Outlook Tips and Tricks by Laura Stack, MBA, CSP

laura-stack4Since so many people seem to be using Microsoft Outlook to handle their email and calendars, I wanted to pass along some tips on how to stay organized.

The most important thing to remember is that you should NOT keep old email in your in-box!!!! The biggest cause of in-box overload (and 1100 messages) is indecision.

Once you’ve opened it, you MUST (1) delete it, (2) forward it, (3) reply to it (and delete it), (4) move it to Tasks (things you need to reply to but don’t have time to), (5) move it to your Calendar (meetings and appointments), or (6) move it to a Personal Folder (reference information only).

1. To move an email to the Task List:

• Right click on the email
• Select “Move to Folder…”
• Double-click Tasks
• Fill in the Start dates, Due dates, and Subject
• Click “OK”

Email will be removed from your in-box and attached to the task. When you double-click the task on the task list, the email will be attached and can be viewed.

2. To move an email to the Calendar (meeting and appointment-related emails):

• Right click on the email
• Select “Move to Folder…”
• Double-click Calendar
• Fill in the appointment or meeting date and time
• Click “OK”

Email will be removed from your in-box and attached to the calendar item. When you double-click the item on the calendar, the email will be attached and can be viewed.

3. Create personal folders to describe the different types of email you receive:

• Each person you work with frequently
• Projects
• Clients
• Personal
• Travel items
• Bulletins

4. To archive old email:

• Under “Tools,” Select “Options”
• Select “AutoArchive”
• Select the “Other” tab
• Click the “AutoArchive” button
• Specify how often you want to archive email and where you want it placed

5. To filter your email as it comes in, under “Tools,” Select “InBox Assistant” or “Organize,” depending upon your Outlook version. There you can set up rules for automatically moving email from particular people to certain folders.

6. To customize the layout on your screen:

• Go to “Calendar”
• Select “View,”
• Then “TaskPad View”

Use the “Notes” feature for anything you would normally put on a sticky note! If it’s something you need to DO, use Tasks. But for lists, such as grocery lists, gift lists, VISA DPS passwords, chores, errands, shopping lists, repair lists, birthdays, etc., the Notes feature is perfect! Simply Click “Notes,” “Actions,” and “New Note”.

© 2009 Laura Stack. Laura Stack is a personal productivity expert, author, and professional speaker who helps busy workers Leave the Office Earlier® with Maximum Results in Minimum Time®. She is the president of The Productivity Pro®, Inc., a time management training firm specializing in productivity improvement in high-stress organizations. Since 1992, Laura has presented keynotes and seminars on improving output, lowering stress, and saving time in today’s workplaces. She is the bestselling author of three works published by Broadway Books: The Exhaustion Cure (2008), Find More Time (2006) and Leave the Office Earlier (2004). Laura is a spokesperson for Microsoft, 3M, and Day-Timers®, Inc and has been featured on the CBS Early Show, CNN, and the New York Times. Her clients include Cisco Systems, Sunoco, KPMG, Nationwide, and 3M. To have Laura speak at your next event, call 303-471-7401. Visit www.TheProductivityPro.com to sign up for her free monthly productivity newsletter.

To learn more about how organization and time management can help you achieve success visit the Day-Timer Community at http://www.daytimer.com/community.

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