Most chances are that you never heard of it and you have no idea what it does, right?
That is good because today you will learn all about it and how and most important, why, I consider it to be so good.
What Is It?
Windows Live Writer by Microsoft is an application for composing and managing blog posts. It will help you blog like a pro and make your blogging life so much easier (you simply can’t understand how easier until you start using it).
Why Do You Need It?
If you are a blogger and you use WordPress than I’m sure you will agree that their post editing interface is simply not the best. It has many drawbacks and I always hated writing posts inside WordPress, especially if they were long and filled with images.
Using Windows Live Writer allows you the freedom to create your posts outside of WordPress and you can actually see exactly what your post would like as you write it thanks to a great feature that imports the current theme you are using on your blog.
Inserting images couldn’t be easier. You just choose the images you want from your PC and when you publish the post, Live Writer will upload of the images for you. You can edit the images, add some cool effects and do things that you simply couldn’t do with such ease inside WordPress.
BRILLIANT! I kid you not. Just ask Ronen how is blogging life changed for him after he started using Windows Live Writer.
And don’t forget to ask him who recommended it for him?
And the most important questions – how long did it took him to LISTEN?
How to Get it Working?
Download and Install
Windows Live Writer 2011 is free and you can download it HERE.
Download and install it. Pretty simple process so I’m sure you don’t need me explaining anymore about it.
Add Your Blog/Blogs
Next thing you will need to do is to add your blog or blogs. This another great feature as you can manage as many blogs as you want from within Windows Live Writer 2011.
Before you add your WordPress blog you need to make sure your XML-RPC is enabled. This can be found inside your WordPress admin panel under settings/writing.
Now you can go ahead and add your blog to Live Writer.
Just click on My Blog and select Add blog account.
Enter the web address of your blog
Enter the username and password
You will be asked if you want to download the blog theme. This will let you see what your posts will look like as you are creating them. I always do this.
Start Blogging Away
That is it. You are all done. Your blog is added and you start blogging away. Trust me, if you never used it before, your blogging is never going to be the same again.
Not All Is Perfect
As almost anything in life, not everything is perfect and so is the case with Live Writer 2011.
It doesn’t support tumblr.
And let me tell you something, the post editing interface in tumblr is far worse than the one inside WordPress. FAR WORSE! It will definitely be on the list of things to improve once Ronen finishes his little case study on tubmlr.
So, how did I got over this little hurdle? Easy.
I still write the posts inside Windows Live Writer, upload the images into tubmlr and use the URLs to add them to the Live Writer and once I finish I simply copy the html code and paste it into tumblr. It is the best solution I found so far.
If you are a blogger and you never used Windows Live Writer, give it a try. I’m more the confident that you are going to love it.
How else would you explain the fact that is the only thing to come from Microsoft that no one (meaning me) has anything bad to say about it?
One of the problems with working from home (among many others) is tracking your working hours. When I started I didn’t track anything and I was working whenever I felt like it.
I would assume that you might be asking why am I saying that it isn’t good, right?
Good question and great that you asked because I took the time to provide you with a great answer (if I may say so).
You’re More Efficient
Quite simply, tracking time and having better time management will help you do more in less. It will help you work smarter, not harder, and definitely not longer than you have to.
You’re In Control
Knowing the time and how you are distributing it puts you in control. You control your working day and not the other way around.
Tracking time will reduce the amount of unhealthy stress you will suffer from. As you probably know, you will always be with more than enough things to deal with and if you are not big on time management it will simply overwhelm you resulting in unhealthy stress (not sure if there is healthy stress but we may talk about that later).
Improve your ability to manage time and you will enhance your peace of mind.
You’re More Fulfilled
How you function affects how you feel. Time management starts with the choices and decisions you make based on you knowing what matters and doing it efficiently. That is time well spent and that will make fill better and more fulfilled.
Finishing tasks brings a level of satisfaction and energy that makes me feel good. Real good. I feel energized! Your ability to manage time has a direct affect on your energy levels.
How Do I Track Time
I have tried many different tools and services for time tracking and time management and the best one that I found (and my brother might disagree) is called Time Doctor.
Time Doctor is pretty new and still in Beta phase which means you get to use if all for free. I’m not going to tell you all of what Time Doctor can do for you as you can read all about the great list of features it has at http://www.timedoctor.com/.
I simply wanted to point your attention to it so you can check it out and see if it something that can help you with your time management and time tracking.
I can surly say it helps me everyday and I love it.
What about you? Are you tracking time? What tools or services are you using?
Internationalization is very important to us. Considering we have over 900,000 registered users (with a forecast of 1 million this year) we thought it right to radically improve our language support for Wunderlist - on all platforms. So what’s the deal?
Music is one of the few things that can really get me from being low and unproductive to being high (with no drugs) and super productive.
I know that some people can’t work and concentrate while listening to music but for me its the other way around. Most of the time I spend working I am also listening to music. I don’t know why, but it just makes me more productive.
While I am reading I usually prefer not to listen to music as that could make reading a little hard but for most of the other activities (writing a post for example) I always listen to music.
I know you are probably asking what did I listen to while I was writing this post, right? If you want to know, just click HERE. If it’s good or bad is a question of taste so don’t be hammering me for the music I like :)
The Eye Of The Tiger is one of the few truly “uptime” songs that I have. These type of songs really helps me get my mood and productivity up. I don’t think I will ever hear enough of this song.
What do you think? Does music have the same effect on you? If so, which is your favorite ”uptime” song? Share it with us so we could all create our own “uptime” music playlist!
Seriously now, I been blogging for almost two years now and commenting on other blogs even longer than that and it amazes me how many people still show up as the usual gray blob or some other pre-selected default secret service shadow profile or even worse - a manga cartoon (what’s up with that really!).
I urge you all to think about your online presence as an online brand and build it accordingly. It doesn’t matter if you make a living out of it directly… it just makes sense and make it easy for everybody to recognize you online.
Just think about the many services you probably use and show up on already - Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Tumblr, Linkedin, Google+, YouTube, Vimeo, Yelp, Forums, Blog Commenting, StumbleUpon, Digg, Klout, Foursquare, etc…
Being recognized = Being Listened Too!
Gravatar is your Globally Recognized Avatar. This service is provided by AUTOMATIC, the maker of WordPress among many other good things (some of which I’ll write about later on).
Here’s how they define it on the Gravatar website:
Your Gravatar is an image that follows you from site to site appearing beside your name when you do things like comment or post on a blog. Avatars help identify your posts on blogs and web forums, so why not on any site?
You signup once, Upload a picture, Attach it to an email, Add links to your favorite web services, Write a one liner about who you are and what you do… And from then on every time you use that email on blogs, websites and the many services supporting it, your profile or avatar comes along for the ride!
And it’s not just a picture. Hovering over it people can get to see the information you added on your Gravatar profile page - Who you are and what you do, as well as allowing them to visit your other online presence spots such as your own blog, twitter, flickr, YouTube and more.
Let me point out why you want to use it.
Saves you time with logging to comment on blogs and websites.
It helps you be more recognized (Online Brand, Remember?).
People are more keen to read your comments if you have one.
It will increase traffic to your own site.
It helps in developing your authority.
You can have your own Gravatar in minutes, just provide the email address you usually comment with.
So what picture should you choose?
I think there are only two options:
Your real face picture
Your brand logo
I use my own face profile picture and would suggest all to use a face picture too. Using a logo to represent you can be an option in some cases, but the most important thing is to be consistent.
I’ve recently experimented with combining the two options. My profile face picture was the one I used as an avatar from the get go (starting at 2002 I think, even before Gravatar was launched) and it later turned on to be my blogs logo. Now, I have several versions of it dedicate to online services I participate in.
Today I want to recommend a great little free tool that I think all of you PC users should take a look at.
It is called Notepad++ and it is really a great name for it as it does provide some major pluses over the regular notepad app you get with every Windows copy.
Notepad++ is a free source code editor and Notepad replacement that supports several languages. Running in the MS Windows environment, its use is governed by GPLLicense.
Based on the powerful editing component Scintilla, Notepad++ is written in C++ and uses pure Win32 API and STL which ensures a higher execution speed and smaller program size. By optimizing as many routines as possible without losing user friendliness, Notepad++ is trying to reduce the world carbon dioxide emissions. When using less CPU power, the PC can throttle down and reduce power consumption, resulting in a greener environment.
I know, those are pretty bold claims and I don’t know if using Notepad++ will really help reduce the world carbon dioxide emissions but I can assure you it will help you save some time and be more productive. I personally love that it allows me to have multiple notepad windows open among other great features.
As I mentioned in my taking notes post I always have a little notebook next to my keyboard to take notes. I also always have Notepad++ active on my desktop and I use it for various things such as:
Copy & Paste - If I have some content that I keep needing to copy and paste over and over again, I simply add it once to Notepad++ and keep copying it whenever I need.
Taking notes - I don’t always use the little notebook I have on my desk as it is little and I try to write down the most important notes I have and keep them short. For everything else I use Notepad++.
Formatting Issues - When I copy something for an internet page or a Word document it usually get copied with the formatting and in order to strip all of that formatting I simply copy it into Notepad++ and than copy it again and it is now clean to paste anywhere I want without needing to edit the fonts or any other formatting aspect.
Code Editing - Editing code is very easy with Notepad++ as opposed to the regular notepad and after you will copy a piece of code into it you will understand why (or just take a look at the image on the homepage)
I strongly recommend you give Notepad++ a try and see how great it is and how much it can help you. Download it here.
Are you using Notepad++ already? If so, what are you using it for? Anything I left out? Please let us know. And for all of you Mac users, if you can share with us a similar tool that works on the Mac it would be great.
Brainstorming Overdrive With The Power Of Mind Maps
One of the things that really helped me get my ideas and projects in order was that I started using Mind Maps. This time I have to thank Ronen as he introduced me to this Mind Mapping concept by sharing with me the service he used called Mindmeistera few months back.
For those of you that don’t know what a Mind Map is, here is the definition according to Wikipedia:
A mind map is a diagram used to represent words, ideas, tasks, or other items linked to and arranged around a central key word or idea. Mind maps are used to generate, visualize, structure, and classify ideas, and as an aid to studyingand organizing information, solving problems, making decisions, and writing.
The elements of a given mind map are arranged intuitively according to the importance of the concepts, and are classified into groupings, branches, or areas, with the goal of representing semantic or other connections between portions of information. Mind maps may also aid recall of existing memories.
By presenting ideas in a radial, graphical, non-linear manner, mind maps encourage a BRAINSTORMING APPROACH to planning and organizational tasks.
Since I started using Mindmaps with the service called Mindmeister it really helped me to organize the tasks needed to be made and the ability to see everything in front of me with all the levels simply made it much easier to figure out what additional tasks/steps I need to take and eventually it simply helped take action on my ideas.
Here is an example of a mind map I just created for the purpose of making this blog better by letting you add your problems, ideas, tools and tips so that all of us can learn from each other and it would hopefully bring in some great ideas to write about.
You can edit the mind map so feel free to add anything you want (just don’t delete anything please). If you can’t see the mindmap than it can be found HERE.
As I mentioned before and as you can see by the embedded Mindmap above, the service I am using for all my mind mapping needs is called Mindmeister. I really love it and didn’t see any reason to look for any alternatives. You can signup for free and create up to 3 mind maps.
Other mind mapping tools/service that I heard about (and found by simply using Google) are Freemind and Mindjet. I know there are probably more and I really can’t say anything (good or bad) about the two I found as I never used them myself.
If you know of any other great mind mapping tool feel free to let us know and if you have mind mapping tips we are all ears.
4 Simple & Efficient Ways To Help With Procrastination
Procrastination is one of the biggest problems we all as a human race have. How many times did you decide with yourself that you are going to do something but you never really go about doing it?
Here is the definition of Procrastination (according to Wikipedia)
In psychology, procrastination refers to the act of replacing high-priority actions with tasks of low-priority, and thus PUTTING OFF IMPORTANT TASKS TO A LATER TIME. Some psychologists cite such behavior as a mechanism for coping with the anxiety associated with starting or completing any task or decision.
Don’t feel bad, it happens to all of us, even to the very best. I can say that I am probably a master of procrastination as I simply can’t remember how many things I wanted to do but never got to doing them (for various reasons which all are excuses).
It got to a point in which it really started to bother me and I had to figure a way to deal with this problem. I am happy to say that I have found 4 simple and efficient ways/methods which helped me cope with my procrastination problem and i’m going to share them all with you today in hopes that it will help at least one of you :)
1. Imagine The Feeling
What I mean by that is you simply need to imagine how good you will feel after you completed the task/s at hand. I found that this really helped me to get things done and more importantly, it really helped me get things moving when I really didn’t had the energy to do anything.
For me, this works great for my daily workouts. If i’m not really excited before the workout (which happens from now and then) simply imaging how good I will feel after the workout helps me go about doing it. Really works wonders (for me).
2. Simple Actions and Baby Steps
Don’t think, Just do.
When I have a task to complete and i’m not really up to it than I just start doing something that is related.
For example, when I have a post to write but i’m no really up to it at the moment than I simply launch Word and I just type in the headline of the post and I make sure to keep it open. That really helps me get it done much faster than if I wouldn’t have done that simple little thing.
Just start the task even with the simplest action it takes. It will go along way.
Baby steps. It sounds simple but after you do a few of them and you think back you can see that you actually did something and the task is on its way to completion.
3. Set a Deadline
You need to set deadlines for your tasks. I know, I know, this is not new and this exactly where the catch is.
The deadline you set must not be dependable only on you (because you will simply keep changing it or simply forget it). You need the deadline to be something you can’t miss. I usually have others set my deadlines for me and it makes me accountable for not getting things done in time.
One of the worst feelings I have is when I need to start coming up with excuses for things I should have done, but didn’t do with no real reason other than laziness and procrastination.
When I know someone else is waiting for me to do something, it will usually get done in 99% of the cases before the deadline is up.
One of the biggest decisions I made to my online business was to partner with someone and stop working all alone. It really launched my productivity and i’m getting so much more done than when I was working alone answering only to myself.
4. Daily, Weekly & Monthly Plans
Making a daily, weekly and monthly plan is something you probably heard before and it is crucial so don’t skip it.
What I want to emphasize is that you need to put these plans and what you want to do in the coming day, week and month in a place that you can see it everyday, all day.
Put it in front of your face. If you have a plan but you can’t see it than it really doesn’t worth much. When I see the tasks I want to complete in front of me, all the time, it simply makes me do what needs to be done in order to complete these tasks.
That is it from me. These are the 4 methods I use and that really worked wonders for me in the last few months and my procrastination problem is now in check :)
What about you? Are you suffering from procrastination? If so, what are you doing to cope with it? Do you have any other tips for us? Don’t be a stranger and lest us know.
As far as I see it having a password manager is a must. I really don’t know how I managed all my passwords before.
Oh wait, I do know. I only had 3 passwords I used for everything. Guess what. That is BAD, BAD, BAD. Don’t do it and please don’t wait until it is too late.
A password manager will help you become more productive. It will save you time and more importantly, it will keep you and your information safe. After all, when working online you probably signup for dozens of sites and I am sure that if someone would crack your password (and trust me, they try everyday) it would be pretty bad for you, right?
I have over 200 passwords saved on RoboForm and I only need to remember one. Just one. I am able to create passwords no one will ever crack simply because I don’t have to remember them, RoboForm does that for me.
You just have to make sure your master password is not your name and birth-date or something lame and easy to crack.
RoboForm comes with a great additional feature called form filler which as you can probably guess allows you to create ready made forms with information and it allows you to automatically fill in forms with a click of a button. Isn’t that going to help you be more productive? Save some time?
I only know of 3 password managers that I can recommend you to check out. Just so you know I am personally using RoboForm and I love it but I can’t say anything (good or bad) about the other options since I never used them myself.
You can try them all for free as they all have free trial periods so you have no excuse not too check which one works best for you.
This post is also intended to put my big bro, Ronen, on the spot as I have been urging him to get a password manager for months now (starting to remind me of the Jing thing) and I figured now he won’t have any choice. I know he will thank me for it and that he won’t understand how he worked without one for so long.
So, which password manager are you using (if any) and which one do you recommend and why (the why part is important).
Block Time-Wasting Sites That Suck The Life Out of Your Working Day
Working online has great benefits but it also has some big drawbacks. When you launch your web browser (and if you are still using Internet explorer than please read my post - Stop Using Internet Explorer) you are gaining access to just about anything you want which usually means distractions.
I am sure you can relate. How many times did you find yourself sitting in front of the computer wondering what the hell you were doing for the past hour (or more) and why aren’t you working on what you should.
From my own personal experience I can say it happens to me way too many times and on a daily basis. Staying focused is probably the number one problem for me and I am sure for many others and being able to access all the information in the world in a matter of seconds is not very helpful.
No matter how hard I tell myself to stop wasting time on Facebook, Twitter or some of the forums I am active in, I always find myself throwing away valuable time on these sites.
If you feel the same and you have the same problem you will be happy to know that there is a solution. Since I am only using Chrome and Firefox I will only be able to share the solutions I found for these specific browsers.
Both of these extensions do the same thing. They allows you to be more productive and focused by blocking those time-wasting sites that can suck the life out of your working day.
All you need to do after installing them is to specify which sites to block and when to block them. You can even select the site you want to be redirected to among other cool options.
Simple, easy and most importantly, it works! Don’t take my word, try it for yourself and see how much more you will get done.
On a side note, these extensions can also be used for parental control but since I don’t have any kids yet and I remember that I always knew more about computers than my parents ever did, I doubt if it will actually work :) but feel free to give it a try.
And don’t forget to let us know if you are already using these tools or something similar and how did it help you.
One of the things I find my self doing quite a bit while I am working online is taking screenshots and I recently started creating screencasts.
The best tool I found that allows me to do both with a single click of a button is called Jing, and guess what, it is completely free to use and if you will create a free account at screencast.com you will get 2 gigs of online storage for all of your Jing screenshots and screencasts.
Taking screenshots and screencasts is easy. Really really easy. The problem is that most people are not aware of it and they think it is much more complicated than it really is. I know I had this problem when I got started so I assume others would have it also (if i’m wrong, i’m sorry and please don’t sue me).
I can tell from my own personal experience that I have been using Jing for over a year now and I have recommended it to my big bro, Ronen, several times. But, as most of my recommendations to him go unnoticed so was the case with Jing and he didn’t give it a try.
I don’t really know what it was that finally got him to signup for an account and download the free tool but I can tell you that he loves it and uses it quite a bit now.
If only he would have listened to me sooner. It seems I do have some good advice from time to time :)
Downloading and installing Jing is easy and most importantly, using it is very easy.
Click on Download (green arrow) in order to download Jing either for Windows or Mac. I also strongly recommend you check out their Overview Video (red arrow) in order to better understand how Jing works and how great it really is.
The image above was screen captured using Jing and the arrows and boxes were added using Jing. It took me exactly 5 seconds or so.
Jing is a Techsmith product, the makers of Jing’s big Bro Camtasia Studio - A full fledged screen recording & video editing software that you pay for… Just figured you would like to know that.
So, what do you say?
Are you using Jing? do you love it? Hate it? Maybe you can recommend a tool that does the same only better?
It is quite common for me to get ideas or thoughts while I am working. It could be ideas relating to what I am currently working on or it could be about other things.
It could be about anything… That doesn’t matter.
What does matter is that if you don’t write it down, these ideas and thoughts will be lost forever (or until they will resurface at a much later time).
This is why I made a habit of taking notes while I am working to make sure to follow up on these ideas and thoughts at a later stage. You never know what could happen.
There are probably dozens of ways and methods to take notes but having too many options usually leads to taking no action. It is one of the biggest problems we as people face (and most of us don’t even know it) but that is a completely different topic that I’ll probably cover at a later date.
To make things simple and easy to take action on I will share with you the two methods I am using for taking notes:
Quick Note - This is for all of you Chrome users. Quick Note is a Chrome extension that will help you take notes quickly and easily. Quick Note is always open when I work and it is one of my favorite Chrome extensions. You can connect it with your Diigo account (if you have one, and if not, it is free to create one) and it will provide you with a cloud based storage that will allow you to access your notes from anywhere.
Pen & Paper - Yes, the good old pen & paper. I have a notebook next to my PC with a bunch of pens all around the table so I will always have one available (they have a tendency to simply disappear, no idea why). Just write your notes down. Manually. I know it is not very “sexy” to take notes manually but I find it to be the only method that sticks and works.
Just so you will understand how important taking notes is, while I was writing down this post, 3 new post ideas popped up into my head and if I hadn’t write them down, I would probably forget all about them and you wouldn’t get the chance to enjoy more of my tips and ideas :)
If you are not taking notes yet, than I recommend you start. Give it a try. I can pretty much guarantee you will stick with it as your ideas might be worth quite a bit and you can’t afford to let them go to waste.
I am all out of words so the stage is yours now. Are you taking notes? If so, how are you doing it? Share your methods with us.
If you want to be more productive when working online than one of the first things you should be looking at is the browser you are using.
If you are still using any version of Internet Explorer than I recommend you start looking at the alternatives and I suggest you focus your efforts on either Firefox or Chrome.
Both of them are faster with nicer interfaces (in my opinion) and more importantly, both support addons (Firefox) and extensions (Chorme) which can and will help you become more productive and save tons of time (a great example is our post about Boomerang for Gmail).
I will be sharing with you in later posts the addons and extensions I personally use that help me save time and get things done faster and better. Some of these addons and extensions have become a core part of my work process and I really can’t recall how I did things without them.
Just to be clear here, I am not a Microsoft hater (we all know there are quite a few of them out there) and I will even recommend a great tool they have in a later post that all of you bloggers should know about. I am only saying that both Firefox and Chrome are better browsers.
I am also more than happy to say that it seems I am not the only one thinking Firefox and Chrome are better. Just take a look at the following image:
As you can clearly see, Firefox is the most popular browser and Chrome recently took over the second place, which is quite amazing as it is a fairly new browser (first beta was launched in September 2008).
You can check the full stats w3schools. Be sure to scroll down a little to see how these numbers changed over the past few years.
So, which browser are you using? Don’t be shy and let us know. Even if you are still using IE (we won’t hate you), we would love to know and we would also appreciate if you will let us know why you are still using it. Maybe we are missing something :)
Well… not a real war, Just me checking them all out and laying out the key points to compare them all against. Part of this review process is using those platforms and as you can see I started with tumblr as the main hub for the time being.
So the key points so far are as follows:
Ease of use.
Backup & Transfer of data off platform.
Visibility on the platform network.
If you think of other things please share them with me so I can take them into account.
Envato got me going almost 2 years ago starting my own blog at www.ronenbekerman.com and I keep following them all the time.
The new WPTUTS+ is all about developing for WordPress, probably the most popular and flexible blogging platform on the planet! I use it myself and love it very much… not much of a developer myself - but I do code a little here and there, get small things done as needed.
If you are into WordPress development, this is a must follow website from now on.
tumblr does not auto create this kind of post for you and I was wondering why is that really?
I started the same type of blog on the WordPress.com system, just so I can put them both to the test and I plan to do this on other platforms too. I’d like to learn the strengths and weaknesses of each system so that I can later share it with you, hopefully make the decision much easier when you like to start your own blog or website.
This blog will be about my personal endeavors at getting things done as a creative professional, family man and inhabitant of our good earth.