USE OUTLOOK BEST PRACTICES TO ACHIEVE YOUR GOALS

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1 Slide 1 USE OUTLOOK BEST PRACTICES TO ACHIEVE YOUR GOALS Bjørn O. Hopland. Microsoft. 1. Outlook basic setup 2. Take control over your Inbox 3. Use of Folder structure and Categories to achieve your goals and objectives So what is the background for this session? I am standing here, not as a sales person, or a HR-person, even if this is my current role. I m here as an employee, and leader in Microsoft who want to achieve great results, and has a passion for using our technology to it s fullest potential. One of the challenges today is that you have to both have a god 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. Are you using Outlook to manage your tasks, or do you prefer to keep everything in your head? Are you using your time on the right tasks? Are your tasks aligned with your goals and objectives?

2 Slide 2 Outlook 2007 best practices Bjørn O. Hopland OUTLOOK BASIC SETUP 1. Create more room for folders 2. Create extra calendar view window 3. Show tasks at the bottom of the calendar 4. Turn off mail and task notifications Most people keep the default settings in Outlook. There are a lot of adjustments to be done after installation to optimize the usage. It will take you only 10 minutes, and then you don t have to do it again until you change PC next time.

3 Slide 3 Create more room for folders Takes a lot of space More folders visible gives better overview In my experience many do not customize their setup at all. Yet, everybody will recognise the mail symbol, the calendar symbol etc. And do not need to have it spelled out. So, you can just drag the horizontal line over the Mail symbol down to the bottom, and only have the symbols visible.

4 Slide 4 Create extra calendar view window 2 windows gives faster switching, and is very good if you are using 2 screens This is a quick-win if you are working with an external monitor connected, and choose to use the external as an extention of your desktop. Right click on the calendar symbol and chose open in New Window. You now have 2 different Outlook windows. Drag one of them to your second screen, and you do not have ot loose sight of you calendar and tasks, while you are working in your inbox. You can of course have as many views as you like, for ex. a weekly view and a daily view in different windows, or a team overview in one window, showing the team s calendars. I use this possibility even when working with one screen, as it is much faster to swith windows, than to change all the time the views within Outlook.

5 Slide 5 Show tasks at the bottom of the calendar Change to show tasks on start date. Unmark Show completed tasks Drag task bar up to show tasks One of the bigges improvements in Outlook 2007 is the ability to show tasks together with your calendar. This makes it possible 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 date of next Friday, all your tasks will show up on next Friday. But, that is far too late. You will need to work on the diffent tasks during the week, so to decide when to actually do the work, you want to show the start date.

6 Slide 6 Turn off mail and messenger notifications Messenger: Tools -> Options Outlook: Tools -> Options -> Mail Options The consistent advise 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 your subconcious mind, that will have to start over with what you originally were thinking.

7 Slide 7 Outlook 2007 best practices Bjørn O. Hopland TAKE CONTROL OVER YOUR INBOX 1. Create Outlook rules 2. Converting mail to tasks 3. The 4 D s 4. Managing your tasks with your calendar Now that you have optimized Outlook settings, you can personalize Outlook to fit your mail stream, and start exploring new work patterns, maximizing the possibilities Outlook 2007 gives you.

8 Slide 8 Get the volume down by Outlook rules Create rules to reduce volume and focus on the right tasks. Typically most will need rules for moving CC-mail, and distribution list mail to other folders. Chose Tools -> Rules And Alerts from the menu Place destination folders as subfolders in your Inbox 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 them contain any action for you. There are a lot of informational mail where you are typically on the cc: line, or mail sent to a distribution list. 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 you can check it once a day, not everytime you look in your inbox during the day.

9 Slide 9 Be smart when working in the Inbox Do you start at the top, bottom, or scanning all mails in your Inbox to find the most urgent mail? Use of color coding can help you to prioritize smartly. Examples: Mail from manager Mail with only you on the to-line You may already have hundreds of mails in your Inbox. You may also be in the situation that you have unread mails when you open your Inbox. How do you adress the most urgent, and important mails first? Mail sent only to you, or from you manager will likely have higher priority then most other mails.

10 Slide 10 Converting mail to simple tasks When you flag your mails, they automatically become tasks. Make it a practice to never leave a mail in the Inbox after you have opened it. You should decide immediately what to do with it. Use the 4 D's as a guide: Do now Delegate Delete Do later In previous versions of Outlook, tasks were difficult to use. You hade to manually create tasks, and for most, it was difficult to incorporate in daily planning and 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, follow up on, or delegate to others are initiated by receiving or sending a mail. So Outlook is your task management system, and it is made to support you in task management. With Office 2007, Microsoft has taken the consequence of this, and developed Outlook into a superb task management system, utilizing mail as the major transport mechanism for the tasks. Some have starting to flag mail, but still keep them in the Inbox until they are handled. They use their Inbox 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 that can wait to tomorrow, or next week. With Outlook 2007 this is totally unneccesary. It s designed so that you can safely move the mail to a work folder, and it will pop up in your calendar 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 mail out 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. Here is what the major change in Outlook 2007 comes in. It is not designed for doing tasks while you are in the Inbox. In the Inbox, you prioritize, decide what to do with the mail, and when. 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 you the day you have decided it to be.

11 Slide 11 The 4 D's Do 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 the right 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 that day 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 predefined flags. Next Week will create a task with start date on Monday, and end date on Friday. 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 in one 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 don't need to archive, drag it to 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 do not need to archive it, just delete the task, and the mail will be deleted as well. The clue to time saving and getting mails out of your Inbox is the pre-archiving of it, by deciding what will happen to the mail after you have completed the associated task, and achive it right away. Then you do not have to think about that later, and you will know where to go to find it again.

12 Slide 12 Pre-archive the mail immediately When you have flagged a mail for follow up archive it in the folder where you would like to find it after the task is done If you know you will delete the mail after the task is done, just move it to the Task folder for temporary storage Tip: Your flagged mails has to reside in side your Mailbox for this to work You need to get th 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 time you og 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 archiving mails 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 temporary storage.

13 Slide 13 Managing your tasks with your calendar (1) Normally, what happens is that you postpone a lot of tasks to Next Week. All of them will then show up on Monday. On Friday afternoon, or Monday morning you can then do your week-plan. Monday Tuesday Wednesday No time for tasks If 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 by dragging 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 day which is the sum of appointments and tasks.

14 Slide 14 Managing your tasks with your calendar (2) Now, you can see both your appointments and the tasks you plan to do that week. You can drag tasks to days where you have time to work on tasks. You can also drag tasks to the calendar. Don t worry if you don t allways 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 that time, 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 loose a task/mail, and will never need to be reminded from others about things you forgot. Make sure all your working folders are within your Mailbox! The flagging and task management does only work in that context. As soon as it is completed, it s OK that it is archived also in pst folders.

15 Slide 15 Outlook 2007 best practices Bjørn O. Hopland USE OF FOLDER STRUCTURE AND CATEGORIES TO ACHIEVE YOUR GOALS AND OBJECTIVES 1. Create your folder and category structure. 2. Are you using the time on the right things? 3. Are your tasks aligned with your goals and objectives? Now that you have some new possibilities to work very efficiently with Outlook to control your mail stream and tasks, it s time to create your personal system for working on your goals and objectives and your archiving system. You probably know the 80/20 rule. 20% of your work creates 80% of the results. This section is about how to find the 20% you should use your time on. You might want to look this over from time to time, as the needs may change. This is normally the case if you change jobs, or starting a new year, with adjusted goals.

16 Slide 16 Create your folder system Create folders according to goals and objectives. In addition, create a Task folder for mails/tasks you are not going to archive after it is completed. Use numbers according to your goals and objectives numbering, and extend as needed. Tip: Use the same system for your file system folders, and for OneNote How often do you look at your goals and objectives? How many do it once a month? Once a week? Once a day? By creating your folder structure that is alligned with your goals and objectives, you make sure that you look at them all the time. Also it gives you a good possibility to check that you are working on, and archiving relevant stuff. If you can t find a good place to archave someting, you can ask 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 folder name, gives you a possibility to decide on the sort order of the folders.

17 Slide 17 Create your Color Categories To enable overview of how you spend your time, and monitor the activity level by Commitment Follow the same structure as for your folder system Tip: Assign shortcuts for fast categorizing of mail, tasks and calendar items I recommend to delete the current categories, named Red, blue etc. and start building new categories. Assigne your favourite colors. There are no standards for this, and the definitions will remain with you, and not follow tasks, calendar items or mail you send to others.

18 Slide 18 Are you using your time on the right things? How are your appointments and tasks related to your goals and objectives (Work and personal)? Do you know that you are are having the right focus on the things that are important? Here it is easy to see if most of the time is spent in the selected Category areas. Keep track with the help of categories. How are you spending your time?

19 Slide 19 Are your tasks aligned with your goals and objectives (1)? This list shows all active tasks, but does not show categories. It is not easy to get an impression if I spend my time right. Are you working on your goals and objectives, and are you balancing your time and effort right between the commitments? Really difficult to answer based on this task list.

20 Slide 20 Are your tasks aligned with your goals and objectives (2)? This list shows what I have planned to do, and the relation to my goals and objectives. If you assign color coded categories to your goals and objectives, it s really easy with one look to get an impression of your activity level by commitment.

21 Slide 21 Use Outlook best practices to achieve your goals - Summary Outlook basic setup Take control over your Inbox Use of Folder structure and Categories to achieve your goals and objectives 1. Create more room for folders 2. Create extra calendar view window 3. Show tasks at the bottom of the calendar 4. To-do bar optimization 5. Turn off mail and task notifications 1. Create Outlook rules 2. Converting mail to tasks 3. The 4 D s 4. Managing your tasks with your calendar 1. Create your folder and category structure 2. Are you using the time on the right things? 3. Are your tasks aligned with your goals and objectives? Once Every day Once a year, or when job changes Personally, I m sure that I have increased my efficiency and effectiveness equivalent to between a half and a full day a week, by prioritizing better, working with the right things, and managing mail and tasks much more efficient. If you find some of this difficult to implement in your job, and/or if you have suggestions for improving the way to work, I would love to hear about it. Send me a mail on

22 Slide 22 Outlook 2007 best practices Bjørn O. Hopland ADDITIONAL TIPS FOR OPTIMIZING OUTLOOK 1. To-do bar optimization 2. Auto archive setup

23 Slide 23 To-do bar optimization (1) You can change the reading pane to your needs. Right click on the bar to select different options You can turn off, or minimize the To- Do Bar, to create more room for the reading pane If you are using Vista Sidebar, you can show your next appointments there, and minimize the Outlook To-Do Bar The calendar view is where you are going to work with tasks scheduling, prioritation and initiate the doing of the task. Still, the default setting of Outlook is to show task together with your Inbox. IT s nice to be able to see your next appointments when you are working in your Inbox, but if you are using the Windows Sidebar in Vista, you might want to use a gadget to show that, and maybe a calendar overview as well. If, you do, then you can take away, or minimize the To-do bar, and create more space for mail preview.

24 Slide 24 To-do bar optimization (2) Tip: You can use tasks without start and end date, for keeping lists of books to read, a shopping list, weekly or monthly plan etc. If you keep the To-Do bar, one possibility is to use the task list for other use, like keeping lists, or for other information. You can change the view by right-clicking the Arrange by... bar.

25 Slide 25 Auto archive setup To avoid that your mailbox is getting full, you can set up automatic archiving. Chose Tools -> Options from the menu Under Other tab, press AutoArchive Depending of how fast your Mailbox is growing, select period to keep items in your mailbox Choose where to archive. Make sure you choose a place where you will find the file later, as you will archive to back this file up yourself All items in yout Mailbox will automatically be backed up by IT If you want to set different rules for specific folders, e.g. the Sent mail folder, Right click on the folder, and chose Properties Choose AutoArchive, and change time to keep items in this folder Tip: A 4 GB Memory stick will be perfect for back up of your Archive file

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