This article will contain a couple of affiliate links for product called IDrive.
By now, those of you are regular readers of this blog know that I had a couple of computer crashes. The last one wiped out my operating system, and subsequently my hard drive crashed as I was trying to retrieve files from it and I lost everything.
When I decided to reload my operating system, I went with Windows 7 instead of Windows 10 because right now I don’t trust Windows 10. I tried to use the Windows 7 backup system for my files, but it was problematic from the start. That wasn’t going to get it done, so I had to come up with another option. Continue reading →
Even on this blog I’m often referencing my first book on leadership titled Embrace The Lead and my second book on leadership titled Leadership Is/Isn’t Easy. These are the first two products I have over there to the left.
One of the products I don’t talk about all that often is my two-part seminar series titled Keys To Leadership, which I recorded in January 2004. I feel it deserves a mention because it’s not all that bad (I go back & listen to it from time to time), I’m as proud of it as I am of all the things I’ve created, and it comes with a pretty good backstory. Continue reading →
For the second time this year I gave up the Monday spot for my I’m Just Sharing blog to my business blog, this time because yesterday was the 48th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, and I had something to say. Y’all know how I can be.
Today I’m starting with a very brief tutorial on how to remove birthdays you didn’t put into your Samsung calendar. Stick with me through this because it might help some of you, and then I’ll have more to say. Continue reading →
My mother is a genius. She doesn’t know it but she is. That’s because in my life there have been two recommendations she made to me that I kind of dismissed that she thought were really important… and she turned out to be totally correct. The first one was a computer, which she and my dad bought for me on my 27th birthday; the second was the Fitbit Flex tracker, which she bought on my 55th birthday.
You see that picture to the right? That’s the wristband I wear that contains this little dongle that I’ll share in a different picture. The little dongle (that’s what they call it lol) is the actual contraption that tracks my steps and, when I remember to set it, tracks my sleep. It’s the steps part that’s been paramount towards my health over the last year or so.
I can’t comment on any other trackers that are out there, so I’m sticking with the one I know. In my opinion, it’s one of the greatest things I’ve ever gotten. Mom bought me the first one; since that time I’ve purchased two others for myself and one for my wife.
You’re probably asking why I had to buy more than one; it’s not because it broke or went bad. I lost two of them; one in Memphis somewhere, the second on my final flight back from Memphis, where I knew I had it in Philadelphia but when I landed in Syracuse it wasn’t on my arm anymore; sigh… So, both totally on me.
As with everything, there’s the good and the bad and the questionable. Let’s start with the good.
When I first got it, I wasn’t totally sure of how accurate it was. Now I feel pretty good about its accuracy because I’ve run a lot of tests with it. In central New York, when it gets cold and snowy it’s not the smartest move in the world to be walking around outside. I hated going to the gym, so I created my own course in the house. I tested the steps thing and it’s right on the mark.
To track everything you need to download the Fitbit app onto your smartphone. Actually, that’s the smart way to go, because you can hook the charger to your computer, download software and go that route if you don’t have a phone. It’s just so much easier the other way.
It tracks steps, miles, calories burned and active minutes. The first one is the main goal but the one that’s most important are the active minutes. That’s the one that tells you whether the steps you took during the day were conscious steps, as in walking with a purpose, or just casual steps, like getting up from your desk to walk into another room. The more active minutes, the more calories you burn. If you tie it in with a food tracking app like Myfitnesspal it adds calories to your daily intake. That sounds pretty cool doesn’t it? Well, I’m going to come back to that.
You can also make adjustments based on your stride, which you determine based on your height. So, for me, it takes 10,575 steps to hit 5 miles, but my friend Steve (he’s 6’5″) can get it done in fewer steps. Anyway, that’s my daily goal, and I pretty much smash it every day, as I average between 17,000 and 20,000 steps a day. But there are times when I’m engaged in other work or travel and I know I’m not going to hit those numbers, but I always make sure to hit my 5 miles.
Oh yeah, I mentioned sleep earlier. If you double click on it the tracking mode changes over to track sleep. We all need good sleep. Unfortunately, I don’t sleep well, and this thing confirms it. I average about 2 1/2 hours of sleep a night; no, that’s not good. Most of my “sleeping hours” show me as being restless, which means I move a lot, wake, doze, wake, etc. So, in the morning it’ll show me how many total hours I was in bad, how much real sleep I got and when I got it. Hey, at least I know right?
The overall thing is that having something like Fitbit on you all the time encourages you to move; at least it does for me. I don’t have to count steps, it’s better than the old style pedometer, and if you’re willing you can add other people to your list and compete or just help to encourage each other to walk more. Frankly, anything that encourages us to move more is a good thing.
What it’s done for me is helped me lose inches. If no one’s ever told you that exercise doesn’t help you lose weight, I’m telling you that not. lol You lose weight by controlling what you eat. However, exercise helps you lose inches and get toned, and if you can also control how you eat, the combination works wonders. I’ve lost 4 inches off my waist to the point where I don’t have to undo any of my pants to pull them off; wow! Sometimes I don’t have to undo the belt either; what?!?!? :-O
Can you tell how much I love it? Good; now for the bad.
The wristbands aren’t close to being able to last overly long. My wife burns through her bands every 6 months; I go through one every 9 months or so. The thing is it’s made with some type of rubber that’s pliable enough, but you have to take the dongle out of it every few days to recharge, and over time that takes a toll on that area that stretches open all the time.
That and you can wear the band in the shower and in hot conditions because the dongle is protected, but all the weather changes will affect it also. The replacements aren’t all that expensive, and there are lots of varieties, but having to replace it that often puts some folks off.
I did mention the charging part also. Actually, last year when I was in Orlando for a meeting and then flew to San Diego I had lost my charger. My Fitbit worked for 6 days before it totally wussed out on me. That’s not so bad, but I like to try to charge it every 3 days if I can. I charge it around midnight, and the good thing is it charges fairly quickly if you don’t run it all the way down.
One last thing is the dongle isn’t all that big, as you can tell from the picture. If you’re not paying attention you can lose that… and if that’s lost you have to buy a whole new set since the dongle is actually the Fitbit.
Okay, time for the questionable.
How private is it and what about all the data they collect. It’s as private as you want it to be. People can only find you if you tell them you’re on it, and you can only be added if you have a Facebook account or if you send them email and they decide to connect. If any of you are on Fitbit and want to connect with me, leave me a message mentioning it and I’ll send you an email from the email account I use there and you can add me. Course, remember how many steps I’m getting in; we’re not really competing but I think I might have chased a couple of people off who didn’t realize how serious I was taking my walking. Lol
The question about data… that’s interesting. They track and data to sell to those who can use it for health studies, or for the creation of other types of products that someone might be able to create and market later. You get to set the levels of privacy via the online account you create (that’s where you’re directed to so it can start tracking you), which not only limits what others see about you but what can be shared with these outside sources. The only thing you can’t block is the number of steps you’re taking. They don’t share your email address and you only have to put in your first name, so that’s fairly private.
Finally, prices. I own the Fitbit Flex, where the price goes for between $79 and $99. The range depends on which band you buy and where you buy it from. At the link I’m sharing here where you can look at some before you go to the website I’m sending people to (Buy.com) most of the prices are around $79. There are other brands such as the Charge, which tracks a lot more things than the Flex does, and the Surge (which not only tracks even more things than the Surge but also acts as a watch) that come in around $215 and $250 respectively, and the Zip, which comes in around $60 but only tracks steps. There’s also the Fitbit One which, like the Zip, you wear on your pocket like a traditional pedometer that also comes in around $99.
This is a product I’ll be pushing because I love it so much. There’s a link to the right listed under Product Pages along with books I recommend. If I mention it in any further posts I’ll link to it and you’ll know it’s the product page because you’ll see a blue line underneath it (any time I link to products or affiliate items from this page the blue line is there, unless I’m linked only through the picture; otherwise it’s to an article); you already saw my example above.
If you have any questions please ask. I’ll be doing a video also, which might be strange because I’ve mentioned it in a few other videos, but I’ve never talked about it exclusively. Hey, that’s what marketing’s about right?
You know, these days there’s so much stuff that’s electronic that, at least for me, at a certain point it seems like it’s too much and just isn’t as useful as it could be anymore. I thought that having all these bells and whistles would help my production, but once again it turns out not to be true. That’s why I’ve decided it’s time to go backwards in time, back to a day when I used to log all these things and track them on paper; what a concept right?
First a disclaimer. The images you see are affiliate links; you might be interested in checking them out but at least you know that up front.
Franklin Cover Magnetic Binder
Anyway, what you see to the right is the Franklin Cover binder that I actually bought at Staples instead of via the link, and mine is burgundy instead of black, the only two colors it comes in for this model. I happened to be in Staples looking for… well, I wasn’t sure what I was looking for, but it was actually last June and I felt like I didn’t have any control over what was going on.
I had been traveling at that point for just about six weeks (now it’s a year) and both at home and on the road I felt like I couldn’t keep up with anything. I had things to do at home and then things to do while out of town, and putting them into the smartphone wasn’t getting it done for two reasons.
One, I wasn’t keeping up with things that needed to get done all that well when I had to put them into the phone. Two, the alarms I could hear only let you plan things just under 7 days in advance, and I still can’t hear any alarms for things I put into the calendar.
Thus, I was looking for something, and I came to the Planner. I had used this in my past, as well as used the software package they had (which didn’t work with my computer all that well; I might have to tell that story some day), but the paper version actually worked really well for me.
Studies have proven that we tend to remember things better when we write them down, and that seeing lists helps you get thing done also. Over the years, whenever I’ve needed to get a lot of things done I not only have created outlines or lists, but I then print them out, enlarging them so I can look at them and carry them around with me if necessary. Even now I have a chart that I print whenever I’m leaving town to make sure I have everything I need with me.
I bought the planner and waited until I was back home for 4th of July holiday week before doing anything with it. I did two separate things. One, I started making a list of all the things I needed to get completed while I was home, which included a couple of appointments and a visit to my mother, who lives out of town. Two, I started a second list of goals I wanted to achieve and things I wanted to take care of.
I could do that because while out of town I decided to order the planner refill you see to the left, Seasons, not only because I love colors, but because it gives the ability to chart full days and list a full days worth of notes, lists, or other items. At the beginning of each other are some extra pages where you can carry over things from the previous month or list new things you want to accomplish in the coming month. Or you can plan six months out; that is, as long as you have the pages for it.
How well as it worked for me? That first time I ended up with 18 things on my list and got 17 of them finished. Over the Christmas holiday, when I was home for 2 weeks, I got all but two items completed, and that’s because I kept adding things to the list. It turns out that with the planner I’m really productive, and that includes with writing articles for blogs, mine and for other people (when needed). Also, being able to pass on motivational messages to myself from one month to the next makes me feel pretty good.
Here’s the funny thing. I thought it was just something I was going to be doing, along with my friend Kelvin who’s always kept one with him. Then I found out that my wife had bought one, though not quite the same style as mine, and another friend of mine was starting to go that route as well. Then I did a search on YouTube and found that there were a lot of people who were deciding to either give it a try or were extolling the virtues of planners over technology.
Of course, there’s the small downside that I’m going to mention in the interest of fairness. Unless I have a specific need for it, I find that I don’t travel well with it. Twice I left it in restaurants. While on the road right now I’m not in a leadership position but working in a research capacity, and on weekends I’m too tired to be able to concentrate on many projects so I found it not being all that helpful while out of town.
However, when I have a true need for it, or I want to reconcile things, it’s great having it with me for things such as meetings, where it’s easy to take notes and know they’re on the date I actually met with someone. And being able to sit in the car afterwards and add notes while things are still fresh in my mind… can’t beat that.
There are lots of different binder designs and sizes, and lots of different inserts. Because I pay for the largest planner package they have, I can only fit 3 months at a time in the binder. So I bought this other large binder where I can store all the remaining months in and a sleeve to protect the sheets. That’s unnecessary stuff that I just decided to buy. You can get smaller planners with a day on a page, or a couple of days on a page, or planners that are like calendars with extra note pages.
My final words are that I use Franklin Covey because I like the look, and because I like being able to take all those notes and mark things off when I complete them. There are other brands you might like better, or might want to try, such as Filo-Fax, which I’ve never seen but another friend loves. I’m pimping this one because I use it, but overall I’m recommending that if you’re having problems staying on target with your plans or tasks that maybe stepping back a few years in time might help your focus. Can’t hurt. 🙂