Advertising
Advertising

AwayFind Adds Multiple Calendar Support and a New Outlook Plugin

AwayFind Adds Multiple Calendar Support and a New Outlook Plugin

AwayFind has been one of our favorite tools here at Lifehack for keeping you out of your inbox and concentrated on the important work that you have to do.

If you aren’t familiar with this excellent tool, it is a service that allows you to be notified of certain events or emails based on rules that you have defined. For instance, if you only want to see emails from a certain person or even certain domain, you can set up a rule where AwayFind will notify you when you receive messages from the filtered user or domain.

Today, AwayFind is adding even more functionality to the platform; multiple calendar alert support and the beta release of their new Outlook plugin.

Advertising

Multiple Calendar Support

    Currently in your AwayFind account you can add a calendar that can be used to help notify you of invitee changes. For instance, say you have a meeting with bob@me.com at noon but Bob doesn’t really want to meet you anymore (how could you be so mean to Bob?). If Bob emails you with the same email address that the calendar invite was made with, then AwayFind is smart enough to say “hey, you have an upcoming appointment with bob@me.com, I’m going to alert you of this email. It may be important.”

    Even if bob@me.com isn’t on your filter email list, you will still get the notification. This is a great feature for people that have a lot of meetings and want to be notified of last minute changes. But, before today you could only have setup one calendar to track.

    Advertising

    Now AwayFind lets you track multiple calendars from multiple email addresses so you can be notified of appointments from all facets of your life.

    Beta Outlook Plugin

      Let’s face it. If you are in the corporate world, you probably run on Exchange and Outlook whether you like it or not. Personally, I kind of like using Outlook, especially Outlook 2010 for email when I’m using Windows.

      Advertising

      All that aside, AwayFind found that many corporate customers that were using Outlook would like some extra functionality, so starting today you can get an Outlook plugin (currently in beta) that will integrate nicely with your AwayFind account.

      Instead of keeping your Outlook open all day long and being beaten to death with alerts, you can “follow” a message with the new plugin and setup alerts to be delivered to you via SMS, phone call, iPhone or Android app, etc. You can even set a time that you would like to “follow” this sender (for the next day, week, month, or lifetime).

      This is a super fast way to be reminded of something important without having to be tied to your inbox all day long. Definitely something that I will be using at work! The beta Outlook plugin will work with Outlook 2003-2010.

      Advertising

      We don’t usually do too many product announcements here at Lifehack, but like I said before, AwayFind is one of our favorites. If you want to give AwayFind a try head on over to their site and start a free trial. If you get a lot of email, AwayFind is a game changer.

        More by this author

        CM Smith

        A technologist and writer who shares advice on personal productivity, creativity and how to use technology to get things done.

        5 Project Management Tools to Get Your Team on Track To Automate or not to Automate Your Personal Productivity System How to Beat Procrastination: 29 Simple Tweaks to Make Design Is Important: How To Fail At Blogging 7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively 6 Unexpected Ways Journaling Every Day Will Make Your Life Better

        Trending in Productivity

        1 5 Practical Ways to Get Over a Mental Block 2 How to Use the 5 Whys to Get to the Root Cause of Any Problem 3 6 Characteristics of an Effective Leadership 4 15 Must-Have Qualities of a Good Leader 5 20 Useful Things to Learn Now That Will Change Your Life

        Read Next

        Advertising
        Advertising
        Advertising

        Last Updated on September 17, 2020

        5 Practical Ways to Get Over a Mental Block

        5 Practical Ways to Get Over a Mental Block

        There’s nothing quite like a state of “flow” when you’re working. The rare moments when your inspiration aligns with your motivation likely lead to some of your most creative work. Plus, it feels great to actually check a task or project off the list so you can move on to the next thing. Meanwhile, a mental block — its opposite — can cause work to feel laborious and uninspired. Forget creativity when you have a mental block — it makes it difficult even to start working on what you need to do.

        A mental block can manifest in several ways. Perhaps your imposter syndrome is squelching your creative ideas, for instance, or you’re overwhelmed by the breadth of a project and its impending deadline. Maybe you’re just tired or stressed.

        Either way, having a mental block feels like being trapped in your own head, and it can seriously dampen your ability to think outside the box. The problem is, you’re so locked into your own perspective that you don’t see more innovative approaches to your problems.[1]

        Luckily, jumping over these mental hurdles is simpler than you think. You just need the right strategies to get your flow back.

        Try these five practical ways to overcome a mental block.

        1. Break Your Project Down

        A few years ago, I was working on changing a company product that I believed would hugely benefit our customers. Sounds great, right?

        Advertising

        As inspired as I was to make people’s lives easier, though, the sheer magnitude of the task at hand felt overwhelming. Every morning, I cracked open my laptop to work and felt totally paralyzed. I loved the idea, yes, but actualizing it felt risky. What if it didn’t turn out the way I pictured in my mind? More importantly, where would I even begin?

        A former colleague gave me great advice over coffee:

        Change how you think. Start by breaking the big project down into small tasks.

        When a major project overwhelms you, you only see the entire forest instead of the individual trees. And as you stare it down, you start to feel discouraged by your own lack of progress, thus slowing you down further.

        Breaking down a massive task into smaller chunks makes the work feel more manageable. You’ll have multiple clear places to start and end with, which will lend a motivating sense of productivity and mastery to your process. Learn more about it here: The Motivation Flowchart: The Mental Process of Successful People

        Think of it as accumulating small wins. When you realize you’re more capable than you have once thought, you’ll develop the momentum and confidence needed to get your big job done little by little.[2]

        Advertising

        2. Change Up Your Scenery

        Of course, there’s a time and place for sitting down to get things done. But if you’re experiencing a mental block, switching up your surroundings can make a big difference in your output.

        Have you ever noticed how your environment directly impacts your performance and mood?

        Your brain associates your physical surroundings with certain feelings and activities. So, if you feel mentally stuck, your mind may need some new sensory stimuli.

        During this time in your life, it may not be possible to set up shop at a cafe or move from your cubicle to a conference room, so you may need to think outside the box. If you’re working remotely in a home office, try going to your dining table or couch. If the weather cooperates, sit outside for a bit with your computer or take a walk around the block.

        You can also simply rearrange your workspace. Not sure where to begin? Try decluttering. Some studies show that an organized desk enhances productivity.[3]

        The point is to stimulate your brain with new sounds and sights. You may find a much-needed dose of inspiration when you work while breathing in the fresh air, listening to city sounds, or staying in the comfort of your own living space.

        Advertising

        3. Do an Unrelated Activity

        When it comes to productivity, a bit of distraction isn’t always a bad thing. That’s especially true if your chosen distraction helps you get things done in the long run.

        Have you realized how your most creative thoughts tend to bubble up when you’re, say, lying in bed or taking a shower? In their research of the “incubation period,” scientists have discovered that people’s best ideas seem to surface when they aren’t actively trying to solve a problem.[4]

        In a 2010 study, participants needed to look for a roommate or new employee based on the profiles that the researchers gave. The people who had a brief “incubation period” — in this case, working on an anagram — consistently made better choices than those who spent more time weighing their options.

        If you can’t seem to prime your brain for a project, try doing something completely unrelated to work, such as washing your dishes, working out, or calling a friend. Some experts say finding another low-stake project to work on can help jump-start the creative part of your brain and activate your flow.[5]

        The key is to allow your unconscious mind to do its best work: eliciting the new knowledge your conscious mind may be ignoring or suppressing.[6]

        4. Be Physical

        Feeling antsy? When your mind won’t seem to settle into a state of flow, it may help to swap out your mental activity for a physical one and see how it impacts your perspective.

        Advertising

        While any physical activity is beneficial for your body — and getting up to move can serve as a helpful form of distraction — certain forms of exercise can more directly impact the mind. To be specific, relaxing, flow-based exercises like dance, yoga, or tai chi can create a gentle sense of momentum in your body, which can prime your brain for the same state.

        Stress-reducing activities may also be necessary. Meditating or taking slow, deep breaths will also calm your nervous system if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Evidence shows that the logical, creative part of your brain essentially shuts off when you’re stressed.[7]

        On the flip side, when your mind and body are relaxed, you can think more clearly, be more creative, and focus for longer periods — all of which will help you overcome a mental block.

        5. Don’t Force It

        It can be frustrating to fight against your own mind. If your mental block won’t go away after some effort, it may be time to take a break. Forcing creative thoughts only adds to your stress levels, which in turn inhibits your ability to think creatively. And if you sit and stare at a project for too long, you’ll not only waste valuable time but also begin to associate this specific work with frustration and produce work you’re not proud of.

        “I know that forcing something is not going to create anything beyond mediocre, so I step aside and work on a different project until it hits me,” the artist Ben Skinner said about his creative process.[8]

        If your work isn’t time-sensitive, then it may make sense to step away for a while to focus on something else, be it an administrative task that requires less creativity or a project that you feel motivated to work on.

        When the time is right, you’ll find your way back to the original task with a fresh, creative perspective (hopefully).

        More on Getting Rid of a Mental Block

        Featured photo credit: Jonas Leupe via unsplash.com

        Reference

        Read Next