Charles Byrd – How to make productivity second nature & unlocking the Power of Evernote

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Photo of Charles Byrd on the Positive Impact Podcast with Joe Horton


Charles Byrd is an expert in productivity, organization and information overload which is so prevalent in the modern world today. He is also the founder of Byrd Word.  He is a world renowned expert on the Evernote app and desktop programs and advises people in how to use it to maximum effect to reduce chaos in their lives. I find out from Charles today how to make productivity second nature.


Charles coaches CEO’s and entrepreneurs in how to “Kill the Chaos” of information overload. He is a lifelong learner and has a passion for helping others through his designed solutions such as online trainings, webinars and tutorials. Not only this but Charles speaks in front of audiences on the subject of productivity, technology and partnerships and has been consulted with by the Evernote organization themselves in the past year.

Charles and I discussed the following when we spoke:

  • How a lot of apps are designed to steel your attention rather than empower you.
  • People end up falling into survival mode, which means they are using so many systems that mean a lot of things fall through the net.
  • Why the more difficult a task is, the more chance that procrastination can set in so it’s very important to work out a next step path.
  • Many of the things you put off are not difficult, we just don’t have a system in place for doing them.
  • The subject of bandwidth and why you can use certain tactics to overcome bandwidth by using blocking and bite size pieces.
  • When it comes to focus you are working on the internal and external world. Everyone’s environment is different but by creating the space to get deep work done is important for building momentum and feeling good about your day.
  • How we are becoming addicted to distractions and why early morning starts are so important for starting the day in control. Choose your top 3 priorities for the day, set the Pomodoro timer and go. That momentum carries through the day and you are less reactive instead of responding to other people’s priorities.
  • Charles has trained himself to get way more done and ignore distractions.
  • Airplane and do not disturb modes in IOS
  • Task Management apps recommended by Charles = Todoist, Things, Asana, Trello. Really good shortcut keys on the Mac for ‘Things’.
  • The problem with paper is that everywhere you look you feel like you are behind, with these apps you can priorities and section them off. Allocate a time each week and sort by your top priorities. Charles recommends tagging with a tag ‘current focus’.
  • By default Charles instructs his team not to expect an instant response from him.
  • Charles came across Evernote when he was working for a tech company in silicone valley and after an urgent presentation he decided to make a system for everything that would be available in under 5 seconds
  • He decided to create a course to kill the chaos and get together tools, workflows, and habits (power trifecta), the foundational component of this was Evernote
  • The 5 second superpower of finding things in less than 5 seconds
  • To have a system where a system benefits you internally, externally, personally and professionally is really powerful
  • Charles advocates the “I dig it bell”, based on who, what, where, why to find it using tags in Evernote.
  • You can use the same method for tagging items on mac or pc
  • Evernote integrates with Google drive.
  • Why other programs like Dropbox are a good example of using the right tool for the job.
  • How Charles believes you can claim 3 hours a week back of wasted time, and why this allows calm and creativity in and focus longer.
  • How productivity, focus and flow plays into whole life balance.
  • The use of templates for doing repetitive and regular tasks and how you can set this up in Evernote.
  • The power of SIRI shortcuts in Evernote, open a note, click 3 dots, and add the note to SIRI.


How you can get in touch with Charles:

Stuff we mentioned when we spoke:

Pomodoro Technique

Dave Allen

The Checklist Manifesto


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