This App Will Help Keep Your Desktop Organized and Clutter Free

This App Will Help Keep Your Desktop Organized and Clutter Free

Hocus Focus is an awesome app for your Mac that will help your desktop stay clutter free and will help you maintain focus on the projects or tasks you need to. While working with many of my clients, I notice how cluttered their screens can be. A lot of times because they need multiple apps running, but it can create a lot of digital and visual clutter.

This app will automatically minimize apps that you have running but aren’t using. Especially those that you might have running in the background like music apps like Spotify, work timers like Toggl, or even communication apps like Messages or Spark.

You can easily set each app to hide after a certain time of inactivity. The default time is 30 seconds, but you can adjust that to your liking.

I think this app is extremely useful if you’re someone who struggles with staying focused on the task at hand or if you usually have multiple windows open at the same time.

Download the app for free here.


New ECG App on Apple Watch Series 4 Monitors Your Heart

With the new watchOS 5.1.2 update, your series 4 Apple Watch will now monitor your heart rate and let you know if it detects abnormal rhythm. You can watch the above video to learn more about how to use this new feature. It’s pretty amazing that with just your watch and the touch of a button, you can make sure your heart is operating at a healthy rate.


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Looking to Charge Your Phone Fast? You Can Now Buy Apple’s $29 USB-C Adapter

Apple just released their brand new 18W USB-C Power Adapter through their accessory store. This is an 18 watt USB-C power adapter that will supercharge your iPad or iPhone. You will still have to purchase the USB-C to Lightning Cable for $19. But, this is a great option for charging your devices fast.

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Apple Released Clear iPhone XR Case to Show Off Colors

If you have bought Apples current most popular phone, the iPhone Xr, chances are you need a case. Apple just released their first case for the phone which made from clear polycarbonate and flexible TPU materials. It’s perfect for showcasing these colorful phones. However, the only drawback with clear cases is they usually yellow over time or become blue from blue jeans. I hope that Apple’s will be a higher quality that won’t discolor!


Amazon Prime Video App Now Available for Comcast Xfinity X1

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If you love Amazon Prime and are a Comcast Xfinity customer, you can now stream it through your X1 device. This app was released last week and has been rolling out to customers, so if it hasn’t reached you yet, give it a few days. This is the first time Amazon Prime has been available to a major cable provider and it’s pretty exciting given that lots of Prime shows are now rolling out like The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.


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Need a Hotel Tonight?

Some of you may know that I had to quickly leave town last week due to a family emergency. I needed a hotel quick the same day and wasn’t sure where to look. Luckily I was able to get a room at the same hotel my family was staying at, but I later learned of this app (they also have a website) which would’ve been extremely useful. It shows you what rooms are available at hotels in your area or where you’re planning to visit and the prices are usually very marked down. It would especially useful for last-minute getaways or work trips. Download the free app here.

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Facebook Live Canceled This Week

Unfortunately, I have to cancel this week’s Digital Sanity Show Facebook Live. As some of you know, I had to abruptly leave town last week for a family emergency ( more about that below). This caused me to have to cancel all my appointments for the rest of the week which means that I am now making up most of those appointments this week. I will plan to be back next week so please join me then! In the meantime, you can view all my past Facebook Lives here like The Greatest Email Tool Since Gmail in 2004 and My #1 Favorite Calendar Tool & How to Use it with Your Assistant.


More About My Family Emergency: Please Consider Supporting My Cousin, Connor, and His Family

If you had an appointment with me last week or tried contacting me, you probably heard that I had to abruptly leave town for a family emergency. I wanted to share a bit more about that…

I ended up flying to California on Tuesday of last week when I got word that my 23-year-old cousin, Connor, was given a week to live. He’s been in the hospital for months battling a very aggressive Leukemia since February of this year. He’s done multiple rounds of chemotherapy and even a bone marrow transplant that ultimately failed.

On Thursday night we drove from the hospital in CA to Las Vegas where he and my family are from. We brought him home so he could spend this precious time with family.

I want to ask first off for your prayers for Connor—that he would be filled with love, peace, courage, and that my family would have strength and comfort.

Secondly, I humbly ask for you to consider supporting Connor’s family financially. The medical bills have been astounding and they asking for help to cover these costs. Any donation helps! You can donate using the button below.

At this point, Connor’s future is uncertain. What I do know is that he is surrounded by love and family, that he will at some point, just as we all will, meet his Maker and be free of all pain and suffering. It has been a few very hard, but precious days spent with Connor. Thank you all for your love and support during this time!

Keep Your Home Safe and Recommended Tech Products

SimpliSafe Home Security System 30% Off

I had a client ask me this past week about home automation and security systems. And while this isn’t my area of expertise, the one product I did recommend to her was SimpliSafe home security systems. I have been very interested in this company for a while and have heard amazing things about their products. I love how simple and sleek their products are to use. Plus they are really affordable. You can also get a 30% discount on any of their products through tomorrow night.

Some of their cool features are: no contracts, entry and motion sensors, glass-break detection, video security that you can watch from anywhere, and the ability to monitor and control your home from anywhere using their app. Sounds pretty awesome to me! You can check out their website and shop here.


the ultimate external monitor for new macbook pros

Did you miss my Facebook live from last week? I shared my favorite new monitor that is perfect if you own a MacBook Pro. I give you a behind-the-scenes look at my setup. Check it out above or through the button below!


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Don’t miss out on getting your iphone battery replaced for cheap! discount ending december 31st.

If you need to get your iPhone battery replaced, now is the time to do it. Apple will be discontinuing their discount replacement program on 12/31/18. If you own a iPhone SE, 6, 6 Plus, 7, 7 Plus, 8, 8 Plus, or X, you can get your battery replaced for only $29. After the first of the year the price will go up to $49 except for iPhone X which will be $69.
You can check your battery health by going to Settings on your iPhone > Battery > Battery Health. It will tell you if they recommend a battery replacement. Learn more here.

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Looking to get a new iphone? now get up to $100 more with apple’s new trade-in credit

Apple is definitely trying to incentivize people to upgrade to one of the new iPhones. They’ve upped their trade-in prices for pretty much all iPhones. If you don’t want to deal with listing your phone on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist, this is a pretty good alternative, although you still won’t make quite as much money as you would selling it outright. You can check out how much your iPhone trade-in value is at their new website,


apple music coming to amazon echo devices

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Good news for all of you who news Amazon Echo devices! Apple Music is coming to your device on December 17th. You’ll now easily be able to ask Alexa, “Play Coldplay on Apple Music.”

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Get Hyper Focused with Be Focused App

This app uses the “Pomodoro Technique” to help you get stuff done. The idea behind the technique is that you work for 25 minutes and then take a break for 5 minutes. And every hour, take a 20-30 minute break. With Be Focused, you don’t have to worry about constantly starting and stopping your iPhone timer. This connects to your desktop or phone and runs in the background. If you struggle with staying focused for periods of time, this might do the trick. They have a pro version or a free version.

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Want to know what Tech Products I Recommend Most?

I have finally put together a list of all the tech products that I recommend most to my clients. This will continue to be a working list where I will update regularly as I find new and better products. If you’re looking to purchase a monitor, thunderbolt dock, adapters, etc. be sure to check out my list to see which products I recommend. You can check out all my recommended tech products here.


The Ultimate Productivity Partner: Email Edition

a new email paradigm for executives and their assistants

Email making you crazy?

Imagine how productive you could be if you could take it off your plate almost completely.

Introducing The Ultimate Productivity Partner: Email Edition—a new email paradigm for executives and their assistants—coming February 2019. Join the waitlist below!

Whether you’ve had an assistant for years or are just making your first hire, this video course will show you exactly how to set up your email to be in perfect harmony with your assistant—in a way you’ve never seen before. Get ready to be blown away.

Cyber Monday Deals & The Ultimate Monitor for New MacBook Pros

Cyber Monday Deals!

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If you’re still looking for deals, check out all the Apple Cyber Monday deals here and here! There are still tons of great deals through tonight at midnight.


My New Video Course Coming February 2019

Email making you crazy?

Imagine how productive you could be if you could take it off your plate almost completely.

Introducing The Ultimate Productivity Partner: Email Edition—a new email paradigm for executives and their assistants—coming February 2019. Join the waitlist below!

Whether you’ve had an assistant for years or are just making your first hire, this video course will show you exactly how to set up your email to be in perfect harmony with your assistant—in a way you’ve never seen before. Get ready to be blown away.


$150 Off One of My Favorite Monitors! Offer Ends Tonight!

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I just bought this monitor for myself even though I’ve recommended it in the past. I am loving it. It has a curved monitor and a 34” LCD screen. If you’re looking for an awesome Christmas gift for you or your loved one, check it out here. Offer ends tonight at 11:59 pm ET!


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Mophie Powerstation USB-C 3XL

This bad boy will charge all your devices including your computer. If you're like me and are constantly on the go and using your computer for work, I definitely recommend getting one of these. It will charge your MacBook at a rapid rate and your iPhone up to 2.5x faster. You can purchase it here.

Make Your Instagram Stories Stand Out!

If you’re looking to take your Instagram stories up a notch and really feature your brand or message in a professional looking way or make a call to action super easy, you should check out Unfold. It’s pretty easy to use and they allow you to drop in your own photos or videos and add text. Plus it’s free. Download Unfold here.


Stocking Stuffer for the Mac Lovers in Your Life!

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This is a super cheap, but great stocking stuffer for anyone in your family who owns a Mac with USB C. I’m personally getting this one in my stocking. Extremely handy to have on hand. Purchase here for just $11.99.


Join Me This Week on Facebook Live!

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I’m back! Join me on Facebook Live this Wednesday evening at 8 pm CST. After a couple weeks off I’m excited to get to chat with you about my favorite new monitor for new MacBook Pros! Make sure to bring your questions and I’ll see you there!

Black Friday Deals! (2018)

It’s almost Black Friday and while I was hoping to share tons of great deals with you, the truth is not everyone is advertising their deals yet. If I do find more awesome deals, I’ll be posting those on my Facebook Page, so make sure to Like my page so that you will see if I post anything noteworthy!

It seems like Best Buy yet again has the best deals. But other places like Walmart and Target also have some pretty sweet sales going on.

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$200 Off MacBook Air at Best Buy

If you’ve been wanting to get a MacBook Air, Black Friday is the time to do it. At Best Buy stores, you’ll get $200 off a 13.3”Display with Intel Core i5, 8GB memory, and 128GB Flash Storage. Please note that this is NOT the brand new Touch ID MacBook Air that was recently released. No doubt, still a great deal.

Regular Price: $999.99
Black Friday Deal: $799.99

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$200 Off iMac (latest model) at Best Buy

Another great deal here. Get the latest version of the iMac for under a thousand bucks. 21.5” Display, 2.3GHz dual-core 7th-generation Intel Core i5 processor, 1TB hard drive, and 8GB memory.

Regular Price: $1099.99
Black Friday Deal: $899.99

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$300 Walmart Giftcard with Purchase of iPhone Xs, Xs Max, and Xr

This is a pretty good deal. The ad says that they have to be purchased on qualifying AT&T Next, Sprint, or Verizon payment plans. You may want to contact your cell phone company or Walmart to see if you would apply for this. You can see Walmarts entire Black Friday ad here.

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$150 Off iPad Mini 4 at Best Buy

This is a great gift idea for your kids or grandkids or even for yourself! Great for games, reading, and just about anything. These are expected to sell out quickly.

Regular Price: $399.99
Black Friday Deal: $249.99

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$79 Off iPad at Walmart (latest model)

If you want more screen space than the mini, this is a good deal as well.

Regular Price: $329
Black Friday Deal: $250

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$80 Off Apple Watch Series 3 with GPS at Target

Target has some great deals too, one of which is their deal on the Apple Watch. If for some reason you don’t want to do the Apple Watch, they also have deals on other wearables like Fitbit. You can check out more of Target’s deals here.

$100 Off Apple HomePod at Best Buy

I don’t have one of these, so I can’t speak to my own experience, but if you’ve been curious to try HomePod, now would be a good time since you’ll get $100 off at Best Buy. This is Apple’s response to Amazon’s Alexa and other Smart Home Speakers.

Regular Price: $349.99
Black Friday Deal: $249.99

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$20 Off Apple AirPods

These are my favorite earbuds. I use them constantly through Bluetooth with my phone & computer.

Regular Price: $173.95
Black Friday Deal: $154.95

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$25 Off Sonos One Speaker

You know that I love Sonos speakers. They seamlessly integrate with Alexa so it makes them so easy to use with just the sound of your voice. Sonos is my favorite brand when it comes to speakers.

Regular Price: $199
Black Friday Deal: $175

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$50 Off Sonos Beam Soundbar

This is an amazing product for your TV. It’s Sonos’ newest product. It also features Alexa voice command and Airplay. It’s the perfect upgrade for your TV’s built-in speakers.

Regular Price: $399
Black Friday Deal: $349

$70 Off Nest Learning Thermostat

Madeline and I had a nest thermostat in our old house and loved it. You can control it using your iPhone which is awesome, especially if you’re traveling or going to be gone from home longer than you intended. It also learns your schedule and helps you save on energy.

Regular Price: $249
Black Friday Deal: $179

$70 Off Nest Cam Indoor Security Camera

If you like Nest already, this is another great product from them. Live streamable, night vision and 2-way audio, and a lot more features. Great affordable indoor camera.

Regular Price: $199
Black Friday Deal: $129

Safeguard Your Accounts from Hackers

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I hate when my clients tell me that their accounts have been hacked. I hate it for them because it feels completely violating and before you know it, “you” have either sent 100 emails to everyone you know or you are somehow made to believe you’re being blackmailed unless you send money to some random guy.

The great news for you is that safeguarding your accounts is actually pretty simple. I’ve written about this before but thought it was time to revisit this since it seems like people are getting hacked more and more these days.

Step 1: Download 1Password

The first thing you’re going to want to do is to download my favorite password protection tool called 1Password. If you’re a client of mine, you probably already have this, but if not, make sure to download it.

Step 2: Change your email password to a strong password

I recommend either letting 1Password generate a password for you or doing 3-4 words separated by spaces of hyphens. The key here is that you aren’t using an easy-to-hack password like your birthday or pet’s name.

Step 3: Setup 2-Step Verification for Your Email

This is so important. If you watch my FB Live from last week, you can hear more about this, but it’s so important so that if someone tries to log into your account and it isn’t you, you’ll be notified. If you use Gmail, here are the instructions on how to do that.

Step 4: Add 2-Step Verification for Accounts into 1Password

This will help keep all your 2-Step Verification codes all in one place, 1Password. You can learn how to set this up here or what my FB Live below.

Step 5: Add in Your Logins and Other Information & Change Any Duplicate or Weak Passwords Using Password Generator

Once you have everything set up, it’s time to add all your accounts into 1Password. This may take some time, but believe me, it’s really worth it. Set aside some time to input them all in.

Now, if you’ve had the same password or a variation of the same password for all your accounts, it’s going to be time to change those passwords to stronger passwords. Again, I recommend 3-4 words separated by hyphens or spaces (1Password can automatically generate these, just change the options when you click Password Generator.

You can also put in any identities, credit cards, bank accounts, drivers licenses, etc. that you want. This is really helpful for filling out online forms (especially at checkout) quickly.

And you’re all set!

Bonus Step: If you’re using Mojave, your computer now has some great privacy settings. You no longer have to worry about someone hacking into your computer and gaining access to your microphone or video camera. You will now always be prompted with a popup that asked for you to enable your microphone or camera if someone is using an app that needs it. Read more about this and how to do this here.

You can go into System Preferences → Security & Privacy → Privacy → Camera & Microphone to see what apps have access to it. I make sure that Zoom has access to Camera, Microphone, and Accessibility since I use that with my remote clients all the time.

If you’re still struggling with this and need additional help setting up 1Password, please reach out to me to schedule a session. You can either go ahead and schedule a session here or email me at shawn@thedigitalorganizer.com and we can get you set up!

I hope that’s helpful and will prevent you from being hacked! It’s all about using strong passwords and setting up 2-Step Verification for your accounts and 1Password is my favorite tool to use for this!

You can learn about how I use 1Password in my Facebook Live Below

Did You Miss My Facebook Live
Last Week?

I shared my top tips for not getting hacked and how to streamline your passwords and accounts by using 1Password. Check it out by clicking the button below! Make sure to leave me a comment and let me know if you use 1Password or if you’ve been hacked.

I’m on a Podcast!

My podcast is officially out! So stoked to have been able to talk with A Natural Shift on their podcast Take the Upgrade. If you've been struggling to get organized in your digital life, check it out and listen! I'd love to hear what you think!

Thunderbolt Dock

The biggest complaint about the new Macs is the port situation. Only having Thunderbolt 3 or USB C can be pretty annoying. I have an external monitor, webcam, mic, external hard drive, SD cards, and ethernet that I want to plug in regularly at my stand up desk. On the hunt I went for the best dock out there. I wanted ONE cable to plug into my MacBook Pro that did everything, including charging a 15” MacBook Pro at the full wattage. This is important for you 15” MBP users.

The Caldigit TS3 appeared to be the best option. I snagged one from Amazon and got it that same day. It’s been incredible! I’m going to plan to do a Facebook Live demo on this soon because I think it’s so helpful. But if you’ve been wanting to pull the trigger and get one now, I highly recommend it. You can purchase it here. Keep in mind if your monitor has VGA or DVI, you’re going to need to get a VGA to USB C adapter. The new MacBook Pros are a bit finicky when it comes to external monitors.


Eek! Your Personal Data May Be Out There for Everyone to See! Here’s How to Remove Yourself!

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My dad sent me an email last week informing me that there’s a voter registration site that has personal information on everyone and linked back to this site, TruthFinder.com. It’s crazy how much information about you is “public” whether it be from social media or through public records. And they have info on EVERYONE!

The good news is that you can choose to opt-out from having your information public, which is what I did. It’s pretty simple and fast. Took me no time at all and 100% worth it. I highly recommend that you do this!

And just an FYI, if you’re curious and want to run a report on yourself, they will charge you almost $30 to do so but don’t tell you this until you’ve gone through the entire process for about 15 minutes. No need to do this. Just choose to opt-out. Here’s how:

Option One: Online (fastest and easiest)

  1. Go to TruthFinder Opt-Out Page

  2. Fill out the form on the page

  3. Click the green "Remove This Record" button next to the correct report

  4. Enter a valid email address and click "Send Confirmation Email"

  5. Check your inbox for the confirmation email. If you don’t find it, check your spam folder

  6. Click the link in the confirmation email to confirm your opt-out request

Option Two: By Phone

  1. Call the TruthFinder Member Care Team at (800) 699-8081

  2. Provide your name, address, age and any other information they may need to locate your record

Option Three: By Mail

  1. Address an envelope to TruthFinder, 2534 State Street, Suite 473, San Diego, CA, 92101

  2. Provide your full name, full address, email address, and date of birth

  3. Apply postage to your envelope and drop it in the mail

Finally Email Templates in Spark!

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I cannot tell you how excited my assistant, Marissa, was when she saw that Spark released a new update with Email Templates!  She is regularly sending out the same emails to my clients confirming appointments or asking them to fill out forms or sign documents. This makes all of that so easy! Previously, she was using TextExpander before this feature was released which worked well but meant she had to have multiple apps open and sometimes forgot her own shortcuts. Now, sending a template is as easy as selecting the template right in the email she’s composing. If you frequently are sending the same emails out, you’re going to love this feature. You’ll need to update your app and then it’ll appear in your Preferences. You can read this how-to if you want more info.

An App to Replace Evernote, Google Drive, and Asana?

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My father-in-law is pretty stoked about this app for his business called Notion. It basically claims to replace Evernote, GoogleDocs, Asana, and Trello (just to name a few). I’m still looking into this app, but it seems to have some pretty cool features like the ability to take notes & documents, keep a knowledge base for important protocols and workflows for your team, keep track of progress with tasks & projects, and even keep records with spreadsheets & databases. As I said, I’m still not 100% sold on this, but it’s definitely worth mentioning that I’m looking into it. Have you used Notion? I would love to hear what you think! Just reply to this email.


No Facebook Live for the Next Two Weeks

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This week and next, I won’t be on Facebook Live. The reason? This Wednesday I will be attending the Free to Focus Live event, which will hopefully up-level my productivity! I’m super excited about it. And next Wednesday, I’ll be celebrating Thanksgiving with my wife’s family. Even though I won’t be joining you live, be on the lookout. I’ll be doing a short Facebook Live with all the Black Friday deals that you need to know about when it comes to everything tech. I’ll also be sending this info out in next week’s newsletter. Stay tuned!


My Thoughts on the New iPad Pro, Macbook Air, and Mac mini

New iPad Pros

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Not to be confused with iPad or iPad Mini, the iPad Pro was updated last week. There are a couple significant upgrades I’m excited to share. First off, the 10.5” iPad is still the same form factor, but since they were able to reduce the size of the bezel around the display, they were able to bump up the screen size to 11”. The 12.9” is also slightly smaller than the previous version because of the slimmer bezel.

Upgrades include FaceID (woohoo!), faster processors, and the Apple Pencil is magnetic and will stick to the side of the iPad. While it’s stuck there, it charges itself as well! It’s slimmer, lighter, has louder speakers, better cameras, all-day battery life, and a new charging port. If you have already upgraded to the MacBook Pro with USB C, this is great news. Now the charger for your laptop can charge the iPad. USB C is catching on with the rest of the electronic world and we’re finally seeing one port to rule them all. We even get to use that port to transfer data between devices and connect to a 5K external display! Incredible! If you’ve been waiting to buy a new iPad, this is it!

You can purchase a new iPad Pro here!

New MacBook Air

It only took them 3 years to upgrade Apple’s most loved computer. I don’t know if that’s officially the favorite, but certainly, my clients are obsessed with the Air. So what’s new?! Same screen size but it’s smaller and lighter. They were able to shrink the bezel around the display and put in a retina display which looks beautiful. It’s got Touch ID built in (whoohoo!) Faster processors, still dual core but faster than the MacBook and not as fast as MacBook Pro. You can add 16 GB of RAM and 1.5 TB of storage. It’s 2.75 lbs, the old one is 3 lbs even. Bigger trackpad, louder speakers and twice the bass. And don’t forget about the new colors and two Thunderbolt 3 ports.

Who is this computer for?

MacBook Air has always been for the average computer user. You want to surf the web, edit some photos and maybe the occasional video, and possibly play some games. It’s NOT a gaming computer or something professional photo or video people would want as a primary computer. It’s going to do just about everything really well. The battery lasts a long time and you have all the latest conveniences like Touch ID, the new keyboard, force touch trackpad etc. I think this is a great option for most people looking to upgrade their Mac.

If you do a lot on your computer, especially with graphics and video, I’d recommend upgrading to the Pro. I should note that you can use external GPUs with this computer which is a really cool option for people who want the smallest and fastest computer without breaking the bank. The external GPU for when you’re editing or need extra horsepower at your primary workstation is fantastic.

You can purchase the new MacBook Air here.

New Mac mini

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The poor Mac mini has been neglected for so long, but that’s finally changed! I feel like they did this one right. It’s got quad-core processors and can be configured with a 6-core if you. RAM goes up to 64GB! That’s what I’m talking about! Flash storage options are up to 2TB, some normal USB A connections, 4 Thunderbolt 3 ports, Ethernet and headphone jacks are standard. There’s a new chip installed to encrypt your data automatically and change some video formats up to 30 times faster. I’m trying to figure out an excuse to buy this one :) Again, feel free to snag an external GPU to take this puppy to the next level.

You can purchase the new Mac mini here.

Screen & Blue Light Protector

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If you just got a new iPhone Xs, you probably want to think about getting a screen protector. This one looks pretty awesome because it helps with shock and actual screen protection, but it also protects you against harmful blue lights, which is super important for your sleep, mood, and brain function. You can get one for your iPhone Xs, Xs MAX here or Phone Xr here.

Textlicious Lets You Change Font in Text, Tweets, and Posts

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This app is pretty cool. It gives you the ability to make your text bold, italic, or even in a different font when you’re sending a text message or posting online to Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. You can get the app here for $1.99.

It’s Time to Update!

You may have noticed that early last week, Apple rolled out updates for almost all devices. These updates for iOS and macOS include new emojis and Group FaceTiming among other updates and fixes. watchOS also saw new updates with new emojis and new color interfaces. And lastly, tvOS saw an update for fourth & fifth generation Apple TVs. Basically, if you own an Apple Device, you’ll want to check for updates.


Join me on Wednesday on Facebook Live!


My #1 Calendar Tool & How to Use it With Your Assistant

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Last week I talked to you about my favorite email tool and this week I want to share with you my #1 favorite calendar tool, Fantastical. If you haven’t been using FantastiCal, maybe you’re using Google Calendar, iCal, or something similar. Previously, I was using Google Calendar along with another tool I use for scheduling appointments, Calendly. While it did the job, I had a few issues with it.

First off, Google Calendar doesn’t allow you to add in travel time, which is a big issue for me when calculating time in between appointments with my calendar. It also didn’t allow me to quickly add in calendar items and just felt overall a bit clunky.

Give 100% Control of Your Calendar to Your Assistant

When I hired my assistant, Marissa, one of the first things I did was give her 100% control over my calendar. And if you have an assistant, I highly encourage you to do the same thing. It was a big game changer. Having one person in charge of managing and scheduling appointments was great because there wasn’t any confusion and it gave me the ability to have a little bit of space when clients would reach out for that last-minute emergency appointment. I was finally able to say, “I need to check with my assistant first to see what’s on my calendar.”

Create an Ideal Week

One of the first things Marissa and I did was to create my Ideal Week. It helps us both get clear on what the weekly goal was in terms of my schedule. We knew that on Wednesdays, I don’t take appointments with clients because that's my catch up day. I do all of my admin work, catching up on emails, paperwork, invoices, creative work, etc. We also figured out that I needed to be done with work by 5 pm. (I was often times working until 7 pm because my schedule was so overloaded which isn’t in alignment with my goals).I also wanted to make sure I made time for things like self-care and relationships and creating my Ideal Week helped Marissa make sure that happened.

My father-in-law, Michael Hyatt has created some great resources for creating your Ideal Week. You can see those here.

Create Separate Calendars for Personal and Business

I have a calendar for business related stuff and also things related to Madeline and me. It’s great because it helps me easily switch from work mode into relationship mode and helps Marissa see what’s on our personal calendar. Plus, Madeline also has access to my business calendar and can easily add in personal appointments and events without messing up my day-to-day meetings.

Make Sure to Calculate for Travel Time

When your assistant is adding in local appointments, you want to make sure he/she adds in travel time. In FantastiCal, you can easily add in locations for appointments and chose to add in travel time and alerts for when you should leave so that you can be on time for your appointments.

You can learn more about how I use Spark by watching my Facebook live from last week below.

Did You Miss My Facebook Live
Last Week?

I shared my favorite calendar tool. If you have an assistant who manages (or should manage) your calendar, you'll want to watch this. I share my assistant and my secrets and which program we're obsessed with and how we use it to completely streamline and organize my calendar! Even if you don’t have an assistant if you’ve got a lot of calendar event and are feeling overwhelmed this could be a turning point for you.

Apple to Compete with Netflix and Hulu

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There’s no question we’re living in the golden age of television. It seems like everyone’s joined in except Apple...until now. It’s rumored that they will be releasing their own version of Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime in 2019 with their own series and movies. I will be free for those with Apple devices, but it’s unclear exactly how they’ll be making their money. Some say it’ll be through an upgrade for premium services like HBO or Showtime, but we aren’t sure. What is clear, is that their lineup of original series looks pretty freaking amazing. I’m super stoked to see them joining the scene with some pretty big names. Stay tuned for more info on this. I’m hoping they release more info tomorrow at the Apple event.

New Macs & iPads to be announced Tomorrow!

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Tomorrow is the day for the Apple Live event at 10 am Eastern Time. I’m super excited to see what new mac’s they’ll be releasing and any other exciting announcements. Stay tuned for more updates on this...my thoughts may be in next week’s newsletter. You’ll be able to live stream on their website or on your Apple TV.

Best iPhone Xr Cases

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If you just got the iPhone Xr, you’re probably trying to find a cool case. There are some really cool ones here. I really like the Lifeproof case. It’s sturdy and looks clean. It also not only has drop protection but also waterproofing and screen protection. Plus, they have lots of different colors available.

Never Lose Anything You’ve Copied with Paste App

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If you get annoyed trying to find stuff in your clipboard that you’ve copied, you’ll like Paste. It keeps everything that you’ve copied to your clipboard in one convenient place. Everything from lists, emails, links, and more. It does cost $14.99 after your free trial but it could be useful if you’re constantly copying the same things or losing track of what you’ve previously copied.



My Favorite Email Tool and How to Use it With Your Executive Assistant

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I am completely obsessed with Spark right now. It’s by far my favorite email tool that I’ve ever used. One of the biggest things it’s done is enable my assistant and me to be able to discuss next steps and responses for emails without having to send emails back and forth to each other. It allows me the ability to give her full control of my email, with me having the security that if she needs my help on something, she can get it.

Here’s the how Marissa and I are using with Spark for email and how you and your EA can implement it:

Create a Private Email

When I decided to give up control over my email to my assistant, I realized it was too hard for me to have to go into the same inbox as her. It was confusing and frustrating for both of us, so I went ahead and created a private email account that I only share with her and my family members. I would encourage every executive to do this. It will save you tons of time and takes the temptation away from micromanaging your email when your EA really needs to be in charge of that. It can simply be private@yourcompany.com or something a little more personal or hard to figure out like nickname@yourcompany.com or initials@yourcompany.com.

Make Your Existing Email Account Your Public Email

While you’ll have access to your private account, your EA will have control and access to your public account. I just kept my address as shawn@thedigitalorganizer.com which has been my email for a long time. This way, it doesn’t confuse clients.

Create an Alias for Your EA

We decided it was going to be easier for Marissa to work out of one inbox rather than toggle between hers and mine. So we decided to create an alias for her so that she could still respond to messages as herself, but work out of one inbox. Her alias is just marissa@thedigitalorganizer.com. It’s perfect because I didn’t want her responding “as me” but rather “on behalf of me” from her own account.

Give Up Control

Once you have your accounts in place, it’s important to establish a workflow. First and foremost, you must give control of your inbox up to your assistant. Just like your calendar, if you both are trying to manage it, you will eventually screw something up or drop the ball. One person managing it is imperative.

EA Filters Your Inbox

What’s amazing is that now I don’t have to access my public inbox anymore. Instead, Marissa filters all my messages and only shares with me the ones that I need to respond to or that she has questions about. For instance, all scheduling questions she’s able to respond to from her alias since she manages my calendar. So anytime a client emails me trying to book a time, she responds. I never even see the emails which is great. Helps me to spend less time on email and more time with my clients.

When an email comes into the public inbox Marissa has a few choices:

  • If she knows the answer or it’s a scheduling question: she responds as herself using her alias

  • If she doesn’t know the answer but I don’t have to respond: she will share the message with me (at my private account), comment asking her question, I respond to her, and then she can respond “on behalf of me” from her alias

  • If she doesn’t know the answer and needs ME to respond: she will share the message with me (at my private account), comment asking me to respond, and I can respond from my public account

This has been literally a game changer for us! Now that we have the option to discuss emails on Spark or even write drafts together it's helped me cut down on my time on email drastically.

This is just the tip of the iceberg for EAs and Executives and their workflow and making email run seamlessly, but it has made both Marissa and my lives way easier since starting! Spark is seriously a revolutionary tool for email and I highly encourage you and your executive assistant to begin using it.

If you need me to help you set up Spark or help teach you and your EA how to use it, I’d love to help! You can schedule a session with me (I recommend at least two-hours) here.

Did You Miss My Facebook Live
Last Week?

I shared my favorite email tool since Gmail came out in 2004. I’m so excited about it! Marissa (my assistant) and I have been using it for a few weeks now and it’s dramatically improved our communication and efficiency! If you work in a team environment and regularly have to collaborate over email then you’re absolutely going to want to know about this tool!

70+ New Emoji’s Coming with iOS 12.1

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We aren’t exactly sure when this will be released--rumors are saying late October or early November. One thing’s for sure, there’s over 70 new emojis coming with the iOS 12.1 update including a skateboard, red and curly hair options, and toilet paper among others.

New Macs & iPads to be announced October 30th

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Well, we’ve been waiting for Apple to come out with new computers and iPads and it seems like it’s finally happening! They announced another live event happening on October 30th at 10 am Eastern Time. Stay tuned for more updates on this! You’ll be able to live stream on their website or on your Apple TV.

iPhone Xr is Now Available for Pre-order!

I’m really excited about the new iPhone Xr. I think this is the perfect “budget” option. There’s not very many cons to this...maybe the only thing being the camera isn’t quite as sophisticated as the Xs & Xs Max, but it’s still pretty freaking amazing. One thing I am happy about is the storage options: 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB. You can purchase them here.

A Mug That Keeps Your Coffee Hot and Tracks Caffeine Intake

I think this is so cool. First off, this mug keeps your coffee or tea hot for hours a time. Perfect for those of you who a so busy you forget to drink your coffee. And it just got even better. It is now integrated with Apples Health where it will track your caffeine intake so you don’t go overboard with the coffee during the day. Pretty cool! Available at an Apple Store near you.

Quit Wasting Your Time Typing the Same Email with TextExpander

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I know we’ve mentioned this app before, but my assistant was raving about it last week when I asked her to follow up with a ton of my clients. Rather than spending hours typing up the same email or trying to have to copy and paste sections, I showed her how to use TextExpander. It took her a little less than an hour and a half to follow-up with every client I’ve met within the last month and a half. She still had to personal each follow up, but it cut her time way down. Can’t recommend this app enough if you regularly sent out the same emails or if you find yourself constantly typing the same information.


So excited about my newly updated ebook! We went from 10 apps to 12, because there’s just some amazing ones out there that I’m loving. As a thank you for subscribing to my newsletter, you can download the ebook here for free! I would also love to hear your feedback and what you think of these apps. As always, if you need help implementing any of these apps into your workflow, I’d love to help you. You can schedule an appointment with me here.


Swapping Your Cell Phone and Google Voice Numbers

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When I first started my business, I used my phone number as both my personal and my business phone. This was fine at first, but when I started getting phone calls and text messages outside of business hours, especially at 3 AM, I realized I created a monster.

It’s really hard for me to see a text or call from someone and not respond. You probably know the feeling. But what do you do when you’re trying to keep boundaries between your personal life and business? It’s great customer service to take phone calls after hours when people are struggling with their tech, but I can’t be ON all the time.

Beyond this though, I’ve been struggling to keep up with phone calls and text messages for quite a while. Now that I have an assistant, I have been trying to think of a way to give her control of my phone, while still having access to it myself. I have 2-step verification codes going there and countless friends and family have that number. I didn’t want to abandon it.

My solution: Google Voice.

With Google Voice, you can make and receive calls from any number of devices. The phone will ring on every device you set it up on! This means my assistant can take calls and respond to texts if I’m not available. I can also set up an autoresponder for text messages. How great is that?

I’ve had a Google Voice number that I’ve had memorized for years and I haven’t done anything with it. But I decided to change that about a week ago. I would swap my Google Voice number that no one knows but me to AT&T. Then I would transfer my AT&T line to Google Voice.

Not very many people have a Google Voice number they would want to keep, which means you don’t have to do steps, 1 and 6. Just ask your carrier to add a line and you’re good to go!

Here are the steps I took to make the swap:

  1. I transferred my Google Voice number I wanted to keep to a secondary Gmail account so when I ported (transferred) my AT&T number to the account, I didn’t lose the one I wanted. When you port a line out, it’s cancelled. When you port a line in, you’re replacing what’s there.

  2. I ported my phone number from AT&T to Google Voice for $20. Instructions here. Once the port was complete (it took 10 minutes), I was able to make phone calls from my 13-year-old AT&T number on Google Voice on my iPhone using the Hangouts app.

  3. My phone line got canceled on AT&T so I called them to add a new phone line. I told them I wanted to add a line to my account and port my Google Voice number to AT&T.

  4. Once on the phone, the AT&T rep had me go here to unlock my Google Voice number for $3 (this is the one I wanted to keep that I’ve had for years and haven’t done anything with.)

  5. After I unlocked my Google Voice number, he asked me for the account number and password. The account number is your Google Voice number and the password is the password to access your voicemail. You can reset this from Settings at voice.google.com.

  6. A couple minutes later, my number was ported to my new AT&T line! Instead of waiting for them to send me a SIM card to put in my phone, I went to an AT&T store and they set me up with the new SIM with my new number.

  7. After all this, deregister your phone from iMessage. If you don’t, you’re going to have all kinds of people trying to text you and it’s not going to go through.

At the time of writing this post, it’s been a few days since I switched over and I’m still working through the kinks and figuring out the best workflow for my assistant and me. I will say that it’s way better already. I plan on eventually setting up an autoresponder to my texts message to help funnel all tech questions or schedule inquiries into email so that my assistant can see them all there.

Stick Your Business in the Cloud

Did you see the article I wrote for Michael Hyatt & Company’s online magazine last week? Having your files stored in the cloud is one of the most powerful tools in your business when it’s done right. If not, you’ll find yourself and your team spending unreasonable amounts of time tracking things down. Learn how to stick your business in the cloud so you and your team can stay organized and as efficient as possible. You can read the full article here.

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How to Use Mojave's New Features to Your Advantage

If you missed last week’s Facebook Live, no worries! It was recorded. I shared with you my favorite features and how to use them to your advantage. I am loving Mojave! Anyone else? Watch the replay here.

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Another One Bites the Dust: Google+

No big surprise here, but it was announced last week that Google Plus has bit the dust. After a security bread earlier this year, it makes sense. Not to mention I don’t really know anyone who uses it. It will officially close in August 2019. If you want to know more about this, you can read more here.

iOS 12 Now Let’s You Use Waze or Google Maps in CarPlay

This is pretty exciting for you CarPlay users. When you update your iPhone to iOS12 it will now let you use Waze or Google Maps on CarPlay. Prior to this update, you could only use Apple Maps, which we know isn’t as good at steering around traffic as Waze and Google Maps.  

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The Best All-in-One Printer

If you’ve been trying to find a great all-in-one printer for your home that does it all, this one looks pretty outstanding. Wirecutter did a full review on the printer here and says after tons of hours of research, it’s voted the best one. You can purchase the HP OfficeJet 8720 All-in-One Printer from Amazon here.

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Vivino App for Wine Lovers

This is a pretty cool app for all your wine lovers. It lets you scan wine labels and you can see the rating, reviews, taste summary, average price, and more. This is great to pull out when you’re trying to figure which wine to buy or if you have a big selection at home, it’s a great way to figure out which bottle to drink next. Download here.


Click the image above to get my free ebook!


The Five Coolest Features of macOS Mojave

The Five Coolest Features of macOS Mojave

1. Dark Mode

This is by far the most talked about feature. And I gotta admit that it looks pretty awesome on your computer. I personally think it’s especially great to use at night to lower the amount of blue light we’re receiving. You can scroll down below to learn about an app every Mojave user needs so you can use Dark Mode at night. To enable Dark Mode go to System Preferences > General > Appearance.

2. Stacks

There’s nothing worse than a super cluttered desktop. It’s like having a cluttered and messy desk, it sets the tone for your mental space. Stacks now groups items on your desktop by kind and stacks them so you can effortlessly free up clutter. Make sure that you control-click on your desktop and select “Use Stacks” to enable them.

3. Dynamic Desktop

Just like dark mode, I love that Apple is helping us reduce blue light. And not to mention it just looks awesome as your desktop changes from day to night. Currently, there are only two dynamic desktops available, but I’m hoping we’ll see more down the road.

4. New Screenshot & Screen Recording Options

The new screenshot and recording options are pretty amazing. It's now easier than ever to take a screenshot or even record your screen. I know this is really going to come in handy when I need to share something with a client or send a quick “how-to” video to someone. To use the new screenshot features, click Command + Shift + 5.

5. Continuity Camera

This is by far one of the coolest features of Mojave. Continuity Camera allows you to quickly snap a photo with your phone or scan a document and then send it in an email or a attach it to a note on your computer. I think this is kind of a game changer feature and I’m really looking forward to using this. To use, Command-Click in Mail, Notes, Pages, etc. and select Take Photo or Scan Document. Make sure your computer and iPhone are on the same wifi and have Bluetooth enabled.

Add Conference Call Link Directly in Spark Calendar

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This is a cool new feature for Spark. If you’re like me and use Zoom or another video conference app with clients, you can now send them a conference link directly from your calendar in spark. I think this is going to be helpful for making scheduling super quick.

Google Maps Makes Picking Restaurants as a Group Easy

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I’m so excited about this feature. If you’ve ever tried to decide on a restaurant with a group of people, you know just how frustrating and hard it can be. Google Maps just released a new feature in their appso that you can do group polls to make deciding on a restaurant easier. You can read more about it here.

Did You Miss My Facebook Live on How Mojave Screwed Up My Computer?

Did you miss my Facebook Live last week on how Mojave totally screwed up my computer? If so, you can catch the replay here. I talked about what went wrong when I tried updating to Mojave and the steps I took before and after to safeguard my digital space.

I’ve also started my YouTube channel and will be posting all of my episodes of The Digital Sanity Show each week. Make sure to subscribe to my channel so you don’t miss a thing!

Takl App
Home Services On Demand

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My sister-in-law just told me about this app and I think it’s pretty brilliant. If you need a handyman on demand or other home services like housecleaning or yard work, you can use this app to get someone to help you the same day. I’m sure this is going to be a big help for those odd jobs you aren’t sure who to call for. Download the app here. You can use my code B20C609 to get a $10 account credit!

NightOwl
for mojave

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If you’ve updated to Mojave and wish you could toggle between Light and Dark Mode or set it to get dark at sunset, you’re in luck. This is something that has been a little bit annoying until now. Luckily, NightOwl is a tiny little app that solves this exact problem. You can download it here for free and easily switch between modes, schedule when you’d like it to get dark or light or have it in sync with the sunrise and sunset.


No Facebook Live This Week

I'm currently at the beach with my family this week soaking up some sun. I'll be back on Facebook Live next Wednesday Night at 8 pm Central, so mark your calendars!

Out on Vacation This Week
This week I'm at the beach with my family so I am out of the office and will not be responding to emails, calls, or texts until next week. If you're wanting to schedule a session with me, I recommend doing that ASAP because my schedule is filling up quick! You can schedule that
right here.