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8 Outlook Hints Everyone Should Know

8 Outlook Hints Everyone Should Know

Outlook hints

While studying and teaching productivity habits, I’ve noticed that many people use Microsoft Outlook for their e-mail and calendar, but have no idea that this tool has many useful features built in. Here’s five hints that could improve your productivity when using Outlook.

1. Public Holidays

If you don’t want to miss public holidays, Outlook can automatically add them to your calendar and it has nearly 100 different locations to choose from!

You will not forget that October 2nd is Gandhi Jayanti in India while November 11th is Veteran’s Day in United States and Independence Day in Poland.

Outlook - Public Holidays

    To enable this, simply go to: Options (File – Options) – Calendar – Add Holidays, and choose the countries that you are working with.

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    Outlook - Public Holidays set

      They are added as All Day Events, so you can freely set reminders, apply colors and mark yourself as, Out of Office.

      2. Two Time Zones

      When you are working across multiple time zones, before you schedule any meeting it’s important to know the time on the other side to avoid setting up a meeting that might be too early or too late. Instead of fumbling around Google trying to figure it out, Outlook can help you by showing two time zones at the same time.

      Outlook - Two time zones

        To enable it, simply go to: Options – Calendar – Time zones – Show a second time zone.

        Outlook - Two time zones set

          3. Automatic Colors

          Your email and calendar can automatically apply colors to your emails and meetings based on pre-defined rules. For example, emails sent to you, when you are the only person on the “To” line, can be colored red. To do that, simply choose: View – View Settings – Conditional Formatting (or Automatic Formatting), and you can add a simple rule as shown below:

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          Outlook - Automatic Colors

            Your calendar and email have separate set of rules, but they are accessed the same way.

            4. Search Function

            A lot of people have used the search mechanism that’s available in Outlook but many people do not know how to use it effectively.

            Outlook - search

              There is a quick introduction how you could do this. It is a powerful mechanism that can save you hours and it’s definitely worth learning!

              5. Desktop Alert

              Your brain is unable to do two things at the same time effectively and every context switch costly. However, I still see many people using Desktop Alert, a distracting function that alerts you every time you receive a new email. This alert can make it hard to focus on your tasks and prevent you from working efficiently. I strongly suggest switching this off and reading more about the Pomodoro Technique.

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              To disable Desktop Alert in Outlook, simply go to: Options – Mail – disable “Display a Desktop Alert” option.

              Outlook - Disable Desktop Alert

                6. Manual Mark as Read

                By default, Outlook marks items as read when your selection changes. Often times, you can get lost in what you did or did not read which can be really annoying, because you want to keep track of the things you’ve already processed. I strongly recommend disabling that feature by going to: Options – Mail – Reading Pane – disable “Mark item as read when selection changes”.

                When you are done and want to manually mark the item as read, use Ctrl+Q.

                Outlook - Auto mark as read

                  7. Sharing Calendars

                  When you are working in a team, especially when you are not sitting close to each other, scheduling a meeting can be hard. When choosing a time, you can only see if someone is busy or not, but you will not see any meeting details. This can be solved by sharing your Outlook calendar. You may ask the whole team to do this.

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                  Outlook - Share calendar

                    After your calendar was shared, everyone will be able to access all the meetings details you have in it. If you want to prevent it for showing certain meetings and events, simply use “Private” flag and only you will be able to access it.

                    Outlook - Private Meeting combined

                      8. Keeping a Declined Meeting

                      Sometimes you want to “decline” a meeting, but still have it in your calendar. To quickly solve this problem, you may copy&paste this meeting (Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V), decline the original meeting and keep the copy.

                      Summary

                      When used effectively, Microsoft Outlook many useful features that will enable you to do your work seamlessly and as efficiently as possible.

                      What are your best hints and tricks when using Outlook? – share them with me!

                      More by this author

                      Piotr Nabielec

                      Author, CEO, Consultant

                      How to Really Achieve Goals 8 Outlook Hints Everyone Should Know 7 Things Smart Learners Do Differently 10 Ways To Have Quality Sleep That You Probably Don’t Know 9 Things You Can Do To Completely Unleash Your Potentials

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                      Published on October 16, 2018

                      7 Clever Goal Tracker Apps to Help You Make the Most of Your Business

                      7 Clever Goal Tracker Apps to Help You Make the Most of Your Business

                      There’s nothing more fulfilling than the sense of accomplishment you get by achieving your business goals.

                      Gone are the days when you used pen and paper to take notes and manage your work day. As millennials are relying heavily on technology to manage almost everything from finances to their personal fitness, goal tracking apps are also becoming increasingly popular.[1]

                      In this piece, we will shed some light on 7 such goal tracking apps that you can use to streamline your operations.

                      I have handpicked these apps from a software rating web services site Best Online Reviews. Industry experts review software on these websites and help businesses to find the right solutions to meet their various, unique business requirements.

                      1. Aha!

                        Aha! is a California-based roadmap software provider and offers excellent goal tracking app that lets you define goals and objectives for projects. The app also lets you list out primary tasks and allows you to focus on them.

                        Hosted securely on the cloud, the app offers enhanced communication tools for sharing updates through emails with select colleagues or the entire organization.

                        Aha! is available on multiple platforms such as the web, Android, iOS, Windows, etc. and starts from $59 per month per user.

                        Available for Web

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                        2. Asana

                          Asana is one of the more popular project management apps available for businesses. It lets you organize all your team’s work, such as setting up and tracking goals, creating tasks, sharing files and notes, etc.

                          Asana also allows your team to organize all their tasks and focus on urgent priorities. Moreover, the app offers a delightful user experience that makes task management simple and easy.

                          Asana is available on multiple platforms from PCs and Mac to iOS and Android. Multi-channel adaptability makes Asana the perfect choice to track your goals anytime, from anywhere.

                          Available for iOS | Android | Web

                          3. Basecamp

                            Basecamp is an excellent tool to manage all your team’s projects and keep your activities organized. It opens a new thread for every task and that task is visible by the whole team.

                            With Basecamp, you can schedule tasks, add to-dos, discuss tasks by adding comments, add files and attachments, and much more.

                            The app is available on both mobile and desktop platforms and costs $99 per month. It is available on the web, Android, and iOS platforms and offers excellent multi-channel access.

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                            Available for iOS | Android | Web

                            4. Forecast

                              An efficient tool for successful task management, Forecast is also a popular goal tracking app. Apart from effective milestone tracking, the app also offers convenient status reporting.

                              Forecast uses project history to let you know the status of your current work. Moreover, it uses the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to provide high-quality assistance. It is a robust app for small teams to track goals and time.

                              Forecast is available for free and comes with Android and iOS app support. The premium version of the app starts from $19 per month per user.

                              Available for Web

                              5. Wrike

                                Wrike is a cloud-based collaboration and project management app that successfully manages projects from start to finish. It lets you create tasks, track work progress and retrieve reports with ease.

                                The app also gives real-time work updates and helps team members to understand their work priorities. A custom report builder helps you to generate in-depth reporting.

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                                Wrike’s premium version is available from $9.80 per month per user and is available on multiple platforms.

                                Available for iOS | Android | Web

                                6. Todo.vu

                                  Todo.vu is a unique platform that delivers enhanced customer relationship management (CRM), task management, time tracking, and billing functionality in a single app.

                                  According to Capterra, it’s an ideal app for freelancers and consultants, who are looking for tools to improve efficiency and transparency.

                                  Although the app is free to use with basic features, the premium plan starts from $5 per month per user. The app also comes with calendar sync and task reminder functionality to keep you on track, always.

                                  Available for Web

                                  7. Flock

                                    Looking for a tool to simplify task management? Try out Flock.

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                                    Flock comes with enhanced goal tracking and additional features like instant messaging.

                                    Moreover, Flock offers tons of integrations with tools such as Google, MailChimp, Jira, Dropbox, etc. It is a powerful tool that’s packed with robust features such as reminders, notes, polls and to-dos.

                                    Even though you can use the tool for free, the paid version of Flock is available from $4.50 per month per user.

                                    Available for iOS | Android | Web

                                    Conclusion

                                    Businesses need high-quality project management tools to streamline collaboration and operations. Enhanced goal tracking apps make it easy for your team to improve productivity by keeping its tasks organized.

                                    But it’s essential that you choose an app that meets your unique business requirements. You can choose from the above-mentioned apps to streamline operations and improve the productivity of your team.

                                    Featured photo credit: Alvaro Reyes via unsplash.com

                                    Reference

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