Improve your Outlook and free up 2-3 working weeks a year
Yes, you read correctly. This article will help you free up two to three working weeks a year if you receive a lot of email, plus improve communication and workflow.
Working in Outlook probably gobbles up several hours of your day, as well as for most of your staff.
It is a major pain point and cannot be ignored.
It’s where you receive work requests. Where you communicate with staff, clients, family. Where you get news. Where you set your appointments meetings and reminders.
Not only that, the change to the ribbon format in 2007 and 2010 changed everything that was familiar.
Here are five of the hundreds of tips from my new book, Conquer Your Email Overload.
We’ll be giving one book away each week for the next four weeks.
Enter the contest. The tips you learn will from the book will help you work more effectively, easing your pain and enhancing your gain.
I’ve taken 10 years of learning and put it into a very easy-to-read book written in a "problem: solution" format.
This helps you to focus on the problem you’d like to solve most: communication flow, sales, workflow, response management, customer service.
Imagine accomplishing this by making a few simple tweaks to the way you work.
Why not begin with these five tips? Using these can easily free up at least two working weeks a year (20 minutes a day x 240 working days).
1. Your personal inbox secretary: Rules
This function used cleverly can save you at least 15 minutes a day – two weeks a year. It can automatically read your incoming or outgoing emails, then perform the tasks you set. Put these emails in a folder. Forward, answer, delete – anything you want.
# How to use: Bundle CCs and BCCs. Perform routine responses. Sort through irrelevant emails. Focus on important ones.
# Where: 2003-07: Tools>Rules. 2010: Home Ribbon > Move> Rules.
2. Be a sales/customer service superstar: Tasks
Your automatic memory prompt or persistency builder.
# How to use: Grow sales by reminding yourself to follow up on outstanding proposals. Build relationships with recurring tasks to prompt you to telephone; to follow up after a certain period of time for customer service. Assign meeting action points to individuals and prompt them. Remind staff of items due, like expense or sales reports.
# Where: Icon under your Sent items folder.
3. Forget typing details: Drag and drop
Used creatively, drag and drop can replace cut and paste or typing out from scratch.
# How to use: Take incoming emails and drag, then drop, into contacts to create a new contact. To the calendar to create a new appointment or meeting. To windows explorer to save the email (and attachments). Even better, you can highlight text within an email and drag and drop that instead of the entire email.
# Where: Anywhere within Outlook.
4. Be gracious and save thousands of seconds: Reply signature
Instead of signing off (or not!) each email you forward or reply to, have it done automatically.
# How to use: Set once, then forget. Add your normal salutation.
# Where: 2003-07:Tools>Mail Format > Signatures >Replies and Forwards. 2010: Open a new message > Message tab > Include group > Signature. Then click Signatures. Click New, and assign it to the Forward & Replies.
5. CRM tool: People Pane
New in 2010. Microsoft has replicated the information you would normally find in a Contact’s Activity tab ( 2003-10) and placed it in a new pane at the bottom of an email when viewed in the Reading Pane.
# How to use: You see all the activity you have had with that person, including emails, Tasks, Calendar items and attachments.
# Where: On the View tab, in the People Pane group, click People Pane and then click Bottom (you must have your Reading Pane turned on).
Conquer Your Email Overload can be bought at any bookstore or from Debbie at the address below.
Debbie Mayo-Smith works with businesses that want more effective management and staff. www.debbiespeaks.co.nz