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Effective Time Management Using Microsoft® Outlook® to Organize Your Work and Personal Life LoThar SEiwErT hoLgEr woELTjE Copyright © 2011 by Lothar Seiwert, Holger Woeltje All rights reserved. No part of the contents of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without the written permission of the publisher. ISBN: 978-0-7356-6004-5 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 M 6 5 4 3 2 1 Printed and bound in the United States of America. Microsoft Press books are available through booksellers and distributors worldwide. If you need support related to this book, email Microsoft Press Book Support at mspinput@ microsoft.com. Please tell us what you think of this book at http://www.microsoft.com/ learning/booksurvey. Microsoft and the trademarks listed at http://www.microsoft.com/about/legal/en/us/ IntellectualProperty/Trademarks/EN-US.aspx are trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies. All other marks are property of their respective owners. The example companies, organizations, products, domain names, email addresses, logos, people, places, and events depicted herein are fictitious. No association with any real company, organization, product, domain name, email address, logo, person, place, or event is intended or should be inferred. This book expresses the author’s views and opinions. The information contained in this book is provided without any express, statutory, or implied warranties. Neither the authors, Microsoft Corporation, nor its resellers, or distributors will be held liable for any damages caused or alleged to be caused either directly or indirectly by this book. Acquisitions and Developmental Editor: Kenyon Brown Production Editor: Teresa Elsey Editorial Production: Online Training Solutions, Inc. Technical Reviewer: Vincent Averello Indexer: Fred Brown Cover Design: Twist Creative • Seattle Cover Composition: Karen Montgomery iii Contents Foreword ix Acknowledgments xi Introduction xiii Chapter 1 How Not to Drown in the Email Flood 1 ■ ■ It's Not the Email Messages, It’s How We Handle Them 4 Don’t Let Yourself Get Distracted 4 Break Your Response Pattern 8 ■ ■ Keep Your Inbox in Order 11 Process Your Email Block with the DANF System 12 File Email Messages Accordingly 13 ■ ■ Create and Use Your Own Folder Structure 19 ■ ■ Flag the Messages You Still Need to Work On 22 Don’t Force Alarms on Yourself: The Reminder Functions of Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2010 24 Keep All Items That Are Flagged for Processing in a Single View 27 ■ ■ Let Outlook Presort Your Inbox for You 28 ■ ■ Think Before You Communicate 31 Make Your Text Easier to Understand: Always Adjust It to the Recipients 31 Keep Your Phrasing Short, Precise, and Crystal Clear 31 Use Well-Written Subject Lines to Make Everyone’s Life Easier 32 ■ ■ You Try It 33 iv Contents Chapter 2 How to Work More Effectively with Tasks and Priorities 35 ■ ■ How to Run a Country Like the United States in the 24 Hours a Day Has to Offer—Set Priorities! 37 Focus on What Matters Most (the Pareto Principle) 38 Decide What‘s Most Important—Use the Eisenhower Matrix to Set Rough Priorities 39 Write Down Your Plans 42 ■ ■ Use Task Lists to Plan Flexibly and Effectively 43 Tasks vs. Appointments 44 Tasks in Outlook 44 The Text Editor in Outlook 2010/Outlook 2007 48 ■ ■ Define Your Own Views (Outlook 2003, Outlook 2007, and Outlook 2010) 52 Use Filters to Clean Up Your Views 53 Fine-Tune Your Priorities with the 25,000 $ Method 55 The To-Do List—View Tasks from Multiple Folders and Email Messages at the Same Time 60 ■ ■ You Try It 61 Chapter 3 How to Gain More Time for What’s Essential with an Effective Week Planner 63 ■ ■ What Really Matters—and Why Does It Continue to Remain Undone? 64 ■ ■ Take Advantage of Categories to Combine Tasks 66 Gain Perspective with Categories 66 Keep Track of Your Most Important Categories by Using Colors 71 Filter and Group by Category 82 v Contents ■ ■ The Kiesel Principle—Gain More Time for What Matters Most Each Week 90 Keep Your Life in Balance 90 Plan Your Professional Life and Private Life Together 91 Regularly Take Time for What Really Counts 95 ■ ■ How to Plan Your Week with Outlook 97 Prepare Your Task List for the Week 97 Plan Tasks and Appointments Together in Balance 100 Plan Appointments with Yourself to Concentrate on the Essential Tasks 102 ■ ■ You Try It 107 Chapter 4 How to Make Your Daily Planning Work in Real Life 109 ■ ■ The Basics of Successful Day Planning 112 Combine Similar Tasks into Task Blocks 112 For Advanced Users: Take Advantage of the Journal for Semi-Automatic Time Protocols 115 Take Your Performance Curve and Your Disruption Curve into Consideration 118 Focus on Your Important Tasks Without Interruptions During Productivity Hours 119 ■ ■ Order Must Prevail 121 Hide the Tasks Intended for Block Building in the Week/Day Views 122 Mark Tasks That Are Due Today and Tomorrow in Color 123 ■ ■ Gain a Better Overview by Using Appointment Lists 126 ■ ■ Fine-Tune Your Daily Planning 130 Plan Pending Tasks with the 25,000 $ Method 130 vi Contents ■ ■ More Steps for Successful Daily Planning 133 Make Further Appointments with Yourself 134 Keep an Eye on Buffer Times 134 Use the To-Do Bar to Keep Upcoming Appointments and Tasks in View 135 How to Customize the To-Do Bar 136 ■ ■ You Try It 137 Chapter 5 How to Schedule Meetings So They Are Convenient, Effective, and Fun 139 ■ ■ The Problem: Way Too Many Inconvenient Meeting Requests and Insufficient Preparation 141 ■ ■ Meeting Requests with Outlook—Basic Rules and Tips 142 Find Free Times and Evaluate Replies 143 ■ ■ Stay on Top of It: Calendar Overlay 149 Use Meeting Requests Sparingly 155 Optimize Your Calendar to Make Meeting Requests Easy 161 ■ ■ Prepare Meetings Effectively 166 Improve Efficiency by Preparing and Running Your Meeting Wisely 167 Use Meeting Workspaces to Prepare Meetings 169 ■ ■ You Try It 173 Chapter 6 How to Use OneNote for Writing Goals, Jotting Down Ideas, and Keeping Notes 175 ■ ■ Why Do Important Documents and Notes Always Get Lost? 177 ■ ■ Finally, a Place and a System for All Your Notes 178 Use a Structured System When Planning 178 Do You Still Use Paper Even Though You Have a Laptop? 180 Discover the Advantages of OneNote 181 vii Contents ■ ■ Basics for Notes in OneNote 182 Take Advantage of the Digital Notebook Structure 183 Work with Sections, Notebooks, and Pages 185 How to Fill Your Pages 187 Use Pens, Text Markers, and Colors 189 ■ ■ Meeting Minutes in OneNote 194 Use Outlining for Preparation 194 Keep Follow-Up Activities and Important Information in View 198 Link Your Information: Use Outlook and OneNote as a Team 202 Create Page Templates and Checklists 207 ■ ■ Always Keep Your Ideas and Goals in Sight 208 “Printing”—Export Data from Any Program 209 Read Between the Lines—OCR for Pictures 211 Set Goals for Yourself—Not Just for Your Revenue 212 Create Your Master Plan 216 ■ ■ You Try It 218 Chapter 7 How to Truly Benefit from This Book 219 ■ ■ How to Get a Handle on Your Time 221 The Next Steps 223 Test the Current Version of Office for Free 224 ■ ■ Take Responsibility—Do It Now! 224 Time Management Is Self-Discipline 226 Create Your Own Personal Action Plan 226 Find a Buddy 227 Start Immediately and Keep at It! 228 viii Contents Appendix A Recommended Reading 229 Index 231 About the Authors 247 what do you think of this book? we want to hear from you! Microsoft is interested in hearing your feedback so we can continually improve our books and learning resources for you. To participate in a brief online survey, please visit: microsoft.com/learning/booksurvey Foreword MOST PRODUCTIvITY ENTHUSIASTS in the United States have never heard of Lothar Seiwert and Holger Woeltje. That’s about to change. They are rock stars in Europe, and this book will rock in the U.S. I met Lothar through my role as the 2011–2012 U.S. President of the National Speakers Association (NSA), through which he received the Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) designation. He invited me to speak at the German Speak- ers Association (GSA), where I witnessed his celebrity status. He’s a member of the German Speakers Hall of Fame and received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the German Training and Development Federation. His books have sold over four million copies, and his co-author, Holger, has authored seven best-selling books. Rest assured they are well qualified as authors of this new Outlook productivity guide. Under my moniker, The Productivity Pro®, I’ve been presenting keynotes and seminars on increasing output and saving time at work since 1992. As a Microsoft Certified Application Specialist in Outlook (MCAS), I’ve provided Outlook training to corporate clients (including Microsoft!) since the 1990s. Bottom line: There is simply no better tool out there for managing and in- tegrating your email, tasks, notes, contacts, journal, and calendar. But many people simply don’t know how to get the most out of Outlook. I’d estimate most people use about 15–25% of its capabilities. Most training consists of “here’s your inbox; have fun!” Seiwert and Woeltje take the mystery out of all those settings, filters, checkboxes, and menu options, and give you a custom- ized Outlook experience for the way you manage your time and work. Outlook actually is your work, as all those messages represent something you need to do. But many people are paralyzed by the sheer volume of messages or don’t have a systematic way of pulling action from email. So most people leave messages in their inboxes to languish and get buried by the onslaught of new incoming emails. x Foreword A single email could actually require you to: 1. Think about the end result of what you’d like to accomplish with the task. Who needs to be involved? Who should own it? What steps are required? 2. Reply to the email or send an acknowledgment with a promised deadline. 3. Convert the email into a task or appointment. 4. Do the required task offline. 5. Respond with the requested information. 6. Set follow-up reminders for pending action or promised deliverables. 7. Store the supporting information. So many pieces involved in one little email! This book shows you, with many practical case studies, screenshots, step-by-step instructions, and relevant ex- amples, how to complete these processes very quickly—although the offline work will still take some time. You’ll discover a brand-new system for organiz- ing your time and to-do’s in a more productive, effective way. How many hours do you spend in your email inbox each day? This book will show you how Outlook can help you to become more productive, so get ready for that figure to go down! If you let yourself be chained down by your email instead of letting it help you manage your life, you’re never likely to get much done. Seiwert and Woeltje are about to set you free! Laura Stack, MBA, CSP Productivity expert, speaker, trainer Author, What to Do When There’s Too Much to Do: Reduce Tasks, Increase Results, and Save 90 Minutes a Day (Berrett-Koehler, 2012) President, The Productivity Pro®, Inc. President, National Speakers Association [email protected] www.TheProductivityPro.com acknowledgments WE HAvE TO THANK so many people for this book that we know it is impossible to write a complete list. That said, there are people we need to cite personally here because of their particular contributions. We have to start with Christian Obermayr, former Product Manager for Microsoft Office: eight years ago he started the project for the German edi- tion of this book, provided some cool additional tips and tricks, and carefully reviewed and tweaked every German edition ever since. Special thanks to Laura Stack, CSP, America’s Premier Expert in Productivity, CEO of The Productivity Pro, and President of the National Speakers Asso- ciation (NSA), for her wonderful foreword. We offer sincere thanks to Dan Poynter, CSP, Para Publishing, for his support and encouragement. Thanks also to Achim Berg and Juergen Gallmann, former CEOs of Micro- soft Germany, who provided the forewords for the various German editions. We offer sincere thanks to Thomas Pohlmann, former Editorial Manager of Microsoft Press Germany, who got the first German edition launched seven years ago; Thomas Braun-Wiesholler, Editorial Manager at O’Reilly Media, and Claudia Petersen, Sales Manager at Microsoft Press, who managed the eighth German edition of this book and played a huge part in getting it finally translated into English; and especially to Kenyon Brown, Senior Editor at O’Reilly Media, Microsoft Press Division, who did a tremendous job in keeping everyone involved moving forward as a team as well as managing this project. A particular mention goes to Kathy Krause, Editorial Specialist at Online Training Solutions, Inc. (OTSI): she has been our copy editor, carefully review- ing and correcting everything, and tweaking the language. We are not native English speakers, and she deserves all the credit if you can read this book well and fluently. Thanks also to Teresa Elsey and Dan Fauxsmith, Production Managers at O'Reilly Media, for managing the production side and keeping everything on track there. It has been a pleasure to work with all of you! xi xii Acknowledgments Thanks to Nespresso for providing the awesome coffee that kept us going through some tough writing and editing sessions, to all the people from Lufthansa and Deutsche Bahn who make our traveling easier and more enjoyable, and to everyone at Apple, Amazon, Lenovo, Microsoft, and Research in Motion (RIM), who build the great technology, software, and cool gadgets that help us to be productive on the road and always keep connected to our families, friends, clients, and business partners, no matter where we are around the world. A very big thanks goes to all of the participants from our keynotes, work- shops, and seminars who implemented what we taught them. Whom we have the honor to support on their journeys to reaching their goals, overcoming challenges, and making their workdays easier. Who help us with their ques- tions to adjust our methods and teaching to the ever-changing business and technology world. Who give us back so much with their feedback and shar- ing their personal success stories a few months or even years later. Hearing or reading about and sometimes even seeing in person how they’ve been able to improve their work results, achieve a balanced life again, and gain more time for their families and friends is the most precious reward for us we can imagine. And, finally, thanks a lot to you, dear reader, for helping us to make this book a success. We hope you’ll enjoy it and gain a lot from the tips, tricks, and strategies you’ll find on the following pages. Now it’s your turn to read this content, really think deeply about it, apply it to your work and personal life, and implement the techniques one at a time to harvest some big results! —Lothar Seiwert and Holger Woeltje, September 2011 xiii introduction ARE TOO MANY EMAIL messages, urgent deadlines, and stressful meet- ings driving you nuts? Is time running out on you? Do you sometimes feel like you didn’t get anything important done at the end of the day, because all the urgent, small stuff kept you so busy you didn’t even start the things that really matter in the long run? It doesn’t have to be that way. In today’s modern world, characterized by complexity, information overload, and way too many distractions, Microsoft Outlook can help you to focus and prioritize, to separate the wheat from the chaff. But if no one ever showed you how to use Outlook in a really produc- tive way, it can cause even more trouble: Reminders that pop up on your screen and distract you while you’re in the middle of something else, desk- top alerts for new email messages that keep constantly nagging you, and a task list with 357 overdue red entries—no wonder Outlook puts you in a bad mood as soon as you look at it! It’s finally time to change that! You’ll learn a proven time management system tweaked for use with Outlook. It’ll help you to focus on what matters most and gain more time for important things while only requiring you to invest a little time each day for planning. The authors of this book are two highly experienced time management experts from Germany, the largest national economy in Europe. They help executives all over the world to become more successful and will show you how to systemize and organize your complex everyday life, too. How to turn from being Re-active into Pro-active using rigorous task planning and weekly planning. And how to create daily plans that still work even when the unex- pected occurs. This book will show you, very concretely and with many practical examples, how Outlook perfectly supports you in implementing an effective time man- agement system of this kind. Outlook offers many practical functions that help you keep things in perspective and save a lot of time during your hectic workday—as long as you use these functions wisely and set the right priori- ties. It’s up to you to make use of this now—just invest half an hour each day in reading, understanding, and applying this knowledge for the next few weeks, and you’ll greatly benefit from it sooner than you could have imagined!

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