Print a Blank Outlook Calendar to Plan Your Year

By standss · Comments ( 0 ) Thursday, November 17th, 2016

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As the year comes to an end, you probably need to do some planning. How will you finish this year in the best way possible… and how will you make the next year your most productive year yet?

One of the things that I find very useful in my planning is BLANK PRINTED CALENDARS. I print out one page per month and use that for planning. It really helps that I can have multiple months spread out in front of me on the table.

In this post I will show you how you can print out blank monthly calendars from Outlook (and also how you can print out calendars for any particular date range).

How to Print a Blank Calendar from Outlook

Go to the Calendar in Outlook.

Go to the Home tab of the Ribbon (if you are not already there)

Click Open Calendar – Create New Blank Calendar.

Enter a name for the calendar.

Ensure that your existing Calendar is selected for “Select where to place the folder” and click OK.

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On the navigation pane on the left, you should see that the calendar that you just created added to the list of Calendars.

Tick it so that it is displayed (you will also need to untick the name of your normal Calendar).

Click File –Print.

Under Settings, select Monthly Style (or choose an alternative style if your prefer)

By default the current month will be printed. If you want to print a longer date range (you may plan for the first quarter…or even the whole year), click Print Option and enter the date range in the space provided.

Click Print.

I hope that you find your printed blank calendars useful for your planning. It may be old school but it works.

[Video] How to track opens and clicks on Outlook Email Merges

By standss · Comments ( 0 ) Thursday, October 13th, 2016

Thousands of Outlook users use EmailMerge for Outlook to send personalised emails to their customers. Now you can also know exactly who has opened or clicked on an email…and do follow-up merges to them.

EmailMerge is an Outlook addon that installs inside Outlook and lets you send news, marketing and sales emails to your customers using an easy step-by-step Wizard.

EXISTING USERS of EmailMerge: click here to trial the tracking at no cost.

The video above shows you exactly how easy it is to send and track your emails… but here’s a quick summary.

Tracking Emails

Use the Email Merge Wizard as normal. The last step of the Wizard has a tracking section as shown below.

Tracking Merged Emails

Tick the check box, give this merge a name and click Finish to create and send out your emails.

Viewing Tracking Data

You will be notified immediately if someone or a recipient opens or clicks on a link on your email.

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This notification is displayed at the bottom right hand corner of your screen but you can optionally get email notifications that tell you who has opened the email, where and using what device.

You can also view summaries and details of the tracking information on EmailCaddie.com, a website that we have created specially for tracking.

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Doing Follow-Up Merges

EmailMerge doesn’t just tell you who has opened or clicked on an email. You can also use the information inside EmailMerge to do follow-up merges. For example:

You can send out additional information only to the people who clicked on a particular link or..

You can send out reminders to the people who have not opened your email.

The video above shows you just how easy this is to do.

If you’re any EXISTING USER of EmailMerge, you can trial the tracking at no cost.

If you’re new to EmailMerge, download a 30-day trial today and see why thousands of Outlook users around the world use it daily to communicate with their customers and members.

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How to Schedule Meetings in Different Time Zones (and see the time in both zones)

By standss · Comments ( 0 ) Tuesday, September 27th, 2016

Do you need to schedule appointments, calls etc with people in different time zones? Here’s how to make sure that you’re both there at the same time by getting Outlook to show you the time in both zones at the same time.
 
If you are using Outlook with Office 365 or Exchange Server:

Open up the New Appointment form (Go to your Calendar in Outlook and click New Appointment).
Click Invite Attendees.
Click Time Zones on the Ribbon.
Select the time zone of the other person from the drop-down.

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Now on the Room Finder Task Pane that should be displayed in the right hand side, select a date and time. As you change the date at time, you will see that the date and time for the other person will change automatically.

If you want to create the appointment and send a meeting request to someone, enter their details in the To field and then click Send.

If you want to create an appointment without sending a meeting request, click Cancel Invitation on the Ribbon and then click Save and Close.

If you are NOT using Office 365 or Exchange Server:

You won’t be able to access the full functionality described above but you can achieve the same results with the following steps.

Open up the New Appointment form (Go to your Calendar in Outlook and click New Appointment).
Click Time Zones on the Ribbon (see image above).
Select the time zone of the other person from the drop-down.
Enter the date and time in the fields and click Save and Close. The meeting will now be created on your calendar with the time shifted to the appropriate time in your time zone.
Check your calendar to ensure that you did your calculations correctly and the meeting is at a time convenient to you..

If you want to send a meeting request to someone, open the appointment again (double-click), enter their details in the To field and then click Send.

I hope that you find this tip useful.

We have clients all over the world and I use this every day to ensure that all participants to our meetings arrive at the correct time, even when we are many miles and time zones apart.

How to have a Clean Inbox and Procrastinate too!

By standss · Comments ( 2 ) Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

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Is you Inbox full of emails that you don’t want to work on but you don’t want to delete either? Here’s a tip on how you can keep them in your Inbox and remove them at the same time.  Confused? Read on.

My general strategy to Get Things Done is to only keep emails in my Inbox that I actually need to work on. However..

There are many emails in my Inbox that I know  that I won’t be working on today… or even this week. I don’t want to delete them because I (maybe) will work on them someday.

Here’s a simple thing I do weekly that helps me have a clean Inbox to work from… and still keep those unurgent emails around.

I will show you two ways of doing things… a manual way and an automated way using eemnders for Outlook.

1) The Automated Way

Once a week I do a Weekly Review.

I look at the emails and decide what I will work on this week. Those emails get to stay in my Inbox. The others get moved out.

I use eeminders for Outlook to move emails out of the Inbox. I’ll show you the steps in a minute but basically…

eeminders installs inside Outlook lets me select emails to “defer” or “snooze” to a date and time of my choosing.  The selected emails get moved out of your Inbox but then magically reappear on your chosen date and time.

You can download a fully functional trial of eeminders for Outlook.

You can use eeminders to snooze your non-urgent emails for a week using the following steps.

Go to your Inbox.

Select the emails that you want to move out (press the CTRL button to select multiple emails if you want).

Right-Click over one of the emails and then click eemind me – 1 Week.

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The selected emails will get moved out of your Inbox into another folder called eeminders. A week later they come back into my Inbox.

Why I like this?

  1. I don’t have to think too hard and the process is FAST. It’s not like I am deleting the emails. It is easy to identify emails that I won’t be working on this week.
  2. The emails will come back into the Inbox so I WON’T FORGET THEM! Chances are that in next week’s weekly review, I am just going to defer them for another week but that’s OK. At least I won’t forget them.
  3. In case I run out of things or change my mind, I can always go to the eeminders folder and retrieve an emails that I need to work on.

2) Doing this Manually

(In case you skipped it, please read the Automated Way above first to understand the idea of the Weekly Review)

You could also do this manually by creating a folder and calling it something like Next Week. Then when you do your Weekly Review:

  1. Go to the Next Week folder and drag any emails that you plan to work on this week into your Inbox.
  2. Go to your Inbox folder and drag any emails that you do not plan to work on this week to the Next Week Folder.

My own experience (and the experience of many many Outlook users who we work with) is that the manual method requires too much will-power and discipline and after a while we stop doing it.

I have been using eeminders in this way for the last 3 months and my Inbox has been a joy 🙂 to work from.

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3 Things to Make Emails look RIGHT on Smart Phones

By standss · Comments ( 1 ) Thursday, September 1st, 2016
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The majority of the emails that you send will be read on Smart Phones and tablets. That means you could be missing out on important business if your emails are not displaying correctly on mobile devices.

In this post we look at things you MUST do to ensure that your emails are displayed correctly on computers, tablets and most importantly smart phones.

Stats say 55% of email is now opened on a mobile device (Litmus “Email Analytics” -March 2016) and the numbers are expected to increase. In fact it is already up 500% since 2010.

Here are 3 quick and easy things you can do in Outlook to ensure that your emails look right, get read and most importantly get responded to.

  1. Use a BIGGER font size

Mobile device screens are small and you need to make sure that your text can be read easily. We recommend a minimum font size of 14 pts for body text.

  1. Use a dark text color (Black) on a light background (White)

Don’t get too creative with your font colors and backgrounds. Dark text on a light background usually works best.

It is readable in most conditions…like in bright sunlight. It is also readable if users have turned down the brightness of their screens to save battery life.

  1. Don’t use too many images

You can’t assume that your images will be displayed because many mobile operating systems (e.g. Android) turn images off by default.

Users often don’t download images in order to save data.

We recommend that you add images for effect but still write emails that convey your full message even if the images were turned off.

4th (Bonus) Tip: Write what is important at the top of the email

People often use their mobiles for “pruning” their emails before doing the real reading and responding on their computers.

Make sure you make your point quickly or your email could be deleted and never actually re-read on the desktop.

Coming Up…

We are relooking at all of our Outlook addins for Business to ensure that they continue to serve you in the new era of mobile devices. Next week, we will be making an announcement for Email Merge for Outlook which thousands of Outlook users are using to send out sales and marketing emails to their customers.

In the meantime, please let us know if you have your own tips on making emails more readable on mobile devices by leaving a comment below.

Fixing speed problems in Outlook by Working Offline.

By standss · Comments ( 1 ) Tuesday, July 21st, 2015

If you find Outlook almost hanging up on you while you are writing emails, this tip will save you from a lot of frustration (and as a bonus increase your focus and productivity).

Does this sound familiar…?

You’re replying to an email and then Outlook starts doing something in the background. It basically locks up! You can’t do anything except wait for it to finish!

After a few moments, you get tired of waiting so you switch over to something that still works on your computer… something to do while you’re waiting… most probably the Internet… or Facebook.

10 minutes later you remember what you were actually working on!  That’s 10 minutes wasted just because Outlook started doing something you never asked it to in the first place.

And it’s not just 10 minutes. It normally takes another 10 minutes to get refocussed again.

How many 10 minutes do you lose in your day?

I spend a significant part of my day working on emails and recently I have been having this problem several times a day.

I use Outlook 2013 with Office 365 and I discovered that the problem seems to coincide with when my Outlook is syncing emails with Office 365… particularly when I am working from home where my Internet connection is not as fast.

I found that I can greatly improve my productivity by making Outlook work offline when I plan to do actual work.

This is what you need to do:

  1. Go to Outlook
  2. Click Send/Receive on the Ribbon and then click Work Offline.

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  1. Work on your emails
  2. Make Outlook go back online (by clicking on the Work Offline button again).

Warning: Please remember to make Outlook go online again. While Outlook is offline, no emails will be sent or received. Emails that you send will still be in the Outbox and new emails will be not be received in your Inbox (they will be waiting to be downloaded from your mail server when you go back online).

This simple tip has had a surprisingly positive effect on my productivity. Why?

  1. It stops Outlook from hanging up so I am able to get what I am working on completed without waiting for Outlook. I don’t get distracted to look at other things (Facebook!!).
  2. I also don’t get distracted by new emails popping in to the Inbox while I am working on something. (New emails are not downloaded while Outlook is working offline)
  3. As a bonus I enjoy work more without the frustrations of waiting.

Did this tip help you? Do you have your own tips for fixing Outlook performance issues? Please let us know by leaving a comment below.

Categories : Office Tip, Outlook Performance Comments ( 1 )

Creating an Effective Email Signature

By standss · Comments ( 5 ) Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

A great email signature can help your business by building your image and credibility as well as making it easier for people to contact you. In this short post I look at what things a good signature block can do for you, what you want to put in, and what you should leave out.

The most important thing to remember… Your signature block needs to be as small as possible particularly since so many emails are only a few lines long… but it still has to achieve several objectives.

The objectives of a good signature block

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A good signature block should do most if not all of the following for you:

  1. Let people know who you are
  2. Let people know how they can contact you
  3. Show people who may not know you what you or your company does
  4. If possible, convince people who don’t know you that you are a credible person that they can safely work with
  5. If you use social media a lot, let them connect you via your preferred social media website.

What you should include:

  1. Your Name
  2. Your Title (Optional but very useful, particularly if you have an important or at least important sounding title)
  3. Your company name
  4. (Optional) Your company logo
  5. (Optional) Logo or text details of any awards or memberships that build your credibility. Keep this as short as possible. Don’t list too many things or it loses it’s impact.
  6. A tag line that makes it easy to understand what you and your company do (Optional only if your company name is immediately recognizable)
  7. Your Phone Number
  8. Your web site address

What you do not need to include

Personally I feel that it is a waste of space to include the following:

  1. Your email address (they already know that sine they received the email from you)
  2. You fax number (unless you are in an industry/country that still makes use of fax)
  3. Your postal or physical address (they can always ask for this if they need it)

 

What do you think?

I hope that you find this article useful.

Do you have your own tips for better email signatures? Please share your ideas with other readers by leaving a comment on this post.

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Categories : General, Office Tip, Outlook as a Business Tool Comments ( 5 )

Take action on your Outlook emails at the click of a button (QuickSteps)

By standss · Comments ( 2 ) Wednesday, April 8th, 2015

You can reclaim a lot of your time and energy wasted on emails by automating repetitive tasks. Outlook has a built-in feature called Quick-Steps that makes it easy to create your own automations.

The easiest way to show you the power of QuickSteps is with an example.

Our company owns a property that is rented out. The property is managed by another company for us. When any repairs etc need to be carried out, they get the appropriate vendors to come in and do the work. Once the work is successfully completed they send us a copy of the vendor’s invoice so that we can pay the vendor directly. These emails are usually sent to me.

When I receive these emails, and assuming that everything is OK, I do the following:

1.       Forward the email to my Accounts person and advise them to make the payment (Click Forward, type the person’s email address, type Please Pay and then click Send)

2.       File a copy of the original email in a folder inside Outlook called Properties. (This can be done by dragging and dropping or using QuickFile for Outlook.

You can use QuickSteps to reduce all of the above to the CLICK OF ONE BUTTON.

Creating the QuickStep

On the Home tab of the Ribbon, click QuickSteps-New QuickStep -Forward To

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Enter an appropriate name.

If I only wanted to forward the email (And not do the second filing step), I can simply enter the email address in the space provided and clicked Finish).

Click Options.

Click the Show Options hyperlink.

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Enter an email address in the To field (or click the To button and choose an email address).

Enter any text that you want to be displayed in the email that will be forwarded.

The QuickStep now contains everything needed to Forward the email. Time to add the filing component.

Click Add Action

Choose Move to Folder and select the folder you want to move the email to.

Click Save

Note on an Outlook Bug:

There is a bug in Outlook that sometimes prevents the QuickStep from being saved. Clicking Save does not give an error message but the screen does not close either. If this happens to you, the solution is to type the whole email address again (the email that was in the To field earlier).

Using the QuickStep

Using the QuickStep is easy.

Click QuickStep on the Ribbon and select the new QuickStep. Outlook will automatically carry out your programmed actions.

You can also right-click over the email in your Inbox and select QuickSteps from there.

Start automating today…

What do you do daily that you can use QuickSteps for? Let us know by leaving a comment in the blog below.

(While QuickSteps can assist with email filing as shown in the example above, if you have more than just a few folders, we recommend the QuickFile for Outlook addin.

 

 

How to Schedule Appointments without Overwhelming Yourself

By standss · Comments ( 1 ) Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

Do you find yourself turning up at appointments late (or stressfully on time)? The problem may not be related to having too much to do but instead to how you schedule your appointments.

The secret to stress-free appointments is what happens before and after the appointment!

For me appointments are basically things I need to do at a specific time and day. These include work related meetings with others, work related things I need to get done on my own, as well as personal things such as taking my son to music or playing golf.

I used to find myself frequently “arriving” late to appointments until one of my new golfing friends told me that 4 PM golf means you should be ready to tee off (start playing) at 4, not arrive in the car park at 4.

Learning to be on time for golf has helped me discover some rules that have helped me use appointments in a more productive and less stressful way.

1: Is there enough time to finish off from any previous appointment (before this appointment)

Do you need to make notes or schedule follow-up actions after the previous appointment is over?

If you’ve been working on something on your own, have you allocated enough time to save your files in the correct folders etc?

Have you allocated enough time to do that before the start of the next appointment?

2: Have you given yourself enough time to prepare or to get to the meeting?

If the meeting is somewhere else, have you allocated enough time for travel (and taken into account the amount of traffic at that time of day)?

This is one I frequently got wrong when taking my son to guitar lessons. I underestimated the time to pick him from school, take him for a milk shake (might as well make the guitar lesson a weekly father-son event), and then end up at the lesson.

If it’s a sales meeting, have you given yourself enough time to get familiar with the client and the offer?

3: Have you given yourself enough time after the appointment?

This is the same as #1 but for this meeting instead of the previous appointment. It is liberating to finish a meeting knowing it’s finished (instead of knowing that you need to take time out later to make notes etc).

What does this mean for your Outlook Appointments?

Before you set an appointment in your Outlook Calendar, make sure that there is enough space between that appointment and the ones before and after.

If it’s an appointment with yourself then you can create a meeting slot that includes the before and after time.

If it’s an appointment with someone else, then you probably want to make the start of the meeting the actual meeting time. In that case make sure that there is enough free space before the meeting for you to travel, prepare etc.

Outlook also lets you set Reminders for appointments. By default this is set to 15 minutes but you can change this to whatever you want for individual appointments.

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Change the reminder to give yourself enough before the meeting to get to the meeting on time and fully prepared.

Final thoughts…Don’t Schedule too much into your day!

There is a lot of research that now shows that we can get much more done if we schedule regular breaks during our day as well. That was probably the idea behind morning tea and afternoon tea (or the equivalent coffee breaks in modern times).

So remember to take a break.

I hope this tip helps you to get more important things done with less stress.

Please leave a comment if you find this useful… or have your own tips to better appointments.

Email Etiquette and Reply-to-Alls

By standss · Comments ( 1 ) Monday, March 23rd, 2015

The Reply-to-All button in Outlook can be both dangerous and an enormous time-waster, particularly in larger organizations. In this post we look at when it is OK to Reply All and how you can configure Outlook so that you (and others) make the correct choice between Reply and Reply-to-All.

What is the problem with Reply-All?

  1. Productivity: It wastes time and important network bandwidth.

Have you ever been part of an email chain in where people start doing Reply-Alls and saying things like “Noted”, “Received” or “Thanks”?

Now imagine this in a big organization where hundreds of users are wasting valuable time looking at those emails.

  1. Confidentiality

Sometimes you want to email only the Sender of the email with your thoughts and extra information. Clicking Reply-All can accidentally put everyone in the loop and can lead to embarrassing and possibly expensive mistakes.

When should you use Reply All?

This article from the Huffington Post on Email Etiquette has some scenarios that provide guidance on deciding.

The answer to this is common sense.

Use Reply All only when all recipients NEED to be kept informed. Otherwise just Reply to the people who actually need to be emailed.

The other way to decide is to look at the original email to see if it meant to be a conversation or discussion.  If the answer is YES, and you are adding something of value then a Reply-All is appropriate.

When should you NOT use Reply All?

  1. For a personal comment or conversation with one of the recipients, particularly if you are bad-mouthing one of the other recipients.
  2. When you want to acknowledge to the original sender that you have received the email with a short.

Is it possible to reduce Reply-Alls in your organization?

Out of the box, Outlook requires users to exercise restraint. Unfortunately this rarely happens. It is too easy to click Reply-All.

We created Reply-Guard for Outlook to assist with this. Reply Guard is a component of our Send Guard for Outlook product that is already used by thousands of companies around the world.

Reply Guard does more than just warn users. It immediately makes it obvious to users exactly who will be receiving the email.

You can find out more about Reply Guard in the next blog post.

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