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Driving the Same Route Expecting Different Results

This post is about ‘growth mindset’ versus ‘fixed mindset’, about challenging myself to stop doing the same things and expecting different results and training myself to be uncomfortable. There is an app for that…sorta!

I live on the polar opposite side of Winnipeg in relationship to our office. When I first started with the company I work for, back in Sep 2014, I tried various routes to the office and kept changing it up until I found the fastest route (growth). It didn’t take long for me to settle into a habitual driving routine (fixed); the exact same route set in stone.

Flash forward to today. I FLEX and work from home a fair amount and strategically plan my office visits to avoid driving during rush hours. Believe it or not, in little OL’ Winnipeg rush hours, I can be stuck in traffic 60-90 mins. I can make it to the office or back home in 35 minutes flat during off-peak hours. Yet, I still have the exact same route set in stone (fixed).

A few weeks back a colleague mentioned an IOS app to me called WAZE. It’s a GPS app that is different from what I have traditionally used; Google Maps or Apple’s built-in maps. She raved about the fact she could see areas of congestion, and as more and more people use the app, it can re-direct your route to speed up your drive times; the power of crowds and Artificial Intelligence.

Intrigued, I downloaded the app and decided to leave the office during a peak evening rush hour, knowing that just the previous week I had a grueling 90 min drive. Wow. I was all of sudden uncomfortable. I have always left the parking lot the same way, which I thought was the fastest route. Wrong! WAZE gave me 3 minutes back by exiting a different way and conducting a legal U-turn within 100 yards. I can honestly say, I felt a little silly that for over 2 years I didn’t know this and allowed myself to get stuck in an inefficient routine. At that point, I was fully committed to seeing this drive home through completely trusting the technology, no matter where it would take me.

5 minutes: Hey, I’m driving the same route… I must be smart.

8 minutes: WAZE tells me to turn up Broadway. I wanted to resist, as my brain was yelling at me that Broadway is always bumper to bumper at this time of day! I relented and took Broadway. I was WRONG again, sailed right through downtown Winnipeg saving at least 10-15 minutes.

22 minutes: At the end of Broadway, why am I turning right and going over the bridge, when I can turn left and take Provencher? It’s RIGHT there! Frustrated, but committed, I turned right and… Oh geez, traffic is moving way faster than on Provencher Blvd.

This happened over and over again until I was home.

Long story short, I made it home in just over 40 mins during peak rush hour, which surely would have taken me at best 60 minutes or more with my usual route. SUCCESS! Yes, it was uncomfortable at first, but success has a funny way of overriding short-term pain. Sitting in my driveway smiling, I thought to myself, “What else am I too comfortable with?”



PS. In case you want to give it a try, here is the link to Waze: GPS Navigation, Maps, Traffic & Directions by Waze Inc.

You & Your Childs Smartphone Pics Might Be Putting Your Privacy At Risk

Please share this with your kids, family & friends.

If you or your child take pictures with a smart phone, iPod, tablet and post them online. You may be be giving away your photos exact location to anyone online who wants to locate the exact GPS coordinates within a few meters; your home, school, etc. Yes it is very scary. There is no reason to give bad people access to your location or that of your children.

Side note: My mom likes to forward me all types of crazy emails. Did you see this crazy Internet one warning you? That one about emergency cellphone battery life?  More often than not, I head over to to see if it is a fake viral email. Sorry Mom, but you have sent me a few duds over the years. This time though she sent me something that I think that anyone who takes pictures with their phone or have kids who take pictures with iPods, smart-phone, or even iPads/tablets NEEDS to not only see.. but act on immediately. Kudos Mom and thanks for sharing.

Watch this video.

It is a couple years old, so isn’t new news, but has racked up over 10 Million views. Below the video I will give a resource ‘How To Post’ on how easy it is to ensure your iPhone, iPad & iPod phone pictures DO NOT contain any embedded location data.

The small instructions given at the end of the video are not up to date. Here is how to turn off Geo-Location data for the iPhone and other apple devices. All other smart phones would have similar setting as well; just consult Google and you should be good to go.

Here is a post I did  for changing privacy settings on Apple iPhone, iPod & iPad: How To Shut OFF Your Geo-location for your iPhone, iPad & iPod to Protect Your Privacy

Hope this has helped you or someone you know.




Throw Away Your Paper Receipts

I try to always share truly useful technology and apps when I find, test, and discover they help save me time or solve a problem.

In doing my taxes this past year, I was able to NOT have to pull my gas receipts out of a shoebox and was easily able to tally up my expenses for my accountant faster than I ever have before.

Time Saved: Approximately 2-3 hours

As an experiment, I started taking pictures of my gas receipts with an app called OneReceipt. Which allowed me to tag the picture “GAS” and after each fill up simply throw away my receipt and forget about it. It also works on any other receipts as well. Their technology actually pulls the #’s off the receipt and stores them securely in the cloud. It also can analyze your spending and a few other things I haven’t tried yet 🙂

When it came time to do my taxes this spring. I logged in to their site clicked on the tag ‘GAS’ and voilà… done! All my gas expenditures exported as a PDF with a TOTAL. No calculator or eye straining required!!!

  • They have an iPhone APP here:
  • You also get an email address @ to give to retailers if you would like your receipt mailed to you.
  • They are still in BETA, but I would highly recommend you check them out.



Here is their website:

( FYI I’m not associated in anyway with this service… just think it will save you time and money like it  did for me!)


Lee’s Ten Best Apps and Life Hacks of 2012



It’s been too long since I have blogged… It’s good to be back!!!

Time to highlight my best digital tips, life tricks and apps that have helped me in 2012. I hope you are looking forward to 2013 being your best year ever!! FYI some of these tips I really had my GEEK HAT ON so if one doesn’t interest you…skip on to the next!

This list is in no particular order, but these 10 are the ones that have had the most dramatic impact for me and I know you will benefit the most from. Each one is truly worthy of its own post.

Text Expander Breevy

1. Text Expander/ Breevy: Although from a geek stand point I am probably a few years late to the party, I truly discovered the power of short codes in 2012. The power of never having to type the same thing twice has literally saved me 3-4 hours per week. These two programs that cover both PC and Mac have the power to change the way you work and or play. Why type out lengthy email addresses, frequent comments, passwords, paragraphs, templates, follow up emails, complaint letters, and the list goes on and on and on!



Here is an example:


Hi ,

Here is the link to the windows software:

The unrelated version for iPad/iPhone/Mac is called Text Expander. There link is here:

As a recap the efficiencies you can create are nothing short of amazing. I saved 3-4 hours a week in unnecessary typing this past quarter alone.

* my motto is ‘Never Type Twice’
* What follow up emails, meeting notes, marketing, or anything else can you create short codes for?
* Remember to create short codes that you won’t commonly type. For example I use ‘xm’ to bring up my meeting note template.

Let me know if you need any help with this.



PS. In typing this entire email I only had to type your name and ‘xbreevy’


2. Dropbox: I have been using the cloud to store data for a few years, but until mid 2012 never truly integrated into my digital life. This is the year I took the plunge and decided to move my entire PC to Dropbox.

Why? As I am using windows computers (desktop and laptop), an iPhone and an iPad I wanted access to everything on my computer regardless of platform (device agnostic 🙂 I also no longer wanted to have to worry about backing up various computers and devices. Now I don’t have to! Everything is available from any device and even if a computer blew up I seriously don’t care as I have EVERYTHING important to me in the cloud.

Call it digital peace of mind.



Slow Carb Diet

3. Slow Carb Diet: Although this has been a previous tip of mine, and is now very main stream, I still come across people who have not heard about how to lose 20lbs in a month with out feeling hungry! This is a lifestyle must have for me as I am frequently on the road, eating in too many restaurants and too often am not able to exercise ( an excuse I know)! I frequently eat slow carb and drop 10 lbs in two weeks mostly after falling of the healthy eating bandwagon at Five Guys Burgers and Fries 🙂

Here is my first blog post on slow carb: /slow-carb-diet/

My three favourite slow carb foods are Indonesian Scrambled Eggs, Black Beans w/Red Peppers, Onions and Jalapeño, Curried mashed Cauliflower. Drop me a line if you want t o share recipes.





4. For Songwriters: My Voicelive 2 has changed the way I write music. No longer do I have to wonder how a chorus would sound with a female harmony in 3rd or 5th, a gang vocal in the bridge, a lower baritone harmony in that pre-chorus is all just a click away. It will never replace the real thing, but has become an essential tool for me to work out song ideas!

5. Gmail: Year after year stays on the top of my list as the best free email platform on the web. If your still stuck with an email address and held hostage to the monthly bill from your Internet provider… You’ll never regret the switch!


6. OneReceipt: Earlier in 2012 I had a great idea for a mobile phone app after sending my associate pictures of receipts for expense report, as we had hit a deadline and was out of town. Wow! wouldn’t that be a great app; just snap a pic of your receipt, tag it and throw away the receipt knowing it is in the cloud forever, properly dated and tagged gas, office supplies, etc! Again my brilliance was trumped by someone else who HAD already created an APP for THAT! Never lose a receipt again … Priceless!

7. and Mobile Apps: Although slightly depressing at times when I realize just exactly where my cash is going each an every day or month. There is NO SIMPLER way to get a grasp on your household budget. Just securely input your bank accounts and automagically your inflow and put flow of cash is crunched for you. Easily see where your cash is going, set alerts, and work towards having your money work for you, instead of the other way around!

8. Jotpro: Allows me to write on my iPad as seamlessly as I do on paper.

This one is specific to tablet users and I will not lay claim to discovering such a life changing product, but it has allowed me to ditch paper entirely during my work day. I only carry a real pen these days for emergencies or when a server at a restaurant forgets to bring one along with the bill. I use the following note taking apps on IOS; Notes Plus and Daily Notes (integrates with Text Expander for pure digital utopia!)

9. GoToMeeting (PC, MAC and IOS): I often do 20+ meetings per week. I had dabbled with GoToMeeting in previous years with minimal success, but the latter part of this year I pushed remote clients to truly buy in to meeting with me more regularly on a virtual basis. The result has been astounding! I have found that the 100+ meetings I have done have been nearly as productive as face to face meetings. If you meet with or could be meeting with people (anywhere in the world) GoToMeeting should be on your must try list! To try it Free for 30 days:  CLICK HERE

10. Skype:I know almost EVERYONE uses Skype for free video chatting. Skype is so much more! Probably 2% of the calls I do are video calls, 20% instant messages and 80% of the calls I make are outbound phone calls to long distance numbers in North America. Skype long distance calling is cheap as borsch and the call quality is 100x better than the cell phone reception I get in my basement home office.

Again, Happy New Years and I hope 2013 will be your best year ever.





The 7 Day Unplug Challenge

This is my 7 Day Unplug Challenge. I hope you’ll join me in scheduling your own week to truly unplug. Please read on to unplug.

You may need to unplug if you are anything like me and:

  • Wake up and have a smart phone in your hand within 5 minutes.
  • Own an iPhone & a work Blackberry. (multiple phones and Internet connections)
  • Deal with multiple Internet related responsibilities from the time you wake to the moment you sleep.
  • Deal with 100+ emails per day.
  • Recognize that technology & the Internet, sometimes, is hurting the people you love the most; including yourself.

You may also need to unplug if you are:

  • Feeling the Internet is affecting your personal relationships in any negative way whatsoever.
  • Feel technology is getting in the way of you eating, exercising, sleeping or relaxing.
  • Find that the Internet is interfering with your career or schooling.
  • You may need to unplug if you even think for a second that ‘you need to unplug’!

We’ll get to the actual  7 DAY UNPLUG CHALLENGE in a moment, but first let me give you some background information as to how you can imagine it recently came about for me, and at the end, I hope you will join me in some fashion or another by accepting the 7 day Unplug Challenge.

With a two week holiday just coming to the half way mark,  Tanya, my awesome wife, was kind enough to encourage me to relax on the first week of my vacation, do all the things I want to; like play with the kids, stay up late watch movies, post a few blog articles, write some music, and spend quality time as a family in general and even putter around on my computer gadgets! Yipppeeee!!!!!!

Her request for my second week of my vacation was to PLEASE, PLEASE TRULY relax and 100% UNPLUG.

So my first response was, “OK, so you mean no computer?” Nope she said, “100% UNPLUG meaning No computer,  No Blackberry, No iPhone, No tablet, and NO INTERNET PERIOD. So if someone wants to get a hold of you they are just going to have to do it ‘Old School’ and call our home phone number!” I can actually count all the people on one hand who actually call my home phone! In the moment the thought of me actually fully and completely unplugging was making me a little queasy with worry how I would cope, and for that very reason alone I accepted the challenge. I knew in my heart it was time to unplug.

Now reality sets in and I am minutes away from the 7 Day Unplug Challenge. I guarantee I will go out of my skin for a few days with probably some fairly realistic withdrawal symptoms; phantom vibrating blackberry syndrome, iPhone envy, and even a little ‘what do I do now’ whining!

Here is my quasi plan:

  • All devices off.
  • Absolutely zero internet.
  • Out of office response on all my email addresses (don’t ask how many 🙂
  • Three books to read (The Hunger Games Trilogy)
  • My guitar.
  • A pad of paper and pen.
  • My wife and three beautiful children.

Your guess is as good as mine how this will turn out (I’ll post an update next week) , but I am hoping that I come back a week from now relaxed , invigorated and ready to take on the rest of 2011. Thank again to Tanya for making this happen and my apologies in a advance if I’m a  grump for a day or two 🙂

Hope you’ll join me and create your own 7 Day Unplug Challenge.

Pass it on.

Email Inbox Utopia

I have achieved the ultimate email nirvana of  ZERO EMAILS in my inbox and know that you can as well. This has been extremely easy,  true,  and was accomplished managing both my personal & business email (200+ combined emails per day). In addition to seeing my In Boxes empty at the end of every day, I now only have to manage three folders! This is a far cry from the 50+ folders I managed before.

I’ll say that again, “Only three folders too manage all my email!” Life is simple again.

First off, I can’t take any credit for creating an uber email system or process. The awesome blogger/author(s) over at LifeHacker, Gina Trapani (blog post)  &  co-author of the LifeHacker book Adam Pash,  did all the heavy lifting and included an expanded version of this blog post called “Empty Your InBox With The Trusted Trio” in their book! For more detail definitely check out their book entlitled, “Lifehacker: The Guide To WOrking Smarter, Faster, and Better”. It contains an insane amount of valuable time saving tech techniques outside of your email inbox  just waiting to be discovered. They should be teaching this stuff to kids in school as far as I am concerned.

Here is the premise of achieving email inbox utopia and then I highly suggest you head over to LifeHacker to read their blog post then buy the  digital version on Kindle or hard copy of the book. It will be the best 10$ or $20, respectively,  you have ever invested:

  • Every email you receive can be either dealt with immediately or assigned to a folder in less than a minute.
  • You only need three email folders from this day forward; follow up, on hold & archive. (See the LifeHacker blog post and or book for more details)
  • You need not be a slave to your email ever again.  (As the screenshots of my two email in boxes below prove email utopia or nirvana is indeed achievable!)

Here are the screenshots of my gMail and Outlook email clients:


Outlook Email at Zero


Gamial Inbox at Zero

Lastly, here is my affiliate link to the book I highly recommend you read to achieve email inbox utopia and many more digital enlightenment techniques.

If You Suck at Typing Like Me

I have mentioned this software to so many people, thought it was high time to do a quick blog post & video. FYI  I’m going to try and do more audio & video in 2010.

Whether you suck at typing like I do, or just need to take a break from typing for a multitude of reasons. I have put together this short demo of how I use a speech recognition software called Dragon Naturally Speaking to do my meeting notes.  Apparently, I could use the  software to completely control my computer with out my keyboard, but doubt  I will ever get there.

As a side note,  Dragon is also available as a free iPhone App which you can locate here: I have used the app and do like it, but just wish it wouldn’t force me to stop and continue after 30 seconds of dictation. I’m assuming that they will come out with a paid version that solves that problem 🙂

Here it is! Would love to hear what how you are starting to integrate speech recognition in your business or life?


Top Ten Tools For 2010

These tools, ideas, software, blogs and online services are my top ten for you to consider making your life, business and technology work a lot harder for you this year, and beyond! I say ‘our’, as I can not take credit for all of them, as many readers and other blogs I regularly read have pointed out several of these! On that note… Thank you to  LifeHacker, Chris Brogan, Seth GodinTim Ferris & Deb Raven! ( All blogs I highly recommend you add to your personal reading list!)

Here they are:

10. Backup Drive, Google Docs or DropBox

Many of our precious digital memories or business related digital documents are considered irreplaceable. If you don’t take the time to back them up, you are at risk of losing it all if your computer crashes ( I speak form experience :). Make this the year you sleep soundly at night knowing that your data is backed up via a back up drive, and or you have utilized a free or paid online storage service.

9. iPhone or iTouch (Top 10 there’s an APP for everything list!)

Gone are the days of frustrating mobile devices that make using the internet and other online services painful. I recommend that everyone have either an iPhone or at the very least an i Touch so that you can; unwind anywhere and rediscover the power of music, use abundantly available free WIFI to play games with friends, and or connect with business colleagues and create the next Google, even if you aren’t on the same continent.

Here are my Top Ten apps; WordPress, Skype, Google Apps, Dragon Dictation, Facebook, Echofon (Twitter), LinkedIn, Scrabble, PS Mobile (Photoshop), & PayPal

8. Skype

After recently teaching my parents to use Skype while they travel for two solid months, they were astonished that they could call any phone number in North America for less than the cost of  one  Star Bucks Latte a month. I’ll say that again in case you missed it… for about 3$ a month they have unlimited long distance to any phone!!!! So if you have been hiding under a rock until now,  and haven’t downloaded Skype, what are you waiting for? Skype is so much more than just cheap long distance, as its great for free video chatting, instant messaging and real time business collaboration.

7. Windows 7

Finally, Microsoft has hit the mark with their new operating system. If your PC is still running XP or Vista then it is well worth the effort to upgrade. Here are just a snippets of the 100’s of  improvements you could experience; very simple Home Networking (easy to connect all your PC’s to a home group), faster boot up & down times, and vastly improved user interface even if the changes feel ever so slight! Either way, it’s worth the upgrade!

6. RocketDock

This little free APP saves me time every day, and helps me keep my often cluttered desktop more organized. If you have too many icons on your desktop and want an easier way to get acces to your most frequently used programs, then this is the ticket. The price is right (free), but if you do like it consider donating a little cash to the developers, as they have been nice enough not to charge.

5. GoToMeeting

Ok, so this one is definitely not cheap, but if you are in business and need to conduct super effective remote meeting(s) with one or more people then Citrix has this market locked up. I have used GoToMeeting for several years and highly recommend it to anyone. Some of my favorite uses for this service are;  giving remote presentations, white boarding ideas with partners, connecting to a friends computer and helping, and so much more.

4. GoToMyMac, & GoToMyPc

Although I wrote about this back in 2007 (here), I still use GoToMyPC when I am on the road to work off of my main super computer 🙂 Again, this isn’t a cheap service, but if your business life depends on you reliably accessing your main computer RIGHT NOW to help you close a deal, then this other Citrix product is for you. There are other alternative free services out there for sure, but I have never found anything as reliable and robust.


After reading Tim Ferris’s book (The 4 Hour Work Week) I was reminded of this outsourcing service, and finally took the plunge to get a few side projects completed. On Elance you can virtually post almost any type of job or project you can think of and experts around the world will bid to get the work. For often very reasonable prices you could have a script ghost written, hire a programmer or web designer, have a database expert create you the perfect database, hire a virtual assistant, and so much more. Make this the year that you truly act on delegating those tasks you need done, but really know you don’t have the time or desire to get to.

2. Dragon Naturally Speaking

When it comes to typing I had two choices. Either spend the time to truly teach myself how to type or accept my limitations and use technology to my advantage.  What do you think i decided? I finally bought Dragon Naturally Speaking and now talk to my computer, and watch as my words are magically typed out on the screen. No word of a lie, this has probably saved me a 100+ hours in the past year. I have found Dragon to be 98% accurate, and it works on any program I have on my PC that accepts typed text like Word, FireFox,  gMail, etc.

1. Life Is What You Make It

I think I have saved the best for last, but you can be the judge of that.  I know in my heart that there is NO technology on the planet that can truly  make our lives better like other human beings can. Yes, software and online services can save you time & money, of which can be applied to the other areas of your life that mean the most to you. Let this be the year that you consider hiring an executive or life coach to assist you in making this your best year ever. I use & highly recommend Deb Raven.

I hope one of these Top 10  saves you time & or money! Please let me know what tools you use and I truly look forward to hearing your comments. All the best to you in 2010!

Google Audio

I love music and you probably do to. Thanks to Michael Arrington at TechCrunch for bringing this to every one’s attention.

Is Google sending users who search for music to iLike & LaLa a game changer?

In my humble opinion NO. (Great for iLike  & Lala though)

It’s certainly different that you may now actually be able to find songs your looking for and listen to them via Google Search, but apparently to start ONLY if you are in the US of A.  In speaking to my US based friends and business partners today, they are anxiously waiting to start seeing song results… but we are expecting, as usual,  nodda up here in Canada! My hope is that Google doesn’t go off strategy of providing the most relevant results versus pushing people to partners.

If you are outside of the USA and want to see what it looks like check it out here:

Is it a game changer in the online music distribution industry? Nope.

Is Apple’s  iTunes having late night board room strategy sessions as a result? Maybe.

Will people buy music after searching for it for FREE on Google! Wait and see…

The one thing I will say, is it’s going to be an interesting year in the online music distribution world 🙂

What do you think?

Video In PDF

If you are in sales, marketing, or in any fashion deliver PDF’s to clients and prospects you should be getting very excited.  2009 marks the year where the Adobe Free Reader finally allows everyday internet users to watch videos in PDF documents you send them.

Think of it this way.

If three companies were sending similar PDF proposals to a potential buyer, and all things being created equal the documents where about the same, the company who added a personalized video message, product demonstration or other dynamic video content would STAND OUT in a crowd. Does it guarantee you WIN the business? No, but in the short term until everyone is using VIDEO you will be memorable.

Plus adding video to PDF’s, I have found, is just plain fun.

In the early phase of this technology its is free for readers, but if you are producing a PDF with video then you need Adobe’s Professional version of Acrobat. It’s not cheap, but as an owner of Adobe Professional who has already closed deals using video in PDF I feel it is well worth the investment.

You can get the Free Adobe Reader  that handles video here:  Get Adobe Reader

To produce PDF’s with video you will need Acrobat Professional 9 or above:  Get Adobe Professional