Naomi’s Playlist: Milanote

My playlist is an eclectic collection of tools that help me approach my work as play. I love them so much, I want to share them with you!
 
 
 
Object: Seeing my work, staying on track, and setting realistic expectations.
 
What Didn’t Work: Trying to piece together to-do apps with Evernote, Google Docs, and other reference material, losing track of past thinking and having to start over again and again, digging through Google Drive or Dropbox to find that standard language that I used nearly every week, feeling absolutely frustrated because I couldn’t see my work or build connections between research, my drafts, my ideas, and other material.
 
My Aha! Moment: In my dream world, my office has a digital wall that resembles a crime board. On it, I have ideas, questions, reference materials, clues, developing theories and writing projects, all connected together with string. Since the board is digital, I can swipe between projects, link one project to another and use all kinds of reference material, including online articles and material. I can also stand back and see my developing body of work, find new connections, and build on my thinking.
Sounds like a fairy tale, doesn’t it? Except it’s not. When I stumbled across Milanote, I knew I’d found a piece of technology that would supercharge my creative process. Thoughts come and go, and our brains simply can’t keep them all in view. Milanote makes it possible to build a body of thought, and multiply our thinking. It’s honestly that good. 
 
How I Play:
  • Milanote does come in a free version, but when I decided to make the tool my window into all of my projects, I chose to go with the paid subscription. I haven’t regretting it for one moment.
  • Like a crime board, Milanote is a wide-open tool. I had to think through the organizational structure that would most help me. On my home page, I’ve included categories of my work and play, and I’ve linked boards from there.
  • I think of Milanote boards as file folders. I have some for projects, some for clients, and others to help me track my schedule. By using board links, I can create shortcuts so the link to a board can show up in multiple places.
 
Player’s Notes:
  • Since Milanote links to webpages, you can make a live link to a Google Doc. This means you can work on a doc while you’re inside Milanote. On that same board, you can see supporting material, plus instructions to yourself (think: a don’t forget checklist).
  • The column tool helps to organize related material, and the arrows and other mind-mapping tools make it possible to brainstorm, connect ideas, or define work flows.
  • Do you have a task that requires you to visit three websites to complete your work? Place links to each of those pages in a sequence on a Milanote board, along with instructions. Speed up processes by using a templated flow.
  • Milanote has a feature called “power-up,” and in this way you can transform a note into long form text. The rest of the screen dims, and you can focus on a draft of an idea, which then collapses when you are finished writing. In this way, you can quickly draft and develop ideas as you work toward placing them wherever else they belong in your workflow: InDesign, WordPress, Scrivener, or otherwise.
 
Take it to the Next Level:
  • It took me a bit of time to figure out how best to use Milanote. You have to do some structural and organizational thinking. If you’d like a shortcut, I’ve created a short video that walks through some of my boards to cast a quick vision for what’s possible. Here’s that link:

Streamline Your Workflow with Milanote

I’ve been looking for a tool like Milanote for a very long time.

And now that I’ve found it, I want to make sure that it sticks around.

That’s why, even though I’m not a paid advertiser or an affiliate, I still have to tell you what’s so amazing about this tool, particularly for creatives.

I created a quick video tour for you.

I also wanted to share a quick cheat sheet I made for you. You can download it at the link below.

Here’s to you and your creativity!

Naomi’s Playlist: Station

My playlist is an eclectic collection of tools that help me approach my work as play. I love them so much, I want to share them with you!

Object: Accessing my online tools on my desktop computer more easily.

What Didn’t Work: Trying to remember the apps I needed to open and keep tabs on, logging in and out, having tons of tabs open at the same time, taking tons of time to find my way from one tool to the one I needed next.

My Aha! Moment: I stumbled across Station accidentally, and nearly danced for joy. Imagine you could have a dashboard with all of your online tools collected in one streamlined toolbar. Then, add to that the ability to save specific windows within each of those tools. So, say on Google Drive you’re always visiting a couple pages. What if you had a tool that made saving those windows simple, and you could easily toggle between the windows you needed with no lost time navigating? Amazing, right?

Usually, I hang out with a tool for a while before I add it to my playlist, but this one is so good, I wanted to share it with you right away. If you use online apps such as Google drive, Buffer, Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook Business Manager, Airtable, Slack, Evernote, (or any number of others) this app is going to rock your world.

How I Play:

  • I went through the tool list and added the tools I use often.
  • I sorted the tools on the scroll bar so that the similar ones are together, and the most used ones are at the top.
  • As I work, I’m adding pages to each tool to make navigation easier and easier as I go.

Player’s Notes:

  • The set-up process is simple, but it does require logging into everything to get started. You’ll want to make sure you’re feeling patient.
  • It’s tempting to set up everything perfectly right away. However, adding pages as you go is very easy, so I’d recommend setting your dashboard up on a basic level and then fine-tuning as you go.
  • Right now, Station is free, but I can’t imagine that it will be forever. Be an early adopter!

Take it to the Next Level:

  • Station has some tools to help you quiet notifications and can help you truly get into the zone. Play around with how you might use the tool to deepen your concentration and get deep work done. 

Naomi’s Playlist: Unstuck

My playlist is an eclectic collection of tools that help me approach my work as play. My hope is that they’ll do the same for you.
 

 
Object: Working through a stuck moment.
 
What Didn’t Work: Expecting myself to be optimistic and energetic in the midst of a stuck place. Sometimes outside perspective is needed.
 
My Aha! Moment: I discovered Unstuck when I wasn’t stuck, but I was immediately enchanted with the tool. The app takes a playful approach to diagnosing the kind of stuck moment one is in, and then provides an interactive tool to work through the challenge. What impressed me most, even more than the suggestions made, were the questions. Through engaging with the app, I made all kinds of discoveries about how I might move forward.
 
How I Play:
  1. First, I choose an area where I feel stuck.
  2. I work through the diagnostic tool to see what kind of stuck moment I’m in.
  3. Then, I use the Unstuck tool to play around with solutions.
 
Player’s Notes:
  • You’ll find that the Unstuck website has all kinds of enticing tools and ideas in addition to the app. Be careful not to get lost in all the goodness!
  • Allow your exploration to be play. The more you let go, the more you’ll gain through this process.
 
Take it to the Next Level:
 
As I’ve been reflecting on failure in the past couple weeks, I am aware that sometimes it’s difficult to admit that one is “stuck.” Keep in mind that stuck doesn’t mean you are incapable of solving your problem. The tool is helpful even if you do have additional ideas of what might be done. The more loosely you define the word “stuck” for yourself, the more benefits you’ll gain from the tool.
 

Naomi’s Playlist: Launcher

the-right-tools

My playlist is an eclectic collection of tools that help me approach my work as play. My hope is that they’ll do the same for you.

Object: Having the right tools at hand for the project at hand.

What Didn’t Work: Trying to remember the tools I had for various tasks, scrolling through iPhone screens filled with apps and getting frustrated or distracted, spending more time finding apps than using them.

My Aha! Moment: One day, I took out my bead kit, opened it up, and started working on a bracelet. There’s something so satisfying about a kit with compartments to hold each type of bead and each type of tool. Rather than spending time running around the house looking for scissors, thread, or the findings, I could clear the table, relax, and create.

As I worked, I began thinking about work projects, such as making the social media rounds. If I could have a kit for those tasks, how much more effective might I be? I imagined putting various apps in a basket, laughing a little at the absurdity of the idea. But as I kept thinking, I realized the idea wasn’t out of the question. I finished my bracelet and started researching. Finding the iPhone app, Launcher was a delight. This app allows you to create customized widgets that you can access from your notification screen. Abra-cadabra … little baskets for my apps!

How I Play:

  • I started by thinking of activities that require a number of apps as well as focused attention.
  • I created a widget for each of these activities and added the apps so they quick-launch when I tap their logos.
  • I played with the custom timing so that when I go to the notification screen, I see the most relevant widgets based on the day of the week and the time of day.

Player’s Notes:

  • There are many options with the Launcher app. Some apps have supported actions. In this way, you can shortcut key actions. Explore options, but don’t be overwhelmed by them. Don’t feel the need to be a power user … use what helps you most.
  • If you’re not an iPhone user, there are likely similar apps for other smart phones. Explore and share if you have great options!

Take it to the Next Level:

  • Consider how this concept might relate to other parts of your digital world. I’m exploring ways to use my Macbook dashboard in a similar way. My goal is to be able to open a screen and see all the tools needed, but none of the ones that might distract me.
  • Consider how this concept might relate to other parts of your non-digital world. What kinds of “kits” might you make yourself?