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!
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.
- The work that is important for the business does not get done and
- 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).
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.
Happy New Year to all our readers and their family and friends.
Hope you all had a great holiday de-stressing (hopefully not distressing) yourself and gearing up for the year ahead.
I understand it will be awhile till we all get back to actual work so we will keep the first post relatively simple.
I will just provide a quick overview of the year 2014 and the important events that took place in case you missed it… and also provide some links to the favourite post of our readers.
Mid-last year we launched a major upgrade to one of our bestselling email management tool Quick File for Outlook. The response to QuickFile for Outlook version 5 was so positive and over-whelming… I guess the credit for this goes to all the users who contributed with their awesome ideas and recommendations and pushed us to release another major upgrade after 5 years since version 4 was released.
Not just that… overtime we realized that different people used QuickFile differently based on how they work in Outlook and what they do…
On one end we had users who like to simply use QuickFile to file and organize their inbox and sent items while on the other end of the spectrum we had high end users who required much more than just filing.
To cater for all the different user groups, we created 3 different versions of QuickFile:
- QuickFile Standard
- QuickFile Pro
- QuickFile Ultimate
To view the difference between the versions and choose which one best suits your end… visit the Quickfile Comparsion page.
New to QuickFile: If email overload is a problem for you… if you think that you’re not getting the right work done because of the amount of emails in your Inbox… you MUST try this. You can download a fully functional 30 day trial and see for yourself.
Existing QuickFile users: If you missed out on the upgrade, you can view the upgrade options and upgrade to the QuickFile version 5 that works best for you now.
Now let’s have a look at the top 3 Outlook tips blog post for 2014. This posts have been selected based on the NUMBER OF PEOPLE WHO READ THE POST!!!
TOP POST#1: Reasons why you should avoid using BCC for emails + Alternative Solution
Outlook users BCC emails for two main reasons… sending sales/marketing emails or sending someone a copy of the email without letting the other recipients know. We strongly recommend that you DON’T use the BCC field for either purpose. Why?
Find out the 3 main reasons plus what you can do instead of using the BCC field…
TOP POST#2: How to NOT Email Yourself when using Reply-to-All in Outlook
This post was a result of an interesting question that one of the readers asked
“Outlook includes my email address in the To field when I do a Reply-All. Clearly I do not want to email myself but Outlook lacks the intelligence to not add my email address to the email. Do you have a solution?…”
The reply to this was YES!!!
Find out what the solution was…
TOP POST#3: Saving (Exporting) Outlook emails with your other files
Here’s a quick tip on how you can save one or more emails outside of Outlook. This is very useful if you want to save your emails on your hard disk in Client folders along with Word files etc.
There are two formats by default which you can save the emails in Outside of Outlook, these are Outlook Message format and Text only, but in this post we also showed you how to save the emails in PDF format…
Well that pretty much raps up 2014 for us… time sure flew and without even realising we are now in year 2015.
The Standss team is ready for the year ahead and as always… we have big plans for this year as well and we will be notifying you of this once ready…
The whole Standss Team would like to once again which everyone a Happy New Year and great success for the year ahead… Thank you for being part of the Standss family and we wish to continue serving you the way we have and offering you solutions that saves you time and makes you productive.
Till next time… have a better Outlook.
In the post last week, we looked at some of the ways that you can customize outlook to suit your style of working and also effective handle the pile of emails in your inbox.
Other than emails, Outlook users also use the calendar and task to manage their daily lives and projects… and yet Outlook does not give us an easy way to manage projects inside Outlook. Outlook users frequently ask us how they can see all appointments and tasks that make up a project in one place.
Why is this important? Most work or projects are made up of a series of steps all being related to each other. As we finish a step, it is important to know what the next steps are to get the project completed. Things also don’t always go according to plan… and we need to see what else gets affected when things change.
Our research showed that there is no simple way to organize and view related tasks and appointments under projects… so we added this functionality to our Outlook Project Management addin Smart Schedules for Outlook.
With Smart Schedules for Outlook you can:
- Assign existing (or new) tasks and appointments to projects
- Quickly see all tasks and appointments for a project at the click of a button.
Here are step by step instructions showing you just how easy this can be:
Assign existing (or new) tasks and appointments to projects
- Open Outlook and go to the Calendar/Task folder that the existing appointment/task is located in
- Select the appointment/task
- Click on Assign Project button on the Smart Schedules toolbar/ribbon. This will display the following screen:
Select an existing project from the Project list.
- Note: You can also type in a new project name if you would like to create a new project and add this selected appointment/task to that project.
- Click OK.
Quickly see all tasks and appointments for a project at the click of a button
Smart Schedules Project Centre makes it easy to see all appointments and tasks that you have associated with a project.
On the Smart Schedules toolbar, click Project Centre
- From the Project drop-down, select the Project to which you assigned the appointment or task
- You will now be able to view the appointment or task assigned to the project and all other related appointments and tasks for the project as shown below:
Smart Schedules for Outlook was designed with the help of almost 20,000 Outlook users. Try it for yourself today and tell us what you think.
Download a fully functional version of Smart Schedules for Outlook.
Watch a short video of our Outlook based Project Management tool (Smart Schedules)
I hope you find this tip useful managing your projects in Outlook.
If you know of other ways to manage projects using Outlook, share it with our readers by leaving a comment below.
We have just posted an update to Smart Schedules for Outlook. The updates in Version 1.0.773 have been based on user requests.
This update is free for all existing registered users of version 1.0 or later.
Fixes and Features in this update include:
- New Feature: Ability to add Project Name before or after the subject of the Appointment/Task.
SmartSchedules can now display the Project Name in different ways next to the appointment or Task depending on what works for you. For example:
(Project Name) Appointment Subject
Appointment Subject (Project Name)
- Bug fix: Error messages when browsing for date in Non-English language.
- Other ribbon changes for Outlook 2010 and above.
Click here to view the full list of updates in Smart Schedules for Outlook
New to Smart Schedules: Smart Schedules is an Outlook addin that simplifies project management inside Outlook allowing you to automatically schedule and reschedule Appointments/tasks for the full project.
It can be difficult to keep track of tasks and projects when different people work on different tasks… but it is possible using Outlook (you don’t need any complex Project Management software).
In this post, I will show you how you can use Outlook’s own built in features to assign/delegate tasks to others in the team as well as keep track of their progress right INSIDE Outlook.
Read on to learn how to assign/delegate Tasks to others and keep track of their Task’s progress:
- In Outlook 2010, click the Home tab > New Items > Tasks
In Outlook 2007/2003, click File > New > Task
- Click Assign Task on the ribbon/menu
- In the To: field, enter the email address of the person the task will be assigned to. Complete the task form filling in the other required details
- Ensure that the 2 options “Keep an updated copy of this task on my task list” and “Send me a status report when this task is complete” are both ticked.
- In the body of the Task, you can add information about the Project, the Task, instructions for the person who this is assigned to etc.
- Click Send
This will now create a new Task in your Task folder and send an Invite to the Assignee to accept. Once the Task is accepted, it creates an entry in their Tasks.
You will now be able to keep track of the task assigned to others as it progresses right inside your Outlook from your desktop at any time you want.
If project management is a big part of your work, then you may also want to look at Smart Schedules for Outlook.
Do you have your own simple, easy methods of managing projects using Outlook?
Share it with our readers and us by leaving a comment below.
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