Wednesday, January 28, 2009

3 Tips for Getting Organized on Outlook/Entourage

This economic climate is all about doing more with less. Being organized is about the best way I know to do that. Saving time on clerical tasks means more time with clients, or more time marketing to get new clients. So who wouldn't want to be better organized? And it's easy.

I've given tips on getting organized to a number of my small business clients over the last few weeks, so I now realize that the software you already have can be used to save time and effort. [I'll be using Entourage for my examples, but I'm sure Outlook is very similar. And even if you have different calendar/email/database software, these tips will still apply.] Here are my favorite tips:

1) Put in "To Do" items for the future. You want to create a "Task". Click "NEW", then "Task" in the drop down menu. You can schedule a reminder for any date, and it will pop up to remind you just when you need it most! For example, I use it to remind me to call the contractors if I haven't heard from them by 'x' date. You can also set up recurring reminders. Mine include changing the kitty litter weekly, all the exercise classes I like & my monthly bill-paying session.

2) Put today's "To Do's" on an ever-evolving list. This is a "Note". I used to keep my "To Do" list on a scrap of paper, to which I'd add new things to do, phone numbers, emails, urls, etc. as time went on, as well as crossing off things. It got to be a mess, plus I'd have to copy the updated version onto a new piece of paper every few days. Yes, I got to throw out the old one with all the crossed-off stuff, but then I'd have to keep some of them because of all the phone numbers. Not satisfying -- and a mess. What do you do with all those odd-sized pieces of paper? Where do you keep all the odd notes for the long erm?

Now I keep mine in a Note, entitled "To Do List", which I update and print daily. I 3-hole punch them at the end of the day, and keep them in a notebook, so I can easily find notes later if I need to. Plus they'll make a great record of the year, along with my gratitude and success journals. Click "NEW", then "Note" in the drop down window.

3) Keep a folder for form emails. Remember form lettters? They're great for things you have to say to a zillion people, one at a time, aren't they? In the past, you photocopied a form and just hand wrote names in. Later, they were Word documents, into which you'd insert names and other appropriate info. Well, you can do it with emails, too! I do it for receipts, and welcomes, etc. Here's how:
  • Highlight the "Drafts" Folder by putting your cursor on it.
  • At the top, click "New", then "Sub-folder" in the drop down menu. Then go to the new folder and title it "ReUse Drafts". This is the folder you'll keep all those form emails in.
  • When you get the text of an email you send a lot exactly the way you want it, put it into the body of an email.
  • Title the email "Draft of -----".
  • Save it -- it will automatically go into a 'Draft' Folder.
  • Click on the 'Draft' Folder, so you see the contents.
  • Highlight the "Draft of ----" and drag it into the "ReUse Drafts" Folder.
  • Then, when you need to thanks someone for their inquiry, click on the ReUse Drafts Folder, highlight the draft you want, and copy the text into a new email, inserting the appropriate info into the new email.

No comments: