Tag Archives: schedule

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.


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.

Managing Projects in Outlook using Appointments and Tasks

By standss - Comments ( 0 ) Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

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:

  1.  Assign existing (or new) tasks and appointments to projects
  2. 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

  1.  Open Outlook and go to the Calendar/Task folder that the existing appointment/task is located in
  2. Select the appointment/task
  3. 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:


Next Steps…

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.


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Why Scroll when you can jump directly to a Date in Outlook Calendar

By standss - Comments ( 1 ) Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

Here is a quick shortcut that lets you jump directly to a particular date in outlook calendar rather than scrolling through the week or month view to get to that date.

This is one of my favorite’s shortcuts as it saves a lot of time when getting to a future date to schedule future appointments/meeting.

This shortcuts works in Outlook 2013 and earlier versions as well.

Here’s the steps:

  • Go to the Outlook Calendar
  • Press CTRL+G on the keyboard. This should display the Go To Date pop-up as shown below:

Go to Date

  • You can select the date you wish to jump to using the drop now. What makes it even better is that it recognizes normal English words as well for example “Tomorrow”, “Two days later”, “second Monday of August” etc…
  • You can choose the view in which the date should show from the Show in: drop down
  • Click OK or Press Enter

The calendar will now display the date that you entered.

Do you know of other shortcuts in Outlook to get things done faster?

Let us know by leaving a comment on this blog.

Soccer Euro Cup 2012 Schedules inside your Outlook Calendar

By standss - Comments ( 5 ) Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

I’m sure all soccer fans are geared up for the Euro Cup 2012. The first match kicks off at 18.00 CET on the 8th of June 2012 between Poland and Greece.

For all you Soccer Lovers who would not want to miss a single match, or at least not your favourite 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 and 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 Euro Cup 2012 Schedule

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

Import and Export in Outlook

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)

Import 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, Outlook Calendar Tip Comments ( 5 )

How to Set Reminders for Outlook Emails

By standss - Comments ( 3 ) Friday, September 23rd, 2011

Often the emails that we receive require some future actions for example to setup a meeting with a client or making a phone call on a particular date/time. Ofcourse you can create a new Appointment or a Task to do the same but in this post, I will show you how easy it is to set reminders on the email itself.

In Outlook 2010 (When a message is closed)

  • In your Inbox, select a message
  • Under the Home tab > go to the Tags group
  • Click Follow Up > Add Reminder
  • On the Custom dialog box, tick the Reminder checkbox. This activates the Reminder date and time boxes beneath the checkbox.
  • Select a date and time for the reminder to appear. Additionally you have the option to select what sound to play when a reminder appears by click on the Sound button.
  • Click OK.

The message will now be automatically flagged for follow up and the reminder will appear at the date and time specified.

In Outlook 2010 (When a message is open)

  • Under the Message tab > go to the Tags group
  • Here on the steps will be the same (as above) as when the message is closed.

In Outlook 2007 (When a message is closed)

  • In your Inbox, right-click the message
  • Click Follow Up > Add Reminder
  • On the Custom dialog box, tick the Reminder checkbox. This activates the Reminder date and time boxes beneath the checkbox.
  • Select a date and time for the reminder to appear. Additionally you have the option to select what sound to play when a reminder appears by clicking on the Sound button.
  • Click OK.

The message will now be automatically flagged for follow up and the reminder will appear at the date and time specified.

In Outlook 2007 (When a message is open)

  • On the open message window, click Follow Up on the Ribbon > Add Reminder
  • Here on the steps will be the same (as above) as when the message is closed.

In Outlook 2003 (When a message is closed)

  • In your Inbox, right-click the message
  • Click Follow Up > Add Reminder…
  • On the Flag for Follow Up dailog box, select a Due by date (and optionally a time for the reminder to appear).
  • Click OK

The message will now be automatically flagged for follow up and the reminder will appear at the date and time specified.

In Outlook 2003 (When a message is open)

  • On the open message window, click Actions on the menu
  • Click Follow Up > Add Reminder…
  • Here on the steps will be the same (as above) as when the message is closed.

Do you think that this is much easier then setting up new Appointments and Tasks?

Let us know by leaving a comment below.

Categories : Outlook as a Business Tool, Outlook Email Tips Comments ( 3 )

Questions & Answers re Smart Schedules for Outlook

By standss - Comments ( 3 ) Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

Things are really starting to happen fast. We are launching Smart Schedules for Outlook on 3rd June – less than 24 hours away.

If you haven’t seen the video of how easy, fast and error-free scheduling of appointments (and tasks) in Outlook can be, take a look at the video now.

We are busy putting the finishing touches to the website and related material in place.

Actually, the software itself is complete and ready to go, we are just getting everything in order so we can handle the huge rush once we launch… after all this is being launched to more than 20,000 Outlook users.

In any case, we have been getting a HUGE NUMBER OF QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS coming in which is truly appreciated.

It seems that the information I have sent out over the last few weeks has struck a chord with many people (I think that’s the right use of the phrase) and I want to answer all your questions before the actual launch.

I suspect that we will be under a lot of pressure once we launch so I may not be able to answer questions then.

I hope that the following answers help you make up your mind about the software and snap up the 200 copies of additional software that we will be giving away.


I’ve had a few questions with regard to both Smart Schedules and the launch process. I’ve tried to answer them below:

Q: The video showed Smart Schedules in Outlook 2007. Does Smart Schedule work in other versions of Outlook too?

A. YES. Smart Schedules works with Outlook 2003, 2007, and 2010.

Q: I seem to receive your emails in the middle of the night. I don’t want to miss out on the limited software that you are giving out for early movers.

A. I have absolutely no idea how long the first 200 sales will take BUT… the emails I have received seem to indicate that demand is high. If you don’t make the first 200 because of a time zone difference, please email me within 24 hours of the launch email.

Q. Are there sample templates for my industry to help me get started?

A. Definitely. We have included templates for many industries including legal and real estate. However please use these templates as a starting point only. You need to refine them to ensure that the appointments and tasks are scheduled correctly for the way your business works.

Q. Is there a way to share my templates with other people in my organization?

A. YES! Smart Schedules lets you export and import templates easily

Q. Can I have a template with appointments/tasks scheduled both before and after the trigger date?

A. Yes. We did not originally have this but feedback from readers made it clear that this was an essential feature that you wanted.

Q. What about existing appointments and tasks? Can they be added to Projects so that they show up in the Project Centre.

A. Yes. Again this was something that readers pointed out. We appreciate your great ideas and are happy to report that this has been implemented for you to use as well.

Q: How much will Smart Schedules cost?

A. Sorry but you have to wait till tomorrow (3rd June) to find out but we will be giving a SUBSTANTIAL DISCOUNT to anyone who purchases during the launch week.

We will be launching in less than 24 hours time. Once again I wish to thank you all for taking the time to read my report, watch our video and having faith in our solutions.

Oh… one last thing: we are going to have a rock-solid guarantee for Smart Schedules for Outlook – 60 days for anyone who purchases during the launch week. I truly believe that Smart Schedules will make a dramatic change in the productivity of many users and I want to make sure you have enough time to feel its benefits.

Till tomorrow…

Have a better Outlook.

Sanjay Singh

PS: The launch takes place in less than 24 hours. See the video now to see if you want to claim the 200 copies of extra software that we are giving away.

Coming Up… Smarter ways of Scheduling Outlook Appointments (and Tasks)

By standss - Comments ( 0 ) Sunday, May 15th, 2011

We’ve had a lot of requests from readers in the past for something to make appointments and tasks more effective… we realise that most of our past reports and addins have focussed on email productivity.

But… recent conversations with other Outlook users and reader emails are telling us that simple scheduling errors have been causing a lot of stress for many people.

So… we have been working on a system that helps you create not only individual appointments and tasks but ENTIRE SCHEDULES of them.

And then lets you monitor them… and RESCHEDULE them in case dates change (as they always do)… all INSIDE Outlook.

We’re aiming to ELIMINATE almost all HUMAN-ERROR from the process.

I’m not quite ready to show you the result yet… but keep your eyes on your Inbox.

More about the project later in the week…

Sanjay Singh

3 Types of Email Overwhelm + New Year’s Resolution Pack

By standss - Comments ( 0 ) Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

I have had a terrific response from readers to my email last week. Thank you all for your emails. One thing is obvious…

EMAIL IS GETTING IN THE WAY OF REAL WORK for many readers… and many of you want ways of reducing the stress and frustration that email is causing.

We’ve put together several tools that will help but first…

From reader emails and our own experience, there are 3 TYPES of EMAIL OVERWHELM

  1. There are way too many emails (I mean work related emails… spam is easy to eliminate).
  2. It takes too much time responding to emails
  3. It is too difficult keeping emails organized so that they are easy to find for later reference.

And now let me tell you about the…


We have almost 30,000 regular readers of our blog and newsletter and we wanted to do something EXTRA special to start the year…
something that helps you be SUPER PRODUCTIVE immediately.

So we’ve put together 4 tools that will IMMEDIATELY take control of your emails and reduce overwhelm in all 3 areas identified above.

We’ve called this our NEW YEARS RESOLUTION OUTLOOK PACK. Check it out now as it represents over $102 worth of savings to you.

For the rest of the year… take control of your emails and have a Better Outlook.

Best Regards,
Sanjay Singh

PS: You can save more than 50% on the NEW YEARS RESOLUTION OUTLOOK PACK for the next few days only!

STOP Getting Spammed by Your Own Email Address

By standss - Comments ( 1 ) Thursday, November 18th, 2010

Over the last few weeks I have noticed that spammers have started more and more spam email from YOUR or MY email address. The email is from YOU and also to YOU. Chances are you have your email address white-listed. Here’s a little trick I use to stop these emails from getting into my Inbox.

First why would you email yourself…last week I wrote a tip on how you can stay organized by emailing yourself… that could be a reason.

Here’s how you can move the spam emails out of your Inbox but still keep the real emails you have emailed yourself.

Decide on a few characters that you will type in the Subject of every email that you send yourself. Keep it simple as you want to be able to type these characters from your BlackBerry etc as well. Use something like QAZ or whatever is easy for you to type.

Any time you send yourself an email type those characters in the Subject e.g. Instead of “Pick Stuff from Supermarket”, you would need to type (say) “QAZ Pick Stuff From Supermarket”.

Now setup Outlook.

  • Add your own email address to the Safe Senders list in Outlook (this is probably already done)
  • Create a Rule in Outlook so that all emails from your email address get moved to your Junk Mail folder, except those with your special tag in them (QAZ in the example above) 
  • If you are using Outlook 2010. Click on File and select the Info tab and then click on Manage Rules & Alerts.
    For all other versions of Outlook, click Tools and then click Rules & Alerts.
  • Click on New Rule… to display the Rules Wizard as shown below:

Rules Wizard Step 1

  • Click Move messages from someone to a folder.
  • Click people or distribution list. Enter all your own email addresses in the From field and click OK.
  • Click specified folder. Use the screen that comes up to select the Junk E-mail folder and click OK.
  • Click Next, Next and then Next again

Rules Wizard 2

  • Tick except if the subject contains specific words.
  • Click Specific Words. Enter the tag (QAZ in example) and click Add.
  • Click OK
  • Your Rules should look something like the following:

Rules Wizard 3

  • Click Finish.

Now anytime Outlook receives an email from you, it will get moved to the Junk Emails folder, EXCEPT when they have your special tag. EASY!

Does this tip work for you? Do you have other better methods? Tell me what you think by leaving a comment on the blog.

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.