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Good Lookin’ Out(look): 5 Microsoft Email Management Tips (A Part One)

In April, even before the glorious summer that we currently have the privilege of living under had commenced, I was asked to speak on the topic of ‘maximizing Microsoft Outlook and Word’, or so I labeled my presentation at that time. I, of course, promoted Ben Schorr’s books on the topics, topic 1 and topic 2. But, short of schilling product for which I receive no royalties, I was delighted to be asked to talk, by the Women Lawyers Network of greater Needham. If you’re a woman and a lawyer and a former rodeo clown and live in or around Needham, this is a tremendous, and vibrant group, and one that you should really consider joining. (Only one of those requirements is completely made up. Sorry, women.) For more information on the WLN, contact Diane Gold.

Now, this was certainly not a rare occurrence. We’re often asked to speak; and, we’re often asked to speak on matters relative to Microsoft Office Suite programs. Notwithstanding the advancing popularity of Google programs and Apple products, the majority of attorneys still live in the Microsoft Office Suite (well, not literally), aggregating, usually, these days, between and among the 2003, 2007 and 2010 versions. Wishing a wider popularity for my presentation pointers, my purpose here is to revive them, in blog format, for your reviewing pleasure. As a firm believer in recycling, it is my further creed that you shall not have missed the ten commanding tricks I am about to relay, merely because you were not fortunate enough to be present at the April meeting of the Women Lawyers Network. First course: Microsoft Outlook; the waiting is over.

And, here we are:

(1) Apply Rules

What Does It Do?

Establishing rules in Outlook allows you to tag emails for instant filing to subfolders based on certain developed criteria.

How Does It Help You?

By filing emails for certain categories (listservs, product updates, committee work) to subfolders, those emails never clutter your mission-critical inbox. You can view less sensitive, grouped emails on your own time, by the categories that you’ve established for them.

How Do You Do It?

2003: Text + Video

2007: Text + Video

2010: Text + Video



(2) Use Signatures

What Does It Do?

Signatures allow you to add footers to your emails, or to create template emails.

How Does It Help You?

Modern business, with staggering potential for making new connections, requires that you discover a quick and easy way for email contacts to find out what is most relevant about you and your business; footers are a traditional method for communicating your expertise. If you find that you send the same email over and over again, creating a template can be a great way to save yourself time.

How Do You Do It?

2003: Text + Video

2007: Video

2010: Video

2003, 2007 + 2010: Text

(3) OHIO = Only Handle It Once

What Does It Do?

The principle behind this oft-referenced strategy is that you only process an email one time. If you can handle it immediately, handle it. If you can’t, don’t waste your time on it, and respond later.

How Does It Help You?

OHIO prevents you from performing tasks repetitively. Acting once saves time over acting more than once, and guarantees a consistent response. A great way to manage OHIO through Outlook is by converting emails into tasks, with reminders, instructions for which processing are linked below.

How Do You Do It?

2003: Text

2007: Text

2010: Text

(4) Preview Files in the Reading Pane

What Does It Do?

You can preview attached documents, without opening them, by viewing them within the reading pane, through which, if your inbox is configured that way, you usually review the full text of emails, without opening them.

How Does It Help You?

By engaging the reading pane view to review attachments without opening them, you save yourself time (two clicks to open and close attachments in applications) and increase your ability to efficiently process your email (and to apply OHIO).

How Do You Do It?

2003: Text

2007: Video

2010: Text + Video

(5) Turn Off Desktop Alerts

What Does It Do?

Outlook provides clickable pop-up alerts, appearing at the bottom right-hand corner of your screen, when you receive new emails. You can turn them off.

How Does It Help You?

By turning off your desktop alerts, you’re less likely to (1) notice them and/or (2) click them to open new emails. This means fewer distractions, and less multi-tasking. Once you get off-task, it’s significantly more difficult to get back on-task.

How Do You Do It?

2003: Text

2007: Text + Video

2010: Text

Join us next time on the program, when we will apply a similar review process to useful tips and tricks for Microsoft’s Word.

(Thanks to our own Rachel Willcox for finding me links to some great Outlook tutorials.)

. . .

Liner Notes

The end of summer always bring with it a certain bittersweetness; when the weather begins to cool, and the nights become longer, winter’s chill is no longer so very distant on the horizon.

In the spirit of capturing that summer sense before it’s all gone away again (until next year), I’d say it’s high time that I write about my man, Brad Paisley. A recent Facebook status update of mine respecting Paisley generated some buzz, and perhaps the same will be the case within this blog post.

Anyway, I love Brad Paisley. I know he’s popular (he might be the Coldplay of country music, if it warn’t for Taylor Swift), and some people hate on him for that; but, beneath that popularity are unique lyrics, strong neotraditionalist country roots and some serious guitar chops. I had downloaded Paisley songs here and there over the years; but, sometime a couple weeks back, I grabbed his whole discography off of iTunes. I was skeptical, because I didn’t think there was, necessarily, a lot of depth beyond the hits (a peculiar malady of popular music); but, boy was I wrong. All of the albums are excellent, pretty much straight on through.

In listening through all of Paisley’s albums, some themes are evident. Among others, there are certain types of songs that revise themselves regularly across his corpus, including: fishing songs; songs about the differences between men and women; country power ballads; progressive tracks; bluegrassy numbers; songs about Jesus; etc., and, summer jams. Paisley is the master of the summer jam. It seems like he’s always releasing an album in, or near to, the summertime, in advance of a summer tour; and, he never fails to disappoint when it comes to crafting at least one, or a number of, summer anthems, per album.

In addition to being the man, Paisley is also married to “Father of the Bride” star Kimberly Williams, to the eternal vexation of my good friend, Jeffrey.

Since I so enjoy foisting my questionable musical choices upon you through the medium of our LOMAP blog, I’ll be at it again . . . right about now . . .

Here’s a rundown of Paisley albums, and notable, thematic tracks, and etc.:

Who Needs Pictures (1999)

Sleepin’ On the Foldout” (a Song About the Differences Between Men and Women + a Fishing Song)

Long Sermon” (a Song about Jesus + a Summer Jam)

He Didn’t Have To Be” (a Country Power Ballad + a Progressive Track)

Don’t Breathe” (a Song About the Differences Between Men and Women)

. . .