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Use outlook 2010 / 2013 best practices to achieve your personal goals


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One of the challenges today is that you have to both have a good overview of everything within your field of work, as well follow up on all details. The risk is that when you try to get a good perspective of the strategic aspect of your work, it’s easy to forget the details. Also, there will always be much more work to do than is possible, and you are the only one that knows your work load. So you have to decide on your priorities.

Using Outlook to manage the details, and support you in prioritizing, will free up your brain so you can keep a good overview, work more on a strategic level, and get all your work done with less stress.

The outcome of this training will enable you to achieve or exceed your goals. You will also have full control at any time, with no hidden “iceberg” under the water. The time and capacity you free up by what you will learn, you can spend as you like. For more time off, to work on a project, or on long term development activities.

Published in: Business, Technology
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Use outlook 2010 / 2013 best practices to achieve your personal goals

  1. 1. SmartEndring-ChangeSmart ™Use Outlook bestpractices to achieve yourpersonal goalsFor leaders and leadershipteams, managers and knowledgeworkersMake a smart change at work. Let structure andtechnology work for you, use your brain to innovate andcreate results
  2. 2. SmartEndring-ChangeSmart ™Your 3 opportunities!Peace of mindMastering timeFlex work andleasureThis training will enable you to achieve or exceed your goals. You will also have full control at any time, with no hidden “mail iceberg”under the water. The time and capacity you free up by what you will learn, you can spend as you like. For more time off, to work on aproject, or on long term development activities. You do not have to be afraid of missing deadlines, you will be in control of your owntime and priorities, enabling you to flex between work and other priorities since you have the needed overview and control.How would you like to free up one day per week? How would you spend it? Would you spend the same time on work, using the timeto deliver better results, spend more time with family and friends, or create room and flexibility to do both?
  3. 3. SmartEndring-ChangeSmart ™Do you clutter your brain?Do you use Outlook to help youremember what to do - when, or doyou try to keep everything in yourhead (or in your inbox)?Do you use Outlook to help you remember what to do - when, or do you try to keep everything in your head (or in your inbox)? Can you answer thequestion in a way that feels good? In fact, our brain is not very good at keeping track of details. Our brain is a good place to get ideas and makedecisions, but not a good place to store, and follow them up with actions.Many have a limited view of the power of Outlook. What most people associate with Outlook is email, and refer to the time spent using Outlook as“doing email”.However, you also manage your time, prioritize work tasks, and your maintain your business contacts, and last but not least doing WORK.Many uses Outlook not only for work, but also for private appointments, like driving kids to football training, and private mail communication.So Outlook is for many a personal management tool, and not only for email. By potentially using Outlook in an efficient way, you can save time and“offload your brain”, freeing up capacity for concentrating on your work content, and not to remember deadlines and keeping a task list.Also, using Outlook as your tool to prioritize work, you will be able to work on the right tasks, and by that being more effective, and increase yourpossibilities to achieve your goals.
  4. 4. SmartEndring-ChangeSmart ™Optimize Outlook to work better for you
  5. 5. SmartEndring-ChangeSmart ™Create more room for foldersTakes a lotof spaceMore foldersvisible givesbetteroverviewMost people keep the default settings in Outlook. If you spend only 10 minutes to do some adjustments you can get a tool that gives youmore help, and better control of your day. You only have to do this once, and the settings will stay until you change PC next time.If you use a small screen, the «Menu» with Mail, Calendar etc. takes up a lot of the working space on the screen. I think everybody willrecognize the mail symbol, the calendar symbol etc. so you do not need to have it spelled out.If you drag the horizontal line over the Mail symbol down to the bottom, and only have the symbols visible, you free up space for folders, andget a better overview.
  6. 6. SmartEndring-ChangeSmart ™Don’t lose concentration when you workOutlook:-> Options -> MailThe consistent advice from everyone that works on effective work patterns is to take away everything that disturbs your concentration.When you hear a ping, or worst of all if you get the new mail flag, you cannot avoid reading it, and it goes directly to yoursubconscious mind, and according to scientific research your concentration is lost 30 seconds to several minutes.
  7. 7. SmartEndring-ChangeSmart ™Show mails in conversations together as onegroupSometimes you have a lot of back and forth communication about the sametopic.By enabling «Show as Conversations» in Outlook you can see the whole historyin one conversation view, independently of which folder the mail is archived. Toenable this, go to the View tab.
  8. 8. SmartEndring-ChangeSmart ™Remove unnecessary stressDoes your task list look like this?How do you know how many hourswork this is, and when you are goingto find time to do it? Right click in the To-Do-bar and take away thetick mark for Task ListIf you are working with tasks, or you flag mail, normally you end up with a bunch of red items that stresses you, and seeing them whenyou are working in your Inbox does not help you. In Outlook 2010, we have a much better way to show tasks. I encourage you toremove tasks from this view.In a moment I will show you a better way to manage tasks.
  9. 9. SmartEndring-ChangeSmart ™Get a total workload overviewRight click, and change toshow tasks on start date.Unmark “Show completedtasks”Drag task bar up toshow tasksMeetings+Tasks=Total dailyworkloadOne of the biggest improvements first introduced in Outlook 2007 is the ability to show tasks together with your calendar. This makes itpossible to get an overview of the total workload you have. It you are only looking at your calendar, you don’t really see the full picture.Together with a much improved and simpler task management, it makes tasks much more attractive to use than it used to be.The default setup in Outlook is ”Show tasks on due date”. The effect of this is that if you flag tasks to be done ”Next week”, or with a due dateof next Friday, all your tasks will show up on next Friday. But, that is far too late. You will need to work on the different tasks during theweek, so to decide when to actually do the work, you want to show the start date.Later, we will look a how we create the tasks, and how we work with, and manage the tasks in this view.
  10. 10. SmartEndring-ChangeSmart ™Take control over your Inbox
  11. 11. SmartEndring-ChangeSmart ™Wouldn’t it be nice to have an assistantwho could sort and prioritize your mail for you?From this ……. to thisNow that you have optimized Outlook settings, you can personalize Outlook to fit your mail stream, and start exploring new workpatterns, maximizing the possibilities Outlook 2010 gives you.If you get 30 to 100 mails a day, which is quite usual for many in today’s information society, my guess is that less than half of themcontain any action for you. There are a lot of informational mails where you are typically on the cc: line, or mail sent to a distributionlist. If you keep them in the Inbox along with action mail, it is difficult to get an overview of what is important to handle right now.If you create rules that automatically moves them to subfolders in your Inbox, you still will know you have unread mail there, but youcan check it once a day, not every time you look in your inbox during the day. It is just the first step in prioritizing the mails in yourInbox, assuming mails directly to you are of higher priority, and those are the mails you should look at first.This is like having an assistant who sorts the mail for you and put the most important on top of the stack, and the least important inthe bottom.
  12. 12. SmartEndring-ChangeSmart ™Are you on many distribution lists, or get a lot ofmail from one person?The mailman can sort your mail in folders for youMail from one sender, sent to a group of people, where you are on CC and moreUse a rule to automatically move mail fromsomeone, or to a distribution list out of yourinbox and into a folder. Select the mail, andchose one of the easy options.You can move the messages into an existingfolder, like a distribution list folder, or createa new folder.All the following mail from that person, or tothe selected distribution list will now bemoved to new folder.
  13. 13. SmartEndring-ChangeSmart ™The easy way to master tasks received on mail•When you flag your mails, they automaticallybecome tasks.•Make it a practice to never leave a mail in theInbox after you have opened it.•You should decide immediately what to do withit.•Use the 4 Ds as a guide:• Do now – Delegate – Delete - Do laterBefore Outlook 2007, tasks were difficult to use. You had to manually create tasks, and for most, it was difficult to incorporate in daily planningand work, and it ended being a long list of red tasks that just gave you a bad conscience. For most people, a lot of the things you do, followup on, or delegate to others are initiated by receiving or sending a mail. So Outlook is your task management system, and it is made tosupport you in task management.With Office 2007 and newer, Microsoft has taken the consequence of this, and developed Outlook into a superb personal task managementsystem, utilizing mail as the major transport mechanism for the tasks.Do you use the built in functionality? Some have starting to flag mail, but still keep them in the Inbox until they are handled. They use theirInbox as a task list, and regularly during the day browse through the Inbox to look for things they have to do today, and skipping those thatcan wait to tomorrow, or next week.With Outlook, this is totally unnecessary. It’s designed so that you can safely move the mail to a work folder, and it will pop up in yourcalendar exactly on the day you have decided to work on it. However, I have found that the main reason that people does not move the mailout of the Inbox is that they don’t trust the system. They are afraid of forgetting to do it if the mail is not visible anymore.However, Outlook is not designed for doing tasks while you are in the Inbox. In the Inbox, you prioritize, decide what to do with the mail, andwhen. The actual working on the mails and tasks, you do in the calendar view. You can be absolutely sure that your mail/task will be visible to
  14. 14. SmartEndring-ChangeSmart ™The 4 Ds – in detailDo now•This will normally mean you answer the mail, talk to someone, deliver something etc. When you are done, you can either archive it in theright folder, or you can delete it.Delegate•The simplest would be just to forward the mail. After you have done so, delete the mail, or archive it in the right folder.•If you want to follow up on the task, you can flag the mail with a date in the future you want to follow up on it. It will then turn up on thatday in your task list.Delete•Self explanatory :-)Do later•Decide when to do it, and flag it. Right click in the Flag field, and chose one of the pre-defined flags. Next Week will create a task with startdate on next Monday, and end date on Friday. ThisWeek, will flag it to be done Thursday in the same week.•You can also use Custom. Chose only a start date. The end date will then default to the same. A task should normally be possible to do inone day.•When you have decided when to do it, archive it in the folder you want it to be after the task is finished. If you dont need to archive, drag itto the Tasks folder.•Later when the task is done, click on the flag to mark it complete. Your mail/task will now already be archived in the right folder. If you donot need to archive it, just delete the task, and the mail will be deleted as well.
  15. 15. SmartEndring-ChangeSmart ™Pre-archive the mail immediatelyWhen you have flagged a mail for follow up – archive it inthe folder where you would like to find it after the task is doneIf you know you will delete the mail after the task is done, just move it to a temporary Taskfolder to save timeYou need to get the mail out of the Inbox after you have flagged it for follow up. Else it will disturb you, and you will be reminded of the task every timeyou go to the Inbox, even if it is 2 weeks until you plan to do anything about it.By immediately moving it to the folder where you want to archive it after the task is done, you save time since you do not have to use time to archivingmails later.If you know you will delete the mail after the task is completed, don’t use time to find the best place to archive it. Just use a ”Task folder” as temporarystorage.Tip:Your flagged mails has to reside inside your Mailbox for this to work. It will not work if you move it to a Personal Folder file on your PC (.pst file).
  16. 16. SmartEndring-ChangeSmart ™Create your plan for next week•Normally , what happens is that you postpone a lot of tasks to Next Week. All of them will then showup on Monday. On Friday afternoon, or Monday morning you can then do your plan for the week tocome.Monday Tuesday WednesdayNo time for tasksIf you have changed your task option to show tasks on Start Date, it will show up on the day you have decided.However, that does not mean you will be able to handle all tasks set to start that day, and you will need to re-prioritize. This is very easy bydragging it to another day, and now we see why we do this in the calendar view. Here you can see the total work you have to do on each daywhich is the sum of appointments and tasks.Don’t forget to get your own planned activities into the calendar and tasks as well. If you only are working with the «incoming» tasks, you riskbeing re-active, and may not do all you in order to achieve your goals. When doing your week plan, you may consider having a structuredwalkthrough of your commitments to see if you need to initiate activities yourself.
  17. 17. SmartEndring-ChangeSmart ™Plan time for time critical tasksNow, you can see both your appointments and the tasks you plan to do that week. You can drag tasks todays where you have time to work on tasks. You can also drag tasks to the calendar.Meetings+Tasks=Total daily workloadDon’t worry if you don’t always manage to complete all tasks scheduled for the day. They will automatically be moved over to the next day.Also if you want to drag the task up to the calendar to set aside time to work on it, and if you have to do something else instead in thattime, the task is still there, and will be moved to the next day.If you use the task management features in Outlook with flagging of mails, you will never lose a task/mail, and will never need to be remindedfrom others about things you forgot.Make sure all your working folders are within your Mailbox! The flagging and task management will only work in that context. As soon as thetask is completed, it’s OK that it is archived also in pst folders.
  18. 18. SmartEndring-ChangeSmart ™Create a prioritizing system to achieve your goals and objectives
  19. 19. SmartEndring-ChangeSmart ™Create your work-folder systemCreate folders according to goalsand objectives.In addition, create a Task folderfor mails/tasks you are not goingto archive after it is completed.Use numbers according to yourgoals and objectives numbering,and extend as needed.Tip:Use the samesystem for your filesystem folders, andfor OneNoteHow often do you look at your goals and objectives? How many do it once a month? Once a week? Once a day?By creating a folder structure that is aligned with your goals and objectives, you make sure that you look at them all the time. Also it gives youa good possibility to check that you are working on, and archiving relevant stuff. If you can’t find a good place to archive something, you canask yourself why you are working on this if it is not aligned with any of your goals and objectives.Using the same structure all over will drastically reduce the time to archive and find information. Using the numbers in front of the foldername, gives you a possibility to decide the sort order of the folders.
  20. 20. SmartEndring-ChangeSmart ™Use efficiency gains to spend time on activitiesthat positively impact your goals1. Reviewgoals weekly2. Definenextstrategicaction foreach goal3. Create planwith actionsfor next week4. Createtasks inOutlook tosupport theactions1. Click and write the name of thetask2. Prioritize vs. incoming taskrequestsBy having a DAILY updated overview of all your tasks, deliverables, appointments and deadlines, and nothing «under the surface», youcreate personal capacity to do a WEEKLY plan for your work related, as well as personal projects, and development goals.If you do this with alignment to your long term strategic goals, you will also achieve better YEARLY results
  21. 21. SmartEndring-ChangeSmart ™Use Outlook best practices to achieve your goals -SummaryOutlook basic setup 1. Create more room for folders2. Show mails in conversation threads3. Turn off mail and task notifications4. Show tasks at the bottom of the calendarOptimize setup foryour type of workTake control overyour Inbox1. Create Outlook rules to sort mail in folders2. Converting mail to simple tasks3. The 4 D’s4. Managing your tasks with your calendarHighly efficientprocessing of mailUse of Folderstructure to achieveyour goals andobjectives1. Create your folder structure2. Create activities to support your goals3. Transfer activities to task list and prioritize towards incomingtasks.Work effectively.Optimize time toachieve your goalsPersonally, I’m sure that I have increased my efficiency and effectiveness equivalent to between a half and a full day aweek, by prioritizing better, working with the right things, and managing mail and tasks much more efficiently.For more info and updates, like my Facebook page - blog at and @Telebear on Twitter
  22. 22. SmartEndring-ChangeSmart ™SmartEndring /ChangeSmartFor leaders and leadership teams, managers and knowledge workersMake a smart change at work. Let structure and technology work for you, use your brain to innovate and create resultsBjørn O. Hopland | | +4790173524