realization that despite what my neighbor’s lights say, Christmas is over. But, it is also a good time to take inventory and do some spring cleaning!

If you know me at all, you know that I am a neat freak. While never diagnosed as Obsessive-Compulsive, I’ve been told that I have “tendencies”. Not enough to be debilitating, but just enough to keep things organized. So, in order to put my disfunction to work for you, let’s hit three areas to work on to keep you running in top shape.

1) Your Computer (Mac)

Over time, your computer gets so clogged with all kinds of cruft, broken links, and general ickiness that it regularly needs a good sweep. To that end, I give you CleanMyMac 2. This lovely application will quickly scan your system and remove unnecessary cached files and broken links. It even optimizes your iPhoto library. I run it regularly, and I usually gain about 500mb of free space each time. Not too shabby. If you want to go even deeper, look at Onyx. It optimizes things I had never heard of before, and gives you several customizable options.

CleanMyMac 2 has a beautiful interface, and is very easy to use.

Onyx is extremely powerful.

2) Your File Cabinet

People have been saying for years that we will see the paperless office. Most have not achieved it, but I can tell you that for a small business, it is entirely possible. Start with a scanner (I use the Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300i Mobile Document Scanner) and grab the first file in your cabinet. Start small, just the first file folder, and scan all of the documents. Then – here is the hard part – SHRED the paper! Put the scanned documents in a folder on your computer with the same name for now, and go to the next one. There are very few documents that need to remain intact. Even the IRS accepts scanned documents as originals, so don’t be afraid. Put any remaining documents in a fireproof safe (marriage license, passports, social security cards), and welcome to the future!

3) Your Office and Desk

Empty your trash. Take empty coffee cups to the kitchen. Get a wet rag and wipe up that sticky spot that has been there for weeks. Now, take everything off of your desk and wipe it down. As you put things back, ask yourself, “Does this NEED to be on my desk?” Brainstorm for a while about changing your setup. I have found sometimes just rearranging things on my desk can spark some creativity. Keep things minimal. I have my computer setup, scanner, printer (rarely used) and a picture of my wife on my desk. That’s it. Clear your desk, clear your mind.

She loves me so.

Following just a few regular routines like this can keep your small business office (and mind) clear for more creative thinking and planning. If you ever need any assistance, give me a shout!

What are some of your cleaning rituals that help you focus on the more important things? Leave a comment, and don’t forget to share this post with your friends!

The Best Facebook Tweak Ever!

Is your Facebook news feed crowded with useless ads? Do game requests make you want to punch a baby? Do you have friends constantly on a political rant, or are selling something you care nothing about? Have no fear! I have the answer.

Enter F.B. Purity. F.B. (Fluff Busting) Purity is a Facebook customizing browser extension. You can get it for free (donations accepted) for Safari, Google Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and Maxthon browsers (no Internet Explorer, but why would you use that anyway?). F.B. Purity allows you to customize the Facebook experience so you only see the information relevant to you.

If you are like me, you want to scan through your news feed, like or comment on friend’s posts, and get out. I have no interest in games, irrelevant ads, and the myriad of game and application spam that crowd my news feed. With F.B. Purity, you can completely eliminate anything you don’t want to see. Simply install the extension and go to Facebook. You will see a new line beneath the status update box:


Clicking on the F.B. Purity link opens the options menu. Poke around with the options to get the look that you want. It took me about ten minutes from start to finish. My favorite: The Custom Text Filter. This sucker is magical. If you are tired of your friends commenting on the President (positively or negatively), simply type “Obama” in the filter box. Any post with the word “Obama” will not appear in your news feed. Have a friend who sells a product you don’t want to engage with? Type the name of the product in the filter, and you won’t see any posts containing that product name in your news feed, but will still see all others from that friend! Friendship preserved.

As you can see in the picture above, you can see the number of posts that have been hidden, and you can click the Show link to view them if you wish. In ten simple minutes, I went from the regular crazy busy Facebook page to a lean news feed that allows me to use Facebook as I wish, and ignore everything else.

If you are looking for more tips and tricks, I have a FREE e-book for you with the tools I use to run my business. Click here to get it. Please leave a comment and share this post with your friends!