Category Archives: Technology

Using Evernote to be productive in campus min

There are a few ways that I consistently use Evernote. I’ve had it on my very first iPhone and have been using it ever since. I’ve come to accept that there are certain things that I just like better on paper, but there are other things that I will never use paper for.

Track your reimbursements that require no receipt.

Anything under $25 doesn’t require a receipt in Power to Change, so I have a new Evernote for every new reimbursement time period. I write down what was purchased, how much, where it was purchased and for what purpose. This is helpful because I don’t have useless receipts collecting all over the place, and when I open up my computer to do my reimbursements the info is already there in my Evernote. Once I’ve submitted those reimbursements, I’ll mark in the subject (DONE) and move it into my Reimbursement folder. I keep it handy in case I need to go back and review a cost for any reason.

Track your to-dos or GTD system

As a new staff one of the biggest challenges I had coming out of University was managing my schedule. Over the (few) years I’ve toyed with various productivity methods. I recently read a really helpful article (Master Life’s Juggling Act: Maximize Daily Productivity with Evernote, GTD and a Daily Portfolio) on how to use the GTD system in Evernote. I’m still figuring out how/if GTD is the best for me, but there are some things that are really helpful. I’ve followed a lot of the tips, especially the Daily Portfolio idea and have found it to be helpful. It’s nice, again, because it’s cross-platform (and free). Even if you don’t use GTD method, the Daily Portfolio might be helpful. For me, it’s useful because I think of all areas of my life including meal planning and excercise. One thing I’m far better at than the other.

Yesterday I took some time to set up GTD contexts and projects using tags (@call, @meeting, @office etc) and notes. My biggest problem with getting a GTD method going was failure to implement a regular review of my projects etc. I think with the addition of the Daily Portfolio, this might really work for me.

Track your discipleship plans/meetings with Evernote

This is one area where I just much rather use paper, yet  I don’t really want to have the papers lying around all the time and for forevermore. In a city that has so much staff transition (especially on the women’s side) I’m coming to see how important it is for us to be recording what we’re doing with the girls we’re working with. One girl I worked with had had 4 different staff disciplers during her four years on campus because there was so much staff transition. How do you know she’s not getting taught the same thing over and over?

A few years ago a coworker tried standardizing our discipleship tracking in the region and I found the worksheet she gave to be helpful. Last year i had a 1/2 sheet paper copy with me at all appointments so I could record everything in a neat system.

Here’s an example of a fake student here in Montreal. Click here for the Evernote template link. This year, I think I’m going to keep doing it on paper mostly because a student can understand you taking notes while meeting them. Plus for this instance I just like paper better. BUT, I will be taking a picture of the paper and putting it into Evernote so that there’s a digital copy in the event I get accidenta-pregnant or something and have to hand over discipleship to someone else.

There are other ways I use Evernote to help me manage my life, but they’re more home-related than work.

How about you? How do you use Evernote?

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Doing a Label Mail Merge on Pages (Mac)

If you are someone who can do a mail merge without wanting to swear at least once, I applaud you. You are a better person than I. This past year I delegated this job to Willy when then was not the best option (love them, BTW). We’ve decided to stop using them only because we think it’s become less expensive for us to do it. Also because we’ve found a way to do mail merges on labels super easy.

I used to never manage my MPD addresses using my Address Book app. I had them on TntMPD and then later online at Every time I tried to import the .CSV my computer would cough and sneeze and refuse to do it. It just didn’t work. So today I searched the internets for the billionth time finding a work around on a forum. I did. It was very intimidating looking. Very.

This example is for Avery 5163 label sheet: 2″ x 4″ 2 across, 5 down

Change the dimensions to suit other labels.

1. Inspector > Document > Document Margins > 0.5″ top & bottom/0.25″ sides

2. Inspector > Layout > Layout > Columns: 2 > Gutter: 0

3. Click in the top of the left hand column

4. Toolbar > Text Box > Inspector > Metrics > Size > High: 2″ > Width: 4″

5. Inspector > Wrap > Object Placement > Inline > Object Causes Wrap : 2nd icon > Extra Space: 0

6. Inspector > Graphic > Stroke > None

7. Click inside the box Menu > Insert > Merge Field/Sender Field > Select appropriate fields

8. Inspector > Links > Merge > Choose… > browse to Numbers spreadsheet/ drag on Address Book Group

9. Pages generates a multipage document with one label per page

10. Delete all the Section Breaks separating each label on each page:

Menu > Edit > Find > Find… > Advanced > Find: > Insert > Section Break… > Replace: empty > Replace All

The text boxes then stack into place, ten per page in this case.

I was not looking forward to trying this, but I did. I was using an Avery 5160 so I was even more skeptical it would work. IT DID. Like a dream. In the process I found that with my new refurb mac I had no problem importing contacts into Address Book.

And then as I was test printing them, Willy — his first HOURS as a Mac user — said, “Doesn’t it just work like this?” He basically clicked a bunch of contacts in the Address Book and clicked print.


It worked like a dream. Two mail-merge dreams in one day. The Lord does indeed love us.

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The rise and fall of the weekly email.

Monday, we went out a short email by mailchimp that clearly indicated our meeting times.

Tuesday, I checked in as our UQAM account in the building we met in and tweeted what we were doing there. I immediately got a reply to my tweet from a student wondering “when!!? And where!?!?”. Sigh. We exchanged tweets, he said he’d come next week and this Thursday.

We’re still trying to figure out what’s the best way to get info out to our students in a way they’ll actually receive the info. I had seen on mailchimp that this student opened our email. Clearly he didn’t register the email mentally. This is not a jab at him personally, this is a problem we’ve been having at multiple campuses.

We’ve tried putting our info on Facebook and twitter, but still we haven’t found the perfect option. It feels tedious to update multiple things, but we’re reaching different kinds of students. For now, I’m happy trying to disseminate info through all of these venues. However, I am still looking for that silver information dispensing bullet that will enlighten all interested students equally.

Have you found something that works?

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Mobile group chat as a momentum builder

GroupMe. Group messaging across all mobile platforms. My eyes lit up as I saw this.

I’ve been really enjoying the function of group messaging for iMessages, but obviously it is very limited to only the iPhone. This app means I can have a group chat with my whole staff team whether or not they have iPhones. It means a servant team can group text encouragement, prayer etc. A DG can update everyone with how their conversation with their friend went. The 5 women on campus in Quebec could send a group text with encouragement, or prayer etc.

Or, in our case, as we’re launching our campus and have a handful of students engaging their campus – we could put the whole group in a group chat and make sure they know where and when things are happening, send them encouragement, Bible verses,  updates on how our follow-up meetings go. It could momentum-building. The best part is, it’s private. There is a time and a place for public updates, as well as a time and a place for privacy.

Since drafting this post, I had to add WhatsApp to my phone to connect with a student who only had an American number and was using it as a primary phone. In adding WhatsApp, I was surprised at how many students (and how many of our students) already have it. Turns out it also has now group chat as well. We’re looking into which is the best option – obviously there’s no need to get everyone to adopt a new app if there’s one they already have that works.

I’ll keep you updated as to how/whether/if it works.

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