Finding A New Writing Haunt

602704_71703498 There are times when I need to break out of my home office to get things done. It usually happens when the solitude (or maybe the mess) of my home office gets to be too much. So during the past two years, I’ve tried a number of places close by my house in Northern Virginia including:

  • Starbucks is fine for short bursts but I’m not a coffee drinker. I do love their hot chocolate though making it more of a fall/winter place for my writing.
  • Panera can be a productive place for me especially on Saturdays in the fall and winter. During the summer
  • McDonalds never made the list because I’m still scarred from reading Fast Food Nation.

To me, the perfect writing haunt includes good Wi-Fi and activity. My favorite area right now seems to be the Mosaic District with its large Panera and other wonderful lunchtime options. One of the bigger mistakes I made in 2012 when I returned to freelancing was spending too much time by myself in my home office. With all remote clients, much of my communications were via email and group chat.

What makes a good writing haunt for you?

Image by freeimages.com user: soopahtoe

 

Microsoft OneNote vs. Evernote In My Little Corner of the Mac World

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I’ve been quite open about my love for Evernote in the past both on this blog and TechRepublic. The recent launch of a free  version of Microsoft OneNote for the Mac was a real shot across my bow. I was a huge OneNote user before the Mac became my primary platform at home.
In the past, I’ve written about OneNote on occasion and even sang the praises of the app when the last client site I was on for a full-time job upgraded to Office 2010 bringing OneNote into their enterprise.
Though the whole time, Evernote took over more of my note taking and research repository needs including:
  • Job Hunting Research
  • Productivity articles I wanted to read at a later date
  • Article and blog post research
  • Project archives
There were and still are periods I use Evernote to capture notes either from:
  • Penultimate
  • Moleskine smart notebook
  • Typing
At the current time, I don’t see Microsoft OneNote supplanting Evernote in my workflow. It’s still missing some of the higher end features I grew to love in its Windows cousin.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m quite happy that Microsoft has brought OneNote to the Mac. My plan is to watch it grow in functionality. Right now, where I do see OneNote for Mac fitting in for me is for capturing ideas and online account registration information.
What has been your experience with Microsoft OneNote versus Evernote on the Mac?
 

Managing Personal Projects with Asana

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While covering project management and collaboration topics for CNET TechRepublic, I had the opportunity to write about Asana, a social task management platform. I liked it so much I started using to manage the editorial checklists I create for articles, blog posts, and corporate client projects. When it comes to project teams, Asana is a viable substitute for email. I even recommend Asana to freelancers and independents who need to centralize their project task management. For instance, I have an Asana workspace for a client project and the client has permissions to add, edit, and delete tasks.

Adding a personal projects workspace was a shrewd move by the developers. The feature has been around since 2012, but got my attention when I had cause to start managing some house projects I have underway. Now, I can manage my freelance  project editing and personal projects all within the same Asana account.

To manage personal projects in Asana:

  1. Select Personal Projects from the Asana left pane. The Personal Projects workspace appears.
  2. Create a project or projects as you need them for personal projects.
  3. Share the personal project with family members or others who are participating with you.

My Personal Project workspace coexists with workspaces I’ve setup for my article writing and corporate client projects. While I’m a big fan of the Asana iPhone app, the lack of an iPad app keeps me from moving more of my professional task management over to the platform at this time.

Do you manage your personal projects in Asana? Describe your experience in the comments.

 

Checking Out SwiftKey Note for Evernote

Swiftkey

My love for Evernote is well documented both on this blog and on other sites. SwiftKey, the developers of an alternative keyboard for Android devices, recently released an iOS app that brings their whip smart predictive keyboard to the iPad for Evernote users who want an alternative input tool for their Evernote account. I’ve long been a user of FastEver and FastEver XL when I want to make a quick entry into my Evernote account so I was definitely up for checking out SwiftKey Note.

The app has a predictive keyboard that learns as you type. For my purposes, this gives it an edge over FastEver XL (my current preferred app for entering text into Evernote). However, it doesn’t support tagging which I use in my Evernote notes quite frequently.

Even with the recent changes to Evernote on the iPad and iPhone, the game is still wide open for alternative input methods. I welcome SwiftKey Note to the Evernote ecosystem even though it’s not quite a fit for me as a user.

Have you tried out SwiftKey Note? Share your experience in the comments.

 

Take the Approach of Small Projects, not Writing Tests

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I first want to state that I’m not averse to writing tests for full-time or contract positions. However, in today’s economy, my time at the keyboard is closely tied to billable work. A request to take a writing test came to me the other week from a company. Looking at the information they sent me, they could take the final output from this test to their client as the final project. All the while, I could be out time and money for the effort and the company has gotten the work done for free.
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