iDoneThis – Productivity App

31 Mar

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The popularity of mobile applications has continued to rise, as their usage has become increasingly prevalent across mobile phone users. A May 2012 comScore study reported that during the previous quarter, more mobile subscribers used apps than browsed the web on their devices: 51.1% vs. 49.8% respectively. 

App I recommend:

https://idonethis.com/

iDoneThis is an iPhone app and website that helps people stay productive by asking users one simple question each evening around 8:00 pm: “What’d you get done today.” The website is designed more for businesses and teams. Users can sign up in groups together and receive e-mails each night highlighting the accomplishments of everyone on the team. This gives each member the chance to see who’s done what and provide feedback. On both the website and the app, users can look back and see the “dones” accomplished for the previous week, month or year.

I started using this application in Sep, 2011 when I attended SHRM Conference and key note speaker Daniel Pink recommended audience to use this application. 

Tour: https://idonethis.com/tour/ 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/iDoneThis

Twitter: https://twitter.com/idonethis

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/company/2237921?trk=tyah

 

How does it work?

The Next Web named idonethis as one of the “10 Best Productivity Apps of 2011” along with Evernote and Dropbox.    

iDoneThis is a web-based productivity application that emails you once a day to ask you, “What did you get done today?”  All you have to do is hit reply and write down what you accomplished that day.  iDoneThis then makes your daily list of “dones” available in your calendar view.  You can go back 1 or 2 days, or 1 or 2 months, and see exactly what you did on any given day.  iDoneThis can also be used for teams/groups of users.  Every member of the team is able to report his or her contribution to the team for the day, and is also able to view what other team members have accomplished.

According to me, iDoneThis is a great motivational tool because knowing what you can do and have done gives you the momentum to do more the next day.  It’s like when you go for a long run.  When you realize how many miles you have logged and that you are more than halfway there, it gives you that extra push to the finish. 

Benefits:

  • People who want to make the most of their day. For some people, making the most of their day means doing hundreds of chores, tasks or activities that relate to work/school/fitness/training/etc. iDoneThis benefits them because they will have a great list of the tasks they have accomplished.
  • For other people, making the most of their day means working towards goals and aspirations. The daily incremental steps of great life changes, whether it is becoming something, starting something, or building something, can all be recorded and accounted for using iDoneThis.
  • And there’s another group of people for whom making the most of their day means taking time to reflect, preserve memories, and enjoy the passage of time.  For those people, iDoneThis reminds them to stop and ponder their daily lives.
  •  iDoneThis also has nostalgic value for them because they can look back on specific days and see what they did.
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Four common obstacles that interfere with goal setting

17 Mar

The first step to meeting goals is setting them carefully. Yet people often fail to do that. Here are four common obstacles that interfere with goal setting and ways to overcome them.

http://m.psychologytoday.com/blog/your-neurochemical-self/201303/four-common-obstacles-interfere-goal-setting

Orkut – A brief Introduction and Uses

2 Jan

What is Orkut?

“Orkut is an online community designed to help people connect, build relationships and create engaging communities around common interests.” (Keep Orkut Beautiful, 2006)

How to use Orkut:

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Six steps to using Orkut:

1)      Sign In- A user can sign in Orkut using his credentials from a current Google account, or he may create an Orkut account.

2)      Profile- A profile allows each user to express themselves. They can add photos, interests, and any information they would like to share.

3)      A user can look at the profiles of friends or people who are interested in connecting with him.

4)      Users can send ‘scraps’ to their friends. Scraps may comprise of items such as photos and notes.

5)      Users can create a photo album to upload their photos too. This would allow their friends to see their pictures.

6)      Users can adjust their privacy settings to avoid unwanted people from viewing certain information from their profiles. (Contributor, 2012)

 Pros and cons of Orkut:

 Pros:

  • Scrapbook feature- allows users and their friends to add items to the users’ scrapbooks.
  • Can add pictures and information such as “about me” like other social media forums.
  • Helps users to find friends who are scattered and be in touch with them virtually.
  • Testimonials are as good as recommendations section of LinkedIn. Orkut users can write testimonials for their friends, which when approved by the user for whom recommendation is written, gets posted on the wall of the user profile.

 Cons:

  • Finding friends on Orkut is difficult. It lacks options to reduce the search results.
  • Due to lack of popularity and marketing, it is not as commonly used as other social media like Facebook. This makes it difficult to find past friends you would like to reconnect with.
  • It does not have the option of pages like Facebook. Instead, groups can be made with limited features.
  • There are so many fake profiles; it makes it difficult for users to know which ones to trust.
  • Not as user friendly when compared to its competitors. Instead of IMs and chatting on “walls”, there are posts that users can reply to. This reduces the feeling of having fluid conversations.
  • There is no option to upload files (other than your picture) and create documents.

 Use of Orkut in engaging users:

Positives

  • Several small businesses started using Orkut for better understanding of customer’s perceptions of their brand as they could not afford advertising.
  • Several automobile companies started using Orkut as a complaint board wherein they took customers complaint seriously as it was early warning of potential product or service issues.
  • Large number of companies used this online platform to create and measure brand awareness about their product and services.
  • Music companies started using Orkut communities as it was a powerful distribution channel as its effect can be viral.
  • Universities started using Orkut communities to get feedback from students and students could rate their professors.

Negatives

  • In 2006, India and Pakistan were exposed to numerous hate groups formed on Orkut “with over 1000 groups dedicated to hating celebrities, politicians, math, and sports teams alongside nationalities and rival countries.” (India, Orkut, and the ‘balance of information’, 2006)
  • “Shiv Sena” is a local political party in India which is very aggressive in its activities ordered its followers to attack the cyber cafes around the region, if cyber cafes didn’t stop their customers from accessing these Orkut communities, which ultimately led to riots as all the cyber café establishments did not follow the orders (Mishra, 2009). At that time there were no controls such as “report this” or “flag” options that would report the abuse of social media.
  • The Shiv Sena also asked its supporters to flag these communities on Orkut, so that they could be banned. They created numerous fake profiles, ultimately leading Google to ban several profiles and communities on Orkut for a short period (Mishra, 2009).

Long term viability of platform:

Today people do not want to move from Orkut to Facebook because they have already created a social network on Orkut. But gradually their network is shifting to Facebook as Facebook is helping them do it by suggesting friends, people they might know, friend’s friend and encouraging them to find friends. Unless Orkut innovates, markets, and gives its early users a reason to come back it will surely lose out its users to a giant called Facebook.

Facebook versus Orkut:

 

Facebook Orkut
Launched 2004 2004
Total Users 955 million (2012) 41 million (2012)
Indian Users 52 million (2012) (Up from 5.5 million in 2005) 4 million in 2012(down from 15 millionin 2005)
Friends Search – Less filters
+Multiple  address books
+More Filters-Only Gmail address book
Interface + Wall gives high visibility to happenings in network – Spamming issues
Applications/
Zynga
+ More than 350 million application usersZynga’s relationship with Facebook was an added advantage -Launched applicationsin 2010 but failed toengage users
Spamming/Abuses + Better Privacy Settings – Poor PrivacySettings
Daily active users + 552 Million (2012) – 9 Million
Visibility + Creates a brilliant viral effect – Very poor in creating viral effect
Group/Fan Pages  + Up to date and much better groups and fan pages allowing users to effectively communicate and see Member statistics. – Limited number of peoplecan communicate in

groups

– No Fan Pages

– No means to

measure members

statistics

Communication    Wall
+ Every update becomes a thread and hence engages users
   Scraps
+ Communication is                               isolated
Activity               You can see your/friends activity on wall No option for                                   activity log
Testimonials – No option for testimonials/recommendations + Option available

(Facebook vs. Orkut in India) (Press, 2012) (India, Orkut, and the ‘balance of information’, 2006)

The table above compares Facebook with Orkut. While both communities were launched in the same year, it is quite obvious that their memberships vary drastically. Facebook has a significantly larger following than Orkut. Facebook has added features such as better privacy settings and fan pages that have increased its market share in the online community sector. To achieve longevity and increased market share, Orkut must not only meet the standards set by Facebook (an industry leader), but also create unique user friendly features that would encourage users to give Orkut a second chance.

References

India, Orkut, and the ‘balance of information’. (2006, October 16). Retrieved August 23, 2012, from OpenNet Initiative: http://opennet.net/blog/2006/10/india-orkut-and-balance-information

Keep Orkut Beautiful. (2006, October 3). Retrieved August 22, 2012, from Orkut: http://www.orkut.com/Main#About?page=keep

Contributor, a. e. (2012). How to Use Google Orkut. Retrieved August 23, 2012, from eHow tech: http://www.ehow.com/how_2221855_use-google-orkut.html

Facebook vs. Orkut in India. (n.d.). Retrieved August 23, 2012, from Ghumantu Batuta: http://naveenmeena.in/facebook-vs-orkut-in-india/

Mishra, G. (2009, February 28). Shiv Sena’s Orkut Campaign: The Limits to Freedom of Expression in an Intolerant India. Retrieved August 23, 2012, from Global Voices Advocacy Defending Free Speech Online: Shiv Sena’s Orkut Campaign: The Limits to Freedom of Expression in an Intolerant India

Press, T. A. (2012, July 26). Number of active users at Facebook over the years. Retrieved August 24, 2012, from boston.com: http://www.boston.com/business/technology/2012/07/26/number-active-users-facebook-over-the-years/OAsT5SjyrppzpgWLroa7ON/story.html

Nine Ways Successful People Defeat Stress

28 Dec

The difference between those who are successful and those who aren’t is not whether or not you suffer from stress, but how you deal with it when you do.  In the spirit of Nine Things Successful People Do Differently, here are nine scientifically-proven strategies for defeating stress whenever it strikes. 

via Nine Ways Successful People Defeat Stress | Psychology Today.

Why Women Worry More | Psychology Today – by Nigel Barber, Ph.D. in The Human Beast

27 Dec

Why Women Worry More | Psychology Today.

Anxiety: The good and the bad

Anxiety is a protective emotion that keeps us away from threats to life and limb, whether that is working on top of roofs, or sawing down large trees. There are very few female roofers or lumberjacks.1

Indeed, every dangerous occupation, from fishing to mining is dominated by males who are overwhelmingly the gender that dies in industrial accidents such as boats being lost in a storm or mine shafts caving in. Women are also more religious which makes sense if one thinks of religious ritual as a way of warding off threats.2

Health researchers know that women take better care of themselves.1They are more likely to receive medical checkups when they are well, less likely to abuse alcohol, or smoke, and more likely to take regular exercise to control their weight.

Women are much less likely to die in car accidents because they drive more safely. Low female risk-taking was favored by natural selection because women taking fewer risks were more likely to survive and therefore more likely to raise children to maturity.

The down side is a tendency to worry too much. Women are more vulnerable to anxiety disorders. Chronic anxiety also causes depression. This helps explain why women are twice as likely to be diagnosed with clinical depression compared to men (Of course, they are also more likely to seek help for emotional problems whereas many depressed men go untreated).

On the other hand, male risk-taking was favored because riskier men acquired higher social status by not backing down from confrontation with peers. This is why men are most fearless, risk-taking, and violent, in young adulthood, an age that is critical for establishing a pecking order amongst peers.

One might imagine that such strong patterns of gender differences would be hard to change but that is not true. Younger women today are much less risk averse than earlier generations. One plausible reason is that women today are exposed to a great deal more competition including sports, vying for academic success, and climbing the occupational ladder.

Young women take more risks

As more women join the full-time workforce, and compete over high-status jobs, their risk-taking profile increases. For many categories of risky behavior, such as abuse of alcohol and reckless driving, young women are now more similar to young men. Yet, this phenomenon is an anomaly not seen in other societies throughout history.

Although gender differences in risk-taking are declining in the modern world, women are still lower on risk-taking, on average. The evolved gender difference is alive and well at the level of emotional predispositions. Women are more anxious than men, and that anxiety is one reason that they still live longer, healthier, lives..

1. Courtenay, W. H. (2000). Behavioral factors associated with disease, injury, and death, among men: Evidence and implications for prevention. Journal of Men’s Studies 9, 81-142.

2. Barber, N. (2012). Why atheism will replace religion: The triumph of earthly pleasures over pie in the sky. E-book, available at:http://www.amazon.com/Atheism-Will-Replace-Religion-ebook/dp/B008..

Yelp for Small Business Owners

27 Dec

Facts:

  1. Yelp had an average of approx. 84 million monthly unique visitors in Q3 2012.
  2. Yelpers have written over 33 million local reviews.

Social media helps us to connect and communicate more frequently with others in the community. Yelp is an online tool featuring content generated by users, focused towards personal reviews based on personal experiences at local businesses, not only limited to restaurants but also dentists, hair salon, car dealers, attorneys and even churches. It is one of the best ways for local businesses with limited budget and manpower to get noticed and found by consumers.

As a business owner you need to know what people have to say about your goods and services i.e. both good and bad reviews. Online reviews are not something your business voluntarily decides to participate in or opt out. People are reviewing your products and services all the time and if you are not listening to the feedback, than you are missing on a tremendous opportunity to overcome your shortcomings and spread a good word about your business.

For example, when you go to a new restaurant and have a good experience, it is very likely that you will tell other people about the awesome food, outstanding service or the pleasing ambiance. The same goes for many other types of businesses or services, like people often recommend a lawyer to people who are looking for affordable service, great results and honest work, while someone in need of a new apartment or doctor or mechanic might ask around for recommendations. But it can work the opposite way, too. If you go to a restaurant and have a terrible experience, you may want to warn others about it. Yelp provides actual and credible testimony’s from real customers. The real challenge most business owners face is about responding to positive or negative reviews in such a way that you not only engage the reviewers or change negative experiences in to positive ones but also build goodwill.

When contacting a positive reviewer, a genuine thank you will do more good than a gift certificate, invitation to an event, special discounts or request to let their friends know about how awesome you were, etc. Anything more than a ‘thank you’ may seem a good idea but, it can also be misinterpreted as a bribe or payment for the review. The important thing to remember is that the customer already likes your business, so just use this opportunity to thank them and introduce yourself but don’t oversell yourself.

When it comes to negative reviews, it can feel like a punch on your face or sort of a personal attack. Yelp allows businesses to respond publicly and privately to user reviews. By contacting your reviewer and establishing unpretentious relationship, you can change the customer’s perspective for the better.  But, if your reviewer identifies that you are being rude, there’s a chance he or she could get angry and make the situation even worse and soon you may be all over the web for negative reasons.

Business Owner Advice: How do you respond to your Yelp reviews? 

But Yelp isn’t about just reviews: There are also events, event reminders and special offers from businesses and you can even make friends with other yelpers, just like Facebook, Google+ or MySpace. This allows you to send private messages to other users or even “follow” them, which allows you to see a specific reviewer’s posts before any others, when you are looking at a business. Yelp also organizes party’s wherein the local community managers, advertisers, people from local businesses and yelp elite squads i.e. the most active yelp users get a chance to meet each other face to face and exchange words. It gives business an opportunity to build relationships and get direct feedback and thereby improve their business processes and spread good word of mouth.

And although there are “Sponsored Results,” on the website which show up when you search for a company that has paid to include advertisements on the site, the Yelp team does its best to treat every business in a fair manner and keep an eye on any suspicious posts.

According to Yelp community manager, 50% of the users at Yelp are educated and earn more than $50K per annum. So, what business needed to know that the customers have money and are educated; you just need to unlock all the means and make optimum use of your available resources to reach out to these potential customers. Yelp exists for one purpose that is to connect people with local businesses. As a business owner, you should not only listen to people but also need to engage and manage your presence actively.

Yelp for business owners:  

http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLB47BDAB41297CE9C

 

References:

  1. Yelp (2012, December). Support Center | Yelp for Business Owners. yelp.com. Retrieved December 2012, from https://biz.yelp.com/support/responding_to_reviews
  2. McCue, T. J. (2012, September 27). Getting Your Small Business Started On Yelp | Small Business Trends. Small Business News, Tips, Advice – Small Business Trends. Retrieved December 21, 2012, from http://smallbiztrends.com/2012/09/getting-your-business-started-on-yelp.html
  3. McCue, T. J. (2012, October 23). Yelp Review Sting Helps Consumers And Business Owners – Forbes. Information for the World’s Business Leaders – Forbes.com. Retrieved December 20, 2012, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/tjmccue/2012/10/23/yelp-review-sting-helps-consumers-and-business-owners/
  4. Fuller, John.  “How Yelp Works” 20 July 2009.  HowStuffWorks.com. <http://computer.howstuffworks.com/internet/social-networking/networks/yelp.htm> 21 December 2012.

Stop Devaluing LinkedIn! | The Employment Opportunities List

18 Dec

Stop Devaluing LinkedIn! | The Employment Opportunities List.

  • Endorse only people you know well.
  • Endorse only the skills/capabilities you have observed directly.
  • Never give an endorsement to get an endorsement.
  • Manage your endorsements.
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