6 April 2015

Two More Outlook Time-Saving Tips

Last week I promised two more email time-savers. The first one is so simple, and yet many very experienced administrators and fast keyboard operators don’t know about it.  I love watching people’s faces when I show it – their jaws drop and you can tell they’re itching to get back to their computers to try it out.

Click And Drag

Let’s suppose you’ve received an email that relates to a meeting you’ve scheduled, or it requires you to set up a meeting, or it’s a big enough task to justify blocking out some dedicated time. What most people do is either retype the information or cut and paste using the shortcuts Ctrl + C and  Ctrl + V.

Instead, click on the email and drag it to Calendar. (On my new computer with Office 2010 I can see the Appointment box immediately but Inbox smallwith Windows 7 that box didn’t open in front of the Inbox screen. Instead, it coyly tucked itself behind the open email window and I had to go back to the Outlook icon along the bottom toolbar to find the open screen.) Anyway, once you see your Calendar window all you have to do is set the appointment times. The entire email, with all its information, is in the body of the calendar item.  And – the original email still sits patiently in whichever folder you dragged it from.

Now you’ve got that little trick under your belt, try doing the same thing with a new contact you want to transfer into your Contacts list. The smart little ‘click and drag’ trick works there too. In this case (in my system at least, but yours might be different) the Contact pane did its disappearing trick but again, it was just sitting behind the open email waiting for attention. The only extra thing required, if you don’t need to keep the content of the email attached to the new Contact’s name, is to delete the email from the Notes section.

If you use the Tasks feature, it also works there.

An Alternative ‘To Do’ List For Today’s Top Priorities

I find very few people like Outlook’s Tasks, or use it well – me included. For many it becomes an ever-growing ugly dumping ground with too much in it and no easy way to get a clear visual on your priorities for the day.

If you can identify with that, you might like this trick from a very busy administrator. She wanted a quick and visual way to keep tasks and appointments together and decided to use the ‘before work’ hours to put her tasks for the day.  She either ‘clicked and dragged’ email as outlined above (or created new appointments if it was something that hadn’t arrived by email) using the wee small hours – from 4am. (Of course she wasn’t at work at that hour!) She could then just manually move things into priority order if she wanted to, depending on the volume. If for some reason she needed to print off the day or the week, everything was visible on the one page.

You’ve probably got a bunch of other longer-term things you want to keep track of. There are various ways but outside the scope of today’s article. I’ll probably write about it one day.

Coming next week:

Next week will be on a more personal note – I’ve just completed the 5 Day Alps to Ocean Cycle Trail, from Mt Cook to Oamaru. It was amazing, challenging and rewarding – and I’ll tell you more next week. Right now I’m off to have a celebratory drink with my 14 equally happy mates in the bar of our Oamaru hotel – as soon as I’ve despatched this ezine and blog for my hard-working assistant to post for you.

2 thoughts on “Two More Outlook Time-Saving Tips”

  1. Hi Robyn
    After three months holiday it’s great to get back into the swing of things with reminders like this.
    I’ve also taken to doing a quick look at my emails first thing on my iPone so although I can’t move it my important messages I can “star” it for immediate attention.
    I started doing this to avoid doing emails first thing, but making sure I wasn’t neglecting anything I urgently needed to do for one of the managers I look after.
    Love getting your messages.
    Warm regards

  2. Hi Robyn,
    Yes, the click n’ drag an email to the calendar is a great feature but it does have 2 ‘downsides’. It won’t take any attachment to the email and, if you only drag the email to the calendar icon, it opens a new appointment for today, right now (which is exactly when you are NOT going to do it).

    This means messing around to change the date and time without being able to see your calendar.

    That’s why the Ctrl C is advantageous. After copying you can go to calendar, view your schedule and then choose the appropriate date and time for the email task. One click on that time then Ctrl V will paste it with the subject lien of the email but without the attachment.

    Double click the time instead and then Ctrl V into the appointment window – this takes the attachment but not the subject line. But this is no real problem as, more often that not, you will need to change the subject line so that it makes sense when you come back to it in the calendar in a few days.

    The trick is to make the first word of the new subject line for the appointment a ‘doing’ word such as read, write, review, prepare, ring. This way, you don’t have to try working out what has to be done, that thinking has already been done and is reflected in the title of the calendar appointment.

    Hope this rounds out the point you were making about how easy it is to convert tasks that arrive via email into the calendar.

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