I have a very important exam at the end of March so I am taking most of March to study for this exam so that I hopefully pass the exam. It is a 2 day lab based exam and not easy so wish me luck!
Here are my collection of links for this week.
My first link for this week is to a great email productivity tool called AwayFind. I have been using AwayFind for a good few months and it really is my email savior. I have just been sent an invite to the Private Beta of version 2.0 so I thought I would add it to my links as I will be no doubt covering all the new features in a new blog post.
My second link is a link to a great detailed post showing you how to save Safari Browsing Sessions to Evernote. This post shows you how with the help of a little AppleScript you can get all your active Safari tabs saved into Evernote. Great helpful post.
This blog post is worth reading as it will save you time, just as it saved me time. I use AwayFind as my email solution and do not get paid anything for telling you that I use it. You are getting the best type of recommendation for this product as I am a Raving Fan of it and believe that it can save you time.
I get a lot of free invites and requests to check things out but after a few days, I did manage to log in to the account that had been created for me and check it out. I am happy to say that I was very happy with what I saw.
Awayfind is not just a web tool,
it’s a blueprint for escaping email, with a handbook and a community to ensure your success.
In a nutshell, AwayFind is a web application that provides you with a web contact form that you can use in your email signature or auto-responder that enables people to contact you. There is also a methodology and associated free eBook once you sign up with simple, clear instructions on how to configure the system in order to reduce the burden email puts you under.
So, somebody sends you an email. Your auto-responder thanks them and tells them you are not checking email frequently so if their matter is urgent to please contact you via the AwayFind contact form. If the matter is not urgent, the email stays in your inbox ready for you to read it at your will.
If the matter is urgent, they will fill in the contact form and you will be contacted immediately via your preferred method.
Once you have an account you can login and from here you get your AwayFind Inbox and a very simple control panel. The first thing you want to be doing is editing your contact form.
This contact form is the form that you will direct people to in order to get in touch with you and it is the key component of the AwayFind service.
You can really personalize this form with your own details and logos to make it look an extension of your corporate branding.
Once this is complete, the next important step is to set how AwayFind reaches you. This is the method of contact once somebody completes the AwayFind web contact form. This is an important part. If you are not checking email, there is no point using your main email address as the contact method. It kind of defeats the purpose.
The way I use this is twofold. I have entered my cell phone number so that I get an SMS message and I have also cleverly entered my MobileMe email address.
As I use an iPhone and MobileMe, these emails are pushed to me and it does work pretty neat. I do not use the MobileMe address for much else so I know when I get an email on that account it is an important one. I sometimes have data and no cell coverage and sometimes cell coverage and no data. So, I always know I will get the urgent message.
Once AwayFind is configured you need to set up your mail server to send the auto-responder, for which instructions are available via AwayFind for the major mail server vendors. AwayFind even produce some sample auto-responders for you to use.
Well, I have been using AwayFind for the last month or so. I check email twice a day, or when I need to. I have stopped mail notifications and I manually check email on my iPhone.
I am totally free of “notification twitch”, that common complaint suffered by anybody who has ever owned a Blackberry!
I get on average two or three urgent requests a week. I have had no complaints out of people who email me, just curiosity about the system and how much time it is saving me.
If you want to save time and check email only twice a day, or less, then you either risk missing the occasional important time sensitive emails or you sign up to AwayFind.
I do realize that this will not work for everybody as unfortunately some people would not get away with this in their working environment due to the outdated attitudes of their superiors. However, give it a try, make them try it and I am sure, that you will see the benefit of the system.
I know this has sounded like a long sales pitch, but it is a subject that I am passionate about and I am full of enthusiasm for AwayFind. I wish them every success.
Have any of you tried AwayFind?, any views about the service or methodology? I would love to hear.
It has been a couple of weeks since my last post on the subject of Email Productivity. In my last post I had hit a few problems with my rigid system due to the fact that I was working on a news story and therefore I had a requirement to check email much more than I would have normally done as I was getting very important information via email that required immediate action.
Unfortunately, whilst doing this it also meant that I collected my other email at the same time as well, totally blowing my email productivity system out of the water.
What I had achieved so far was to reduce the amount of timed I checked email from 62 times to 4 times during a working day. I loosely worked out that this was saving me around 93 minutes in my working day. Now, that is a pretty nice saving!
The only issue was, if somebody needed to get a hold of me between the times I checked email, they couldn’t. Obviously if they had my mobile phone number they could try that but I do tend to screen mobile calls from unknown numbers (another good post topic). So, the system fell down during the time when I was receiving time sensitive emails that required my attention.
During my normal working day, there are not that many times when somebody MUST get hold of me as a matter of urgency. I estimate that this requirement may be once every two or three days, when my input is required at that point either to answer a critical customer request or to provide information to the sales team in order to close a deal.
So, I needed a solution that allowed me to check email less frequently, but still provided a way for urgent emails to get through.
As a matter of sheer co-incidence, I was contacted via Facebook by a reader of this blog about a new web application and servie that he was launching called AwayFind. Sounded very interesting so I checked it out.
AwayFind is based on a principle from the Four Hour Work Week book by Timothy Ferris. I have read this book and loved it, although a lot of it is very impractical in my opinion I still picked up some great snippets from it. The review of the book has been in draft post format and I am just waiting for my third copy of the book to arrive as it is that good I keep giving it away!
Here is the blurb about AwayFind from their website:
AwayFind is a communication tool that bridges the gap between emails and phone calls. AwayFind enables people to reach you with critical information via a web link to your AwayFind Contact Form. Just place this link in your “out of office” auto response message or your email signature. This Contact Form routes messages to your cell phone or delegates them to your co-workers. When traveling with limited cellular or internet access, you can also quickly login to AwayFind and read only your critical messages.
I started to use AwayFind but must admit that I expected a few people to hate it. We were in the middle of migrating company email from IMAP to the Google Apps cloud services so it was a perfect time to start using AwayFind.
Now I am not going to go into too much depth about AwayFind as I am drafting a full review that I will link to from here once the review is ready.
The service from AwayFind auto responds to people who send you email letting them know that you do not check email frequently. There is a URL provided in the auto responder that points them to your branded AwayFind page.
From this page users can send you a message that can be delivered to you in a number of ways such as Email or SMS Text Message.
I have been using this system now for the past three weeks and it is fantastic. People have commented on how good it is as they do not expect an immediate response but they have a mechanism of getting a hold of me with their urgent requirements.
I now check email two to three times a day, when my schedule permits. Email does not control me, I control it..
This pretty much wraps up this mini email series. I went out looking for a solution and I think I found one that fits my working life and practices. I am going to attempt to write a little email productivity eBook that I will provide via this site covering my problems and solutions. I am also going to review AwayFind in great detail along with the way I have implemented it.
I hope you have enjoyed this mini series, please let me know your thoughts and comments.