Monthly Archive December 2016


Get More Productive and More Creative for 2017

Last week we looked at different popular New Year’s Resolutions and how to go about actually achieving them. Now 2017 is only days away so this week we are looking at some of the most popular – about productivity and creativity – and how MessageMia can help you achieve your goals.

Productivity is always high on people’s lists, for obvious reasons. Who doesn’t want to get more done, free up more time, or make more money? Being more creative can boost your career, bringing in more money, improve your brainpower and lead to new hobbies.

So how to nurture these qualities? The good news is that they can be nurtured, so if you don’t feel all that productive or creative right now you can develop the habit.

The best suggestions on productivity involve a laser focus and ruthless time management. Business mentor Michael Hyatt favours goals rather than resolutions, and painstakingly planned ones at that, to keep you focussed and on track. Schedule in time to review the goals you make as part of your resolutions, as well as to actually work on the resolutions themselves.

That focus can lead to you shedding other aspects of your life that don’t align with your new resolutions. Watching less rubbish television means more time at the gym, and vice versa. Saying no to some commitments is the sort of sacrifice – or relief – you might have to make.

Happiness Project writer Gretchen Rubin writes about making new habits and suggests tying them directly into related rewards. That can keep you motivated and on track but avoids the resolution or habit feeling like a chore that you need a reward for. If you are getting up earlier in order to get more work done you can use some of that extra time to enjoy a quiet coffee or meditate.

MessageMia can help you be more productive, turning your commute or business travel into real, usable time. Dictate emails, work on presentations, plan your day and list your to-dos all before you even get to the office. Once you do, MessageMia will have your notes transcribed and emailed to you, ready to go.

One of the keys to being more creative is to be continually flexing your creative muscles, practicing having ideas and thinking outside the box. Some powerful ways to do this are by brainstorming and using ideas such as the “and” technique – combining two random words and thinking about what that might suggest. Combining or expanding older ideas is also a rich source of creativity and experts in the field all seem to agree that a good system for capturing and then storing these ideas is important.

You can use MessageMia to quickly record all your great ideas. A hands-free notebook, MessageMia can be used even while driving. Once you have recorded your brainwave it is transcribed and emailed back to you. It’s then easy to collect all your thoughts and ideas in a file, note app or to-do list program, to review and browse and work on when you get the chance.


A new year for resolutions

What’s topping your resolutions list for next year? Losing weight? Writing a book? Learning a language? How about getting more done? Or maybe your resolution is to not have any resolutions.

It’s only natural to think about the year ahead and what you might want it to look like. Though naysayers will correctly point out that we could start a new habit any day of the year there is something about turning over a new leaf with the calendar, a blank slate of a year to put our mark on.

Of course, a lot – most – new year’s resolutions don’t last. They get swept away in the day to day hustle and bustle and become a distant memory.

So what makes a good new year’s resolution? One that is going to stick and become an everyday part of life, not just for the first few days of January.

You need to get really clear about what your motivation is and the underlying issues are.

Have a bit of creativity. Wanting to read more books doesn’t mean you have to sit down and read books. Try an audiobook instead, to see if that will fit into your life better. And like the point above, ask yourself if you really want to read more, or is it that you want to sound smart in conversations? Because that is a different resolution and will need a different approach.

Think about why this isn’t already part of your life. If you want to learn a language, what’s currently stopping you? If you can identify the obstacles and work around them you are giving your resolution the best chance to succeed.

Getting specific will help too. Do you want to fit into your favourite jeans comfortably, or slim down into a wedding outfit? Having that goal is better than a generic “lose weight”.

A year is a daunting timescale for a resolution. So break it down into smaller chunks. Want to write a novel? Work out how many words you need to write each week or day, to get a more manageable plan. Check in every so often – you can revive a resolution for a new week or month, you don’t have to wait for next year.

MessageMia can help you be more productive and remember all your great ideas, even when driving. So if your new year’s resolution involve getting more done, or being more creative, next week we will have even more ideas for you.


Distractions on the Road

The Washington Post reports on a story from American travel company AAA that shows tired drivers are as at risk of accidents as drunk drivers. That when tired you might as well be over the limit.

People who had less than four hours sleep were 11.5% more likely to have an accident than those who slept over seven hours. 21% of fatal collisions involved a sleep deprived driver – shocking figures and a sobering look at how dangerous driving without due care and attention can be.

Driving can be dangerous and has its risks. Too much alcohol and a lack of sleep dulls reaction times and causes a loss of concentration and coordination, which contributes to accidents. Another major distraction for drivers is their mobile phone and the government has responded to this by stepping up penalties for 2017. Using a mobile phone while driving now has a six point penalty and £240 fine.

For drivers who have only passed their test in the last two years a six point penalty will result in their licence being rescinded – indicating the level of seriousness.

Fumbling around with a mobile phone, holding it, being distracted by ringing or alerts, or trying to text, all massively take attention away from where it needs to be. Reflexes are slower, eyes may not even be on the road and hands aren’t both available to actively drive.

Of course, we spend a lot of time in our cars and it can feel like a waste of time not to be able to multitask a bit, or that we are out of the loop on messages and information. Pulling over is the obvious solution, or ignore the phone completely for complete safety.

MessageMia is an alternative. A hands-free note taking service it is safe and legal and can help you make the most of you driving time. Never forget another great idea while driving or item for your to do list. MessageMia records your message, then transcribes and emails it back to you.

So no driving drunk, tired, or on your mobile phone, and if you want a safe way to take notes on the road try MessageMia.


How to come up with less-stress gift ideas

That time of year is upon us, the time to pull out your credit card and rack your brains coming up with gift ideas… then storming round the shops around the 22nd in a panic.

So MessageMia has some tips and tricks for less stress this holiday season.

Get in the gift-giving zone, browse websites and wander round the shops – then think of ideas for people. Trying to come up with ideas in isolation is hard and doesn’t work, so surround yourself with potential ideas first.

Avoid clutter and environmental mayhem with gifts of experiences. Tickets for a show, vouchers for a meal, or something a bit more extreme like paintballing, rally car driving and the like. There are companies catering to gift experiences or you can plan your own. It may seem simple but it’s the sort of thing a lot of people want but never quite get round to organising for themselves – even if it’s just the cinema.

It’s a bit late now but put this on your new year’s resolution list: be on alert for gift ideas all year round. Have a page in the back of your diary, or a note in an app and collect little hints or mentions of interests from people. Bonus, works for birthdays too.

When you have that blinding flash of inspiration… make a note of it! There’s nothing more frustrating than having thought of the perfect gift idea only to forget it. Sometimes ideas come in the unlikeliest of places so you have to be ready. This can cause a problem if you are driving but that’s somewhere we actually get a lot of great ideas.

You can’t jot a note in that case, but MessageMia is your hands-free note-taking service here to help. Use your normal hands-free kit to call up Mia and leave your recording. Then the voice file and a transcription are emailed back to you. So you never have to forget another great idea while driving again.