Monthly Archives: February 2015


Getting Important (but not-fun) Work Done

By standss - Comments ( 1 ) Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

Here’s a tip that may help to get your important (but not fun work done) and still leave you time to do your enjoyable work. The secret is based on structuring this work as if you were back in high school.

We all have things that we were created to do…. work that we enjoy doing.

It’s probably what we studied in college and what we started our careers doing. But..

Over the years, the roles have changed. Our responsibilities have included things that we don’t enjoy as much.

Our businesses need us to do other things too!

For example:

If you’re a lawyer… or an engineer… or a software developer… or in any creative field, you may find that over the years you have had to do more and more admin and sales work… in fact over time it may feel like you are spending more time doing that kind of work than what you actually signed up for.

Do you find yourself doing all kinds of unproductive things just to avoid making that important sales call, or looking at the accounts?

The type of things I do including checking emails, checking Facebook or going for a cup of coffee… any excuse will do!

This leads to TWO NEGATIVE results.

  1. The work that is important for the business does not get done and
  2. I find I don’t really enjoy the work that I normally would enjoy because (at the back of my mind) I feel guilty for not doing the work that needed to be done.

The solution turned out to be something very simple.

Schedule your (non-fun) work as if you were back in high school

Back when we were in school, we had different classes or periods. Maths was at 10 AM, English at 11 AM and so on. We spent time on all our important subjects because it was scheduled and done at a particular time.

I have found that I am much more productive if I use the same idea for the work that my business needs me to do (but I may not enjoy as much).

blog

I have scheduled various 30 minute blocks of time into my week for Sales Emails, Team Mentoring, and Marketing Analysis. Some of these activities may get more than one period per week.

On the allocated time, I set aside what I am doing and focus on the “Subject” for 30 minutes. Sometimes the works gets done before the end of “class”.

Other times I keep going because I am in the flow and the work seems easy to do.

And if I am not in the flow, I work till the end of the “period” and then leave the subject for the next allocated time on my calendar.

This simple trick has helped me become much more productive. The work that is important to our business is now getting done.

A nice side effect has been that I find myself enjoying my work day much more as I no longer feel guilty for ignoring important work.

I hope that this tip helps you too. If you have other productivity tips, please share it with other readers by leaving a comment below.

Categories : Office Tip, Outlook Performance, project management Comments ( 1 )

Download the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 Timetable to Your Outlook

By standss - Comments ( 0 ) Tuesday, February 10th, 2015

The Cricket World Cup 2015 is about to start in a few days (14th February), so for all you Cricket Lovers who would not want to miss a single match, or at least not your favorite teams matches, here’s how you can download the times for all the games into your Outlook Calendar.

1. Make sure that your computer is setup to the correct time zone. This step is important to ensure that the game time gets shown at the correct time depending on where in the world you are. Go to the Windows Control Panel and open Date and Time.

date_time

(Your screen may be slightly different depending on the version of Outlook… it may have a separate tab for Time Zone).

Make sure that the correct Time Zone is displayed i.e. the time zone of where YOU are. (I am in Fiji so the screen shot above says Fiji). Click on Change time zone if you need to.

2. Click on the link below and save the .ics file to your desktop
Download Cricket World Cup 2015 Schedule

3. Import the downloaded file into your Outlook by using the following steps. If you are using Microsoft Outlook 2010, click File – Open – Import. For all other versions of Outlook, click File – Import & Export.

Import and Export

4. Select Import an iCalendar (ics) or vCalendar file (vcs) from the list and click Next.

5. Use the screen that comes up to select the ics file that was downloaded in Step 1.

(You may get the following extra steps depending on the version of Outlook you are using)

Prompt

Click either Open as New or Import. (I simply imported it to my main Outlook Calendar as it then synched with my Iphone too)

The times for all the games will now be in your Outlook.

Enjoy the games and may the best team win.

Categories : General Comments ( 0 )

Protect your company from wrongly sent emails

By standss - Comments ( 0 ) Monday, February 9th, 2015

The web is full examples of what the dangers to organization due to emails sent to the wrong email address (including one that may have led to a $1B settlement). What are the risks to your organization from these kinds of mistakes, and what you can do to manage those risks? We answer these questions and also look at a solution that several large companies are now implementing.

How do these mistakes occur?

These mistakes typically occur when a user accidentally sends an email to the wrong person. The normal reason for this would be that there may be two people with the same or similar names.

Unfortunately Outlooks Auto Complete list (which generally helps by displaying a list of matching names and email addresses as you begin to type) makes these kinds of mistakes even easier to make.

(Strategy) What can you do to reduce the risks from these kinds of mistakes?

It is probably impossible to eliminate mistakes of this kind altogether. Therefore your organization’s strategy should be based on:

  1. Configuring Outlook to reduce the chances that users will make these mistakes
  2. Be able to show (in the event of litigation etc.) that your organization took reasonable action to prevent mistakes of these kinds

What can you do:

The actual actions you can take include:

  1. Asking users to be more careful and pay more attentions before emails are sent out.
  2. Turning off Microsoft Outlook’s Auto-Complete feature.

While both of the above are theoretically good solutions, they may not work as well in the real world for most organization because:

  1. Irrespective of how careful people are, mistakes are inevitable (it’s part of being human).
  2. Auto-Complete is actually a very useful feature and it is painful and counter-productive to use Outlook without this turned on.

Is there a better solution?

Yes! Send Confirm is an Outlook addin that integrates inside Outlook and automatically prompts for confirmation before emails are sent out.

sendconfirm

The domain is highlighted in red as the greatest damage can be caused if confidential information is sent to the wrong organization.

Send Confirm has been designed with the needs of both small and large companies in mind.

  • The warning prompt can be customized based on corporate/legal guidelines and policies
  • Special filters can be setup to control when the prompt gets displayed (external emails only, all emails etc)
  • All settings can be set and deployed centrally

We’ve actually Send Confirm available to users for several years as part of Send Guard for Outlook. However at the request of several larger organizations, we have now packaged Send Confirm as a separate component to make it more cost-effective for wider deployment in organization.

Please contact us at sales@standss.com for more information on how Send Confirm can be used to protect your organisation.

 

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