Avoiding fyres [sic] in your community

Conversations about two truly epic documentaries have circulated the water coolers over the past two weeks. The focus of the documentaries is the 2017 would’ve-been, luxury festival that flew too close to the sun then crashed and burned leaving thousands of young, some very-well-to-do, adults stranded on an island in the Bahamas. The story behind the now infamous Fyre Festival is comparable to the heroic, rise and fall fables of past. Like that wild roll at your favorite sushi bar, it has everything: envy, avarice, fyrefestival_orangebeauty, fantasy, sympathy, evil, crime, success and failure. I will leave the details of the story for you to watch for yourself. The documentaries were produced by two different streaming services and two different directors, and I do recommend watching both, but they ultimately tell the same story and heed the same warnings.

When you watch the documentaries, you will clearly notice some of the major themes, such as (spoiler alert ahead) after committing several kinds of fraud you will ruin lives and get caught. There are also several, not so obvious, areas that I found fascinating. One is people’s tendency to follow charm over qualification.  Another is the sheer power and effect of social media influencers. Another is – simply enough – the power of the contract notwithstanding the promise of money. I now know I will need more than four months to buy a private island and build a venue to host big name musical performers. If I can’t prove they will get what they want, even Blink-182 will cancel last minute (no offense Blink fans).

For those of you wanting to host the next big music festival in your community, please don’t. I have nothing for you. For those of you looking to avoid starting a fyre, please follow along.

If you are a homeowner wanting the best professional leadership for your community, start by looking past the charisma or cost-savings of an individual or offer, and focus on whether the person or firm is qualified to manage your community. Ask yourself: Is it too good to be true? If the answer is yes or probably, then you need to exercise due diligence. Start by finding out if they have a Certified Manager of Community Associations® (CMCA®) credential. The CMCA credential provides homeowners and boards an assurance that the person has the basic knowledge necessary to effectively manage a community association. You can find more about the CMCA credential at the Community Association Managers International Certification Board webpage.

For those of you wanting to better understand the impacts social media has on your community or needing guidance on music or movie performance rights, CAI has many resources available. The recipient of the 2017 Best Law Seminar Manuscript award is the piece put together by attorneys Daniela Burg, Edward Hoffman and Gerald Wigger, and focuses on social media in communities and how associations can benefit from and properly handle issues. It is available free to download with other Best Manuscripts here. If you have questions about hosting a movie or music event at your association’s clubhouse, CAI’s Government and Public Affairs Department put together a great guidance document on music and movie licensing rights. It is also free to download and can be found here.

If you watched the documentaries, are there thoughts you have on how managing a community would be like producing an event like the Fyre Festival? Did you prefer one documentary over the other? Also, am I the only one who confuses Fyre with the fashion brand, Frye? I still have to correct myself. Love to read your thoughts below.

Matthew Green
Director, Credentialing Services

Science Says Do This One Thing Before You Go to Bed

By Peter Economy

How we begin our days usually takes center stage in planning. We have to wake up, prepare–both mentally and physically–and get into the groove of things. It’s been ingrained into us that breakfast is the most important meal, that we must make sure to take a couple deep breaths, and even do some visualization exercises before leaving the house. Yet, could it be that how we end our days is just as important as how we start them?

Turns out, that might just be the case. Although there’s great value in getting up on the right side of the bed, there’s also just as much merit in ensuring we take our time before hitting the hay for the night.

So, what’s the one thing every single one of us should be doing before letting our bodies rest for another day?

Writing down what happened.

Although journaling seems tedious–and, at times a bit rudimentary–it can be an incredibly helpful way to compartmentalize our thoughts without realizing it. When we go through the highs and lows of each event encountered during the course of a day, we don’t simply recount the facts–we offer our commentary as well.

What we say about each event–whether we felt frustrated or jealous or exuberant or nervous–ultimately tells us a lot more about ourselves than what we actually did. As easy as it is to forget, we are not what we do. We are, instead, what we make of our actions.

Journaling has been proven to be a very therapeutic exercise. It gives us the chance to sort out our opinions and reflections and to learn from what’s past and look forward to what’s next. Psychologists at the University of Texas in Austin have even gone as far as saying that journaling strengthens T-lymphocytes, which play a crucial role in cellular immune response.

Scientific evidence has also touched upon the roles the different sides of the brain play in writing things down.

brainThe left side of the brain is graced by logic–using your rational and analytical skills to decipher what exactly occurred today. The right side is governed by creativity, instead allowing you to feel and create. When we journal, both sides of our brain are engaged, reaching prime cranial potential right before you nod off for the night.

Before you go to bed tonight, pick up a pen and a piece of paper–and just write. How much better you feel when you wake just might startle you.

 While Peter Economy has spent the better part of two decades of his life slugging it out mano a mano in the management trenches, he is also the best-selling author of Managing for Dummies, The Management Bible, Leading Through Uncertainty, and more than 75 other books, with total sales in excess of two million copies. He has also served as associate editor for Leader to Leader for more than 10 years, where he has worked on projects with the likes of Jim Collins, Frances Hesselbein, Marshall Goldsmith, and many other top management and leadership thinkers.

It’s Trivia Time at CAI Press!

TRUE or FALSE? National Trivia Day is March 15.  

FALSE. It was Jan. 4, but we’re still celebrating. Join us by taking the CAI Press trivia quiz!

TRUE or FALSE? The Pittsburgh Steelers and Philadelphia Eagles combined for one season to become the Steagles.
TRUE. And, if they can come together, so can your residents. Find out how in Volunteers: How Community Associations Thrive.
(Read the Steagle’s story.)

TRUE or FALSE? The U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing sells five-pound bags containing $10,000 worth of U.S. currency for $45.
TRUE, but the currency is shredded. Piecing it back together is almost as challenging as collecting delinquencies. We have an easier way: read Delinquencies: How Communities Collect Assessments. It isn’t shredded.
(Take a look at $10,000.)

TRUE or FALSE? The world over, all McDonald’s golden arches are, well, … gold.
FALSE. A McDonald’s in Sedona, Ariz., erected turquoise arches to comply with the town’s design review standards. They must have read Design Review: How Community Associations Maintain Peace and Harmony.
(Check out the turquoise arches.)

TRUE or FALSE? Vending machines kill four times more people than sharks do.
TRUE. Which means hidden risks lurk everywhere. Learn how to protect against them in Risk Management: How Community Associations Protect Themselves.
(Find out what else is more dangerous than sharks.)

TRUE or FALSE? In the earliest versions of The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy’s dog Toto was replaced by an unnamed donkey and a pet cow named Imogene.
TRUE. And you thought you had pet problems. Dorothy could have used a copy of Pet Policies: How Community Associations Maintain Peace and Harmony.
(See Imogene in this 1930 silent film version of the classic movie.)

 CAI members: $15 each | Nonmembers: $25 each
Buy three or more and get 20% off each one.

CAI members receive 40 percent off nonmember prices. Join CAI and save!

Order online at www.caionline.org/shop for $8 shipping to the 48 contiguous states.

Or call CAI toll free at (888) 224-4321 (M–F, 9 a.m.–6 p.m. ET).
Orders placed by phone, fax or U.S. mail will be charged regular shipping rates.


10 Ways to Make Email Better

By Christina DesMarais

Hate managing email? This list of tricks can help.

I have nearly 21,000 email messages in my inbox. I don’t file, archive, or delete anything.

Think this hands-off approach is a bloody mess? Personally, I think my approach is working–I try to touch email messages as few times as possible, spend zero time organizing them and feel confident if I ever need to search for a keyword or for someone who works at a particular company, Gmail’s search capabilities can find it in my massive pile.

Yet I’m doing it all wrong, according to email-filtering service Sanebox, which advises the opposite strategy–one in which you let its algorithms sift through all your messages and organize them neatly into manageable folders that do all sorts of neat tricks. I’ve tried it, and it is, indeed, slick.

In fact, the folks at Sanebox argue that keeping all your mail in your inbox is “terrible for your productivity,” the company opined in a really helpful (and entertaining) list of 100 email hacks it recently compiled.

Here’s a roundup of the company’s best tips.

Turn off notifications.

You’re humming along with work swimmingly and you hear it–the ping on your phone that tells you an email just landed in your inbox. Now you’re curious, so you hop in there to see whom it’s from and your productivity just stopped dead still. Unless you’re waiting for some time-sensitive critical message, don’t give yourself an excuse to keep checking email. Silence notifications wherever you’re getting them (including visual pop-ups on the desktop). A better bet is to set aside a few times during the day to deal with email.

Never unsubscribe from suspicious emails.

Hate spam? One way to get even more of it is to hit an Unsubscribe link in a message you’re not sure why you’re getting. If you do, you could end up at a website where you’re asked to input your email address to confirm your desire to unsubscribe. Now the spammer has verified your email address (it was only a guess that landed the original message in your inbox) and can sell it to others who will barrage you with messages.

Don’t use images in your signature.

Sometimes people are looking for a particular file and filter their messages according to which ones include attachments. By including an image (which becomes an attachment) in your signature, you’re actually mucking up their search results. Plus, tossing around unnecessary graphics is a waste of bandwidth.

Don’t use email to discuss a difficult subject.

If someone at work needs straightening out, don’t do it on email, particularly if there’s a chance the discussion could become contentious or if someone could be hurt or offended. It’s much easier to gauge someone’s emotions and respond appropriately on the phone, via video chat, or even better, in person.

Never email your credit card information.

Unencrypted email is not secure, so you don’t want to use it to communicate any kind of confidential information. For one thing, a message may have to cross any number of networks before a recipient gets it, and once it arrives, how will that person store it? What if his or her system is compromised?

Forget about attachments and use links instead.

Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft SkyDrive, and the like are great because you can share a file with others and as soon as someone makes an edit to it, the change is viewable by everyone who has access. Attachments, on the other hand, are static–if you find yourself in an email volley including various iterations of the same document, things can get confusing. With a URL linking to the cloud, however, version control isn’t a worry.

Stop scanning and faxing.

If you’ve ever been emailed a contract to physically sign and return to someone, you know what a pain this can be. You either have to print it out and find an actual fax machine or take the time to scan, save, and attach each page into an email.

Instead, use an online fax service such as Hello Fax. The first five pages are free; after that, plans start at $10 a month.

Amp your network right inside email.

Rapportive is a free tool for Gmail users that adds a sidebar to each message you receive that shows you what the person looks like, information about what he or she does, where he or she is located, as well as what social networks he or she uses. The best part is this: Directly within the window, you can send a LinkedIn connection invitation, add someone to a Google+ circle, follow him or her on Twitter, or friend him or her on Facebook.

Fill in the recipient last.

There’s nothing worse than accidentally sending a message before you intend to. Save yourself this embarrassment by leaving the “To” field empty until your missive is perfect. Gmail users can also use Google’s Undo Send feature, which gives you a few seconds after you hit Send to change your mind. To turn it on, go to Settings (the cog on the right of your Gmail window), then Labs, where you’ll find the feature plus a slew of others you might find helpful.

Use an unguessable password that’s different for each account.

You’ve heard this one before, but it bears repeating because lots of people still get in trouble for not heeding this advice. Your email password absolutely has to be one that someone can’t guess and one that you don’t use with any other account.

To ensure it can’t be guessed, use the first letters of a memorable phrase, such as yamsmosymmhwsag, a 15-character password (longer is better) taken from “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. You make me happy when skies are gray.”

Another trick: Think of a two-word phrase at least eight characters long that you can remember, such as “SteakBurrito” and pepper it with symbols that look like letters, like this: St3@kBurr!t0. Then, for each site for which you need a unique password, take the first and fourth letter of the site and stick it in the middle of your skeleton key. So, for Facebook, your password would be St3@kfeBurr!t0.

And don’t store all your various passwords on paper or in a file somewhere but in a password manager such as LastPass. Not only can the service generate unique passwords, it’s free and available as a plug-in for all the major browsers.

Christina DesMarais is an Inc.com contributor who writes about the tech start-up community, covering innovative ideas, news, and trends. Have a tip? Email her at christinadesmarais (at) live (dot) com. @salubriousdish

As I read through our most recent Fed Ex statement, I noticed a link to an article titled “5 Ways to Attract Attention With Business Cards.”  I’d like to share the highlights with you to turn your business card into a multipurpose marketing tool that stands out from the pack, expands your network and brings in new customers.
business cards

Business cards. While less than 3.5″ x 2″ in size, they can pack a punch. Not only do they provide the fundamentals for getting in touch, they also offer a snapshot of you and your company’s brand. Best of all, they’re easy and affordable to create — a critical combination, if your marketing budget is limited.

Flip it over

Want your business cards to really pull their weight? Consider these five innovative ways to transform an ordinary business card into a marketing piece — all by utilizing its typically blank back side. Many of the templates include designs just for this purpose:

  • Elevator pitch. Include a well-crafted elevator pitch that quickly and creatively summarizes your company’s offerings. New acquaintances will walk away with more than just your name and email address. It’ll up your chances of getting that promised follow-up call.
  • Personal highlights. Stand out in a crowd of job applicants with a brief sample of your portfolio or resume. You’ll get noticed when you include a few bullet points about your talents.
  • Referrals. Turn a business card into a referral card. Provide space for your current customers to write their name. Then ask them to refer a friend by giving them the card. When the new customer comes to you with the card, you know whom to thank for the referral with a reward or special perk.
  • Survey. Create a short survey to get customer feedback. With a few simple questions, you can get great insight into how your customers view your business. Use the info to keep your business strong. Offer customers a discount for submitting the completed survey card and everyone wins.
  • Industry tips. Tout your expertise by including industry-related tips. If you’re a massage therapist, offer breathing techniques for stress relief. Operate a dog training business? Give brief dog obedience advice. IT consultant? Advise clients how to prevent or recover lost files.

Let’s not forget a few tried-and-true ways make your business card multitask:

  • Build customer loyalty by turning a business card into a frequent-visitor punch card.
  • Add a tip chart to help people calculate the gratuity of a restaurant bill. They’ll have a reason to keep the card in their wallet, and they’ll see your name and brand every time they use it.
  • Make your card do double duty as an appointment reminder. A handy way to help ensure your client shows up while reinforcing your brand message.

Remember to include the CMCA credential behind your name on your business cards!

Refresh your Brain – in 10 minutes

When you go from one task to the next–all day long–your mind constantly races to catch up. Hit the reset button with this underrated trick.

Andy Puddicombe is a former Buddhist monk and co-founder of Headspace, an entrepreneurial venture designed to demystify meditation and make it easily accessible to all audiences. In a recent TED talk, Puddicombe promotes an idea that almost sounds too easy to be true: refresh your mind in just 10 minutes a day and you might be happier at work.

Puddicombe seeks to provide “meditation for the modern world,” eliminating stereotypes of incense and cross-legged monks. And he might just be on to something. Here are two problems that plague modern-day workers–and how Headspace’s bite-sized meditation plan can help.

Problem #1: Inability to Focus

“The average office worker changes windows [on her computer] 37 times an hour,” Headspace’s head of research Nick Begley says in a meditation tutorial.

According to Begley, when your mind changes gears that rapidly, part of your brain is still engaged in the previous task and you don’t have all of the attention and resources necessary to concentrate on the current task. This slows down productivity and reduces your ability to filter relevant information from irrelevant information.

Problem #2: Stress

When people get stressed, there is a part of the brain called the amygdala that fires up the “fight or flight” part of the nervous system that helps you make quick, impulsive decisions.

“It signals to our hormonal system to secrete adrenaline and cortisol and increases our heart rate, respiration, and blood pressure, so we can escape this immediate physical danger,” says Begley.

The problem arises when there is no immediate physical danger–when, say, you’ve forgotten to hit “save” on an important document and your computer crashes, or you arrive unprepared for an important business meeting. The “fight or flight” impulse is not actually helpful in those situations and merely puts undue stress on the body, Begley explains.

The Solution00

Refreshing your brain is easier than you think. Here’s the first and only step: Do nothing.

Puddicombe recommends simply setting aside 10 minutes each day to quiet your mind. Practice observing thoughts and anxieties without passing judgment–simply experience them. Focus on the present moment and nothing else.

“We can’t change every little thing that happens to us,” he acknowledges, “but we can change how we experience it.”

Productivity in the New Year

Need something to light a fire under you in the New Year? Here’s your match.

Productivity is a hot topic at Fast Company, and one that our contributors and the CEO types we cover spend time thinking about (efficiently, before crossing it off a list, of course).

In 2012, I got addicted to swiping to-dos off the super-minimalist Clear app, and when I got lazy about doing the stuff on it, imposed a 50/10 rule on myself. Tell us about the productivity hacks that you’ll be trying out in the New Year, and check out these (totally manageable!) tips from other successful, super-productive members of the Fast Company community here:

Keep Email From Crushing You With “OHIO”
That stands for “only handle it once”–a technique that’s espoused by productivity expert Bob Pozen and practiced by Huge CEO and Fast Company contributor Aaron Shapiro.

“No ‘I’ll respond later’ is allowed,” Shapiro says. “Responding later means you take three times longer to get through your email than taking care of it the first time, because responding later means you have to waste time finding and rereading that email… or even worse, the time wasted reminding yourself over and over to get to that message.”

(It should be noted: Shapiro responded quickly to our request for productivity tips. He’s not lying.)

Chuck Your To-Do Lists
“I’m following the advice I give my own clients. I’m no longer creating to-do-lists, which seem to go on forever,” says Roberta Matuson, president of Matuson Consulting. “Anything is worth doing, it goes on my calendar.”

Restrict Your Social Media Diet
Ekaterina Walter is a global social innovation strategist at Intel, so if anyone has an excuse to glut on social media, it’s her. But even social media pros have to set parameters to avoid being sucked in.

“I am very active socially, which means daily interactions on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and other social networks,” Walter says. “Couple that with keeping up with all the news around social business and the activity can take up a chunk of your daily routine. So I set a timer for those activities to ensure I am on track with everything else and don’t spend too much time on a specific task.”

Never Enter The Kitchen Empty-Handed
Kaihan Krippendorff, author of Outthink the Competition, uses a lesson from his days in food service to keep his days flowing smoothly.

“I waited tables for four years in college and may have captured more useful lessons there than I did in my thermo-dynamics or option-pricing classes,” Krippendorff says. “For example, my manager drilled into my head to never enter the kitchen empty-handed. If you see your hands empty, ask ‘Is there a dish I can clear or food I can bring out?'”

This way, he says, every motion counts….twice. This year, he put that habit to work in his daily routines.

“When I look at my priorities, decide which I should prioritize and which I should just not do, I look specifically for opportunities to kill two (or better yet a flock) birds with one stone.”

Get Tough With Self-Imposed Deadlines
David Brier, chief executive at DBD International, looks for bottlenecks in his work–incessantly bothersome tasks like email (there it is again!).

“Determine the amount of traffic you get (could be emails, or whatever) in an area that bottlenecks, then decide on a ‘cut-off’ period for that traffic,” he advises.

For example, if you have non-urgent emails that you’ve left for later, determine a time period after which you toss them–be it days or weeks.

“If it didn’t warrant an immediate response and now has zero impact, recognize it’s not vital to your existence or input, toss it and move on,” he says. “Or as Shark Kevin O’Leary says, ‘You’re dead to me.'”

Make Sharing Easier
Dayna Steele has one word for a more productive year: Dropbox.

“No matter where I am, I can send a client, potential client, speaker agent, meeting planner–anyone–a file they need to keep my business moving forward,” says Steele.

Tilt At Windmills
“There’s no app, productivity technique, or idea that can be more effective than a crazy huge challenge and a short time to deliver against,” says John Boiler, CEO of 72andSunny. “High pressure. High stakes. High expectations. That’s what motivates and focuses productivity.”

Get A Dog
“Adopting a dog from the Buffalo City Animal Shelter was actually the most productive thing I did in 2012,” says Kevin Purdy, Fast Company contributor and former contributing editor at Lifehacker.

“He takes up time, sure, but forcing me to take short-leash training walks–the kind that don’t lend themselves to phone staring–also forces me to think about what I’m doing that day, what I did yesterday, and visualize how things will work when I act on them.”

Here’s to a more productive 2013. Tell us what you’re trying in the comments


Community Association Management SmartBrief

Have you signed up for Community Association Management SmartBrief yet? A few weeks ago, NBC-CAM launched a free, weekly e-mail newsbrief specifically designed for community association managers. Sign up here.

This complimentary resource is aimed at bringing you a quick, two-minute read that will help you keep up-to-date with the latest news and trends in our profession. SmartBrief will provide short summaries of the news articles that will be of interest to you as a community association manager. We know it will save you time, keep you informed and add to your success. I hope you will subscribe.

Last week’s issue had an interesting article from Inc.com about diffusing complaints: Listening, refusing to engage in a fight and being willing to take a complaint to a higher authority are among the first steps in dealing with an unhappy client, writes Matthew Swyers. Other tips: Put yourself in the person’s place and offer empathy, work to resolve the issue and conclude your actions with a summary e-mail. Sign up here to get the full story.

Holiday Party Etiquette

by Randall S. Hansen, Ph.D.

Going to the company office holiday party this year? You can take advantage of the office party to have some fun and advance your career or misbehave and cripple your career.


Here are some basic rules and guidelines — key do’s and don’ts — to surviving and thriving the holiday office party… or at any company-sponsored party.

  • Do remember that although office parties are intended as social events to reward employees and raise morale, they remain strictly business events. Do act as though your behavior is being observed every minute (because it probably is).
  • Don’t pass up the invitation to an office party; not attending could hurt your reputation. And when you attend, do spend at least 30 minutes at the party for appearances. But don’t overstay your welcome by partying until the wee hours.
  • Do conduct yourself professionally at all times. Don’t use the office party as an excuse to blow off steam. It’s still a company function, so proper etiquette and decorum matter.
  • Don’t bring the party lampshade, gag gifts for the boss, or any other crazy stuff you might do at a personal holiday party.
  • Do enjoy yourself at the party. Employers spend the big bucks to reward their employees, so be sure to enjoy the only holiday gift you may be getting from the company.
  • Don’t pull the nightclub attire from your closet for the event — and do ask whether the attire for the party is formal or casual. The party is still a business function, so conservative party clothes are a good choice. So, do remember to skip anything too revealing or too flashy. Keep your reputation for good taste intact.
  • Do keep your hands to yourself. Don’t flirt, and do avoid any other inappropriate behavior. The office party is not the time to end your career with the company by doing something inappropriate or illegal.
  • Don’t spend all evening talking business. You’ll forever have the label as the office bore.
  • Do keep all conversations positive and upbeat. Don’t spend the evening complaining, bragging, correcting, whining, or ridiculing. And do avoid controversial subjects (such as religion, politics, etc.) and off-color jokes.
  • Don’t monopolize conversations — and, especially, don’t talk about yourself or your accomplishments all night. Do show interest in others. Do be gracious and thank coworkers and team members for all their help and hard work during the past year. And don’t even think about gossiping about others.
  • Do keep one hand free during the night so that you can offer handshakes to people as they come by. And do keep your drink in your left hand, so you are not offering people a cold, wet handshake all evening.
  • Don’t feel you need to drink excessively just because it’s an open bar. And don’t pig-out at the food buffet either. Moderation is key. You can always eat and drink more after the party.
  • Do take the time to network and schmooze with people at the party who can influence your career or who you may not see regularly, such as top management, people from other departments, and employees from other locations. A holiday party is a great event to begin building or strengthening business relationships, so do introduce yourself and build your network.
  • Don’t assume everyone celebrates the same holiday, so don’t go overboard with the “Merry Christmas.”
  • Do be sure you know exactly who is invited to the party. Spouses or significant others are not always on the guest list for office parties. And if guests are permitted, don’t bring an inappropriate person as your guest.
  • Don’t forget to thank the person responsible for the planning and coordinating of the party. And do consider sending a thank-you note to top management for hosting the party.
  • Do inquire about office policies on providing car or cab service for employees attending the holiday party. And do appoint a designated driver or do hire a cab yourself if the company is not willing to provide the rides home.

Dr. Randall S. Hansen is founder of Quintessential Careers, one of the oldest and most comprehensive career development sites on the Web, as well CEO of EmpoweringSites.com.

Do More Faster: 10 Best Apps & Tools

Five-time entrepreneur Frank Addante lists the digital gems that help him be organized and save time.

1. Organize your email: Sanebox

Sanebox uses algorithms to organize your email into what’s important and what’s not. I was skeptical and had trouble giving up control of my inbox, but now I’m hooked.

Tips: Trust it. Check @SaneLater twice a day, @SaneBulk whenever you feel like reading newsletters or promotions, and @SaneBlackHole for all the junk you never want to see again.

2. Keep track of all your notes: Evernote

Evernote stores your notes in the cloud, so you can access them from any computer or mobile device.

Tips: Use Evernote for both business and personal reasons. I take all of my business meeting notes directly in Evernote and scan or fax documents to Evernote that I want to keep. On the personal side, I take photos of wine that I like and store them in a notebook called Favorite Wines and keep copies of all critical identification (like my driver’s license, passport, and insurance papers) in a notebook called Wallet.

Download App: iPhone | Android

3. Store your documents in the cloud: Dropbox

Securely file away your digital documents in the cloud, so you can find and work on them from any computer or mobile device later.

Tips: I created two Dropbox folders–~Working Drafts and ~To File–and put them on my Mac in my Finder Favorites and on my Dock. I set the default sort order to be by Date Modified. This way, my most recent documents show up at the top of the list, and I can quickly drag or find documents there. I use ~Working Drafts as if it’s my desktop and never actually store anything on my computer desktop. When I’m finished with a document, I drag it to ~To File, and every once in a while, I go into the folder to organize folders that make more sense long term. Note: I include the tilde (~) in the filenames so that, when sorted alphabetically, these folders always show up at the top.

Download App: iPhone | Android

4. Prioritize your to-do list: Action Method

It’s an online app that helps you organize to-do lists and track and delegate tasks.

Tips: Use Action Method’s three color codes to set your priorities. Use orange for tasks that must be done on the scheduled day, blue for tasks that should be done that day but can push a day if necessary, and grey for tasks that you’d like to get done that day but will push if there are other deadlines. I follow the same color code in my calendar. The website is great, but definitely download–and set to open at login–the desktop, iPad, and mobile apps. Start every “to-do” item with an “action” word. The only negative about the Web application is that it can’t be used offline. I use either the iPad or iPhone app while on a plane and sometimes will print a PDF of my to-dos before I take off and leave it on my desktop.

Download App: iPhone | Android

5. Assemble your travel plans: TripIt

TripIt files all your itineraries in one place. You can even have it automatically send your itineraries to your significant other, kids, or always-worried mom. The Pro version alerts you of flight delays and gate changes.

Tips: Download the mobile app and put it on your home screen. Create a contact for plans@tripit.com and forward all itineraries to that contact.

Download App: iPhone | Android

6. Automatically transcribe your voice-mail messages: YouMail

This voice-mail service transcribes your voice-mail messages and sends them to you by email or text (or both). The mobile app makes it easy to view, listen, read, and forward your voice mails.

Download App: iPhone | Android

7. Consolidate your social network accounts: HootSuite

This website allows you to use Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Yammer, and others all from one place.

Tips: I tend to have pockets of time when I can read and post on social media. Try HootSuite’s new “auto schedule” feature, so you can spread out your posts and don’t flood your networks with many in a row.

Download App: iPhone | Android

8. Communicate in real time with your whole team: Yammer

Yammer is like a private Twitter stream just for your company.

Tips: Get everyone in your company to sign up, and then use it as your main means of communicating information. This way, everyone will adapt to Yammer, because no one wants to miss out. Allow employees to post things that are “business” material and “fun” material. The fun material makes it more entertaining, and, in turn, the business material is more likely to be read.

Download App: iPhone | Android

9. Stay fit: miCoach

Exercise keeps your mind sharp. The miCoach iPhone app acts like your personal trainer. I lost 20 pounds using it at home and while on the road.

Tips: Set up your workouts in advance. I selected Get Lean for running and Get Fit for gym workouts. Buy the heart-rate monitor and stride sensor; it’s worth it. What gets measured gets done.

Download App: iPhone | Android

10. Sleep better: iSleep

It’s important to get a good night’s rest. If you’re like me, your mind is constantly racing, and the day’s work never ends. The iSleep meditation app helps you fall asleep and stay asleep. It’s particularly helpful when you have jet lag or can’t fall asleep. I use the Deep Sleep playlist at the end of a long, stressful day.

Download App: iPhone | Android