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By David Rivers | Saturday, August 23, 2014

Parents! Get Back-to-School Organized—with Evernote

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Back-to-school month is an exciting time for everyone in the family. But if you’re not ready, it can become one of the most stressful times of the year.

You can avoid start-of-the-school-year panic if you’re organized—and Evernote can help.

By Jess Stratton | Monday, June 30, 2014

Boomerang Lets You Schedule Email

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This week on Monday Productivity Pointers, I’m going to show you a neat little add-on that you can use with your Gmail account to schedule email delivery.

It’s called Boomerang and it works with a Gmail account and the browsers Firefox, Chrome, and Safari.

Boomerang allows you to compose an email and schedule it for a date you specify. With the free version, you can schedule up to 10 emails a month for free. This is fantastic if you have a nice chunk of free time and want to get ahead of your game!

By Jolie Miller | Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Time Management with Outlook 2007 and 2010

Time management may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you open your inbox, but our two new courses, Outlook 2010: Time Management with Calendars and Tasks and Outlook 2007: Time Management with Calendars and Tasks, suggest that email productivity is well within your grasp.

These courses are designed to help you create appointments and meetings with ease, use flagging and categories to corral all your inbox email, manage tasks and to-dos, and use Outlook Task List options.

Outlook 2007 users will appreciate author Gini Courter’s quick tip on how to create a task from an email (from chapter two of Outlook 2007: Time Management with Calendars and Tasks):

And if you’re using Outlook 2010, check out this handy method of viewing the task list and to-do list (from chapter three of Outlook 2010: Time Management with Calendars and Tasks) :

If your inbox gets a steady stream of email every day, you’ll also appreciate these courses’ solid tips for capturing work in Outlook. Another suggestion from Gini Courter is to sort the items that require your action by priority and the amount of time each will take. This sorting then determines whether you set up a task or a calendar appointment and how you take next steps. For more on this, lynda.com members should check out the Capturing work in Outlook movie in the introduction chapter of both Outlook 2010 and Outlook 2007 time management courses.

My new productivity motto: Enjoy your email, and make your calendar and tasks work for you in the new year!

Interested in more? • The full Outlook 2007: Time Management with Calendars and Tasks • The full Outlook 2010: Time Management with Calendars and Tasks• All business courses on lynda.com • All courses from Gini Courter on lynda.com

Suggested courses to watch next:Outlook 2010 Power ShortcutsOutlook 2010: Effective Email ManagementOutlook 2007: Effective Email ManagementTime Management FundamentalsLinkedIn Essential Training

By Jolie Miller | Monday, December 19, 2011

Creating powerful presentations: A learning path

I recently had the pleasure of presenting all the content we hope to publish for you in 2012 to our content and production teams here at lynda.com. It was a wonderful opportunity to talk in broad strokes about our teams’ collective vision for the future. If you’ve ever given a high stakes presentation in front of a large group, you know that while giving presentations is a great opportunity, they can also be quite daunting to prepare and deliver.

At the outset of my planning I found myself scrambling to remember the presentation skills I learned long ago. (Oh yes, I briefly longed for my college Public Speaking 101 notes and those mortifying VHS tapes of class speeches on global issues.) After sitting for a little while with presentation anxiety, I decided to turn to the same library that would be the subject of my presentation.

Browsing the lynda.com Online Training Library® as a member on a mission, I quickly found that our courses empowered me to compile and deliver a compelling and visually interesting presentation for my peers. It was exciting to find help waiting for me—and comforting to learn from the very authors I have the pleasure of working with each day.

In case you’re curious (or madly preparing for your own end-of-year or look-ahead presentations), here is my presentation learning-path that helped prepare and inspire me.

1. Duarte Design, Presentation Designer: Wanting to start with a good dose of inspiration, I turned to our Creative Inspirations documentary on Duarte Design. The opportunity to see how the pros create compelling presentations armed me with just enough confidence to think that maybe I could pull this off. It was here that I realized the lynda.com Online Training Library® could empower my presentation.

2. Effective Presentations (2006): After thinking about big picture, I needed some specifics, which is precisely what I found in Effective Presentations (2006). This course is one I’ll define as a classic. Built in 2006, it still has the power to inspire today. Chapter two on Mission, Goals and Story is the one that helped me organize my ideas more clearly.

3. Excel for Mac 2011 Essential Training: With my ideas taking shape, I needed to dive into some data to learn more about lynda.com viewing statistics, including, how often courses are watched, what courses are watched, and what members would like to see published in the future. This required me to brush up on my Excel for Mac 2011 skills, which helped me easily navigate lots of data with speed and efficiency.

4. Keynote ’09 Essential Training: With growing confidence backed up by numbers and solid data, I was ready to start putting my story for 2012′s business content into Keynote. Enter Keynote ’09 Essential Training, which helped this long-time PowerPoint user convert easily to the new interface and features. Pretty soon, I was tooling around with master slides, backgrounds, fonts, and styles.

5. Graphics Secrets for Business Professionals: I decided to keep my visuals big to maximize their impact, and I knew I wanted to keep the bullet points and text to a minimum. Needing a little help with my visual planning, I turned to the fourth chapter of Graphics Secrets for Business Professionals, How Do I Create Better Presentations? That chapter seemed like it was written just for me!

6. Time Management Fundamentals: As the week went by and I got busier with this presentation, I noticed that I could easily lose track of minutes or hours if I didn’t keep my time in check. So I decided on another quick visit to Time Management Fundamentals. Dave Crenshaw reminded me that switch tasking wasn’t worth my time and that I needed to focus in on my most valuable activities, including that presentation.

7. Effective Meetings: As I started to wrap up my presentation and prepare to deliver it, I wanted to check in with Dave Crenshaw again on Effective Meetings. What would I need to know in order to get the most out of our all-day planning session? I wasn’t disappointed. The principles of successful meetings helped me determine a note-taking strategy and the best way to absorb exciting new information from my colleagues.

8. Pitching Projects and Products to Executives: Finally, the night before my presentation, I wanted another dose of inspiration and confidence to get me ready for the next morning. Pitching Projects and Products to Executives helped me develop that confidence and focus-in on conveying my story with powerful intention.

As Effective Presentations (2006) reminded me, an estimated 30 million presentations make their way in front of an audience every day, so I was in good company as I prepared to sell my ideas up, down, and sideways. I was also, it turns out, in good company when I turned to the lynda.com Online Training Library® for the tools and inspiration necessary to communicate more effectively and make a memorable impression.

I hope you’re well on your way to developing lynda.com learning paths that work for your needs and your schedule. Please share your inspiration below; we love to hear from you!

Interested in more? • All business courses on lynda.com

Suggested courses to watch next:Duarte Design, Presentation DesignerEffective Presentations (2006)Keynote ’09 Essential TrainingPitching Projects and Products to Executives

By Taymar Pixley | Friday, April 01, 2011

What we learned from the new Time Management Fundamentals course

Taymar Pixley, lynda.com live action director

Taymar Pixley, lynda.com live action director, shares her team's experiences after working on our new time management course.

Time management is something that I have always struggled with personally, so I was a little nervous about directing the course Time Management Fundamentals, which released to the lynda.com Online Training Library® this week. I imagined that the author, productivity expert Dave Crenshaw, would be a highly organized, type-A personality who might look down on my less-organized self.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that Dave is a very down-to-earth, approachable person. He has had his own struggles with staying organized, and these led to his success in creating such an effective system and teaching it to others who struggle with the same problems.

What a relief it was for me to realize that Dave wasn’t a naturally organized perfectionist teaching principles that would never work for someone like me. Because Dave is a renowned author, presenter, and consultant on the topic, I took every opportunity to glean as much information as I could from him while we worked together to create this course. And since I figured everyone on the crew would probably also benefit from Dave’s expertise, I asked Dave to assign us a bit of homework each day of the two-week shoot based on the movies we had shot that day. We learned a lot, and I asked the crew to share some of their favorite tips they picked up while working on this course.

The team’s tips

Loren Hillebrand, production leadLoren Hillebrand, production lead “Organizing always seemed overwhelming to me because I wouldn’t know where to start.  While working on this I was able to see what steps I could take, and it feels doable now.  My wife and I are planning on watching this together to tackle some of our clutter.”
Josh Figatner, production leadJosh Figatner, production lead “What I learned from working on this course helped me to organize my email inbox, which was no small feat. I had over 4,000 unsorted emails. Now my inbox is one of my main gathering points. When things come in I’m able to get to them quickly, instead of it just functioning as a big generic bin for all of my messages, it’s all sorted. Stuff comes in and I’m able to see it and take care of it in a timely fashion.”
Jeff Layton, training producer “One action item I took while working on this course was to consolidate my voicemail accounts. As a producer, I often returned to my desk after a stretch of days in the recording booth and found that I had new messages awaiting my response. After working on this course, I programmed my desk phone to automatically forward all calls to my cell phone. Not only do I not miss any calls, but I now have only one voicemail account to check.”
Kirk Werner, senior training producer “After working with Dave and the rest of the team during our course prep, I set up a consolidated email inbox where my desk phone calls are forwarded as an audio file to my work email. I also built more than a dozen email rules where non-essential emails are shuffled to a folder to be dealt with during my daily email processing. Now I can focus on the important messages and deal with them appropriately.”

My favorite tip from Dave is something that is not in the course, but that he mentioned to me in conversation. Since Dave works at home, he schedules a half an hour at the end of his work day to play video games. This allows him to switch gears so that he can be really present for his wife and children. I think that this is a great tip for anyone who works at home or who has trouble turning their brain off after a long work day.

Swtiching gears and making time

Working on this course was really life-changing for me. The weekend after we finished I bought supplies and set out to apply some of the principles that I learned. I have a seven year old whose room was out of control.  Together we gathered everything that was out of place, and created a home for it just as I had learned from the course. It was an amazing transformation, and since then my son has been able to keep his room organized because everything has a place. (Content manager Bonnie Bills recently blogged about how she too was able to apply the techniques in the course to her home life as well as her work life.)

Now that the course has been released I am excited to watch it again, and apply more of these techniques to my life. I hope you will take the time to watch it. I can’t think of anything better that you could do for yourself than to give the gift of more time.

photos by Lucas Deming, photographer and colorist

By Bonnie Bills | Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Want to be more productive, less stressed out? Then you probably want to meet Dave Crenshaw.

As a mom with a full-time job and two young daughters, I am obsessed with time management. But as much as I think about how I must manage my time more effectively, I haven’t always succeeded in coming up with ways to do so. As the pace of work increases, I’ve found myself losing track of important tasks. Inboxes and to-do lists that were supposed to keep me sane have become sources of stress. I’ve struggled to strike a happy balance between work life and family life.

Then I met Dave Crenshaw, author of the upcoming lynda.com course, Time Management Fundamentals. In working with Dave—a time management coach and best-selling author—I realized how ineffective all my obsessing was and how what I really needed was some practical strategies to apply to my work and life. (It became clear something was really wrong when I missed my first scheduled phone call with Dave, of all people. Luckily he’s as understanding as he is organized.)

In Time Management Fundamentals, Dave shares eminently practical techniques for doing more in less time: how to develop habits to be more organized and reduce the clutter in your workspace; how to stay mentally on task and eliminate the to-dos you have floating in your head; how to develop a time budget to get the most done during your workday and focus on your most valuable activities.

Here’s a little preview:

The techniques I’ve picked up from just watching the course in development have made my work more productive and my life less hectic. I’ve even been able to pass Dave’s techniques along to my kids.

We’ll be bringing Dave’s time management strategies to the lynda.com Online Training Library® later this month. In the meantime, I’d love to hear from you about what other kinds of courses we could offer to help you develop the skills you need to succeed in business.

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