Today I’m sharing word cloud generators. Word cloud programs make it easy to create your personal word clouds.
A Google search will list many. Tech&Learning offers a review of ten sites here.
I’ve selected three sites that I’ve had fun with and all three are easy to use.
Word clouds are great for promotional materials and presentations. I also create clouds to help me visualize characters and settings.
I usedWordleto create word cloud above. Wordle is the king of word cloud generators and produces awesome results with full editing capabilities. No log-in or email are required. Program allows printing, in order to save right click on Wordle picture and save as a jpeg and or make a screen print.
ABC Yacreated this cloud.Final results that allow for font change, color change, and a randomized layout. Save options are in jpeg format and there are print options. It’s an easy application that kids will enjoy using.
I created the word cloud on the right with Tagxedo, a beta-released word cloud application that offers various cloud shapes. The only way I could get it to print was using Print Screen then pasting into Paint. Not a big problem because the shapes are fun.
Have fun creating your own personal word clouds. Click on the program names to link to the sites.
YOUR TURN: Can you think of ways to use word clouds?
As I promised last week, I’ve studied my email dragon and I’m suggesting six steps to tame an email dragon. I understand how he grew to be such consuming demon.
I’ve always had a decent volume of email. Once I published The Pendant’s Promisethat decent volume increased dramatically. After all, I had a book to promote.
I started a blog, signed up for FB and Twitter, and reader sites like Shelfari and Goodreads. As my visibility online grew, it compounded incoming mail.
Type A that I am, I felt obliged to stay “on top” of these emails and be responsive to my readers and community members.
Things quickly grew out of control. Then I discovered 900 emails in my inbox, I knew, clearly, it was time to tame the dragon.
Here are the six steps I’m taking.
How much incoming email am I receiving daily? What types of messages? How urgent are these emails, really?
As I studied my avalanche of email, I concluded:
Total messages per day was close to 200.
Few emails contain truly urgent information.
Armed with these insights, I began to take action. My first course of action was to stop email at its source.
Over time, interests and needs change. Yet I continue to subscribe to dozens of newsletters and blogs that aren’t pertain to my current activities.
Systematically, I evaluated those newsletters and blogs I receive and unsubscribed to those that no longer provided information I need or want.
The result: my volume of email shrank.
Besides news and blog emails, I also receive a ton of social-media notices. LinkedIn sends an email each day. Facebook notifies me every time someone replies to a comment I’ve left or a friend updates his or her status. Each tweet also means an email.
Each notification brings the temptation to waste time on social media sites. I’m rethinking those daily notifications. I generally visit the social sites at least once a day anyway.
3. Read the subject-line
Instead of opening every email and reading a bit before deciding whether to delete, I now read the subject line, and if I suspect it’s something I don’t need to read, I delete it right then.
We all have favorite blogs. I’ve come to realize I don’t necessarily need to read every post the bloggers put up.
I used to save emails automatically because they were from X blog or newsletter. No more.
For the majority of the 900 emails I had accumulated in my inbox I sorted by sender, read the subject lines, and simply deleted whole clumps of emails. Bye-bye — zap! — gone.
Immediately, I felt a 100-pound weight lift from my shoulders.
5. Set Rules
Most email programs offer an option where the user can set up rules to automatically route email to an appropriate folder. This saves time because only important emails show up in your main inbox.
Caveat: This doesn’t work for me. I have a basic distrust of letting computers think for me. What if some time-sensitive email went to the wrong folder?
I have all emails come initially into my main inbox. I employ #3 above and, if there is something I want to save in a folder for future reading, I move the email into folders I’ve created, same as I used to do when I was a Department of Army Civilian secretary.
6. Use a Timer
FlyLady says, “A kitchen timer is our friend.” She’s correct!
I used to set my kitchen timer and limit my email time to fifteen minutes a.m., afternoon, and p.m. Mary Buckham’s comment suggestion on last week’s blog reminded me I needed to apply the timer again.
My goal is to spend no more than an hour a day checking email. I want to delete, file, or respond to each message and move on to writing.
Will these six steps completely de-flame my email dragon? I don’t know, but I do know applying them seems to be bringing him under my submission.
YOUR TURN: How about you? What ways do you keep email under control?
For two weeks we’ve packed, hauled away unwanted stuff, shared last-time-living-in-the-same-city meals with family and friends, packed our household, loaded a trailer and a U-Haul, and drove one thousand miles to our new home.
There was no time to spend on the computer checking email. Conversations were via text or cell phone.
I did skim email for personal correspondence, but didn’t stop to read or delete all the other email that came in. Every day I watched the total grow.
Newsletters, blogs, group digests, notifications from social media… an email tsunami.
When I checked today, I have over 900 emails in my inbox.
I can’t believe it. I’m drowning in email.
The whole situation makes me realize I’m handling over one hundred emails per day. That much email reading has to be cutting into my writing time and productivity.
I think it’s time to analyze my email. Something I’ve never done.
Do I need to be receiving that many newsletters, blogs, group digests, and notifications?
I’m not sure.
I am sure that culling through all the emails I’ve accumulated will take time even if it’s time pressing the delete key.
Time I don’t have with all those boxes to unpack and a deadline looming.
Email has got to be tamed.
What about you? Does your email cut into your productivity?
Next Monday, I’ll be sharing some tips on how I plan to wrestle my email situation into submission.
Be sure to stop by and, in the meantime, if you have any tips, please share.
I recently spent a week in South Texas with Go Mission leaving my beloved chickens in the capable hands of vet-in-training Rachel.
The first morning of the trip I was walking the fence line of the property where we were working and surprise–I ran across…chickens!
I guess my Chicken Wrangler reputation has spread further than I knew.
There were two pens, one with a hen and rooster and one with a hen and chicks.
I will say they were not as pretty as our chickens, but then I’m sure they never got the royal treatment we give our hens.
Each day after that, I made sure to check on the chickens – just like at home. The only thing was I could not feed them but I could talk to them.
Later in the week, I was walking through a neighborhood with a group of youth inviting children to our Bible Club. One man had chickens roaming around his yard.
I talked to him about them (in Spanish), but was unable to come up with a translation for “chicken wrangler.” I didn’t get pictures of these birds as they spent most of their time under the brush out of the sun.
Getting away from the day-to-day chores of life is refreshing, and I loved working with Habitat and Bible clubs.
But, I must say, I was very glad to be able to get my “chicken fix” while far from our birds. It kept me from missing my chickens so much.