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4 Business Magazines You Can Read for Free

April 17th, 2015

You can access the digital versions of these four popular business magazines for free through Flipster:

  • Entrepreneur
  • Forbes
  • Kiplinger’s Personal Finance
  • Money

NOTE: Current and back issues of these titles are available.

These digital magazines — which are identical in content to their printed counterparts — can be viewed on computers and mobile devices (Kindle Fire, iPad, Android Tablets, Android Phones).

All you need is your Curtis Library card.


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>>> Read Your Favorite Magazines Through Flipster

>>> Curtis Downloads Page

Reasons to Consider Having an iOS-powered Nightstand Hub

April 14th, 2015

nightstand hubThis blog post is part of Curtis Money’s How to Make your iPhone and/or iPad earn its keep series.

If you own an iPad, here are some reasons to consider keeping it on your nightstand while you are slumbering.

You can, of course, do these same things with an iPhone or an iPod Touch (but personally I find the iPad’s bigger screen much easier to see).

Before your feet hit in the floor in the morning, you can put those first few groggy moments to productive use.

1. You can use the “Clock” application to make sure you get up on time.

2. You can use the “Calendar” app to see your appointments and other events (and also to see if anybody you know is celebrating a birthday that day).

3. You can use the “Notes” application to review your notes and tasks you need to carry out that day (that is, of course, if you are using the “Notes” app to keep track of your to-dos and projects instead of a task management application).

4. You can use the “Mail” app to see your email messages.
If you’re feeling industrious and don’t have to get up right away, you can get to Inbox Zero.

5. You can use the “Reminders” app to see your reminders (which I personally use for timed-events and things I want to generally keep in mind as I progress throughout the day and life in general such as “Think Positive”).

6. You can use the “Weather” app to check the weather forecast and see what you need to be prepared for.

How to Record Late Night Bursts of Inspiration

If a great idea for a project or an extraordinary notion of any kind suddenly occurs to you during the night, you may find it helpful to have an iOS device close at hand to capture it for you.

1. Summon Siri (your “personal office assistant) by holding down the “home” button on your iPhone or iPad.

2. When Siri responds, say “Take a Note.”

3. Tell Siri what you want her to take note of.

4. Siri will then record that note into your “Notes” application.

For additional useful things you can use Siri for, see the blog post entitled: How You Can Use Siri to Be More Productive.

Getting to Inbox Zero

April 6th, 2015

inbox_zeroI think many people would agree that it is important not to let emails containing tasks that you must carry out — or appointments that you need to keep — get buried in your email inbox to be overlooked and then forgotten or discovered too late.

This being the case, productivity gurus such as David Allen have devised strategies for getting to “Inbox Zero.”

In his book, “Getting Things Done,” David Allen relates the “4 D’s” which entail going through your inbox on a regular basis (such as every weekday morning) and applying the following criteria to each of your email messages:

Do it (if the email contains a task that can be accomplished in less than two minutes)

Delegate it (if you’re not the right person for the task, forward the email message to the person in your organization who is)

Defer it (if the task needs to be carried out at a future date)

Dismiss it (delete the email if it contains non-essential information or archive it if it contains information that may be useful at a later date)

NOTE: You can apply this same criteria to your other “collection buckets” (such as your physical mailbox and your physical inbox).

How you carry out the 4 D’s of course depends on the software that you have access to or your personal preferences.

Email programs such as the Apple “Mail” program and “Microsoft Outlook” have an archive folder that you can move email messages into for safe keeping.

You can retrieve email messages from an Archive folder fairly easily usually by way of a keyword search or by sorting the emails in the folder by date.

Mail and Microsoft Outlook also enable you to “Flag” email messages for organization and faster retrieval.

Some people choose to transfer the content of email messages into a “Notes” program such as Evernote.

If you need to defer an email message, Microsoft Outlook has a handy “Follow Up” feature that you can apply to individual email messages:

custom follow up

If your email program of choice does not have a “defer” feature, you can simply put the task on a paper calendar and/or copy and paste it into a calendar application on your computer or smart phone.

According to David Allen, everything that you need to do (or may need to to do at some point) must be captured into an organizational system that you trust.

Additional Resources

How to process stuff – A comparison of TRAF, the “Four Ds”, and GTD’s workflow diagram

Staunching The Paper Flow – Tips For Time Management

Take Back Control of Your Email Inbox Without Breaking a Sweat

Anything that causes you to overreact or under-react can control you, and often does.
― David Allen, Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity

How You Can Use Siri to Be More Productive

March 25th, 2015

Siri is your personal digital assistant available on “newer” iPhones (i.e. iPhone 4S and later models).

In this post, we’ll explore some ways you can make productive use of her (or him as you can change Siri’s Voice Gender in Settings)!

How to Summon Siri

While connected to the Internet, press and hold down your iPhone’s “Home” Button until Siri responds:



(If you change your mind about using Siri, simply press the Home button one time.)

Activate Siri (if necessary)

If Siri doesn’t respond, you may need to active “her” (Siri is a female voice by default) by…

– opening your iPhone’s Settings
– tapping “General”
– Selecting Siri
– and then sliding the Siri button to “on”


Take a note

Summon Siri and say “Take a Note.”

After Siri responds, tell her what you want you want the note to say.


You can then open your iPhone’s Notes application and see the note you just created:


Open an App

You can use to Siri to open any app on your iPhone.

Here for example, I asked Siri to “Open Notes.”


Search Google for…

Working on a project and need some quick info?

You can use Siri to search Google for the answers you seek.

In this example, I quickly retrieved the United States’ current rate of unemployment:


Remind me to…

I need to take out the recyables and the trash every Wednesday evening so for this example, I used Siri to set a recurring reminder.

I summoned Siri and said “Remind me to take to take out the recyclables and the trash every Wednesday at 7PM” (or words to that effect).


After I confirmed, Siri obligingly created that weekly reminder:


(Note: I edited the text of the reminder as Siri misquoted me slightly.)

Confirmation, please

When Siri asks, “Shall I create it?”, you can either tap the Confirm button or say “Yes.”


What is the weather?

Curious about what you need to wear? Or what the weather conditions will be when you leave work?

You can ask Siri for today’s Weather forecast:


Set a date

In this example, I’ll ask Siri to create a calendar event.

Summon Siri and say “Create a Calendar Event” (or words to that effect).

In this example, I asked Siri to “schedule a meeting with Renee tomorrow at 11 AM:



Send an email or a text message

You can use Siri to quickly compose and send a short email or text message.

1. Summon Siri
2. Say “Send an email to [somebody in your Contacts]”
3. Tell Siri the Subject of your email message
4. Tell Siri what you want to email to say
5. Tell Siri to send


These are just a few examples of how you can use Siri to be more productive (and help offset the cost of your iPhone / iPad).

Further Reading

41 Siri Tips, Tricks and Hidden Features

Siri User Guide

Siri Tricks (and funny stuff)

Putting your iPhone to productive use

March 16th, 2015

iphone 6 stockYes, to be sure, iPhones are wondrous devices that raise the bar for coolness.

But they are also very expensive!

To help offset their cost, you can make your iPhone earn its keep by putting it to productive use.

The iPhone comes pre-loaded with a number of free apps that can help you Get Things Done.


You can use the Reminders app to keep track of the tasks that you need to perform — and to remind you when it’s time to carry them out.

For example, I need to take out the trash and recyclables every Wednesday evening, so I’ve set a weekly reminder to do so:


You can use the Weather app to be advised if you need to wear galoshes or put on a fur parka.

You can’t Get Things Done if you have pneumonia.



In addition to jotting down any extraordinary notions that pop into your head, you can use the Notes app to outline projects and/or create a list of to-dos.



You can use the Calendar app to keep track — and set alerts for — the various events you need (or want) to attend.

You can’t Get Things Done if you are not where you need to be when you need to be there.



You can use the Safari web browser to look things up, find information that you need to carry out your to-dos, complete your projects and achieve your goals.



If you see something that inspires you or reminds you of something that you need to do or would like to do, you can use the iPhone’s built-in camera to snap its picture.


Your mind is for having ideas, not holding them.
— David Allen