It is February already and 2017 is going fast! If you feel like your goals, resolutions and projects that you had planned are getting away from you, it’s time to get back on track. We’re going to be looking at the little things that will help you reach your goals and how MessageMia can help.
Whatever your ambitions are you need the same tools to achieve them. One of the first and most important is that you need time.
We’re all busy. We all need to sleep and eat though some people seem to squeeze more into the day than others. Time management isn’t magic however. We all get the same number of hours in the day. Not that we are advocating cutting your sleep down to 2 hours a day or avoiding friends and family. There are lots of spare pockets of time in the day that you can take advantage of.
In the famous book Getting Things Done, David Allen uses time based to do lists. When you break your to-do list up by the amount of time it will take to achieve each task you make it much easier to pick up the right tasks at the right time. You can easily distinguish between tasks that might take a day, need an hour or be done in five minutes.
Another cornerstone of Allen’s philosophy is the idea of capturing your to do’s. Really organised people always know what they have going on, don’t drop the ball on any tasks and avoid procrastination by knowing exactly what they need to do next.
MessageMia helps you make note of your to dos. Whenever and wherever you remember them. Even if that is somewhere inconvenient like while you are driving. With MessageMia you can brain-dump your to do list on your morning commute and have the transcription in your email inbox by the time you reach the office.
Your commute is a great time to make progress on your goals. Time that would otherwise be wasted can be reclaimed and made useful. As well as making notes with MessageMia about your new project or ambition, you can use your commute productively by listening to relevant podcast or audiobooks. Many people spend an hour a day or even more driving to and from work and this is valuable time you could be using to learn, research your ideas and be inspired.
MessageMia is your hands-free to do list for productivity while you are on the road.
MessageMia is your hands-free notebook perfect for when you are driving. Whether you are already using Mia and want to expand or are looking for new ways to automate your workflow, here are some top tips on taking MessageMia further with automations.
So with MessageMia you call the toll-free number and leave your message – whatever great idea has just occurred to you or to-do list item you have remembered. It is then transcribed and emailed back to you with the voice file attached.
Do you find yourself doing the same thing with your MessageMia emails every time? You can almost certainly automate that and free up your time and effort.
Are Mia’s messages getting lost in your inbox? You can fix that with a quick filter. Most email programs have this ability.
In Gmail you can go to Settings from the gear menu, then Filters and Blocked Addresses to “Create a new filter”. Or you can use the dropdown menu when you are in a MessageMia email and choose “filter messages like this”. That will allow you to add a label to MessageMia emails, star them, archive them, or forward them to your assistant – whatever you like.
IFTTT works behind the scenes to connect together all your accounts and services together. If you aren’t already a user of IFTTT you can sign up for a free account at the site and take a look at some of the amazing tricks you can put to work. You connect all your different accounts to the service and hook them up together using Applets.
Using the If This Then That system we can have receiving a MessageMia email as a trigger, the “this”. Then you just need to decide what you want to do with it, the “that”.
Do you want the voice attachments saved on your Dropbox? Do you want the transcriptions put in a Google Doc? Sent to your favourite to-do list app as a task? Put in an Evernote folder with your other great ideas? Added to your task management software like Trello or Basecamp? IFTTT can do all that and more – automated and behind the scenes so you don’t have to think about it.
You can even pre-categorise your messages by using a code word or phrase when you dictate them to Mia. Say you often leave messages about blog post ideas. When you call Mia you can use “blog post ideas” in your message and you can set filters and triggers to act on that phrase, for different results than ones labelled “things to remember”.
Then it all fits together. You call Mia and leave a message about your blog post ideas. The email gets sent.
Arriving in your inbox the transcription can be labelled “blog post ideas” and archived automatically. Then your blog post idea gets created as a task in your task manager, an event gets added to your calendar to work on it and when you log into WordPress a draft has already been created with the transcription in it and the voice file is in your cloud storage for safekeeping.
You didn’t need to do a thing.
What’s the best idea you never had?
It’s a bit of a brainteaser but worth thinking about. Time to honour all the great ideas that passed you by, all the great ideas you never acted on, all the ideas that could have been great if only you could remember them.
Everyone has had a flash of inspiration and a thought that could make them a millionaire. But dreaming of riches doesn’t get the idea done and too often we move onto the next thing, more pressing business, and the idea drifts away unremembered.
Nowhere is that more common or more frustrating than when we are driving. Great ideas while driving are so common because of the repetitive and automatic movement and concentration that frees up the subconscious parts of our brain to get busy.
Travelling can also prompt ideas as you get a lot of input – signs, shops and businesses, maybe the radio or other audio – and this all comes together to stew in your mind. Sometimes a great idea pops out.
But, tragically, we are driving and we can’t write it down – unsafe and illegal. It might be inconvenient or impossible to pull over – on a motorway for instance. Or we don’t have time and can’t interrupt our journey.
Within seconds our brain is moving on – to the van in front that just cut us up, pedestrians risking life and limb to cross the road right in front of us. A lot of driving is automatic muscle memory but we are still on high alert and things can change quickly.
So the best idea you never had quickly drifts away. Afterwards you might be able to recall having a great idea but having no clue what that great idea was.
Avoid having to kick yourself – or getting into an accident or picking up a driving penalty – by using MessageMia. Your hands-free notebook you can call Mia and leave a message with your great idea and it will be transcribed and emailed back to you. Not just for earth-shatteringly great ideas while driving but any idea, to-do item, tasks, inspiration for a gift, perfect phrase for a tricky email or a presentation you are writing. Whenever and wherever an idea strikes you can capture it hands-free, safe and legal.
A staple of sci fi is the driverless car. Back in the 50s all the pulpy movies and stories imagined we would be whizzing around in them by now. Self driving cars are having a rocky journey but their eventual dominance seems inevitable.
And with good reason. Autonomous cars are vastly safer than human drivers, can’t get tired or distracted, instantly have thousands of hours of driving experience, can sync with each other and remove all concerns of human error. Transport and travel becomes more efficient – no need for traffic lights if the cars can negotiate the right order amongst themselves.
Our lives get more productive as well. All that time freed up from commuting and travel.
We might not be achieving that yet, but driverless cars or no, you can still free up your commute and travel time to be more productive, as well as safer, with MessageMia.
Your hands-free notebook, MessageMia allows you to dictate your notes, to dos, great ideas, tasks, emails and more, even while you are driving. Your notes are transcribed and emailed back to you, ready to use.
Some other great ways to put your commute to use include listening to podcasts, audiobooks or learning a language.
In the privacy of your own car you won’t mind fumbling some French pronunciation or getting confused with Japanese. Reciting along with a language cassette tape, CD, MP3 or podcast is of a long tradition and effective too. The daily routine offered by your commute is great to build up practice and it helps keep you sharp while driving too.
A lot of people wouldn’t read a book even in a driverless car as it makes them travel sick. But whether you prefer a mystery, romance, or latest celebrity memoir, audiobooks are the way to go when driving. You can power through a lot of book in half an hour a day and it helps make the commute more bearable.
Podcasts are also a fantastic way to make the most of your commuting time. There are a massive range out there so you are guaranteed to find something to entertain or educate.
Of course if you want to make notes on anything you’ve just heard, any great ideas it prompted, or tasks you remembered, hit the pause on your audio and call MessageMia hands-free. Leave your message and then continue on your way – your transcript and original voice recording will be waiting in your email for when your driving is done.
MessageMia is your hands-free notebook and makes your driving legal, safe and productive. Just all-round better, as we can see here.
First and most importantly, it is an offence to use a mobile phone while driving. If you are holding your phone to make a note, send a text, or use an app, you are breaking the law. From 2017 the penalty is six points on your licence and a £200 fine.
For people who have recently passed their test six points is an instant removal of the driving licence. For commuters and those who drive for a living it is too big a risk to take, especially if you are already carrying points.
MessageMia is hands-free so you stay legal. Just use your normal hands-free kit with your phone to call Mia while on the road.
Using a phone while driving is illegal because it’s so dangerous, which brings up to our second advantage of MessageMia…
Accidents happen when people take their eyes and concentration off the road. The legal penalties above show just how seriously this is being taken and using your phone while driving will soon be as taboo as drink driving and speeding.
If your business has a fleet or uses drivers there are health and safety implications and liabilities to consider. You don’t want to have avoidable accidents to deal with because someone was texting or emailing while driving.
With MessageMia you or your drivers can make notes hands-free that will be emailed back and can be dealt with when it is safe.
People are tempted to be unsafe because they want to be productive while driving, which MessageMia can also help with…
Driving and commuting time might seem like wasted time because we are so limited in what we can do. But we are likely to have great ideas while driving.
The automatic gestures and concentration of driving, when our brain is on autopilot, plus the changing scenery and movement, trigger the brain to be creative and free thinking. New ideas, remembering to-do tasks, or thinking of great phrases for a speech or email are all common.
Using MessageMia you can capture all these great ideas and to-dos. It really is your hands-free notebook.
We’ve been looking at New Year’s Resolutions for the past few weeks and hopefully yours are going well. Now we are starting to come out of our New Year hangovers and get to grips with 2017 let’s start small. Really small.
We know that multitasking is out – declared unproductive and a sap on our mental bandwidth. Long, concentrated effort is where it is at now. Hours of unbroken, undisturbed time to get absorbed and find that flow state.
Which is great but unfortunately life does not always contain many spaces for such big blocks of time. Carve it out where you can find it but there’s another option too – tiny bits of time put to work and made into something great.
These snatches of time that might at first glance seem too small can be incredibly powerful when taken together. If you want to read more, practice an instrument, learn to code, write a book, draw… don’t discount smaller chunks of time. Procrastination will tell you that there’s no point if the setup isn’t perfect or you don’t have hours to devote to your project. But when done consistently on a daily basis even a few minutes can really add up. And it strengthens the habit so it becomes routine – if you get the chance to expand the time you can.
Newspapers offer digested reads, there are plenty of short instructional YouTube videos and Blinkist is a service that reduces non-fiction books to fifteen minutes of “blinks” – all great ways to squeeze a bit of learning into your day using those spare minutes waiting in line for your lunch or on the bus.
Don’t discount your commute either. Have great ideas while driving and record them safely with hands-free MessageMia. Be more productive, list your to dos and never forget a great idea while driving – call up and leave your message and it is transcribed and emailed back to you. So you can make the most of even the smallest, most inconvenient bits of time.
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.
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.
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.
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.