Archive for category productivity

The Inner Game program

THE Inner Game refers to the inner dialogue that takes place within a person who is performing or doing some activity where there are standards and expectations (often high), whether one’s own or other people’s.

Much of the time, we’re not aware of it, but we can become aware of it, and once we do… well, then the question becomes what to do about it! Is this dialogue helping or getting in the way of the performance? Who, in fact, is talking? And to whom?

Awareness of one’s own inner dialogue can lead to surprising insights in the form of pleasant experiences, and improved performance.

I’d read Tim Gallwey’s classic “The Inner Game of Tennis” back in the 80’s but did not fully understand the principles and was not able to transfer the concepts and tools in that book to my own professional situation or personal life.

A few years ago, I was given a deeper and interactive introduction to some of those tools in a training partly designed by Tim Gallwey. Since then, I kept an eye open for any chance to take an Inner Game workshop.

Thanks to Covid-19 putting the kibosh on face-to-face workshops, the Inner Game Institute went online. I signed up. And had such a good time I signed up for another one a couple of months later. Both workshops were led by Tim Gallwey and Renato Ricci. It was great to benefit from their energy, wisdom and experience.

The next one is The Inner Game of Sports, two seminars taking place in February and March. Check them out.

For the first time we will have in March our first workshop talking about The Inner Game applied in Sports area. In this event we will bring the experience of Tim Gallwey and the Inner Game applied to sports in the last decades, not only in athletes but also in high performance teams.   This program is aimed at athletes, professionals, practitioners, coaches, sports psychologists, and all those who wish to develop athletes in individual or team sports. You can access all details visiting our website.

I’m now learning to apply what I learned to the learning and teaching of languages.

Evernote slowly improves

IN its latest roll-out, Evernote dropped many features that many users had liked and become accustomed to. Since, Evernote has slowly been restoring some of those lost features.

One such is the ability to encrypt a note or any text inside a note. This option used to be accessed from the “Note” menu, but this has been removed from the latest version. So I complained. And was told it had moved:

Please note that you can encrypt a text using your desktop app by selecting a text and pressing right-click. From the menu, press “Encrypt Select Text” and a prompt asking you to enter a passphrase for the encryption would appear.

Another complaint of mine, that I couldn’t change the default language of the app to English and am stuck with the Japanese one, unfortunately, did not get a satisfactory reply:

I apologize for the inconvenience it is causing, but we haven’t built the change language feature into the new Evernote app. This is one of a handful of features we are still considering. Thanks for letting us know this feature is important to you. I will share this information with our product team.

Helpful productivity advice

Over the winter vacation, I took on a number of new projects. New Year brought visiting family and that completely screwed up my schedule and routines. I tried to get everything back on board but it was a struggle: each routine or habit seemed to get heavier and heavier and I canceled, postponed, or gave up altogether.

A post by productivity coach Carl Pullein helped me get back on track:

You have to be patient, but it’s worth it. By focusing on one goal at a time you maximise your chances of success. Most people fail to achieve their goals because they focus on too many things and spread their focus too thin. Be patient

How to start the year off on the right foot – The Working With Podcast by Carl Pullein

When I stopped trying to maintain all the new habits, routines and projects I’d set for myself, and focused on just one or two at at time, I not only got more done, but I also felt more focused and less scattered than before. Juggling many balls in the air may look impressive when a juggler does it, but it can lead to less productivity, not more.

Carl is a good example of a productive person: a prolific YouTuber who seems to respond to almost all the questions on his YT videos, a regular podcaster, producer of several blog-posts per week, and has created a number of productivity courses. In addition to all that, he also does one-to-one coaching, and I’ve benefited from his advice twice already and will be doing so again this month.

Slinking back to Evernote

Perhaps like many, I’m coming back to Evernote.

I had so many notes (around 10,000 – I’ve been using Evernote since 2008), that it took some time to export them, and that was after I’d identified a suitable replacement (Bear, see my post here).

But. Bear is not available cross-platform (and I’m still on Windoze), and as I do quite a lot of work on my pc, not on my iPad, I really need the Evernote web-clipper to save websites, articles, quotes, images, etc, on the fly for later review (Instapaper and Pocket are quite good but not as flexible as Evernote). Plus I can forward emails to Evernote with attachments.

So, I didn’t uninstall Evernote, but downgraded to the free plan and used the legacy version. Then I couldn’t export notes larger than 25MB, so I bit the bullet and paid up for a month’s worth of premium account. And I’m now in my 2nd month…

Now that most of my notes are exported, I’ve realized how useful Evernote is and decided to keep it. For the time being. Still on Legacy, tho, I refuse to install that monstrosity v.10 until I’m sure it’s safe to do so.

Carl Pullein, who was also upset with v.10 of Evernote, has now, like me, come to terms with it, it seems:

A teacher uses Milanote

I wrote last week about a teacher who uses Milanote to manage his online class materials and communicate with his students. Here’s what some of his Milanote boards look like:

For more info, anyone can contact him at or on LinkedIn.

Dumping MS Word

OK, that does it: that’s the 3rd time this year Microsoft Office has bailed on me. Each time, my entire Microsoft Office for Home & Business simply disappeared. The first two times were sort of deliberate removals – I was trying to update or install a new component and instead MS H&B simply deleted itself. This third time, I did nothing – no new installations, no uninstallations, no upgrades, no updates, zip. I just restarted and suddenly all my MS docs were blank. Sure enough, the MS H&B was gone.

I quit.

The last two times that happened, it took me several days to re-install it, a laborious process that never went as smoothly as the help pages said it would. Each time required a tech-support person to walk me through a manual uninstall, then a further two calls to help me install it as that didn’t go according to plan, either.

This sucks. I want a stand-alone application that if something goes wrong, I can simply re-install it from the CD. You know, like in the old days!

I’ve installed LibreOffice (OpenOffice won’t open my .docx files but LibreOffice will) and have rescued and printed out a document I need for tomorrow.

I’m investigating alternatives, including abandoning Windoze apps altogether and switching to writing with my iPad. I haven’t up till now because a) my iPad is old and small and b) the keyboards I’ve tried all sucked, but a Mac user I spoke to today said he wrote all the time with his iPad Pro and new Magic Keyboard and was very pleased with it, so I guess I’ll be checking that out.

Another possibility is to use Google Docs.

Both he and another Mac user recommended Ulysses for writing. It’s on my to-do list. By coincidence, the document I needed for tomorrow is a worksheet about Ulysses, the Greek hero, only they called him Odysseus. A group I teach has been reading and discussing some stories from the Odyssey and tomorrow’s is the one about the Sirens.



Milanote is kind of an endless whiteboard…

I’d dismissed this reference to Milanote, but a fellow teacher swears by it and recommended I check it out. Unlike myself, he is not tied to a particular LMS (I’m tied to Moodle, Teams and something called Manaba, which may be a Japanese native).

Teams is the app I love to hate. (Microsoft is not in my good books at the moment, for reasons I might write about later.)

Another fellow-teacher uses Evernote as his LMS: the place where he posts assignments, keeps his classes separated and organized, and has students upload their assignments to, including audio and video. Evernote `|*?+ me off with their most recent update (that dropped several features I commonly use).

This “Milanote colleague” has made imaginative and very practical use of Milanote’s visual, design-oriented interface to create some very efficient-looking repositories for his classes. If he gives his permission, I might post some links or screenshots of what he’s done here.

As I’m locked in to the above 3 LMS, I don’t need Milanote for this purpose, but he is pushing the envelope on what it might be able to do for instructors who need to manage different classes at different institutions.

Another fellow-teacher who inquired about note-taking apps and to whom I mentioned Milanote said that he is not interested in cloud-based apps but something he can download. He wants all his stuff on his computer or iPad, nothing in the cloud. He doesn’t need to interact with a team or collaborators. He doesn’t need to share anything with anyone. Although this sounds like it’s going against the grain, or the flow or whatever, I suspect he is not in such a small minority as might appear. I told him about Bear, which I use exclusively on my iPad – but that’s because I’m too cheap to spring for the pro version.

Cintanotes and Bear

I’ve had Cintanotes on my desktop for a month or so but haven’t used it. I was busy transferring my Evernotes to Bear (on my iPad, as I’m a Windoze user… still).

Here’s the shortest video intro to Bear I could find:

Before dumping Cintanotes, I thought I might have a stab at testing it out. There’re a bunch of videos which seem the most painless way to learn something, so I’ll be trying them out later next week.

This one seems a good place to start:

Evernote vs Simplenote

In my eagerness to get out of Evernote, I quickly selected a couple of options that seemed to allow me to easily import my Evernotes: Notion and Simplenote.

I recently came across this helpful page that compared the pros and cons of Evernote vs Simplenote, and it confirmed a couple of things about Simplenote that helped me decide to close my Simplenote account:

  • There seems to be no way to find notes that have both tag X and tag Y.
  • Simplenote doesn’t provide support for embedded attachments.
  • There seems to be no way to find notes that have both tag X and tag Y.
  • Simplenote doesn’t provide support for embedded attachments.
  • Notes are encrypted in transit, but remain unencrypted on Simplenote’s servers.
  • No way to import notes from anywhere – actually this is not true: I had no problem importing an Evernote enex file.

There are other “Cons”, but the above are enough: Simplenote may be for you, but it is not for me.

My Premium subscription for Evernote ran out November 30th, but I coughed up for 1 month simply to avoid the hassle of dealing with notes with attachments larger than 25MB. Everything is going into Bear. So far, so good, tho slow. I suppose I could just import one massive Evernote file with ALL my 10,000 notes in it, but I’m taking the opportunity to go through each notebook and delete ones no longer needed. (I’ve actually got some notes that I haven’t looked at since the day I made ’em! Yeah, imagine that.)

So, it’s one notebook at a time: selecting all the notes, tagging them all with the name of the notebook (in 1 word, no spaces), then exporting the sucker to Dropbox, then importing into Bear. Works smoothly for me.

Exploring Evernote alternatives – 4

My procedure for exporting my Evernotes. Of all the options I’ve explored, Bear seems the most promising as it keeps the formatting and the attachments of the original note as well as the tags.

I’m all the more eager to migrate now that I find that Evernote, not content with p***ing me off with its latest version which no longer supports local (unsynced) notes and a whole host of other neat functions that disappeared in the latest “update” (I had to revert to the legacy version simply to be able to get my notes ready for export), now won’t let me even trash my notes if they have larger attachments than 24MB because I’m now back to the Free Evernote plan, having canceled my annual Premium membership. Can you believe it?

Anyhoo, here’s (for my benefit because I can’t remember anything from one day to the next) how to export your enex Evernote file and import into Bear for iOS (I don’t have a Mac). Once in Bear, you can export into Markdown for importing into other notetaking apps if desired. I’m about tuckered out already and I’ve only imported 3 notebooks into Bear (another 50 or so to go; might be finished by Christmas 2021). Here we go:

  1. Choose one Evernote notebook.
  2. Select all the notes in that notebook.
  3. Tag all the notes in that notebook with a new tag that is the name of that notebook. Update: the tag should not have spaces in it.

The .enex format does not include informations about your notebooks. If you want to keep the notebook name as a reference in Bear we suggest to add a tag to your notes in Evernote before exporting them.

Migrate from Evernote
  1. #4 (how do you change the numbering in a numbered list in Gutenberg?) Export the notebook as an .enex file. I save mine to the desktop.
  2. #5. My desktop pc is a Windoze, but Bear only works on Macs or iOS, so I need to get the .enex file into Bear on my iOS device. I’m on the free version of Bear so I cannot sync. I then copy it to a folder in Dropbox (I use a folder I created called “Inbox” but you can use any folder. Note to self: best to choose a folder that is near the top of your Dropbox pile so you don’t waste time looking for your enex file. You’re welcome. )
  3. #6 Access the .enex file from within my Files folder on my iOS device and download it (make sure your Dropbox or whatever cloud storage you are using to transfer your Evernote enex files appear in your “locations” in “Files”; if not – and at first, Dropbox did not appear in mine – you’ll need to add it: here are 2 links showing how to do that
    2. How to add Dropbox to the Files app on your iPhone or iPad (2017, but the principles should be the same)
  4. #7 Open Bear, hit the “bead curtain” icon (settings, I guess) at the bottom and choose “Import & Export”.
  5. #8 Under “Select Format” choose “Evernote” then “Start Import”. It’ll open your Files folder. Navigate to the folder and file you want to import (I already downloaded it to Files so it’s all ready to go, otherwise it’ll have a little cloud icon in the top right-hand corner).
  6. #9 Tap the enex file you want to import and go make some coffee or pour yourself a glass of wine. It might take a while, depending on the size of the file. Or the size of your glass! Update: I tried and failed several times to import a large file (1GB+), until I read the helpful manual and made sure the enex file was already downloaded to my iPad from Dropbox BEFORE starting to import, and also leaving Bear open (not in background) until the importation was complete. (I left my iPad on overnight, plugged into power: next morning, “Import Succesful!”).