Dial2Do: a simple way to update Twitter, Facebook and your blog

on phone

There are a lot of ways that you can now send emails and update your Twitter, Facebook and blog. Smartphones make it easier to do so when away from your computer. What if you don’t have a smartphone yet, or access to all of the handy apps that are available? Or what if you do, but want a quick easy way to do it?

Dial2Do is a free site that does these things for you. You call a number. Say what you want posted, then finish with “Twitter”, or “email” etc. They transcribe it and take care of the rest.

From the site:

Dial2Do lets you do common tasks by just calling a number and speaking. Use it to send EMAIL or TEXT messages, record REMINDERS to help you remember things, post updates to your TWITTER or JAIKU stream and LISTEN to your favourite internet content. It’s easy and handsfree..

For more info: watch the tutorial video here and read the FAQs.

Note: There are currently 26 countries that this site works in [though it only works in English]. See the listing on the FAQs page.

photo credit

Managing your time online

clocksphoto credit

When I first started blogging over 4 years ago, it was easy for me to manage my time. I sat down to write a post, edited it, posted it and that was that. I didn’t know anyone else who had a blog, so I didn’t spend time reading other blogs. There wasn’t Twitter. I wasn’t using Facebook. I didn’t know what a feed-reader was. My online life was manageable.

But soon, I realized that there were blogs. MANY blogs. Written by other people. And they were interesting. My “Bookmarks” list in my browser became flooded with links. I quickly realized that method was futile. I spent my time going through that list each day only to realize that there was nothing new to read. Wasted time.

Fortunately, I discovered feed-readers and that solved that problem.

Enter Twitter. And Facebook. And the hundreds of blogs that I ended up subscribed to. And all of the other social media sites that I became involved with.

If I hadn’t realized a way to wrestle all of those things under control, I’d be sitting in a corner sucking my thumb and rocking, mumbling something incoherent. That’s not to say that I have time management down to a science. I don’t. But I have found some things that help me maintain my sanity, while also continuing to grow my sites and business online. You won’t necessarily find anything new on this list, but we all need to be reminded of these things on occasion.

1) PRIORITIZE: Your to-do list is probably a mile long. Face it – you aren’t going to get it all done today (and that’s ok.) But what you can do is look your list over and find the items that have a glaring need for your attention. Put those things at the top of your list. AND DO THEM. If you can’t complete the entire task, break it into little chunks and check those off as you complete them.

2) STOP PROCRASTINATING: If it needs to be done now, do it. Ignoring it will not make it disappear off of your list. It will only serve as a further distraction as you start to worry about the fact that it isn’t getting done. So just do it. You’ll feel better once it’s checked off of your list.

3) USE APPLICATIONS/TOOLS THAT ALLOW YOU TO BE MORE EFFECTIVE AND EFFICIENT: When I first started using Twitter, I hated it. I found myself on the Twitter website obsessively refreshing to see if someone had replied to any of my comments (“Why doesn’t anyone else see how witty I am on there?”). I wasted so much time doing that, I had to just quit Twitter for a couple of months. Then I learned about Twhrl and was hooked on Twitter once again. Only this time, I was able to use it in a way didn’t take me away from other work I was doing. If someone responded to me, I received a little notice on my screen. There are so many applications that make using Twitter so much easier and I’ve tried most of them. Tweetdeck has been my favorite, and each new version adds something that makes me enjoy it even more. Try them out and see which one helps you the most.

(*NOTE* I will be posting tutorials on some of the helpful features for each Twitter application/tool in an upcoming series)

4) KNOW WHEN TO CLOSE OTHER APPLICATIONS: The internet allows us to be in multiple places at one time. On so many levels, this is a fantastic thing. But when you are trying to get work done, it leads to overload. If you have too many programs open on your computer screaming for your attention it will become a major distraction. If you need to write a blog post, close down every program except for the ones you need in order to write your post. Don’t keep Tweetdeck or Skype or GoogleChat open, unless you have to have access to write your post. (And if that’s the case, consider doing that portion of your post separately) Those are tools meant to help you. Just as you can turn off your phone to keep from being interrupted, you can turn these other distractions off as well.

5) ALLOW YOURSELF TO BECOME PICKIER ABOUT WHERE YOU SPEND YOUR TIME ONLINE: When I first started reading other people’s blogs, I had the time to do it. Soon, my reader had become too full. At first I tried breaking them down into types of blogs (eg: design sites; blogging friends; cooking sites…) but my reader still caused me anxiety when I’d open it and find 500+ new posts waiting to be read. I was so afraid of missing something that I’d try to make it through that list (Oh yes I did…). But when I got to the end, I realized that I couldn’t recall most of it. That is because not all of it was relevant to me anymore. My needs had changed. I no longer needed every single design site (And really — did I ever??). So I whittled my list down to the select few that I consistently found myself referring to. I did that for each type of site I had in my reader. If it was not useful to me, I removed it.

6) ALWAYS HAVE SEVERAL POSTS STARTED IN YOUR DRAFTS: At any given time, I have at least 4 posts in my drafts folder that I can work on. This allows me to work on them as inspiration hits, but it also keeps me prepared for those times when something unexpected happens and I need to get a post up. If you are a blogger with a regular posting schedule, this can be a life-preserver in a pinch.

7) DEDICATE PARTS OF YOUR DAY TO VARIOUS TASKS: If you were at work in a corporate office, you would most likely have some sort of schedule that you’d follow through the day. It should be no different when you are sitting in front of your laptop at your kitchen table. Come up with a schedule/game plan for how you will spend your computer time. Twitter won’t die if you aren’t on there every 20 minutes. Facebook will carry on without you while you complete your current project. Set aside times of the day to spend on each of the sites you frequent. Consider what times of day are most active on those sites. (eg: Twitter is most active in the evening/night hours… but you may have people you call on who are most active in the morning) Feel free to allow for flexibility with it, but be aware of how much time you are spending on each site and how much time it is taking away from the other things you need to get done, and plan your time accordingly.

Time management doesn’t always come naturally to us. We want to do what we want to do. But sometimes, we have to do other things. With some focus dedicated to those things, you will soon find that your day feels more in control.

How do you manage your time? Share in comments.

Giveaway: Get Organized with FranklinCovey

It is always important to be organized on the job. However, for some reason, especially when starting out, when someone works from home, they are likely fall victim to the “winging-it” way of doing things. Nothing will get you started out on the wrong foot more than being disorganized.

This week we will be focusing on getting organized when working from home. And what’s a better way to kick that off than to give away some goodies from one of the leading daily planner companies?

There are lots of daily planners out there. But FranklinCovey has some of the most comprehensive planners on the market. Additionally, they offer webinar classes on organizing and planning.

I am so excited to be able to offer a planning system and online session to one lucky winner.

The winner of this giveaway will receive a FranklinCovey Complete Planning Kit and a session of LiveClicks of their choice.

33296_lrgcase

The Kit includes includes all of the tools that the Focus Seminar Attendees receive when they go through the training course. It will has dated daily planning pages, tabs in the back to keep track of your goals, roles, values and finances, a storage piece to keep your extra pages and accessories and some other accessories as well as a vinyl binder.

About LiveClicks:

Now anyone can experience the world-renowned benefits of FranklinCovey training, no matter where they live or work around the globe. LiveClicks webinar workshops by FranklinCovey are one-to-two-hour online training sessions that offer compelling content award winning videos, and live engagement with expert consultants.

FOR YOURSELF

Are you trying to improve your abilities but can’t afford to take too much time away from your home or office? With our weekly schedule of LiveClicks webinars you’ll experience highly engaging training right from your desk on a wide variety of topics. Award winning videos, exciting activities and live communication with the instructor will help you learn better and retain the knowledge you’ve received.

  • Save time and money
  • Get trained without the obstacles or cost of traveling
  • Increase your effectiveness and impact in your current roles
  • Decrease time away from your office and your family

To enter to win:

Leave a comment on this post.

You can also receive additional entries for each of the following that you do:

1) Twitter about the contest and link to the actual twitter (not just your twitter account) Receive an additional entry for each day you twitter about it, as well.

2) Write about the contest and/or Modern Media Mom on your blog and link to it in comments.

3) Link to it on Facebook

Contest will run until Saturday, May 30th. I will announce the winner at 5pm.

Many thanks to FranklinCovey for this fantastic giveaway.

Work From Home Productively AND Keep Your Sanity

I came home to be a stay-at-home mom as soon as my first child was born and I stayed utterly and completely satisfied for the first 2.5 years. Around that time, I started looking for a creative outlet. I took a [very] part time job at a print and sign shop and within a couple of months, I was already planning out how to start my own business doing the same thing from my own home.

It was slow going at first. There were many stops and starts along the way. But eventually, I was online and selling my goods and services. Managing it with 2 small kids was one thing. Since then, I’ve had two more children and my organizational skills have been put to the test on a daily basis.

When you work from home there is still laundry to deal with. Meals to prepare. Diapers to change. Faces to wipe. And (because the main reason I’m at home is to be available for my kids) kids to teach and play with.

For years I’ve struggled with how to balance it so that most of the time, my home and work are tended to by me. They both deserve my attention. Additionally, I have to fight my tendency to be a procrastinator and disorganized.

Perhaps you are in that same spot. Maybe you are just now thinking about working from home and the details involved. Perhaps you already have it figured out (hello! care to help me write this series then?)

Each day during this series, I am going to be highlighting tips from people who were kind enough to share with me their ideas on how they make it work. They run the gamut – some are very opposite ideas, but they each work for the people implementing them. Hopefully, you will be able to gather enough information to organize your life so that you can work from home productively AND keep your sanity.

Be sure to subscribe to the site feed. There are some great giveaways that you won’t want to miss: a FranklinCovey Organizing System Kit, copies of Simple Mom’s ebook “Spring Cleaning for Normal People” and Mary Byer’s “Making Work From Home Work” and several other goodies.

Family Management Tools – Using Cozi

If you are anything like me, you’ve got lists all over the place. Lists for groceries, lists of activities on a calendar, lists of memories that you may one day (but probably will never) scrapbook… And they probably are covering your fridge.

It’s hard keeping track of everything that goes on around a home – field trips, meetings, sports practices.

Cozi is a site where you can manage your family’s calendar, make lists (groceries, to do) and even post photos and journal.

And it is super simple to figure out. Better yet – it’s free!

Your home page will look something like this (but not with that super cute baby – he’s mine):

(click photos to enlarge for more detail)

cozi home screenshot

You will immediately have access to your journal, calendar and shopping lists.

When you choose your calendar and set it up, you can assign a different color for each family member. Then when you view your calendar, choose to view all members or individuals:

family calendar screen shot

Access your lists – create new ones, print them, even search for recipes (!):

Cozi grocery list screenshot

And be sure to use the journal to jot down things you don’t want to forget, such as cute babies in a vest and tie:

family journal screenshot

See – simple. You are sure to find something about Cozi that will help you manage your family better, and allow you to see your fridge again.

photo: striatic; screenshots: mine