Tag Archives: Calendar

Outlook To Do Lists for the Disorganized: Use Emails instead of Tasks

By standss - Comments ( 2 ) Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

Need to make sure that you get something done… EMAIL YOURSELF! This works much better for me then putting it on a Task List. Why? Like many people my Inbox acts as my real (or at least more immediate) Task List.

Here are some ways to get the most out of this super easy tip.

  1. Basic Way: Just Email yourself when you need to remember to do something.
  2. Need to follow up on an email that you are sending out to a client: BCC yourself on the email and a copy will end up in your Inbox.
  3. From your BlackBerry or other email-enabled phone: This is my FAVOURITE. It means that I can update my To Do List from anywhere… I’m at the supermarket and remember that I need to call a client on Monday… easy… I create and send an email from my phone… and I can get back to chasing my 4 year old down the candy aisle.

Did you find this tip useful? Do you have your own creative ways of applying this tip. Leave a comment on the blog.

Shortcuts for Task and Appointment Creation in Outlook

By standss - Comments ( 4 ) Thursday, November 11th, 2010

If like me, you use Outlook Tasks and Appointments to manage your time, here are a few easy-to-implement tips that will save you a lot of time.

These tips came about as a result of my laziness(as most shortcuts do)… I don’t like having to switch to Outlook and then making the appropriate clicks to open the new Task or Appointment screen… there had to be a better way.

I wanted to either click a button on the Windows Quick Launch bar and/or use keyboard shortcuts that would work even when I wasn’t in Outlook.

(For those who are not familiar with the Quick Launch bar… it is the set of icons that you have just beside the Windows Start button. If it is not displayed, right-click on the horizontal bar at the bottom of the screen, click Toolbars and tick Quick Launch.)

Shortcut to create a new Task/Appointment

1. Right-click on any empty space on your desktop and click New-Shortcut.
2. In the location box, click Browse and locate your Outlook.exe file. You will then need to add some switches to the end of it telling Windows that you want Outlook to open the new Task screen instead of just opening Outlook. The path to the Outlook.exe would vary depending on your version of Outlook. (If you installed in the default location then the paths will be as follows)

If you are using Outlook 2010:
“C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office14\OUTLOOK.EXE” /c ipm.task

If you are using Outlook 2007:
“C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office12\OUTLOOK.EXE” /c ipm.task /a

If you are using Outlook 2003:
“C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office11\OUTLOOK.EXE” /c ipm.task /a

3. Click Next and type in a name for the shortcut. By default OUTLOOK.EXE is displayed. I changed mine to New Task.
4. Click Finish.
5. Now right-click over the newly created icon and click Properties.
6. If you want to use keyboard shortcuts to open the application, click on the Shortcut Key field and press the combination of keys that you want to use (I use Ctrl-Shift-T)
7. Click Change Icon and select the Task icon so that the icon is a bit more meaningful.
8. Click OK (and OK again) to return to your desktop.
9. Now right-click and drag and drop the new shortcut to your Quick-Launch bar. On my Vista computer I found that I had to leave of a copy of the shortcut on the desktop if I wanted the keyboard shortcuts to work i.e. I had to Copy the shortcut and not Move it off the desktop.

Now whenever I need to create a new Task, I either click on the New Task button on my Quick-Launch bar or I press Ctrl-Shift-T.

You can use the same steps as above to create a new Appointment … but change the location field to read:

If you are using Outlook 2010:
“C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office14\OUTLOOK.EXE” /c ipm.appointment

If you are using Outlook 2007:
“C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office12\OUTLOOK.EXE” /c ipm.appointment /a

If you are using Outlook 2003:
“C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office11\OUTLOOK.EXE” /c ipm.appointment /a

But … I prefer the following shortcut for appointments

Shortcut to open the Calendar folder

I need to see my existing appointments before I create a new appointment… here’s a shortcut that opens Outlook with the Calendar displayed.

The steps to do this are identical to what is described above. The only difference is that the location field changes to: (Depending on the version of Outlook you are using the name “Office14” in the path below will change. If you are using Outlook 2007, it will be Office12. If you are using Outlook 2003, it will be Office11)

“C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office14\OUTLOOK.EXE” /select outlook:calendar

You can have similar shortcuts to open your Tasks and Contacts folders but I find them less useful.

“C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office14\OUTLOOK.EXE” /select outlook:tasks
“C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office14\OUTLOOK.EXE” /select outlook:contacts

I hope that you find these tips useful. They may not seem like much but you will find that the time it saves you quickly adds up.

Please leave a comment on the blog if you have other ideas to make these tips even more effective.

Displaying Multiple Time Zones in Your Outlook Calendar

By standss - Comments ( 4 ) Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

Do you need to arrange a meeting with someone in another time zone? Or maybe you are traveling and need to know the time at home and at your temporary destination.

Here’s a super simple tip to viewing two time-zones in your Outlook Calendar.

Display your Calendar in Outlook (either Day or Week view).

Right-Click over any of the time labels on the left hand corner to display the pop-up menu. (see big red dot in picture)

Click on Change Time Zone to display the Time Zone settings screen.

Tick the “Show a second time zone” checkbox and enter the rest of the settings.
Click OK .

Your Calendar will now be displayed with both time zones.

You can choose to leave both time zones displayed or turn one off once you’re done by following the steps above (by clearing the tick next to “Show a second time zone”).

Categories : Outlook Calendar Tip Comments ( 4 )

Following Up On YOUR Sent Emails!

By standss - Comments ( 4 ) Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

How often do you find yourself rushing around in a panic… trying to get some important task completed… maybe you forgot to do something you had promised someone else in an email… or maybe someone else did not do something you had emailed them about (if only you had followed up!).

Do you find yourself forgetting to take actions or follow-up on emails that you have sent out?

The result of missing these actions can be annoying or it can be catastrophic (I know I am overstating things but I HAD to use the word catastrophic after I thought of it).

  • You could miss out on an important opportunity
  • You could end up having to put in extra unplanned hours to get a task completed at the last minute
  • You could end up missing out on important personal or family time because you had to do the missed work at the last minute
  • You could end up looking unprofessional because you missed an important action

There is a FREE and EASY solution that already
Create a Task or Appointment from the Sent Emails
(It did NOT work well for me but you may be more disciplined)

The solution is easy… simply create a task or appointment in your Outlook Calendar for each email you need to follow up on.  You can modify the task/appointment so that it reminds you at the appropriate time.

Use this simple technique so that a copy of your email is attached to the Task or Appointment.

Every time you send out an email that requires further action or follow-up, go to the Sent Items folder and drag-and-drop the email from the Sent Items folder to either your Task List or your Calendar.

This will automatically create either a new Appointment or a new Task for you that you can then modify with due dates etc!

If you drag & drop using the right mouse button (instead of the left), you will also get options to attach the email to the newly created appointment/task.

Just getting the associated actions in your Calendar or Task List could be all the help you needed. But…

Unfortunately this did NOT work for me?

Why? Every time I send out an email I have to remember to go to the Sent Items folder (after waiting for the email to be sent)… It’s just too easy to forget… and it takes too much (unnecessary) discipline.

I had the team build some functionality into our QuickFile PRO application an year ago to help me out but even that wasn’t good enough… It did what was needed but it still needed too many clicks… what can I say… my mother was right… I AM LAZY!

But laziness isn’t a bad thing really… especially if you have a great programming team. So I’ve had them redesign one of the screens in QuickFile PRO for me.

I have been testing the new screen for the last 4 weeks and it works great.

It prompts me automatically every time I send out an email and…
I can file, create a task and/or an appointment all from
one screen.

We will release the new version at the end of the week.

This will be a FREE update for existing users and we’ll do a special discount for new users. I’ll tell you more about it when everything is ready.

In the meantime, try the free drag-and-drop approach to see if it works for you. Just moving those emails to your Task list or Calendar could have a great effect on your productivity.

Till later… when I show you our great new screen… Have a Great Outlook.

Categories : Outlook Email Tips, QuickFile for Outlook Comments ( 4 )

Displaying your FULL Work Week in Outlook

By standss - Comments ( 0 ) Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

Are you still using Outlook 2003 (or earlier)? Do you need to display more than 5 days of the week in your calendar in a way that makes it easy to add new appointments.

(This article is less useful to users of Outlook 2007 and 2010 which already displays a very useable 7 days calendar)

If you are using Outlook 2000/2002 or 2003, there are two buttons on the Calendar toolbar that displays weekly views.

Clicking the Work Week button displays 5 days. This shows you the whole day (for each day) including empty time slots. It is easy to add a new appointment by clicking on the calendar in the appropriate time slot.

Clicking the Week button shows all 7 days… but in a condensed view that only shows existing appointments for each day. Empty time slots for the days are not shown and it takes more steps to add a new appointment.

Here’s how you can change the Work Week to show all 7 days…. empty appointment slots and all.

  • Click Tools-Options.
  • Select the Preferences Tab (should be selected by default anyway)
  • Click the Calendar Options button.
  • Tick Sat and Sun under Calendar Work Week.
  • Click OK

Now when you click the Work Week button at the top of the screen, all 7 days will be displayed.

Categories : Outlook Calendar Tip Comments ( 0 )

English Premier League (Soccer) Timetables in Outlook

By standss - Comments ( 9 ) Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

After our post on American Football schedules in Outlook last week, soccer fans requested for timetables of their favourite English Football teams to download into Outlook as well. We’re happy to oblige…

Please find following a list of teams with links to their 2010/2011 timetables.  I am starting the list with a few teams only but we will update the list with new teams.

If your team is not on the list then please either:

1. Email us at news@standss.com with the name of your team and we will try and find the schedule for you (we will update the table with the new link) or
2. If you have found the relevant page on your team’s website then please email us the link so that we can update the table and share it with other football fans.

Team Click to Download Schedule
Arsenal Arsenal Schedule in Outlook
Aston Villa Aston Villa Schedule (Not in Outlook)
Chelsea Chelsea Schedule in Outlook
Everton FC Everton FC Schedule in Outlook
Fulham FC Fulham FC Schedule in Outlook
Liverpool FC Liverpool FC Schedule (Not in Outlook)
Manchester City Manchester City Schedule in Outlook
Manchester United Manchester United Schedule in PDF (Not Outlook)
NewCastle United NewCastle United Schedule in Outlook
West Ham United West Ham United Schedule (Not in Outlook)

Remember, if your team is not in the list then please email us at news@standss.com or leave a comment on the blog and we’ll do our best to find the information and update the table for you and other fans of your team.

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Categories : Office Tip Comments ( 9 )

How I cured my checking-email-too-often habit!

By standss - Comments ( 6 ) Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

Do you have an unconscious habit of going to your Inbox too many times in a day? Do you find yourself clicking Send&Receive many times a day, I know I did. In this post I share what I found were the causes of the habit (for me) and a simple solution that has worked exceptionally well for me.

Why is this a bad habit?

For me… I was finishing the day feeling like I had accomplished littledespite being busy for most of the day… which is another way of saying that I had wasted my day doing unimportant work.

So… why do we check emails so often?

My personal experience… I think that the main reasons are BOREDOM or DIFFICULTY. Some self-analysis revealed that most of my unintended expeditions to my Inbox were when:

  1. I was bored of what I was doing and was hoping to find something more interesting to work on in my Inbox… or
  2. The work I was involved in had come to a point which required a difficult decision… and I was hoping to find something easier to do in my Inbox… something to help me avoid the difficult decision.

When you see it in writing, it’s pretty clear that they are not valid reasons for checking email. The problem is that they become habits… I was doing it without even realising it.

How I cured myself (or at least got an acceptable level of control over it)

Here’s a process that has worked very well for me.

  1. Check your emails and respond to whatever you need to.
  2. Decide on what you will work on next 40 minutes (or until the task is complete)
  3. Close Outlook (unless you need to access your emails to do your work)
  4. Do you work!

After 40 minutes… take break and REPEAT.

The first week I tried this was amazing. I got more done in the first few hours of Monday than I used to get done in the first few days of the week.

Why did this work for me?

Having Outlook closed while I am focussing on a project makes it much harder to check my email without conscious effort. Finding Outlook closed reminds me that I am working on something else and helps break the unconscious  habit… it is much harder to click on the Send & Receive button when Outlook is closed (the normally annoying Outlook start-up time turns out to be useful habit-breaker in this situation).

I know that many productivity gurus say that we should only check our emails a few times a day and possibly schedule email time into our calendars. That does NOT work for me…. firstly because of the nature of my work… and because I like checking my email.

Using this method I can get good productive work done throughout the day… and also respond to my team and customers in a timely manner… and indulge my email habits.

Please tell if this method works for you by leaving a comment on the blog.

Categories : Outlook as a Business Tool Comments ( 6 )

Change the default reminder time for Outlook Calendar Appointments

By standss - Comments ( 4 ) Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

When you create a new Outlook appointment, Outlook sets itself a reminder to remind you (with a pop-up message) 15 minutes before the actual appointment. It is easy to change the 15 minutes on individual appointments or to change the default to a more suitable period.

To change the reminder on an individual appointment:
Open the Appointment.
Change the time shown in the Reminder dropdown.

To change the default reminder time:

If you find yourself changing the reminder times on individual appointments, it may be easier to simply change the default from 15 minutes.

In Outlook 2010:

  • Click File on the ribbon
  • Click Options and then click Calendar.
  • Change the default reminder time to whatever time is suitable for you and then click OK
  • Defualt Reminder Time

    In Outlook 2000/2002/2003/2007:

  • Click on Tools-Options
  • Click on the Preferences tab
  • Select your preferred reminder time in the Calendar section
  • Click Ok
  • Categories : Outlook Calendar Tip Comments ( 4 )

    Football season schedules inside your Outlook Calendar

    By standss - Comments ( 12 ) Monday, September 13th, 2010

    The 2010 Football season has just begun. Download the game schedule of your favourite team(s) into Outlook so that you don’t miss a game.

    Most of the teams now have schedules on their website that you can easily download into Outlook. I have compiled a table below with links to downloads for the teams I know of.

    I am starting the list with a few teams only but we will update the list with new teams.

    I do not live in USA… and to be honest I don’t quite understand the games or the amount of excitement my US based cousins show for this game… but I’ve seen the same frenzy during Rugby season on our part of the world so…

    If your team is not on the list then please either:

    1. Email us at news@standss.com with the name of your team and we will try and find the schedule for you (we will update the table with the new link) or
    2. If you have found the relevant page on your team’s website then please email us the link so that we can update the table and share it with other football fans.

    Here’s a list of the teams so far…

    Team Click to Download Schedule
    Baltimore Ravens Baltimore Ravens Schedule In Outlook
    Chicago Bears Chicago Bears Schedule In Outlook
    Cincinnati Bengals Cincinnati Bengals Schedule In Outlook
    Dallas Cowboys Dallas Cowboys Schedule In Outlook
    Denver Broncos Denver Broncos Schedule In PDF (Not Outlook)
    Green Bay Packers Green Bay Packers Schedule In PDF (Not Outlook)
    Jacksonville Jaguars Jacksonville Jaguars Schedule In Outlook
    Kansas City Chiefs Kansas City Chiefs Schedule In PDF (Not Outlook)
    Miami Dolphins Miami Dolphins Schedule In Outlook
    New England Patriots New England Patriots Schedule In Outlook
    New Orleans Saints New Orleans Saints Schedule In PDF (Not Outlook)
    New York Giants New York Giants Schedule In Outlook
    New York Jets New York Jets Schedule in PDF (Not Outlook)
    Oakland Raiders OakLand Raiders Schedule In Outlook
    Philadelphia Eagles Philadelphia Eagles Schedule In Outlook
    Pittsburgh Steelers Pittsburgh Steelers Schedule in PDF (Not Outlook)
    San Diego Chargers San Diego Chargers Schedule In Outlook
    San Francisco 49ers San Francisco 49ers Schedule In Outlook 
    Seattle Seahawks Seattle Seahawks Schedule In Outlook
    Tampa Bay Buccaneers Tampa Bay Buccaneers Schedule In PDF (Not Outlook)
    Washington Redskins Washington Redskins Schedule In Outlook

    Remember, if your team is not in the list then please email us at news@standss.com or leave a comment on the blog and we’ll do our best to find the information and update the table for you and other fans of your team.

    Categories : Office Tip Comments ( 12 )

    Productivity Tip: Make Outlook display your Calendar instead of the Inbox in the Morning

    By standss - Comments ( 2 ) Friday, September 10th, 2010

    Want to increase your productivity. Look at your Calendar BEFORE you look at your Inbox in the morning. Here’s how to setup Outlook to automatically display your calendar when it opens in the morning.

    Your emails in your inbox generally reflect the priorities of others. Go there first and you can easily find yourself in fire-fighting mode instead of strategic mode for most of your day.

    Start the day by looking at your Calendar and seeing what you have already scheduled for the day. Schedule any new things that you want to do today that are important to you and your business. Then look at your Inbox.

    I have setup my own Outlook to open up displaying the Calendar instead of the Outbox. Here’s how you can do the same.

    In Outlook 2010:

    • Click File-Options
    • Select Advanced
    • Change Start Outlook in this folder to Calendar.

    Start Outlook Calendar

    In all other versions of Outlook:

    • Click Tools-Options.
    • Select the Others tab.
    • Click Advanced Options. The startup folder is displayed at the top of the screen.
    • Click the Browse button to select the Calendar.

    The next time you open Outlook, you’ll be looking at your Calendar.

    Categories : Outlook as a Business Tool Comments ( 2 )