Thursday, July 24, 2014

Being busy is an excuse for being unfocused

We all have stuff we need to get done, yet why do most people never seem to free themselves from the cycle of always being busy? The simple reason is they are not focused.

The world is divided up into stuff we like doing and stuff we don’t. The problem is that much of the stuff that actually needs to be done we don’t enjoy so we don’t do it. We find excuses to put it on the back burner while we go off and do something more enjoyable but far less important.

Thus, the stuff that should be getting done continues to pile up and eventually the chickens come home to roost and we have no choice but to actually do it. However, rather than now being able to select the when we do the task we simply have to throw our next available free time at the task due to its urgency.

We thus, no longer, have the choice of how we allot our precious time, it simply HAS to be allocated to get the task done. This is what people mean when they say they are busy. They are saying that they have to throw their available time allocations immediately at tasks they typically have not focused on or completed that can no longer be avoided. In short, they are no longer masters of their own time.

If you ask people what their most precious resource is, few will nominate time. That is why they use it so frivolously. They don’t value it and that is a fatal mistake. Why? Because time is something you never get back once it is consumed. No one can get more time and we all have a limited amount of time but worst of all, no one has any idea how much time they do have on this earth. So why the hell do people throw it away so casually?

They do so because they are unfocused. Because they haven’t created a plan to achieve their goals. Because they don’t value their time. If you begin to value your time as the most precious finite resource you have I’m pretty sure you’ll become laser focused on what you need to achieve. Try it and see.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Creating a sub site in your OneDrive for Business

In a recent post I covered off how to create an additional location for files in OneDrive for Business to overcome some of the current syncing limitations. There is another way that you can store additional files (and other items) in your OneDrive for Business.

Because OneDrive for Business is effectively a SharePoint Site Collection you can create any number of ‘subsites’ under the primary OneDrive for Business site. The default primary OneDrive for Business site basically only allows you to add document libraries as I showed in the previous post. However, by creating a ‘standard’ SharePoint subsite under the default you get all the flexibility that a normal SharePoint site has.

To create a subsite under your primary OneDrive for Business site follow these steps:


Firstly, navigate to your OneDrive for Business site.


In the top right select the COG and then Site contents from the menu that is displayed.


You should now see all the standard apps in your OneDrive for Business site. As the previous post highlighted, you can add an app here if you want.


If you however scroll down to the bottom of this page you will find a heading Subsites and a link new subsite. Select this.


You’ll now be taken to the familiar SharePoint dialog that allows you to create a subsite. You give the new subsite a name and URL suffix.


You then select which template you wish the subsite to be based on. Normally you select Team Site so all the features will be available to you.


You generally leave the other settings as default and press the Create button.


After a few moments you should see your subsite displayed.


You can now go into the Site Contents for this new subsite and add something like a Picture Library which you couldn’t do in the primary OneDrive for Business site.

Unfortunately, the only way that you can sync items in a OneDrive for Business subsite is to select sync manually as mentioned  in the previous post. They will also not automatically appear in any mobile clients.

Thus, another way to divide up the space you have available in your OneDrive for Business apart from adding apps at the top level, is to create subsites off the primary site (just like any Team Site) and place you information there. Unfortunately, if you need to sync these items to your desktop you’ll have to do that manually and they also won’t appear in mobile clients.

One percent of one percent

I was recently involved in a marketing presentation for SMB businesses. Some great tools where covered that would really help to automate marketing for any business. But, you know what? They are totally useless without two simple precursors.

I remember a public speaker who once offered the whole audience the opportunity to contact him for assistance with the topic he was discussing (and it happened to be marketing). When questioned about why he made such an offer, his reply was that in his experience less than one percent of people actually took up his offer. Thus he felt very safe in making it. Even when people are all fired up after they walk out the door they rarely do anything.

However, let’s say that you are fired up enough after leaving the marketing discussion to actually do something, the next hurdle you face is that you need to something consistently. Again, I would contend that less than one percent of that one percent actually take action and do so consistently.

Now the positive here is that if you, one, do something and two, do it consistently you are going to be more successful than 10,000 of your peers (i.e one percent of one percent).

These two little things are the reasons why so many businesses never reach their potential. Most take no action, even after paying money to learn about what to do as well as how to do it. The few that do simply don’t keeping doing it but in the meantime spend a fortune on all these tools that they think they ‘will’ use. They generally give up far to quickly because they don’t see results immediately.

So by all means go out and see what tools and techniques are available but reconcile yourself to the fact that unless you take action and do so consistently such tools are simply wasted. However, if you do take consistent action you are going to be so far ahead of just about every business. You will be the one percent of the one percent and your chances of success will skyrocket.

Success is more about consistency than anything else.

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Monday, July 21, 2014

An additional file location in OneDrive for Business


With OneDrive for Business now having 1TB of space available, more and more people are looking to take advantage of it and reduce the amount of files they have stored locally. However, simply dumping everything from a server into OneDrive for Business is not generally good idea.

The major reason is that OneDrive for Business is a “special” SharePoint site that by default contains a single document library called Documents as you can see above. Now, a single document library has a number of limitations that you will find when you start pumping lots of data in there.

The first is the 5,000 view item limit. You can read about it here:

You can certainly have more than 5,000 items in library but above that limit you need to use views to limit the display to less than 5,000.

The second is that there is s 20,000 sync item limit. You can read about that here:

Thus, you can sync up to 20,000 items from your OneDrive for Business and up to 5,000 from other SharePoint document libraries.

Now it used to be that you could sync up to a maximum of 20,000 files per site collection with a limit of 5,000 per individual document library. I can’t find any mention of those specifics so I am going to assume that you can keep syncing as many additional document libraries you want provided they are below the 5,000 item limit.

Thus, I am going to assume you can sync:

20,000 items in OneDrive for Business

+ 5,000 items from Document library 1

+ 5,000 items from Document library 2

+ 5,000 items from Document library 3

and so on without a limit on the number of document libraries you can sync.

Another issue once you start getting a lot of files is that the OneDrive for Business desktop sync application does not allow you to select which files you wish to sync. Thus, you have no option but to sync the entire document library.

So how do you handle the situation when you exceed the 20,000 items in OneDrive for Business but still want to sync to your desktop? Here’ s an option that may work.

What you may not appreciate is that you can add additional document libraries to OneDrive for Business.


To do that access your OneDrive for Business and select the COG in the upper right corner. From the menu that appears select Add an app.


One of the apps you will see here is Document Library which you should select.

Some interesting points to note here is that there are only a limited set of apps that you can add, not like on a normal SharePoint Team Site. Secondly, you can however add apps from the SharePoint Online store!


Give your document library a name (here photos) and press the Create button.


You’ll now see that library has been added to the OneDrive for Business site. Select it to view its contents.


You should see the document library as normal as you can see. However, note that the library appears under the Newsfeed menu item on the top NOT the OneDrive item.


If you select OneDrive from the menu you are returned to the initial page and unfortunately there is no link on this page to the document library you just created. If you back to the Newsfeed page you will find it.

If you return to your newly created document library you can upload files to it as you normally can. You can also sync those files to your desktop using the sync client BUT is the limit of that 5,000 because it is an additional document library or is it 20,000 because this library is part of OneDrive for Business? I think it best to assume 5,000.

Unfortunately, from what I can see this newly create document library will not automatically appear on mobile devices using the OneDrive for Business mobile app. The only library that appears is the default Documents one.


Now if I sync this newly created document library to my desktop you’ll see that it doesn’t appear under OneDrive for Business it appears synced under the SharePoint document library area as shown above.

Therefore, although creating additional document libraries in OneDrive for Business can help you overcome what appears to be a 20,000 file limit and allow you to overcome the need to sync everything from a single document library, as you can see it still has limitations.

Getting Started With SharePoint Online Workflows


A very common question I see is ‘How do I create SharePoint Workflows?’. With that in mind I have written this new publication. You can purchase it at:

The book will show you how to implement your first workflows using SharePoint Designer and SharePoint Online. It is aimed at those who have never created a SharePoint workflow and are looking to get started.

The book does not provide a deep dive into SharePoint Designer, programming or SharePoint Online. It is merely designed to give you a basic understanding of how to create workflows so you can start building and publishing your own quickly.

However, here’s the publishing twist I’ve decided to try with this publication. If you purchase a copy and register you’ll receive any future editions of the book for free. Even better, if you provide feedback on what you’d like to see in the book I’ll give you a free copy of my other eBook Getting Started With SharePoint 2013. You can register and provide feedback at:

So why am I doing this? Well, once I started writing the book I began to wonder in which direction I should take it? Should there be more about the logic of workflows? More about the workflow creation tool? More about creating standard solutions? I just wasn’t sure what people would want to see in the publication but you can find the existing table of contents here:

Getting Started With SharePoint Online Workflows – Table of Contents

So, I decided to stop with just the basics and try to find out what people would like to see by making this ‘free editions for life’ offer.

I feel the book needs more content but I need people who aren’t experienced in workflows to tell me what makes sense in a title like this. I am just not sure what makes sense content-wise beyond what is already there.

Rest assured that if you do purchase the book and register, I’ll be updating it when I have enough content suggestions. You’ll then get the updated edition for free in recognition of your ongoing support.

So let’s see what happens with this little experiment.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Using Office 365 on demand

The problem with technology is that you get locked into a few ways of doing things and you don’t tend to explore outside your comfort zone. Sometimes it is also matter of not even knowing about some cool new feature.

Given that I spend most of my time using the same few machines everyday I really don’t have a huge need for installing Office on unfamiliar desktops. However, this Office on Demand feature is really very handy if you ever need to have the latest version of the full Office application on a desktop you are using.

Of course, you’ll need an Office 365 subscription that includes Office Pro Plus.


Navigate to your OneDrive via the menu at the top of the page.

At the bottom of the left hand side select USE OFFICE ON DEMAND.


You’ll then see a list of Office applications as shown above. Simply click on one of these. In this case I selected Excel.


Given that Office 2013 is not installed on the current machine and you haven’t used this feature before on this machine, you’ll be prompted to run a program stub as shown above. Allow this to Run.

This will install a small program that will now allow you to run the Office on demand at any time in the future.


After that has run, you’ll get a message that Office on Demand is ready to run. Select Close.


Return to the browser again and select the Office application you wish to use. Again in this case Excel was selected.


You should now see the application streaming to the desktop using the Click-to-Run technology.


In a few moments, that application will launch and you will be able to work on it as you would normally.


As you can see it is the full features version of Excel running side by side any other existing Office applications.


If you look up in the top right corner of the application you will see that you are not signed in as a user, so this instance doesn’t count against your 5 installation (because it is about to magically ‘disappear’!)


If you now close the Office application you are using you won’t find it installed anywhere on the desktop. So it is a totally ‘on demand’ version of the application as it says it is!


The only real trace that remains is a Microsoft Office on Demand Browser Add-on as you can see above from the Control Panel. This is what was installed the first time that you select the application from the browser. It means that if you return and select another application from the browser it will automatically stream down and open.

So Office on Demand is just one of the options you get with Office 365. Even if you don’t use them all make sure you appreciate all the flexibility that Office Pro Plus from Office 365 provides.

The other options you get with Office via Office 365 are:

- Full Suite install onto 5 desktops (Windows or Mac)

- Office Web Apps (or Office Online as it is called now)

- Office Mobile

All of these version are always up to date as well and cost a few dollars per month. Why would you still be using an old version of Office on just one desktop anyone? Beats me.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Creating a SharePoint Online site collection

After recently showing you how to delete a SharePoint Online site collection via the web console and PowerShell the next step is obviously to show you how to create a new site collection.

Via the Web console


Login to the Office 365 web console as an administrator. Then in the top right select the Admin menu option and SharePoint from the menu that appears.


This will take you to the SharePoint admin center as shown above. This will show you all the site collections you currently have. The SharePoint admin center is only available if you have a M or E plan. It is unfortunately not available if you have an Office 365 Small Business plan.


From the Ribbon Menu across the top of the page select New then Private Site Collection from the menu that appears.


This will open a new dialog window as shown above. Enter the following for your new site:

Title – What name will appear across the top of the home page.

Web Site Address – The URL suffix you want to use when navigating to the site. best practice is to keep this as short as possible and devoid of special characters.

Template Selection:

- Language  - as required

- Select a template – select from the options available along the tabs across the top. In most cases you will simply select Team Site under the Collaboration tab but you can select whatever template you wish including ones you have created yourself previously.

Scroll down for more options.


Adjust the Time Zone and set the site collection Administrator. Next set the amount of storage (in MB) you wish the new site to have in Storage Quota as well as the Server Resource Quota value.

When complete, press the OK button to create the new site collection.


You should now see in the top right corner of the screen a message letting your know that the site is being created as shown above.


You should also see the URL of the new site collection appear in the list with a green spinning animation at the end indicating that it is current being created.


Once the creation process is complete you will see the NEW icon displayed next to the hyperlinked URL.


You should now be able to navigate to the URL of the site as the site collection administrator you configured earlier. Don’t forget you may need to configure other users access to this new site if required.

Via PowerShell

You’ll need to connect to Office 365 PowerShell and SharePoint Online via PowerShell firstly.


Run the command:


to get a list of all the site templates that are available within your tenant.

Here we are going to use the Team Site template whose name is STS#0


Run the command:

new-sposite –url https://<tenant-name> –owner <site collection admin email> –storagequota <size in MB> –resourcequota <server resources> –title “<site name>” –template <template>

In this case

new-sposite –url –owner –storagequota 5000 –resourcequota 30 –title “Demo2” –template STS#0


The PowerShell window will now pause until the site creation is complete. If you now look in the SharePoint admin center via the web console (refreshing the browser may be required), you should see the site being created as shown above.


After a few moments the site will be created as before and the PowerShell window will return to a prompt.


You can force the PowerShell script to return to the command prompt without waiting until the site collection is created by using the:


at the end of the creation line.


So there are the two methods of creating a new SharePoint Online site collection in M and E plans using both the web console and PowerShell.