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Web App Review: AwayFind Helps You Stay Out Of Your Inbox

Web App Review: AwayFind Helps You Stay Out Of Your Inbox

Your email inbox is killing you.

Well, maybe that is a little extreme, but the peeps over at AwayFind think that living in your inbox isn’t the greatest thing in the world. So, to rid you of obsessively checking your inbox 20 times or more a day they decided to develop a new service for alerting you of important messages and helping you stay out of your inbox all day long.

The premise

The idea behind AwayFind’s service is to keep you out of your email inbox by having their service send you urgent messages and things that are worth knowing about. The service will scan your inbox and depending on what filters you have set up on the site and which notification services you have enabled, AwayFind will notify you of messages that you deem important.

AwayFind also offers a way to auto-respond to email as well as giving emailers a way to contact you via a customized web form. The service also can notify you in a ton of different ways including SMS, phone call (not for the free account), email (kind of redundant, huh?), Yahoo! Messenger, AIM, Google Talk, even native iPhone push notifications (Android coming soon).

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These kind of services always seem cool at first blush, but once you start setting it up and using it, there tends to be something missing. Let’s see what AwayFind has to offer for users.

    Setup

    With all the crazy promises and unique features of the AwayFind service you may be surprised to know that it is super easy to set up. I always dread having to sign up for a trial of a new web app, mostly because they force information out of you that you don’t want to give. Not the case at all with AwayFind; I quickly set up my account by using my Google login and I was guided through the process of setting up which way I want to be notified of something important in my email inbox.

    I setup straight SMS messages by supplying my cell number and the system sent me a verification code to enter. After the initial notification and email address setup you can then setup the filters that you want the site to apply to all of your incoming email messages.

    Two filters are already setup for you as examples. The first is an alert that sends you a message when a contact that is included in a calendar appointment within the next 12 hours emails you. The second is an email with ‘urgent’ or ‘asap’ flags. You can then setup new filters based on a contacts name, who the email is to, what the subject is, etc. You can then set up a notification to come to you between certain times on the weekdays and weekends.

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      After setting up some filters you get the chance to take a look at the other great features of AwayFind like the iPhone app that sends push notifications, intelligent auto-responders and email signatures, a customized contact form that can be used for contacts to send you alerts, etc.

      I have to say that AwayFind has done a damn good job of making a complicated thing easy to set up. Even with my technical ability, I sometimes find that these kind of services are complicated and confusing. AwayFind has made the process easy for users of all walks.

      Features

      If you are a feature hungry person and want all kinds of ways to control your incoming email, AwayFind has got you covered. The account that I tried was the free account and found that even for a “limited” version of the service, there were more features than I would possibly find myself using. Here are some of the features:

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      • AwayFind includes ways to setup intelligent filters for scanning your email and notifying you of it
      • iPhone client for push notifications (with Android coming soon)
      • Gmail and Outlook plugins so you can setup and edit filters without signing into the site
      • Custom contact form for people to fill out to contact you
      • A handy guide on how not to check your email

      Also, AwayFind offers several plans that have different amounts of features for users. There is a free version, a Monthly Starter for $15/mo, and a Yearly Pro option for $139/yr. The free plan of course includes a limited amount of features and smaller caps for alerts while the paid versions up the caps and features. You can check out the details of each plan at AwayFind’s plan overview site.

        Execution

        I found that after setting up AwayFind with a few filters that included friends that email me once or twice a week that the service was reliable and decently fast. I did sometimes notice that I would receive SMS alerts in the opposite order that I actually received the email messages, but in my opinion this is a non-issue.

        I then set up several different accounts that AwayFind could send alerts to me including my GTalk account, Twitter, and AIM accounts. I found that setting up the GTalk account took a couple of tries, but everything else was fluid and easy to set up. When receiving messages that matched the filter criteria that I outlined all my accounts alerted me in harmony. It sort of reminded me of The Office’s Ryan and his new web service “WUPHF!”. (Pronounced “Woof!”)

        Overall impressions

        I have to admit that I genuinely like what AwayFind is doing here. I think that having the ability to receive “priority” messages via SMS and other outlets is a good way to stay away from checking your inbox every 5 seconds. But, I do think that there is a small audience for this service.

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        I get a lot of email, but I find that just checking my email 2 to 3 times a day is enough for me to stay on top of things. My contacts know if there is an emergency to call or SMS me. But, if you are receiving hundreds of emails every day and are having a difficult time sifting through the endless garbage that you receive, spending some time with AwayFind’s filters may just be the way to finally take control of your email.

        At the very least, sign up for the starter account to see if this service could work for you; it is definitely worth looking at if you are obsessively checking your inbox.

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        Published on October 9, 2018

        Evernote vs OneNote: Which Improves Your Productivity Better?

        Evernote vs OneNote: Which Improves Your Productivity Better?

        Note-taking is useful in helping improve your memory and increase your productivity at work. By writing down notes, you have something tangible you can refer back to, remember what needs to be done, and regain control of your work throughout the day.

        There are thousands of different note-taking apps you can use on your desktop or mobile device. The two most popular are Evernote and Microsoft OneNote because they are incredibly efficient and effective that each has a following of extremely loyal users and advocates.

        So if it comes to Evernote vs OneNote, how do they improve productivity?

        An overview of Evernote and OneNote

        First, an introduction to the two platforms. Evernote is an app that lets you store content, take down notes, write lists, and organize all of them. While these are stored in Notebooks, the whole concept behind this productivity app is more like a Universal Inbox where you can save everything you’ve collected so you can quickly find it when you need them through the use of tags.

        Microsoft’s OneNote, on the other hand, works very much like a digital version of the notebooks you used to carry around in school. Aside from storing all your notes and different types of content you’ve collected, you can also organize them into sections, pages, and containers.

        Each of these apps offers their users a host of features to help them improve their productivity and memory. Also, because no app is perfect, each also has their strengths and limitations.

        To get a better idea of which app will be your best choice, we’ll be comparing the two based on three key features most used by their users: collecting information, note-taking, and mobility.

        Collecting information

        Both the OneNote and Evernote come with their own web clipper extension that allows you to quickly collect and store information from different websites as you find them.

        Both give you the option to choose whether you’d like to save the entire web page as is, a simplified version without the ads, or just a section of the page. You can also add some notes before saving them to make it easier for you to remember why you “clipped” that particular resource.

        Since OneNote gives you more structure to organize your content, its web clipper allows you to choose not just which notebook to save the details, but also what section within the notebook.

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          Source: OneNote.com

          Evernote gives you the option to add tags to your web clippings before you save it, so it’s easier for you to search for it later.

          Premium users get access to Evernote’s Related Results feature located in its Options section. When you search on Google, Evernote will launch a secondary search that will show all the notes related to the keyword you used in searching for information.

            Source: Zapier.com

            This feature, according to Jeremy Skillings, President of Youcanbefound.com, is beneficial because it lets you know what information you already have stored in your notes.

            “In some cases whenever I do my research, I find out through this feature that I already have the exact information I need stored in my Evernote account. That alone cuts back a significant amount of the time I spend on projects.”

            Note-taking

            Both of these productivity apps allow you to create and format your notes to create rich documents. Among these features include changing the font size and color, adding tables, and inserting media files.

            Evernote’s note-taking features are very similar to a Word document in that it’s very structured concerning how you input your notes.

              Professionals who need to be able to build and access well-structured docs in the field make up much of Evernote’s loyal fanbase. One such 2-year user in the real estate field, Anthony Gilbert of RealFX.com, liked the formatting options, but admitted that there were still some downsides to the rigidly formatted approach.

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              While he enjoyed the features, his personal experience with using it in the field revealed that the formatting features,“mean that if you need to change parts of your notes around, it can get tedious”. He continued, “the formatting features are quite finicky, so you may need a bit of patience to get the end results you are looking for.”

              Professionals who need to be able to build and access well-structured docs in the field make up much of Evernote’s loyal fanbase. One such 2-year user in the real estate field, Anthony Gilbertof RealFX.com, liked the formatting options, but admitted that there were still some downsides to the rigidly formatted approach.

              Structuring your notes properly from the get-go can have an effect on your productivity. A blank slate can sometimes be puzzling. Evernote allows the ability to use battle-tested templates and workflows that save you time. They can provide inspiration and structure on what’s possible.

              On the other hand, OneNote gives its users more versatility and flexibility in the way notes are created. You can click at any area of the page and begin typing. If you need to move things around, you can drag and drop sections of your notes to the right place.

              On the other hand, OneNote gives its users more versatility and flexibility in the way you create your notes. You can click at any area of the page and begin typing. If you need to move things around, you can drag and drop sections of your notes to the right place.

                Source: Lifehacker

                Also, it gives you the option to create Templates that you can use to layout your page properly, so all you’ll need to do is to fill in the information.

                  Source: MakeUseOf

                  This is a particularly handy feature that stood out to many of the people who shared their love of OneNote with me. Steve Lionais, longtime user and Co-Founder & CEO of Dr-Bill.ca, claims that this feature helped him build his business by affecting his memory in a powerful and helpful way.

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                  “This [feature] is what makes OneNote great memory retention app,” he said of the templates. “I find that I remember things more when they are arranged in a certain way. OneNote allowed me to do that for my meeting and presentation notes, so I don’t have to spend a lot of time trying to find the next point!”

                  However, what really makes OneNote the winner of this round is its ability to allow you to embed media files from other sources like Youtube. In addition to including the link, OneNote launches a media player, allowing you to watch the video or listen to the audio file directly from the page where you saved it.

                    Source: Windows Central

                    Mobility

                    Evernote and OneNote can be used both on desktops and mobile devices. At the same time, they provide their users with the ability to sync the content from one device to the other.

                    Judging which of the two productivity apps is best here is quite tricky because it greatly depends on several factors. One of these is the operating software you use.

                    Many of the power users we asked were using iOS, and that put some points toward Evernote. Greg Reese of AmeriEstate.com found himself frequently using the built-in camera option (and other iOS integrations) to manage his daily duties as President.

                      Evernote’s camera also integrates with Post-It, Moleskin notebook pages, and business cards. When you take a photo of any of these, the camera will capture the information and format this for Evernote so that it’s quick to find it when you search.

                      OneNote, on the other hand, dominates the Android environment. In addition to the app, Android users will also find a OneNote floating badge on the side of the home screen. So you can take notes on the go very quickly.

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                        Source: MS Power User

                        Another factor to consider is the cloud storage you use. For you to sync OneNote across different devices, you’ll need to first set up an account with OneDrive, which is Microsoft’s cloud storage service.

                        “This is something that Evernote users like me don’t have to worry about,” according to Matt Willens, Head Attorney for Willens Law Offices. “Whether you use a free account or one of their paid plans, you can immediately sync your devices without having to get a separate cloud storage account.”

                        The drawback here is the amount of storage and number of devices that you can sync. Free users are only given 60MB of storage space and can sync up to two devices. If you need more storage space, you’ll have to get the paid plans.

                        Which app is better for improving memory and productivity?

                        The honest—and most straightforward—answer is:

                        It depends on you.

                        While Evernote and OneNote have their strengths and weaknesses, how well it will help improve productivity and memory greatly depends on what works best for you.

                        If you find that you’re able to work best and remember things more using visual cues, OneNote will be the best productivity app to use. However, if you consider the speed and ease of finding the information you need as your top priority, Evernote will be your best option.

                        Since both productivity apps have free versions, you can give both a try and see where you’re most comfortable. In the end, the right productivity app to use is one that complements the way you work and do things rather than dictating to you how you should get them done.

                        Featured photo credit: Yura Fresh via unsplash.com

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