Productivity

Summer’s here! Get some fresh air!

One of the things a good Digital Coach should do is to make people’s work lives more comfortable and healthy.  So here’s a tip that should help get you out of the dull office environment.

I decided to take my office outside the other day and work in the fresh air for a change. Was I in for a surprise!

I sat at our coffee nook, opened up the laptop and wondered why I couldn’t see anything on the screen. Then I moved closer to the screen and could barely make out the login screen. There was just enough sun coming through the trees that my eyes adjusted for that and made the relatively dim screen even dimmer!

So, I went on an internet hunt to find a solution. I searched for “laptop umbrellas” and found this interesting article…

You can see the post on Free Ideas Space.  It’s definitely an interesting use of, hopefully, an old laptop but not exactly what I was looking for.

I continued that search for a few minutes and found lots of laptop bags that come with regular umbrellas for rainy days, but nothing that I was looking for.

I changed my search terms to “using a laptop outdoors” and had a little better luck.  I found lots of folks talking about the problem of using a laptop with a glossy screen outside, and a few tips.

Thomas N. Burg had this unique, and inexpensive device posted on his blog.  He calls it a “Sunbox”. I’m sure it works well.  I’ll let you decide if you want to  use something like this.

I did find lots of forum and blog posts with people asking the same questions and getting the same answers – move to a shady location (easily done), get a laptop with an anti-glare screen (expensive), put the laptop away and have a beer!  One person did suggest adjusting the screen brightness.  Why didn’t I think of that!?

So I did.  After setting the brightness slider to the maximum level I could see the screen a little better – it was usable.  Unfortunately, setting the screen brighter will draw more power from the battery and reduce how long you can use your laptop without plugging in.

Here is another source I found with some tips for using a laptop in the great outdoors – Web Work Daily

Time Management and Billing

Starting a new business is a challenging and sometimes daunting task.  Start-up costs can be astronomical!   Anything you can do to reduce those costs is huge.

I just started Your Digital Coach late last year.  I’m a big believer that an economical solution to any software  need can be found somewhere on the internet.  I was investigating accounting software and chose Simply Accounting on the advice of several friends, some of whom are accounting professionals.  I was told that all I really needed was the basic version.  For about $50 I thought that would be a great idea.  But when I started looking into it further I realized that the basic version did not include time billing.  Add another $250 to get that option in Simply.

So, I started looking around on the internet.  I found many pieces of software that either didn’t do exactly what I needed or were “clunky” in the way they functioned.  You know what I mean – you have to hold the CTRL key while simultaneously clicking the left and right mouse buttons and crossing your eyes to get it to do a common  task.  Ok, so I’m exaggerating  a little.

Anyway, I stumbled across a program called Fanurio.  Fanurio does everything I need, and more!  Every time I think it can’t do something the tech guy tells me how.  Fanurio keeps track of my customers and projects, income  and expenses, and does all my billing.  All for only $59 (US).

I mentioned their tech support.  This is one of the best companies I have ever dealt with for technical support.  I have never had to wait more than a few hours for a response to my email queries.  I usually hear from them within an hour.

Also, because Fanurio is built with Java it can run on just about operating system.

If you are looking for a time billing solution then look no farther.  Fanurio is the application for you.

Scott

Scheduling for Thunderbird

Are you a Thunderbird user who misses the built in calendar features of Outlook?  Maybe you don’t but you weren’t aware that there was a calendar option for Thinderbird.  If you haven’t already discovered Lightning you should check it out.  Lighting provides everything you need to keep track of upcoming meetings and tasks you are working on.

Downloading and installing is easy using Thunderbird Add-ons!

After downloading Lightning (from here), go to Thunderbird and select Tools->Add-ons.  Click on “Install” and navigate to wherever you saved Lightning on your computer.  Click “Open” and Lightning will be added to Thunderbird.

After the installation you will notice 3 options in the lower left pane of  Thunderbird – Mail, Calendar, and Tasks.  You’ll also notice a new pane on the right of the Thunderbird Mail window which will let you know of any upcoming items posted in your calendar.

Have fun with Lightning!

Scott