Thursday, April 30, 2015

Follow Up Then

The company for my day job uses Microsoft Outlook as the platform for e-mail, scheduling, and tasks. One convenient feature is the ability to create tasks and appointments from e-mails, add reminders to e-mails, and flag e-mails for others to respond.

Yahoo doesn't have reminders

I have often wished that my primary personal e-mail, hosted by Yahoo!, could provide similar functionality. The best solution has been to flag e-mails so that they are easy to find. Occasionally, I have also forwarded a message to myself so that I could modify the subject line to include a date. The problem with configuring Outlook on my personal computer is that it is only applicable to the computer but not to other devices (e.g., tablet and smart phone) where I also check mail.

Follow Up Then

Recently, I discovered The site offers the functionality that exists within Outlook but is missing from Internet-based e-mail services, at least the ones that I utilize.

Setup is easy

The first step is to register your e-mail address at From that point forward any message that is sent to the FollowUpThen domain from your registered e-mail address can be used to configure reminders, add tasks, and add calendar events.

Basic Examples

If you have received an e-mail that you want to set aside a certain date in the future or day of the week, you would simply forward the e-mail to FollowUpThen as follows: or

  • If you have received an e-mail that you would like to create as a task, or you want to create a task from scratch, send the e-mail to FollowUpThen as follows. The task renews each day until marked as completed or canceled. or

  • If you want to also send a text message via SMS as a reminder, set it up like this: or

  • You can also include specific times as well as dates or days: or

Advanced Examples

In addition to sending reminders to yourself, you can also use FollowUpThen to send reminders to others. If each of the examples above was placed in the CC line, when sending an e-mail to someone, that person or group of people would receive the same reminders you receive. If you drop the examples in the BCC line, you would receive the reminders.

Tasks, SMS, and Calendar functions can be combined (e.g., Monday-sms-t-c).

Additional Information

Each time you create a reminder is created, a notice is e-mailed to you. Additionally, periodic summaries of upcoming reminders are generated by the FollowUpThen site. You can also edit and delete reminders from the website.


FollowUpThen offers a 30-day trial of the professional level. At the conclusion of the trial you can continue using the service with free, personal ($24/year) , professional ($5/month), and company plans ($9/month for 2 users). Beginning with the free plan, each offers an increased number of reminders and additional features. 

If you need a reminder system for your personal e-mail try out FollowUpThen for the free trial. If you like it, as I did after sending one reminder, you sign up for the recurring service.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Webinar Review - How to write an e-book in an hour

Last week I watched a webinar hosted by Daniel Hall featuring Robert Plank. Robert is an online entrepreneur and prolific e-book author. Robert covered three different content creation strategies in the webinar. The most interesting one, in my opinion, was how to write an e-book in an hour.

Choose a topic

The strategy is fairly simple. The first step is to determine a topic for your book.

7 questions as chapters

The second step is to develop seven questions that address various perspectives of your topic. For example, if your topic was "Creating and using a blog," the seven questions might be:
  1. What is a blog?
  2. How do I set up a blog?
  3. Where do I get content for my blog?
  4. How can I share my blog with others?
  5. Which platform is best for my blog?
  6. How can I use my blog to support my business?
  7. How can I optimize my blog for search engines?

Why/What/How/What-if questions

For each question, ask four more questions:
  1. Why is this important?
  2. What are we going to do?
  3. How do we do it?
  4. What-if I do this ... what's the next step?

For example, using one of the seven questions above, the questions might look like:
  1. Where can I get content for my blog?
  • Why is it important to keep developing content?
  • What are some tools to create content?
  • How do I create posts?
  • What-if I create content, what are different ways I can utilize it?

Record audio and transcribe

The process, according to Robert, is to record yourself speaking on each of the Why/What/How/What-if questions for two minutes. Seven topics/chapters times four sub-questions times two minutes per questions results in about an hour of recorded audio.

Once you've completed recording the audio, send it to a transcription service such as to convert the audio into a printed document.

Publish as an e-book

There are several resources to format the text as an e-book and publish on Amazon, Lulu, Nook, Google, and other online bookstores. I will discuss this process in a later post.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Back on the wagon

I've taken a brief hiatus from posting. OK, it's been more like six months, but I'm back on the wagon.

I once had a discussion with someone about which is the preferred place to be: riding on the wagon or falling off the wagon.

The following origin story for the phrase is from The Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins as quoted in the English Language & Usage page.

The original version of this expression, 'on the water wagon' or 'water cart,' which isn't heard anymore, best explains the phrase. During the late 19th century, water carts drawn by horses wet down dusty roads in the summer. At the height of the Prohibition crusade in the 1890s men who vowed to stop drinking would say that they were thirsty indeed but would rather climb aboard the water cart to get a drink than break their pledges. From this sentiment came the expression 'I'm on the water cart,' I'm trying to stop drinking, which is first recorded in, of all places, Alice Caldwell Rice's Mrs. Wiggs of the Caggage Patch [1901], where the consumptive Mr. Dick says it to old Mrs. Wiggs. The more alliterative 'wagon' soon replaced cart in the expression and it was eventually shortened to 'on the wagon.' 'Fall off the (water) wagon' made its entry into the language almost immediately after its abstinent sister.

For now, I am back on the wagon, and hope to post regularly.