Thursday, 18 April 2019

Take Back Your Life! Special Edition : Using Microsoft Outlook to Get Organized and Stay Organized


The old tech book I have today is Using Microsoft Outlook to Get Organised and Stay Organised by Sally McGhee (2005). For this blog post I am remixing ideas from the book with my thinking and presenting it to you as a list that you can take away. Looking at old info from a future time perspective, so to speak.

Check out the last two books I posted about on the blog before

Coding Things from Pascal in 3 Days Textbook
Interesting Computing Terms from an Old Textbook

Productivity tools and productivity and efficiency and then others go hand in hand. There are many device and software productivity tools. We should know the features of these and not just what we want and need and think is there. This reminds me of a tweet from my twitter stream

Code Newbie : How do you know when it’s time to learn something new? When do you move on?

Hassan Voyeau : This is a variable and changing thing. But sometimes it's just coming across a new tech or having to solve a problem that requires learning something new.

Now some pointers


  • Give feedback to help improve the software.
  • Email is a communications tool and for me, it is at the center of all other channels of communication.
  • Proper communication is extremely important.
  • The book mentions, email as a collecting point for actions, reminders and notes (and I will add, whatever else).
  • Email is part of being organised. If you are being swamped with too many emails then maybe you need more than one email address and then there is auto response for emails that you do not read and then provide other means of contact.
  • Which leads me to the importance of a website as a central point of contact with the different channels of contact.
  • With email and website, we should give clear and simple instructions.
  • Hoarding has its limits. Delete those emails, files, data, whatever that are no longer deemed as archivable. Storage and compute and support costs tons of money and is related to conservation of our resources including environmental. If you want long haul storage then you pay for it. I have seen companies do that. You get a notice and then you data is deleted.
  • Delegation is important. Any system that accepts communication should have delegation and upflow, meaning that if it is not actioned or closed off (with agreement from both sides), then it flows to the next person in charge, right up to the CEO.
  • Work smarter (been pushing this for years). This is an obvious one.
  • Todo lists. Man I love lists. As you can tell from reading this.
  • SNA - Strategic Next Actions. This was something new to me.
  • PASS model and test for email. I do not agree with the skipping and ignoring of emails. This is poor practice. In fact we are supposed to check our SPAM folder. Check this as much as you check you email, and report as not spam to make the filter smarter on the affirmative side.
  • Too much emphasis on meetings (this is true from my experience). I like to see a list of action items, due dates with assigned persons.
  • Mind sweep. Basically putting thoughts to notes and clearing it from your mind.
  • Subject only emails. I like the idea of an email program telling me that there is only a subject and no need to open the email. However, we have so many chat options that maybe we can opt for chat instead of subject only emails.
  • Follow-up. I am big on this and I feel the bigger burden is on the person who made a promise to do something and is in the better position. The book points to keeping agreements and this is very much related.
  • Keeping everyone in the loop. I love to do this. Otherwise we are heading in the direction of chaos and disorganisation.
  • Quality, quality is one of my mantras, at least aim for it, aim for perfect.

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