20 Expert Tips for Writing Faster

Full disclosure: I am a painfully slow writer.

Once I muster some motivation and go through all of my research and planning, it may be a matter of hours or days before I have anything resembling a finished product. I’m not proud to share my truth with you, but I own it. I only tell you this to disclose that this may be the most overtly self-interested post that I’ve ever written.

Here’s the premise: I researched and reached out to a lot of writers to ask them for tips on how to write faster. I’m only sharing these tips with you because I figure it would be more than a little disingenuous to keep them to myself. And SPOILER ALERT- these tips work. I wrote this post on Scrivener and it took me about an hour to compile and elaborate on my points. All the research was done upfront and I powered through the writing pretty quickly (I’m sure there are typos somewhere that are testament to this).

At your worst you are probably a better writer than I am, but the writers you see below are pretty extraordinary. Hopefully you find something in this collective wisdom that helps you with your writing. I did.

1. Do your research upfront.

If you’re not doing research for your posts, you probably have stronger opinions about things than I do. I find that mid-post research does tend to take me out of my writing flow, which is where upfront research helps out.

Writer Daniel Jackson recommends doing 100% of your research upfront:

“Do the necessary research and come up with your ideas before sitting down to write. It is much easier to cut out information and leave the most interesting than to struggle to come up with enough to say.”

Daphne Gray-Grant, author of 8½ Steps to Writing Faster, Better, (this is one of my go-to books on writing – I highly recommend it) similarly recommends researching until you can write approximately 80% of your piece.

2. Mull.

Too often I am guilty of finding a topic, writing a piece,  and publishing it without a lot of contemplation. And it’s often evident in the end-product.

Yael Kochman, Head of Content for Teradata Mobile (which is a mobile engagement and automation solutions for enterprise and mid-market companies), says that spending some time to cogitate on and research a topic can result in a faster writing process and a better end-product:

“When I have an idea for a new article, I first write it down and then let it sit in my head for a few days. I think about it often and when reading content online I search for resources to compliment my idea and help me shape it. This way, by the time I sit down to write the article I already have the structure of it as well as resources to include. This way I cut my writing time by half or more.”

3. Engineer your environment.

A popular writing tip from multiple writers is to engineer your writing environment, and there are a variety of ways that you can do this:

Slate’s Michael Agger suggests that maintaining consistency with your writing is key to speed:

“Try to limit your working hours, write at a set time each day, and try your best not to emotionally flip out or check email every 20 seconds.”

Carolyn Nicander Mohr, owner, founder and writer of the Wonder of Tech suggests adopting a focused writing mindset:

“If you don’t have a lot of time, set aside a period where you won’t be interrupted, even if it’s only 20 minutes, sit down at the computer and don’t get up until you have the rough draft written. Take a short break, do one edit and add images. Done.”

Writer Corinne Kerston recommends controlling as much of your physical writing environment as possible:

“My biggest tip for writing faster is to eliminate distractions. Find a quiet space, turn off your phone and Internet (use Internet-blocking software like Freedom if you have to), set a timer and just write without doing any editing.”

Finally, Tara Hornor of Envato recommends maintaining a time-focus by using (a variation of) the Pomodoro technique:

“A timer can help keep you focused, but it also forces you to take breaks. And breaks keep the mind fresh. Some timers, such as the Focus Booster, provide specified work and break times, such as 25 minutes of work and 5 minutes of break. Another common workflow is 10 minutes on, 2 minutes break. You will just need to find out which length of time works best for you.”

4. Refine your main idea.

Writer Melanie Pianola recommends honing in on your main idea before you do anything else. She writes that the clarity focuses your writing:

“Nothing slows writing down more than not knowing what it is you want to say or what you’re writing about. Clarify and refine the main idea and major topics you have to cover beforehand, then identify and organize the research articles and materials that back up your story.”

5. Write an outline.

From an early age, we’re all taught to write an outline, then a first draft, revision, et cetera. By and large I have ignored all of these writing lessons. But Gazalla Gaya, SEO consultant and writer says that an outline can be extremely helpful to speed your writing process:

“When you write, create an outline of points that you want to cover. After that, simply expand on these points. And keep your language simple, conversational and friendly. This helps your reader understand and identify better with your message.”

6. … Or use a mindmap.

Earlier I mentioned former journalist and author of 8 1/2 Steps to Writing Faster, Better, Daphne Grey-Grant. She is a huge advocate for mind-mapping as an alternative to outlines. Here’s how she explains the process:

“Simply turn a piece of paper sideways (landscape fashion) and write your idea or your angle in the centre of the page. Draw a circle around it. Then write the next idea that springs into your head. Draw a circle around that one too. And keep up with this “brainstorming” until you know what you want to write.”

7. … or make a rough outline.

Writer and strategist Lauren Mangiaforte says that a very rough outline helps her to organize her writing and write faster:

“You don’t have to go hardcore with an outline, but I find that jotting down 3-4 words or concepts I want to hit in the order I want to hit them in can make a huge difference in terms of speed.”

8. Be prepared to write anytime.

I used to fancy myself a songwriter, but often when I would sit down to play guitar I wouldn’t write down my ideas. I could have been Katy Perry.

Writer (and doctor) Martina McGowan points out that preparedness is an important aspect of writing:

“Prolific writing, like any other good writing comes from habit. Always have writing materials nearby, even at the bedside. Capture every thought in its raw form, refine later.”

Of course there are many software solutions that can digitally help as well. Evernote is my weapon of choice, but also OneNote, email, action-trigger connector apps like IFTTT and Zapier, and on-and-on.

9. Be the end user. Often.

Slate writer Michael Agger writes that reading is an undervalued aspect of being a fast (and a good) writer:

“Read everything, all the time. That’s the only way to build the general knowledge that you can tuck away in long-term memory, only to one day have it magically surface when you’re searching for just the right turn of phrase.”

10. Use Scrivener.

If you get nothing else from this post, try Scrivener.

Scrivener is a game-changing application for writers, because it simplifies so many different aspects of writing.

On a basic level Scrivener acts as a database for word documents. So instead of writing this article all at once, I took input and research and put each piece of information into its own separate document. When I’d done all my research, I arranged all of the microdocuments into a logical order, wrote and formatted them, and then used the compile function to import it into my site.

Here’s a video that makes the process a little clearer, but this is an essential app for writers who are doing long-form or research intensive posts.


Scrivener is free to try and costs $40. Trust me, once you use it you will wonder how you lived without it.

Hat tip to Inger Mewburn for introducing me to Scrivener.

11. Turn off spell-check and backspace.

One of the biggest impediments to flow (especially for wordsmiths) is self-editing. Writer Samar Owais advises to stay fast and in the flow of your writing by deliberately avoiding spell-check and backspace:

“avoid pressing the backspace key for unnecessary changes…. and stick to it. If you make a mistake, whether it’s a spelling mistake or a grammatical mistake, just move on… if you’re one of those writers who get bugged by the spell checker, you need to turn it off.”

Writer Michael Pollack makes a similar argument against editing while writing:

“Ultimately, you need to practice writing without correcting yourself as you write. You need to take the Censor out of the picture altogether until you get into the editing phase.”

12. Skip the small talk.

Evan LaPage of Hootsuite advises to avoid the introduction and to initially focus on the body of your piece. He writes:

“Fast writers often skip their introduction. This allows them to write the piece without trying to fit it into the constraints of a lead they laboured over in advance.”

13. Keep your audience top of mind.

Writer Don Perkins says that his key to speed is myopic focus on the audience that he is writing for:

“I write based on a simple formula:

  1. Who is my audience? (Buyer persona development)
  2. What do they care about? (Relevance)
  3. Why should they listen to me? (Value proposition)”

14. Write with the end in mind.

Writer Gibson Goff says that his key to writing faster is to vet the end and then write with a clear destination:

“Have a beginning. But also have what the end of the story should look like, lest the story take off in the wrong direction and never get finished.”

15. Get into a flow.

Writer and content strategist Misty Belardo-McPadden advises not to overthink it and just get into a writing flow:

“Write write write. First, write without editing, letting your ideas flow. Next, go back and read what you wrote outlaid and look for ways to condense and tighten your message. Edit unnecessary words and phrases. This can be challenging, but with practice it becomes easier.“

16. Start with a summary.

Editor and writer Lori Quayle has a lot of experience writing longer technical documents. She says that writing an executive summary can help to speed the process of the rest of the document:

“My tip for writing something technical or generally boring is to spend some quality time on the executive summary. It is often the only part of the report that top-level executives spend time on. It can serve as a subconscious elevator pitch (for future gigs) if it succinctly conveys the essence or bottom line. Having the summary done will help you stay focused and perhaps finish faster by not including tangential info.”

17. Start with bullet points.

Carol Roth, author of The Entrepreneur Equation writes that she finds it faster to start with bullet points and then elaborate:

“After brainstorming write down a list of “bullets” that mirror the key points that you want to make in support of the main topic. It’s much easier to write explanatory sentences once you have the main themes and issues sorted out.”

18. Use your words.

To write this section, I am using Nuance’s Dragon Natural Speaking software. If you can maintain a linear train of thought, speech recognition software can be very helpful to speed your writing process.

I was able to dictate this with no spelling errors in about 30 seconds using my USB microphone.

19. Work on more than one project at a time.

Author Nalini Singh recommends diverting your focus from a singular piece of content to multiple projects. She explains the benefits:

“I’ve only started doing this over the past year, after I read an interview with another writer who spoke about having 3-4 hours of concentration, after which he needed to switch to a new project to again get those 3-4 hours of concentration. So I started working on two projects simultaneously. I quickly realized it doesn’t work if I’m at the same stage in both projects. It’s not different enough to excite me. Instead, I work on books in different stages.”

20. Handwrite instead of typing

Author Karen Dionne says that writing by hand makes her far faster and more prolific than any other change she’s made to her writing:

“when I did walk away from the keyboard and literally take up the pen, the difference in my creative output was astounding. Instead of writing 2,500 words in a typical week, I consistently wrote between 3,000 and 5,000 words a DAY. Good words, that didn’t require so much tweaking and polishing.”

Bonus: Find a writing partner

Writer Jim Woods describes that two of his writer friends found that they could produce much more writing faster when they collaborated:

“Two writing friends of mine have cranked out over 2 million words in 2014… When you find someone who just clicks with you, you’ll find yourself firing on all cylinders. You focus on your strengths, and your co-writer focuses on their strengths.”

Conclusion

I am going to write about 20,000 words this week which is far more than I would usually do. The fact that I’m able to do it is entirely attributable to the advice in this post. This stuff works. Especially Scrivener, which is currently keeping my next five posts in various states of completion.

You can see that many different writers have techniques to accelerate their process, hopefully you found some of them useful. And if you have more tips for me to become a faster writer to share, please feel welcome to post in the comments.

Social media statistics: correlation versus causation

Most online statistics that you read are bullshit. They are weak and misleading numbers that persevere in the form of infographics, unsound “studies,” and in our everyday business storytelling. Not only can these statistics be misleading, but if misinterpreted they can have negative effects on your business.

In this post I’m going to discuss the relationship between correlation and causation, and why these are important when deciding what data to believe. At the end I’ll describe a way to look at comparative social data and make better decisions around its results.

Correlation and causation defined

Let’s start with a very straightforward definition of correlation and causation:

Correlation is the degree to which two or more quantities are linearly associated. (source: Wolfram Alpha)

Causation is the act or process of causing something to happen or exist. (source: Merriam Webster)

It’s important to understand the distinction between the two. Correlation shows an association between variables but can never show that one thing causes another. Here are a couple of graphic representations of correlation between two variables.

Correlation coefficient - positive
This is an example of positive correlation between two variables. The correlation coefficient is the slope (m) of the line. In this image the slope is positive, which means that there is a positive correlation between variables. The correlation coefficient can range from -1 (perfect negative correlation) to 1 (perfect positive correlation)
Negative Correlation coefficient
This is an example of negative correlation between two variables. The correlation coefficient is the slope (m) of the line. In this image the slope is negative, which means that there is a negative correlation between variables. The correlation coefficient can range from -1 (perfect negative correlation) to 1 (perfect positive correlation)

Online statistics will never rarely ever show causation

You’ve probably heard the phrase “correlation doesn’t necessarily equal causation.” It’s an overused expression that people generally use before they inappropriately infer cause from correlation. Put more simply, because two things happen at the same time doesn’t mean that they are causing the other to happen.

As an example, my wife and I have two kids. We had the same (horrible) nurse in the delivery room for both of their deliveries. Although there is 100% correlation between the nurse’s presence and our kid’s births, neither caused the other.

Online statistics tend to infer causation from correlation, despite brandishing the “correlation is not causation” cliche. This is wrong to write and wrong to accept.

Consider how difficult it is to determine what causes anything else. All variables would have to be isolated and then one would have to be explicitly shown to cause a specific outcome. In science this can be done through well-constructed, rigorous, expensive trials. For the type of data that informs infographics and most “studies” it is close to impossible.

Which is not to say that correlation is a bad thing….

Some correlation is actionable

We wouldn’t take the time to observe and measure correlation unless it was helpful to us.

Consider the Google algorithm. There are many variables and conditions that inform what results come back to you on a SERP.  Searchmetrics and Moz (and I’m sure others) do thorough analyses of SERPs to attempt to gauge how much correlation there is between certain variables and search engine rank. Let’s take a look at the top twelve ranking factors and their correlation coefficients from Searchmetrics 2014 data:

  1. Clickthrough rate (.67)
  2. Relevant terms (.34)
  3. Google +1 (.33)
  4. Number of backlinks (.31)
  5. Facebook shares (.28)
  6. Facebook total (.28)
  7. Facebook comments (.27)
  8. Pinterest (.27)
  9. SEO-visibility of backlinking URL (.26)
  10. Facebook Likes (.25)
  11. Tweets (.24)
  12. % backlinks = “rel=nofollow” (.23)

You may be tempted to look at the list and determine that you need to focus more on Google +1s and less on Facebook posts in order to raise your SERP position. That conclusion assumes that this is a report of causality, and the relationships these studies establish are not causal at all. From a statistical standpoint, the correlation coefficients in this study are weak for every factor other than clickthrough rate. Recall also that Google can’t see a large portion of Facebook and said explicitly that +1s don’t influence SERPs, so they can’t cause anything to happen. These results show (weak) correlation where there isn’t a high probably of causation.

An alternative way to look at this study of correlation is to ask yourself how many of these items you can improve for your website? Is there a way to devote your resources that might impact a few of these items? Since we really can’t understand the specifics of the Google algorithm (which x causes y), we can look at correlation here as a list of things that when improved may improve our SERP position to some degree. This is why many SEO practitioners will focus more effort on link building (#4) than on soliciting +1s.

If you consider how hard it would be to isolate a specific variable from others, you can safely assume that comparative data measures correlation. By disregarding the statistical possibility of causation, you can be properly critical of the data and make better decisions around the data.

Conclusion

Many writers pay lip service to correlation and causality and then continue to incorrectly infer causality from their data. Don’t fall down this rabbit hole.

If you take nothing else away from this post understand this: All comparative social data and statistics will be correlative. You’re unlikely to ever isolate an explicit cause for your outcomes. And while I know this is unsettling, treating your comparative data as correlative allows you to make better decisions about it.

Let me know your thoughts on this one.

How to easily capture cropped screenshots using Greenshot

If you write a lot of “how-to” articles or posts, you likely have come across the same issue that I have: cropping full-screen screenshots is time-consuming and stupid. After all, the technology that captures an entire browser window should be able to capture a partial screen with similar ease (amen?).

The technology does exist and one of the most popular pieces of (free) software to do this is Greenshot.

About Greenshot

Greenshot is an app that enables you to capture a partial screenshot. This eliminates the need to crop a screenshot in WordPress or another third party app.

It is straightforward to download and set-up (You can download it for free at http://getgreenshot.org/). Once installed, it offers you a menu to directly initiate screenshots or to set your preferences:

greenshot preferences

Greenshot preference options

In this next section I’m going to show some screenshots of preferences (in kind of a meta-twist captured by Greenshot).

There are a lot of really useful preference options for Greenshot. One of them is the Hotkey options. You can set this to whatever you like – you can see that I have Greenshot running when my computer is running, and anytime I hit control-down it triggers a Greenshot window. You can set this up however you like, this works well for me.

greenshot preferences1

One of the more useful options to set is the “destination.” If you check “select destination dynamically” the destination prompt will pop-up everytime you take a screenshot. I prefer to set it ahead of time depending upon how I intend to use the image.

  • For applications like OneNote, Evernote and Gmail where I want to paste an image into a note or email, I check the “copy to clipboard” option.
  • For writing (specifically in WordPress), I choose the “save as” option. This saves the file to my downloads so that I can batch upload to WordPress and publish them easily.

greenshot3

Alternatives

Greenshot isn’t a unique app – it’s just very user-friendly. I’ve also tried PicPick at the recommendation of somebody writing for Lifehacker, and found it equally useful but not as easy to setup and use (it may be that my application has a limited scope).

In any event – Greenshot isn’t the only free software that can do this for you.

Conclusion

If you use a lot of screenshots (or even a few) in your writing – Greenshot is a great app to have in your arsenal. It is easy to use, does what it says, and is free. It’s hard to argue with that triumvirate of benefits.

If you have experience with Greenshot or an alternative please share in the comments.

How to grow Twitter followers using SocialBro

One of my favorite tools for Twitter management is SocialBro. I initially became a fan because of the Excel file export feature, and have grown to appreciate many features (the crazy easy follow/unfollow mode comes immediately to mind).  Let me disclose upfront that SocialBro provides me with a free premium account, so the features that I describe may not be the same features that you would see with a free account.

As much affinity as I have for SocialBro, I also would hate to advocate for an app based upon my admiration rather than on tangible fact. So I wanted to put SocialBro to the test and see how effectively I could grow my Twitter audience using only their app.

My mission (Should I choose to accept it)

socialbro mission icon

In the upper right hand corner of SocialBro, there is a little rocket icon that links to a “mission” page. Currently they have four “missions” for users to follow to help accomplish certain tasks using the app. One of them is this one:

socialbro mission

What follows below is my attempt to follow these recommendations to grow my personal Twitter account @jimdougherty.

1. Change Twitter bio to describe myself in 160 characters. Update website, location and use a recognizable image.

So here’s a screenshot of my Twitter profile before:

dougherty profile twitter

I wordsmithed the heading, changed the header image (using a template in the awesome cloud graphic design tool Canva). And this is what I came up with:

new twitter profile

Okay, so I’m not a graphic designer. But I think it’s an improvement and hope you do, too.

2. Assess the current state of my Twitter community

Next, SocialBro recommends assessing the state of your community. The mission tool takes you step-by-step through key parts of the app to do this.

First step: People who follow me that I don’t follow back

socialbro followback filter

You probably know enough about Twitter to understand that two groups of people follow you. Some follow you because you’re interesting and the others follow you to try and coax a reciprocal follow so they can unfollow you and appear to have a legion of fans that adore them.

My general rule is to try and follow as many people who take the time to follow me. If I can spot a spammy or inactive account I’ll skip it, but I followed back the majority of those 64 people.

socialbro follows

Second step: Influencers

Here’s an embarrassing fact: when I look at influencers for the last 30 days, the only account that I mentioned is YouTube (in my defense I purposefully keep my Tweets sparse on this account).

In any event, if you’re Tweeting a lot or using a tool like Triberr to promote your posts. The “influencer” filter is a pretty awesome way to make sure you’re following everyone that your Tweeting to and about.

Third (and fifth) step: Tags

One of the neat features of SocialBro is the “bio tagcloud” tool. It is a collection of the most common tags in bios of people that you follow or that follow you.

The third check in this mission is the tagcloud for the people you follow and the fifth is for your followers. The check is meant to make sure that your audience interests are what you want them to be, AND for you to take note for future follows.

socialbro bio tagcloud

Fourth step: Content check

The fourth point in this mission is to assess Twitter content. SocialBro recommends a mix of  your own posts and other people’s content. I don’t Tweet enough from this account, but for the period that I’m trying to grow my audience I will post two pieces of content per day, 25% my own content.

The check of the follower tagcloud is meant to give an idea of the interests of people who follow you now, so I will make a point to use these terms in each Tweet that I send out:

socialbro bio tagcloud content

Sixth step: make a list

I don’t know that making a list of all of my Twitter followers would be particularly helpful, so I filtered out the high and low outliers and focused on people who have a pretty good sized following and who follow back. Seems to me they’re doing something right.

socialbro list creation

The seventh point (step) is to monitor this list daily and find content to RT. I will resolve to RT one Tweet from this list per day while I’m trying to grow my followers.

Eighth step: Target my competitor’s community

Yikes, who is my competitor? Because I want to show how awesome this tool is, I’m going to target a good Cincinnati-based company, Ahalogy. If you’re unfamiliar with them, they are doing some creative and cutting-edge stuff around Pinterest and are worth knowing about.

socialbro ahalogy

You can see that SocialBro gives you an entire dashboard for your competitors, with information analogous to your own.

Steps nine and ten – analyze the competitive data

One of the cool things about the competitive analysis tool is the “source followers not followed by you and not following you” widgets.

 

socialbro competitive followers

I pulled up the first list, and followed everyone in Cincinnati that is following Ahalogy (following appropriate followers of your competition is step eleven). It took me about 20 seconds.

Step twelve – find the ideal times to Tweet

SocialBro (like many services) creates a best time to Tweet report based upon the activity on your account. So I ran the report from the dashboard:

socialbro best time to tweet

You can’t schedule Tweets from SocialBro proper, but two of the awesome partnerships that they maintain are with Hootsuite and Buffer. You can export best time to tweet data from SocialBro to Buffer or Hootsuite (if you have a pro account for either):

socialbro hootsuite and buffer export

(Cheapskate alert) I don’t have a pro account for either, so I configured Buffer based upon the information in the SocialBro report. Maybe not as slick as the automated tools, but got the job done:

socialbro best time to tweet

And that’s that. My account is configured properly to grow my Twitter followers using SocialBro.

Conclusion

Will I be able to grow my Twitter audience demonstrably in a month? I don’t know. But you can clearly see that SocialBro is a powerhouse for Twitter and I suspect that these tactics will work (note: you can also manage Instagram with SB). As of this writing I have 1,346 Twitter followers. I will update this post in 30 days to share how successful these tactics were to increase my follower count, and you can always check out my progress on my Twitter page.

I would be remiss not to mention the author of this “mission,” Leticia Polese. Her understanding of Twitter and the SocialBro tools is pretty impressive. You may want to follow her, and you can do that easily by pressing the button below:


Should tech tools embrace niche users?

If you’re familiar with the story of Novocaine, German chemist Alfred Einhorn discovered it and (thinking it had medical application) fought to keep it from being used in dental surgeries. It wasn’t until Einhorn died that Novocaine became widely used in dental applications, due in large part to his resistance to allow its use in the dental niche.

I think of this story in the context of tech tools. Some have potential for mass market application and haven’t achieved it (Google Plus and Twitter come immediately to mind). Some tech tools are upstart companies whose features may have very strong application for specific niches (Haiku Deck Zuru, which automatically populates slide decks, and Canva, a cloud-based graphic design tool come immediately to mind). Like Google Plus and Twitter have found niche audiences with much higher adoption than the general public, I suspect there are professional niches that will find unique utility from Haiku Deck Zuru and Canva.

Which leads me to IQTell. I’ve written promotional pieces for IQTell after being drawn to the app for its unique utility as a universal inbox, Evernote manager, calendar manager and Getting Things Done (GTD) database. When I had the opportunity to talk with one of the creators of IQTell, Sahaf Flam, I shared that I thought many more people would find his app helpful beyond GTD disciples who use Evernote (there are literally dozens of us). Sahaf said I sounded a bit like Jason Vichinsky.

Jason is a lawyer, and has become a champion for IQTell in the law profession. I got in touch with him, and asked if I could ask him some questions about the utility of IQTell with him and he agreed.

Back to the Novocaine example, I feel unease using independent tech tools without understanding their funding and their prospects for the future. I love IQTell but don’t want to get a note one day in my inbox saying that the product is discontinued. If you remember the untimely passing of Behance’s Action Method project management tool, you understand it’s a real concern. I love that IQTell embraces niches where it is extraordinarily useful and that folks like Jason find great professional utility in it. I find IQTell indispensable and hope it becomes the biggest thing since Novocaine.

If you’re not familiar with IQTell – this is the app what we’re discussing:


I think how Jason took this tool and found specific utility for it in his niche rather fascinating and hope you do as well. Note that I changed his responses in a couple of places where he misunderstood my relationship to IQTell (I’m just a fellow user).

Q: What aspects of IQTell are useful for you as a lawyer?

IQTell  is the best project management software I have ever used.  If you are an attorney with a small firm or a solo and want to have a completely paperless office IQTell and Evernote are the only tools you will ever need.

The way the product allows me to handle email is absolutely phenomenal. The ability to immediately link that email to an action or project is indispensable.  I am now able to deal with all of my email and get my inbox empty in a fraction of the time it used to take.

That I am able to use the product on my Mac, my iPad, and my smart phone is fantastic. This means that I  literally carry my entire practice with me wherever I go. Moreover, because the data is stored both locally and in the cloud I have four backups of my data. I never worry about losing anything.

Q: What tools were you using to manage your information before using IQTell?

I have test driven Rocket Matter, MyCase, Cleo, Remember the Milk, Toodledo.  I also experimented with trying to use Google products together. Nothing I have used comes close to IQTell.

Q: From your perspective what are the strongest aspects of the IQTell app?

The strongest aspect of IQTell is simply this: the user truly has everything she needs in one place in a clean robust interface that works on any computer or mobile device with an Internet connection. It is the holy grail of the paperless mobile law practice.

Q: Can you talk about the utility of Evernote in your profession?

I use Evernote to store all of my documents, Web clippings, audio recordings, photographs, and notes. I also use it with penultimate to store handwritten notes for those occasions when I cannot use voice typing.  That I am able to access all of these from any computer with an Internet connection is phenomenal. Evernote truly is the best at what it does. Combined with IQTell an attorney needs nothing else to run a completely paperless and highly organized practice.

Q: What aspects of time management are critical for lawyers and how does IQTell address these?

Because it allows me to carry my entire practice with me wherever I go, I am able to make use of time that might otherwise be lost. There are often occasions when I am sitting in court waiting to be called. Before I had your product that time Was lost. Now I can use that time to work on almost anything. Moreover, it is not uncommon to encounter another attorney who is in court for a separate matter. If that attorney and I have a case together we can go sit in the conference room and discuss that case while we are waiting.

IQTell is free for a 60 day trial and then is $5.95 – $9.95 per month depending upon the number of email accounts that you need to sync. I should probably mention that neither Jason or I was compensated for mentioning IQTell or any other product in this piece.