Monthly Archive October 2016


How do you like to travel?

Maybe you dream of chauffeured cars and first class flights or are more at home in the saddle of a cycle or motorbike – even a horse. Unfortunately, our commutes are rarely so glamorous but we can still dream of planes, trains and automobiles.

Each method has its advantages and, more noticeably, its disadvantages.

Train – Fast, when they are on time. Productive, when you can get a seat. The potential of rail travel is more often spoiled by the reality. Sure you could get a great table with a plug socket for your laptop and room to spread out your papers but you could just as easily get squeezed in between raucous football fans travelling to an away game or sat on the floor by the toilet.

Bus – Buses used to have a good coverage and frequency going for them but now seem like the worst of all worlds. Crowded and with timetables cut they are not a place to be getting any work done. About as productive as you can be is to read the Metro or flick through Instagram.

Car – A more direct door-to-door experience that can be equal parts liberating and frustrating. All the responsibility is yours but at least you can also take charge over the route, temperature and music. But you have no control over the traffic, other drivers, weather conditions and rising blood pressure they provoke.

Taxi – If you aren’t in London then catching a taxi has never been a very on-the-fly experience but the new generation of apps are changing that. Still, taxis are expensive and even more so when there is a surge on. Being driven about is super convenient for working or relaxing during your journey though.

Plane – over seriously long distances planes are about the only option if you are not looking for “the experience” of weeks on a boat or train. Flying is one of the most common fears so for many people it’s no fun at all. With high baggage prices, minimal leg room and increasingly non-existent refreshments it’s not the luxury it once was – unless you leave economy behind and are inducted into the luxuries of business or first class where you can work and play in comfort and style.

Travelling by car looks like pretty unproductive time compared to the others but it doesn’t have to be. You can knock out that disadvantage and make your commute more productive with MessageMia, your hands-free note-taking service.


What would you do with an extra hour a day?

Whether you are an alarm-snoozing person or an up with the larks to pull on your running shoes person we would all like a bit of extra time in the day. Whether you spend that having breakfast in bed, hitting the gym or working on your novel.

Squeeze all the productive moments out of your day that you can. For all its convenience there is a lot of downtime in modern life and it can be better spent than reading the Metro or looking at cats on the internet.

The first step is finding out what you are actually spending your time on right now. You can use an app or a good old fashioned pen and paper to make a time diary. It might be massively at odds with what you think you are doing. It will definitely reveal some good chunks of time that you are wasting that can be used on something more important.

You might not be able to eliminate your commute but you can harness that time to pursue your goals. Listening to audiobooks or podcasts is always a good use of this time but you aren’t just limited to absorbing information. With MessageMia you can brainstorm ideas for a new project, make a note of a great opening sentence, draft speeches and emails or get a head start on your day and write your to-do list. All hands-free and on the go so you can hit the ground running when you arrive.

Tools like offline Gmail, MixMax and Boomerang give you great control over your email. You can write your mails anytime, anywhere, and then schedule them to be sent at a more appropriate or convenient time. You won’t forget the drafts and you free up time when it suits you. There are lots of other services that will make your life easier from behind the scenes provided you don’t waste too much time or get distracted while looking for them.

With just a little preparation time you can save more time in the long run. Pack your bag or lay out your clothes the night before. Set up deliveries for your weekly shop and put as much of the minutiae of your life as you can on auto-pilot.

Spend your time wisely and make the most of it with these tips courtesy of MessageMia.


Want to have more great ideas?

Find out how to unlock your creativity and get more done, courtesy of MessageMia

Be ready whenever inspiration strikes. Make sure you have a notebook or an app on your phone to save and organise all your ideas. An app has the advantage of being safe storage, usually on the cloud, and ideally to sync across your different devices. So your notes are backed up and available to work on wherever and whenever.

At the same time as being ready you can also train inspiration to strike. Cue yourself with a song to get in the mood, reading something inspiring, looking at a vision board and so on. These little rituals will start to trigger your brain to know that it is time to bring on the big ideas.

Because the mind is a muscle we can give it some workouts to strengthen it up. Crosswords, sudoku, brainteasers and brain training programmes help to keep the mind sharp. Meditation, mindfulness, journaling and dream diaries clear the mind and give it space to come up with those great ideas.

Give yourself warm-up exercises – writing prompts, ten minutes to do a sketch, brainstorm some quick ideas. Fit it into your schedule even if it means putting it in your calendar. Even ten minutes a day will bring big benefits. Every day is best, even if only for a few minutes – it will be easier to expand that time but harder to keep the habit up if it isn’t practiced every day.

Keep the inspiration tank topped up by discovering new things, reading fiction and non-fiction, watching random documentaries, visiting museums, going on walks or listening to music – whatever gets you fired up and your juices flowing.

Take advantage of every moment for ideas to come to you, even if it might seem inconvenient. Driving in the car is a tricky combination of prime idea-having time (the repetitive tasks and being in motion trigger creativity in many people) but also dangerous and illegal to use that pen and paper or mobile phone app.

The answer here is MessageMia, a hands-free note-taking service that works with your phone. Call the free MessageMia number and record your message. It’s transcribed and emailed back to you. Simple and safe to make the most of every minute of great ideas.


How to Get the Hands-Free Autopilot Life

Self-driving cars still have a few hurdles to make it over before we can take our hands off the wheel and read, snooze or write on our journeys but there are still plenty of things you can set on autopilot in the meantime.

IFTTT (If This Then That) and Zapier are two behind-the-scenes automations that link pretty much all your apps, accounts, devices, websites and wearables. Use for business and home in nearly limitless combinations. Build recipes or zaps to trigger automatic actions that can join up your social media, to-do list app, note taking, calendar, email and payments just for starters. Log, track, share and sync everything without lifting a finger.

Home automation isn’t growing as fast as pundits predicted and often seems focussed on security but has so much potential to save time as well as money. Put your home on autopilot with programmable and internet-linked lights, heating, sensors, entertainment and cameras. Have your thermostat and lights adjust automatically when you get home and so much more. It will save time and money and wildly impress your friends.

There really is an app for anything meaning you can access pretty much any service instantly at your fingertips. Have apps work out your most efficient commute, organise your travel, track your spending, find a plumber, be your fitness instructor and fulfil your every whim. You can even turn your phone into a full blown personal assistant with services from Google, Amazon and the big boys or DIY it out with Tasker.

Take notes while driving the hands-free way. Call up MessageMia on your phone and leave a recording that is transcribed and emailed back to you. Safe, legal and making the most of productive journey time when your mind wanders and you have great ideas or just want to brain-dump your to-do list.

You can even use the magic of IFTTT and Zapier mentioned above, to have all your MessageMia emails get put straight into your to-do list app, a new document or spreadsheet for review or directly into your calendar. Forward them to your assistant or project management system for even more hands-free organisation.

So driverless cars might not be on your street yet but now you’ve got everything on autopilot how will you be spending all the extra time and energy?