Nourishing Your Creative Thrive-Times

Time, energy, attention. Really at the bottom of everything. The biggest reason why something gets done, or doesn’t.

Focus. Your magic beam of creativity, or death. Your world is either expanding or contracting. Depending on how you wield your light sabre of focus.

Productivity. For me, being productive is about optimizing processes and systems in my life & biz that help me maximize my TEA + FOCUS.

Let’s have TEA, shall we?

If you haven’t read Charlie Gilkey’s Unconventional Guide to Freelancing, well… you should.

Personally, one of my biggest opportunities for growth and learning has been the entrepreneurial self-scheduling bit. Beyond just organizing my life & business for sane living, Charlie has also helped me honor my own creative thrive-times, or peak periods of my day where I’m aware I’m at my most creative and do my best work.

…so many of us fill that time with stuff that shouldn’t be in there. We’re checking email first thing in the morning when we’re at our peak. We jump on social media when we should be writing or developing a marketing plan or an application. We are picking up kids right during our peak.

What we often don’t pay enough attention to is the fact that we can’t do creative work very well when we’re off-peak, but we can do a lot of the other business and life maintenance work when we’re off-peak.

Perhaps the biggest practical implication of thinking in terms of TEA rather than time is that it can guide you to recalibrate your schedule and determine when you’re booked. [… or when to create!]

Knowing your own thrive-times is key to living happy. Setting things up to nourish you and nurture your creative thrive-times is strengthening for you & your biz. 

It’s for you and about you. Really. All for you. If we could just get that. Instead of turning it into a bunch of should’s & have-to’s…

Leveraging technology to improve your creative thrive times.

Several weeks ago I implemented a system in Gmail for automatically responding to client emails using a Gmail lab called “canned response.”

By creating a “client” filter in Gmail, each time I receive an email from a client, the following message gets automatically sent to them.

Hello Lovely You,

To support my creativity, productivity and the fine art of balancing work & play, I now check/respond to email at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on weekdays. You can expect to receive a fuller reply to your email message within 24-48 hours.

Also it’s very unlikely I’ll answer my phone unless our call is scheduled. You may still try me and if I pick up… YAY for you. If I don’t, you’ll know why. If you’d like to set a chat up, you can do that at http://snurl.com/m2calendar.

You and your email message are very important to me. And, I value time, energy and attention. It’s why anything happens (or doesn’t). Hopefully, you understand how this approach will result in a more focused & creative contribution to our relationship and the service I may be providing you at this time!

Cheers to our rich, rewarding life and work balance in the new entrepreneurial paradigm.

With appreciation & gratitude,
mm.

———————————
Really, an automated email reply? Yup, more here.

myndemayfield.wordpress.com
Web Presencing For Women
714-328-3828
———————————

In an earlier post, I explain how to map all your other email accounts into one, unified email box with Gmail using POP3 or IMAP. However, in order to get canned responses to work, I got to un-do all of the POP3-ing and simply forward emails from Godaddy (the service provider who manages my other email accounts) into my main Gmail account.

That was over a month ago. The question today is, am I really using the system the way I planned? Am I really only checking my Gmail at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m?  And, am I getting back to my most important emails within my 48-hour time frame?

This part has been challenging. In the beginning… like, the day after implementing the canned response lab, my productivity looked pretty much the same as it did the day before.  Still using my Inbox replying to client emails during “non-reply” times (at 6 a.m. or 9 p.m.), pretty much defeating the point of the my automated message; and allowing my personal self-care boundaries for nourishing my creative thrive-times to collapse. Fundamentally, my Inbox was in charge of me.

Until yesterday morning.

Hedge your creative thrive-times with ActiveInbox.

ActiveInbox is a free ‘better Gmail’ plugin (also for Google Apps), that installs into Chrome & Firefox, which helps you manage your email tasks and projects, and do faster email. There is no new system to learn, it just uses Gmail labels. Check out ActiveInbox here.

Using ActiveInbox’s fancier Gmail labels, I created two new labels called Action-10 a.m. & Action 4 p.m. Now, if my Gmail tab is open and I’m babysitting it like I’m wish I wasn’t, I quickly scan my incoming emails with the following practice.

  1. If I can answer it in under 2-minutes, I do it. Using another browser extention called Boomerang, I can schedule the email to get sent to my client later or at a specified time.
  2. If it can’t be answered in under two minutes, I apply one of the new labels (10am or 4pm) and archive the message so it’s outta my inbox. Applying the ActionInbox label essentially marks the email like a “task” which I can review from the new “ActiveInbox” sidebar in my Gmail left-hand navigation. I can manage, edit, assign the email to a project and when I’ve completed the assignment/task related to the email, I mark it ‘finished’ and it’s removed from my “to-do” list in ActiveInbox.

(full screen image)

My current inbox now looks like this. Yes, just one email (with the Preview Pane Lab enabled). If you don’t know what a Gmail lab is, I’ve written a post about the 7 Gmail labs you should be using. And this morning, I added Preview Pane to the list after I did a David Blaine on my Inbox thanks to ActiveInbox.

(full screen image)

 

I’m already feeling 1000% better.

I’ve layered in another system. On top of some already-working-for-me systems & processes in place in my business. That’s how you do it. One layer or piece or bite, at a time.

Now that I have a system in place to organize my shizzle and one that helps me create and honor my personal creative thrive-times, I can get on to doing what I love… helping women on the mission of sharing their creativity with the world.

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7 Gmail Labs You Should Be Using

Gmail. It’s the email system I use and recommend.

With so many good reasons… like its ability to receive email from other accounts from around the web (up to five). So you can see everything, in one email interface.

Gmail Labs offers users experimental features that aren’t quite ready for primetime. You should also be warned that an enabled Lab can change, break, or disappear at any time.

Here are 7 Gmail Labs I recommend enabling immediately after setting up your first Gmail account.

For your Inbox

Refresh POP accounts – Remember the idea about corralling your emails into one location that I mentioned above? This Lab will fetch messages from your POP accounts on demand by using the refresh link on top of the inbox.

Undo Send – Oops, hit “Send” too soon? Stop messages from being sent for a few seconds after hitting the send button.

Send & Archive – Adds a button to the compose form that lets you send a reply message and archive the email conversation in a single action.

Inbox Preview – Show a simple, static preview of the inbox while loading.

Nested Labels – Manage your email by sorting it into a hierarchy of labels. Add slashes (/) to label names to express inheritance. For example, if you want a Home label with two child labels named Kids and Shopping, create the three following labels: Home, Home/Kids and Home/Shopping.

Google Calendar Widget – Adds a box in the left column which shows your Google Calendar. See upcoming events, locations, and details.

For your Calendar

World Clock – if you’re working with people from other parts of our planet, this widget displays world time zones of your choice, in the upper right hand side of your calendar.

Enabling Your Labs

Here’s a live demo of me showing you where Labs is located in my own Gmail Inbox & Calendar Settings or you can follow the step-by-step instructions I’ve outlined below.

Inbox Labs

  • Log in to your Gmail account.
  • In the upper right-hand corner, click Settings.
  • Eyes back to main column of your web screen under Settings heading, find the Labs links (fourth from the end).
  • On the next screen, scroll through the available Labs clicking the “enable” radio button next to each Lab you’d like to use.
  • Click the “Save” button at the bottom of your screen.

Calendar Labs

  • Log in to your Gmail account.
  • Click Calendar.
  • Upper right-hand corner, click Settings > Calendar settings.
  • Then follow the same steps from above to locate the World Clock Lab (it’s at the very bottom).
  • Don’t forget to click Save.

That’s it. Now your Gmail Inbox and Calendar can work a little bit better for you and your biz too. If you’ve found this post helpful, consider a kind retweet or share using the buttons below.

Writing Wishes For 2011

Reverb10.com. An annual event and online initiative to reflect on your year and manifest what’s next. The end of the year is an opportunity to reflect on what’s happened, and to send out reverberations for the year ahead.

December 2 Writing. What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it? (Author: Leo Babauta).

This is such a hot topic for me. Very excited when I read it this morning. Irony is, here I sit. Late evening. About to hit publish.

I drank up many great posts today, in and outside of #reverb10, wondering if/when I would have time to write my own installment and laughing, at myself and today’s prompt.

My Short & Sweet

I’m with @whollyjeanne on this one,

Lately everything contributes to my writing. And nothing – nothing at all – was gonna’ come between me and my writing on this day. grief is messy

But I think somehow the prompt is getting at what @DanielleLaPorte says here about the ‘mastery of stop’ and saying no to what’s distracting and draining,

2. I will not leave Twitter, Facebook and Gmail open while I write. I need blocks of two to three hours to think clearly and craft that clarity into something useful. Writing is a “yes!” to all three of the questions. what’s on your stop doing list?

In terms of manifesting what’s next for my writing, I’’ll start here. In 2011, I say ‘no’ more often to distraction. I become “let nothing stand in my way” determination. And remain open and awake to the offer.

Corralling Your Email With Gmail

Gmail helps me corral my email into one place so I (hopefully) never miss it when you send me something.

Last time I talked about email accounts, only it was all about using the free email account you got when/if you’re using Godaddy to purchase & manage your domain name (what’s that?).

Why I Love Gmail

There are many, many other things that make Gmail cool other than these two things I’m about to mention that make Gmail really cool for me.

Numero Uno

The advantage of having an internet hosted email account (an email account with an internet email service provider such as Yahoo, Hotmail, or Gmail) is that no matter what computer you’re using, if it has internet connection, you can use it to access your email. From anywhere. In the world. Just need an internet-enabled computer. Score!

I like this option for traveling without my laptop or for when my computer (usually a hardware kinda thingy but software too) goes haywire like during some mercury retrograde periods.

Numero Dos

Corralling your email. Oh yes, yes, yes! The point of this post! I have several different email accounts.

Quick example:

  • mynde_mayfield  (at)  yahoo  (dot)  com,
  • Mynde  (at)  CStars4U  (dot)  com,
  • Mynde  (at)  CognizanceCoaching  (dot)  com,
  • LifeCoach (at)  FreeFromFear  (dot)  net…
  • I could go on…

If you are like me and also have several different email accounts, then using Gmail to corral all your various accounts into one Gmail account is the bomb! Using the Gmail “Account Tab” options, I can send email from my new-and-recently-set-up free Godaddy email account to my main email client (I’m on a Windows-based machine so I’m using Microsoft Outlook). And voilla, I’m receiving email from up to 5 email addresses in one place, where I like to read it!

Did you get all that?

I’m a little pressed for time this morning. I have family folks visiting for this wonderful week ending in fireworks. You know the one… the 4th o’July! Woot! o/

So instead of doing the whole screenshot-y thing which I normally like to do, you’ll have to check out some other cool resources I’ve dug up.

Attention: there may be some very short advertising slickness on the front end of these; be sure and hang tight for the video tutorial goodness!

  • Login to your Gmail Account, the corraller (this is your primary/gmail account).  Don’t have one? No problem, watch this short video (2m 25s) on how to set one up.
  • What this video called Accounts Tab in Gmail Settings (5m, 24s), which will show you how to make contact with your recently set-up free Godaddy email account(that came with your web hosting package). In this video, the instructor will cover:
    • Telling your Gmail address to display a different email address (specifying a different “Reply to” address) – cool for being super sneaky and basically “masking” your email address label so it says what you want it to say
    • Getting email from other accounts using a POP (sounds scary, keep watching though) – this is the corral part, where Gmail swoops in like an Internet Superhero and gathers all your email into one location. w00t! o/ It then stands-by at attention, awaiting for your instructions for where to send it unless you like to read it on the web, using someone else’s computer from a coffee shop in Italy. double w00t o/ o/

And if you’re still having challenges, you can set-up a WordPress consulting session to hold your hand through the process.

More Resources

Yee-Haw! Email Corralled

Your several email addresses are now nicely organized and being checked for you by Gmail. But what if you aren’t in Italy using someone else’s computer accessing the Google website to log in and retrieve your email? What if you are using your own computer which might be a Mac or Windows based machine?

How do you fetch the Gmail emails from Outlook or set it up for Apple Mail?

This Rodeo’s A Wrap

So that is how I use Gmail today. Seriously makes things a lot easier for me. And I get to tell people “it doesn’t matter what email you send it to.” It all comes to one place anyway – my Inbox!

Besides, in the-not-so-distant-future, things can change (they always do)…

Until next time,

Setting Up Your Free GoDaddy Email Account

Did you know that if you buy a domain with GoDaddy, you get one free email account with it?

Why is this important for you to know? Well, I hear a lot of requests from clients participants who have gotten their tech savvy on in one of my workshops. They say something like, “I’d really enjoy a more professional looking email address or one that matches my new website!” Example: trade in mynde_mayfield (at) yahoo (dot) com email for mynde (at) myndemayfield (dot) com.

So this post is all about getting your free GoDaddy email activated so that you can plug your new, professional looking email in everywhere on your web presence.

The “How-To-Do-It” Part

The first thing you’ll want to do is sign in to your GoDaddy account. Once you’ve signed in, hover over “Email” in the top navigation and select “My Email Account” under Email Management.

Now look for the yellow box in (about) the center of your web browsing screen. You can see in my example below that I’ve highlighted the portion you’re looking for and it says “Free email with domain – Personal Email (1 GB Total/1 Box).” Directly to the right of this is a hyperlink “Use Credit” with the total number of available “free email boxes” in parenthesis to the right. Let’s click it!

Once you click “Use Credit,” the right hand side of your web screen will refresh and present a panel that lists the domain(s) available to use your free email credit with.

Select the domain you want to use (if you only have one domain name with GoDaddy, then there will only be one option) and scroll down the panel and click the green continue button.

Once you’ve clicked the green continue button, you’ll see that the center of your web browsing screen will either show the domain’s newly created email under Email Plans (just below the yellow box from above) or add it to an existing list of domains. In my example below, I’ve highlighted the newly created email which you can see sits between several other email accounts assigned to various domains I previously secured with GoDaddy. If this is your only domain with GoDaddy, you’ll only have one “Manage Account” link to click.

After clicking the Manage Account link for your email box, your browser will open a new tab called Email Control Center (see screenshot below).

In the smaller pop-up that says “You have new or unused email plans!” Click the “Add Address” button. On the very right hand side of the new screen that’s shown you’ll see another gold “Add” button. Click it!

A new pop-up called “Create Mailbox” will appear in the center of your web browsing screen. Fill in the blanks including the Email address, domain and password.

Leave the “Space for this mailbox” as-is (you can change any of these settings later if you want to reallocate more or less space among other free email accounts if you have other GoDaddy domain names).

Also, I never check the “catch-all” checkbox unless you want a lot more spam. You can click the “What is this?” hyperlink to get GoDaddy’s explanation of what this checkbox option does.

Finally, click the gold “OK” button at the bottom of the pop-up when you’re finished.

You’ll see that once the pop-up closes, you’ll be returned to a web browsing screen that shows that your recently added mailbox is pending setup (I’ve highlighted this in the screenshot below). It can take up to a few hours for GoDaddy to do it’s behind-the-scenes thang, however, most of the time, it takes less than an hour. I just keep refreshing the screen (by hitting my F5 key) and waiting for the status to change to active.

Once it is active, go ahead and begin plugging in your new email that features your custom domain in it all over the place (web pages, blogs, biz cards, forums, etc.)

Using Your Free GoDaddy Email

Just so I don’t leave you hanging, GoDaddy does offer a web browsing ability where you log in with your GoDaddy ID and password and read/send new email from your new GoDaddy email account.

This is handy but not something I use mostly because I have so many free GoDaddy emails, it’s kinda of cumbersome.

Next week I’ll talk about what I do use, to corral all my emails from various custom domains, into one place, my Outlook Inbox.

In the meantime though, GoDaddy has a thorough email help section online that can step you through connecting your GoDaddy email to Microsoft Outlook or your Apple computer.

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