Gmail Offline Application

How many times have you wanted to look up an email someone sent you to, let’s say, find the address that you are trying to get to because you forgot to print the email out or write it down, or are working on a project but need some info that you can’t get to because you don’t have Internet access?

I do this all the time and even though I have an Internet stick to get wireless just about anywhere, I really don’t want to waste my valuable data time looking something up.

WELL, now you can now look up anything that’s happened in your gmail for the past 3 years without connecting to the Internet!!

The Google Applications is Gears.  Gears is open source that allows you access to Web-based applications even when you are not connected.  This can be particularly handy if you are using HotSpot wireless or the Internet Stick to access as you can view past emails and compose emails without it costing you money.  Any messages you compose while offline will be sent automatically once you are connected again.  In the meantime they are stored in your Outbox.  Just think of the amount of airtime you can save by preparing the emails ahead of time and then connecting to send.  It gives you more time to surf while you are connected.

Installing Google Gears

Go to http:\\gears.google.com and click on Install.

Run the installer and restart your browser when requested.

Log into your Gmail and click on the green Labs beaker.  If you don’t have a green labs beaker, refer back to blog post: http://www.barbarawestly.com/2008/12/enabling-google-labs-on-my-gmail/

Once you are in Google Labs, Find the application called “Offline.”  Click “enable” and “save changes.”  Once you have saved, there will be a new tab called “Offline” right next to your green labs beaker. Click on the “Offline” tab to get the following message:

Click on next.

Click on “I trust this site” and “Allow”.

Decide what shortcuts you would like on your desktop and then click “OK”.  Offline will then start downloaded all of your emails, attachments, etc to your computer for the last 3 years.  Unfortunately, there is no option to tell Offline that you want a shorter period.  There is a little trick though.  The copy starts at the newest and works its way backwards.  If you disconnect your computer from the Internet at the point you don’t want any more data, it will stop downloading.

Once you have enabled “Offline” it will copy everything you send and receive to your computer as you work. Also, now that you have it installed, whenever you happen to browse an application on the Internet that has links to Gears, it will come up with the Gears Security Warning to set it up for that application.  There are not a lot of applications at this point, but like all Google Apps, there are developers out there looking at how they can integrate this feature into their web applications.  If you don’t want to add it, just click on “Deny”.

This is another great Add-on to Google and I think it will fast become one of my favourites.


Hours of Operation

When you are self-employed, especially if you work from home, Hours of Operation can be a very difficult thing to get a handle on.  Do you follow the hours of your clients or are you working randomly at any time of the day or night?

Quite often this will depend on the nature of your business and who your clients are.  My hours have changed several times over the years to match the companies I was doing work for.  At one point I was working a lot with a company in Florida – 3 hours ahead of my west coast time.  That meant an 8:00 am conference call was actually 5:00 am for me.  Not fun getting up at 4-4:30 am to be “wide awake” for a call. In this case, my day was broken up between “before breakfast” and “after breakfast”.

Having Hours of Operation does not necessarily mean that you need to sit at your desk for 8 hours a day as my great uncle did in my “Dress for Success” post.  For some businesses this works great.  If I’ve got a large program to map out and code, the 8 hour day works great.  I can sit down at the computer and work away for the whole day.  Sometimes I need to remember to stop to eat and stretch.  I find I get a lot done of those day where I can dedicate myself to a project.

The important thing about setting Hours of Operations is to set limits.  These limits are not just for you so you don’t work 24 hours a day but also to set limits for others in both your business and personal life.  If you don’t set limits, since you don’t have a “job”, you can become everyone’s gopher – from your significant other to your kids, parents, friends, neighbors, and so on.  “Since your not doing anything today can you…”  There is a common misconception of traditionally employed people that working at home means you’re not really working – one that you need to debunk as soon as possible.

That is why you need to post your Hours of Operations as soon as you start your new business.  MY BUSINESS HOURS ARE BETWEEN….

Of course, there are always exceptions and you have the freedom to make that exception especially if there is an emergency, but you need to set out what an emergency is.  Picking up dry cleaning or preparing a last minute meal for 8 is not an emergency.  Picking up your kid from school because he just threw up all over the home room teacher is.

If you have a certain amount of hours set aside each day to work, you can plan ahead and set your goals for the day, the week, the month, the year.  You can set your milestones – specific events you want to have happen, and you can meet deadlines.

Without your Hours of Operation how will you be able finish any project and how will you plan to finish your projects?  As with a manufacturing operation, you need Capacity Planning.  What are my resources (me) and what time frame do I have to with.  When you work alone, it is harder to keep to this discipline, but if you do, you will reap the rewards.


Make Your Bed

You may think I’m talking about the old adage: “You made your bed now sleep in it”.  I guess you could use that adage in regard to self-employment.  It works.  But I’m actually going to talk about, wait for it….Making Your Bed.

Why would such a mundane thing as making my bed make a difference in my home business, you ask?  Well, it would depend on you and your personality.  If you are an extremely disciplined, anal, Type A, obsessive compulsive personality, you probably don’t need to read this post.  You could probably bounce a quarter off your bed and it’s probably done before I even manage my first cup of coffee.

On the other hand, if you are of a similar personality to myself – lazy, procrastinating, easily side-tracked, then you may need to read further.

If you are working at home, one of the biggest problems is keeping on track and keeping motivated.  One of the biggest detractors of work is the nice, warm, comfy bed.  It’s so inviting and speaks to you as a lover, always wanting you to rejoin it at any time of the day browse around these guys. Don’t be fooled by its wily ways.  You CANNOT program or write from the comfort of your bed.  Believe me I’ve tried and, boy, did I get a crick in the neck!

Now here is a trick that you can try.  Buy lots of those horrid, little designer pillows to put on your bed.  Make your bed as usual and then NEATLY arrange all those pillows on the bed.  This creates a totally uninviting atmosphere for the possibility of sneaking a nap during the day.  For most men it’s a total turnoff anyway, but for women, once those pillows are in place, you really don’t want to mess them up – they’re so pretty.

Boring but Made

Once I got into the habit of making my bed, I found some other benefits as well.  1) If people pop in, your bed is made and you don’t look like a slob, 2) when it is time for bed, it feels like you’re living in a hotel with the bed nicely made (now if you could just train your significant other or your dog to turn down the bed and put a chocolate on your pillow you could feel like your living in a 5-star hotel), and 3) it’s easier to get to sleep as you don’t have to fight with the blankets and sheets to get comfortable.  It just makes life so much better.

Now if I could only do something about my EVIL lounge chair……

Once your in it won't let you out!!