I’ll be honest. When I read that fellow Evernote eBook author, Brett Kelly sold over 10,000 copies of his eBook, Evernote Essentials in February of this year, I really felt great for him! His eBook is a great resource for learning both the fundamentals and practical applications of how to use Evernote. I’m an affiliate of his and have his banner on the right side of my blog. In fact, his eBook was a bit of an inspiration for me in writing my own book on how to become more productive and successful in life by leveraging both Evernote and the popular time management system, Getting Things Done (GTD).
Well I am extremely humbled and flattered to let everyone know that in just 8 months, I have sold over 10,000 copies of Evernote: The Unofficial Guide to Capturing Everything and Getting Things Done!
Hitting this important milestone means so much to me, that I can hardly – believe it or not – put into words correctly. Publishing this eBook has dramatically changed my life in ways I never expected. From one book, I have had the most awesome and wonderful opportunities to meet and partner with amazing people in the productivity space such as the very well known Mike Vardy of Lifehack.org (among many sites he’s well known for), Alan Henry at Lifehacker, Tara Rodden Robinson – The Productivity Maven, Brooks Duncan of DocumentSnap, Jeremy Roberts of CloudProductivity, Evan Kline and Bobby Travis at 40Tech, Kevin Tea of Web 2.0, David Ward of Attorney Marketing, Reilly Sweetland at FollowUpThen, Jorge Manrubia at ZenDone, Dave Savage at MortgageCoach, Thanh Pham at Asian Efficiency, Dean Ouellette, the Productivity Dad – who is writing his own Evernote eBook for the Real Estate Market, Pierre Journel at the Elephant Channel, Bojan Djordjevic of AlphaEfficiency, Alexandre Costa E Silva, Otavio Cordeiro and Vladimir Campos from iTech Hoja, Rafal Moryson of ThinkInProjects, and many, many more!
Most importantly, I have built some really wonderful relationships with folks at the Evernote Team such as Andrew Sinkov, Seth Hitchings, and Kasey Fleisher. They are the most wonderful people and truly a pleasure to work with. I can’t thank Andrew enough for putting my book in the Trunk and Kasey for her call to interview me for the Official Evernote Blog!
Because of this book, I was also able to form the amazing relationships with the Springpad Team as well such as Jeff Janer and Katin Miller, which helped propel me into a position to become the official eBook author for their new Springpad 3.0 release! Needless to say that between both editions, the Springpad eBook, numerous podcast interviews, guest post articles, consulting opportunities on Evernote and productivity, joint collaborations with some of the folks listed above, and presentations on productivity – it has been an amazing eight months of my life.
With all that said, I wanted to highlight some important lessons that I’ve learned after selling over 10,000 Evernote GTD eBook!
1. Be Humble.
There’s no question in my mind that I have learned to be more humble. My mother once taught me that Pride Goeth Before the Fall (Proverbs 16:18). The success of this eBook re-taught that valuable lesson. Granted, it might seem hypocritical to send out a blast saying, “Look at me, I’ve sold over 10,000 books!!” but in doing so, it is much more about you – it’s about thanking all of you for your incredible contributions. I said it in the Prologue of my book and it’s worth repeating … the book, the blog, and everything else in between is because of you! Each and every one of you provide me with inspiration. You all motivate me to write that next blog post, to author that next chapter, to create that next slide in a presentation, and formulate my next big idea. You all are the sparks that help this engine over here run and I am indebted to each of you forever. Even when I’ve been told a couple of times to cool down the self-promotion on Twitter, I in fact did … I did because I continue to learn from all of you. I need your feedback and insights because it helps me grow as a person and as a professional.
constructive critques criticism.
This is a perfect dovetail to being humble. I think many of us forgot common decensy and respect somewhere along the way. My post called, “When did we stop being nice? Setting goals to rethink how we talk to others” explains a lot of my feelings on this one. I’ve been told that my book sucks, I suck, my blog sucks, and just about everything else I do sucks. That’s fine. I’ve learned to take that with a grain of salt, shake it off, and realize that they come from a much different place than you and I. I wish we all could provide constructive critiques, but instead so many of us go to that place called criticism.
3. Not one system fits all.
This could not be clearer more apparent to me now! Some love Evernote as just their digital filing cabinet and others, like myself, use it to manage everything – tasks and reference related materials. Some have leveraged my eBook for the ideas and methodologies, but applied those ideas to Springpad, SimpleNote, Catch.com, Toodledo, Remember the Milk, and Wunderlist/Wunderkit. The best part though is … that’s okay!
Just yesterday, I replied to a question on a new post in the Evernote Forums that I’ve heard so many times about getting things done in Evernote. In part, I said that I know that one size does not fit everyone’s productivity systems. Everyone works different and everyone has different workflows. But, I recommended – and recommend to all of you – that you take a look at your own roles & responsibilities you have in your life and ask yourself the “magic question”: What few things must absolutely go right in order for you to have a productivity system that will make you more successful? I typically follow that question up by asking: What has not gone right in the past? What challenges have you had?
The best thing to do, in my opinion, is to take a giant step backwards and think about what would your system look like if it were completely analog? Would it be a folder for @calls, a folder for @emails, a folder for @waiting for, and an A-Z folder system for reference related materials? Would you have 43 folders for every month and each day of the month? How would you process your information in a non-digital world? The reason why this is so important is because one must master the process before mastering the tool. If you can figure out how to do that successfully, learning how to do it in any system – whether it is Evernote or not – will be simple!
4. Learn to de-clutter and minimize
This one is coming up more and more lately. I’ve been reading a lot from Mike Vardy (thank you!), Patrick Rhone, Leo Babauta, and many more on the need to de-clutter, to minimize, and become more stress free. This is the very reason I wrote my recent post on focusing on the process and not the tools. Learn to get rid of that which you do not need and more on what is absolutely necessary to be productive and successful. The reason why it is so important is because on our journey to become more productive, we have a tendency to download too many apps, have our tasks spread across multiple platforms, and with the ones we do have, we spend more time “hacking” them as opposed to actually using them to help us get things done. Throughout this process, and because of all of your input and feedback, I have learned to minimize. I have learned to de-clutter. And I encourage each of you to do the same!
I look at this as a marathon and not a sprint. There is no ladder to climb up, but rather a journey that goes up, sideways, and sometimes down. I like that though. It provides for a whole lot of wiggle room to grow. To learn. To live. And that is your next action. Do as the motto on my site asks you to: Learn to be successful at life. Live your passion. Love what you do.
Until next time, cheers!