Posts belonging to Category Time Management Tips

Use What You’ve Got – To Do the To Do List

Use What You’ve Got – To Do the To Do List! 

What does that mean?  It means automating your to do list

 I’m continuing what I started Monday about Outlook.  There is a section in Outlook which is called Tasks and it is really one of the greatest ways to keep track of your “To Do” list while adding a little time management in there.  

 The To Do List generally never gets done.  Why?  Because most of the time it’s way too long and no one thinks of what else they could be doing with the to dos on their to do list.   

 Start here:  

  •  Initially, write everything down on one long list.  
  • Then start sorting this list into the following:  to delegate, to eliminate, to actually do myself – just add a D beside the item for delegate, E for eliminate and M for actually do myself  
  • Now you have a manageable list in the “to actually do myself” portion   

 What do you do with these lists?  The D tasks and the M tasks will be entered into Tasks in Outlook.  One of the most wonderful things you’ll notice about Tasks is that you don’t have to rewrite and rewrite and rewrite the tasks over and over again each day.   

 Immediately when you open the Task screen, Tasks gives you a simple list of all the tasks.  Of course, if you haven’t used it before, you won’t have tasks in there.  Take a minute to look at the left hand side of the page and notice the options available – simple list, detailed list, active tasks, next seven days, overdue tasks, by category, assignment, by person responsible, completed tasks, task timeline and another two underneath those – open shared tasks and customize current view.  Quite an array, right?  How useful do you think these lists will be? 

 There are as many ways to set up your system the way you like as you can think.  Check out the Customize Current View – pick what you want and also Tools, Options – you’ll be amazed how much you can customize Tasks including adding Notes to individual tasks.   

Adding tasks is easy – Click on New in the Toolbar and a screen will open.  Put in the task in the subject line, the due date, the start date, status, priority and reminder.  Notice at the bottom, you can also associate it with a contact and/or with a category.  Notice too there is another tab – Details where you can estimate how long that task will take to complete. 

You’re not finished yet – on the top toolbar there are even more options – a file can be attached to this task,  Recurrence feature is available if this task will happen regularly, Assign Task – remember that part of your list which was D for delegate – and each task can be made private too if  others share this Tasks panel.  

Play with the options – you can’t break anything – and you’ll discover some amazing “secrets” in the Tasks area of Outlook.

Now here is how you connect your calendar and your task list.  Take each one of tasks, hold left click button down on the task and drag the task to the Calendar tab on Outlook – and voila!  the task appears in your Calendar – and if you had set the length of time in the New Task screen in Details, that time will be blocked in your Calendar – isn’t that great!  What a way to get through a to do list using time management!   

All those pieces of paper with the “to do list” on them are now in your computer and in your calendar – you’ll never forget anything again and you’ll be able to manage your time much better and easily

You can change dates, times, length of time, etc. and not lose track of something you need to get done.  This comes in handy when you’re surfing the net – you see a site, don’t want to forget it but you haven’t got the time to look at it very well.  Copy the URL and paste it in your tasks.   

Some people don’t like setting Tasks like this but if you can get used to it, it’s the best way to track your tasks and book them into your calendar efficiently and effectively especially if you have a PDA or a phone which syncs with Outlook.   

When should you use the Calendar and when should you use Tasks?  Think of tasks as all the things you need to do – everything.  It would be impossible to put everything into one big calendar day – you’d run out of hours!  Think of the calendar as a place to set appointments, in other words, plan your day, your week, your month or your year. 

And using the Tasks list will make you think of the length of time it will take to complete any one thing – often, that’s why our time management goes out the window – we don’t allocate the appropriate amount of time to each thing we are planning to do.   

Are there other pieces of software which can do these and do them better?  Yes.  However, it’s another expense, another learning curve and another way to chew up time you may not have.  And another icon to click!  

For all of you who still like a piece of paper in your hand, the Tasks can be printed  as can your Calendar for the day, the week, the month – so it’s the best of all worlds!   

Use what you’ve got – to do the to do list with Tasks in Outlook – it’s usually enough for most people!  

 Lorraine Arams
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Use What You’ve Got – Contact Management

contact management in computer

Outlook is more than a mail box!

Use What You’ve Got – for Contact Management

People regret forgetting birthdays or anniversaries.  Small business people don’t know how to keep track of their customers. And people find it difficult to keep track of all the people they meet at networking events.

Yet, if they already have Microsoft Office running on their computers and using Outlook for their email program, they’ve got the right tool to do the job!  Combined with a PDA such as a Blackberry, there is no reason not to have information about people at your fingertips – everywhere you go! Take a look at a PDA if you don’t know what it looks like

Here are some tips on using Outlook to save you time, energy and, perhaps, even money!

1.  Business or Personal Cards – People say to me all the time, “I’ve got all these business cards and personal information cards – stack of them – and I just don’t know what to do with them.  They might be useful at one point.”  And that’s true.  Sometimes you meet someone and there doesn’t seem to be a point of collaboration but later, as your business grows, or you meet someone else with a need, you think of that person – but where is the information?  So you don’t bother passing the information on because it’ll take too long to search for the card or will you even remember the person’s name.  Imagine, if all you had to do was do a search in Outlook and come up with the right name and contact infomraiton

The solution is a card scanner – it inputs the information right into Outlook.  All you do is scan the card through the scanner and bingo! the information is captured into the right fields.  For some of the more decorative cards, you might have to make some adjustments. Here’s one for you to look at.

2.  Adding a Contact Manually or Filling in Details from the Business Card Scan – Click on Contacts.  File – New and a box opens (this box will open up automatically with card scanner).  Look at all the information you can enter especially if you click on the bordered buttons.  You can even add in their photo if you have one!!!

BUT people often miss the most important portion of this – the blank box on the side.  What can you use this for?  To keep track of the contacts you’ve had with that person:

  • create a description of the person – eg red hair, diamond encrusted glasses, red dress
  • where you met eg met at the marketing convention in Vegas
  • place a date and time and a summary of your conversation – on the phone or otherwise – this is especially useful for small business people with their clients (yes there are other ways of keeping track of these conversations such as journal)
  • put a map or file which you can access quickly

Categories– notice that on the bottom – you can create categories for all your contacts – eg contractors, clients, friends, family, etc – it keeps your contacts organized.  And you can sort all this information in a number of ways:  by last names, by phone list, by category, by company, by location, by follow-up flag – what more do you need for personal or small business needs?

And with each email or phone number, you can add several.  For instance, in business, the drop down menu will show you a lot of options including assistant’s numbers, and the address will allow both business and personal addresses to be included in one contact.

Under “Contacts” you can associate other contacts with the one you are working on at the time.  How handy is that!

3.  Other information

Details – you can add a wealth of information here including nicknames, spouse’s name, birthday, anniversary,  assistant’s name, etc.

Activities – is a search tool which lists emails, notes, tasks, etc associate with the person and All fields lets you look up the contents of a variety of fields completed for that contact

Look at the toolbar– you can send a new email, auto dial, flag for follow up, and under actions, there are a ton of options. If you have another contact from the same company, in actions you can add a New Contact from Same Company.  Or you can add multiple contacts or you can add a map!  Under Insert, you can associate a file with the contact – this comes in handy when you’re talking to a client on the phone and need to refer to some file.

And let’s not forget that you can create groups.  These groups can be clients, prospects, friends, family, colleagues, social or volunteer groups, etc – whatever group you need to communicate with regularly.

When you are viewing incoming emails, you can right click on the return address and add it to your contact without retyping. Microsoft has its new version 7 out but you perform these actions as far back as the 2003 version and a few earlier than that .

For a contact management system, it’s fairly complete.  Yes, there are other programs which are much better but for personal and small business use, this is adequate.  However, unless your primary profession requires more details than these, it’s not worth the expense.  One of the most powerful and one which has been around for some time is called Maximizer.

Use what you’ve got – use Outlook to track people for personal, business and networking purposes.

Lorraine Arams
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Save Your Time and Money – Use the Software You Already Have

It could all be right here!


Save your time – save your money – the software you already have can likely do what you need to get done.


 So often, I’m talking to people who wish they could find software to do a process they need to use.  When I listen to their issue and ask a couple of questions, I often find they can accomplish the task with software they already have.  

We’ve been conditioned to looking to the latest and greatest in software and hardware development.  Most people, quite frankly, don’t really need more than they already have. 

For instance, Microsoft Outlook has so many more parts than just receiving and sending emails and storing them.  

  •  Did you know that you can use Outlook as a great time management tool? 
  • Did you know you can also use Outlook as a project management tool
  • And did you know that the Task List helps you combine the best of the “To Do” list with time management? 
  • Even some very simple things such as having all your email accounts come through your Outlook instead of having to visit several sites!  Did you know you could do that? 
  • Did you know that Outlook is a great contact management program for small business?  Even for you personally – never forget anyone’s birthday ever again! 
  • Did you know you can use Outlook to promote yourself and/or your business? 
  • Did you know you can use Outlook to help you with procrastination?  It’ll nag you – the best nagger you’ve ever had! 

This week I’ll review in general the most important components of Outlook to help you with Time Management.  I’ll give you some tips on how to use it to create a complete system and, if you have a PDA, you’ll be so incredibly pleased with the results – it’s not necessary to buy a ton of software – just learn to use what you’ve got!  Save your time!  Save your money!  Instead of looking for new software, look inside your own computer for the answer. 

 Stay tuned!  Every day this week, I’ll have some suggestions for using Outlook to the max – and on Friday I’ll show you how to put it all together to make it a complete system! 


Lorraine Arams
Make your dreams reality –
  A new twist on an old theme – achieving goals
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What can you do this week-end to inspire your work next week

Fun - it's inspirational!

What can you do this week-end to inspired your work next week? 

Everything but work!  

Yes, it’s that simple.  When you constantly work – week days and week-ends, your brain hasn’t the time to “look” elsewhere for inspiration.

Being inspired is a mysterious human experience.  You’d think that the more you worked, the more inspired you’d become.  Actually, it’s partially true.  if you are the inventor type – because every time something doesn’t work, you try another way.   But . . . did you ever notice that when you read about famous inventors they loved to walk?  Why walking?  It’s the shortcut to inspiration – your body is moving so the blood is circulating better.  Your eyes see different things in the environment – trees, grass, leaves, animals, new people, new things, growth and decay, clouds, and a host of other distractions which allow the brain to “rest” from the “processing” of the issue you are currently working on.  And so it goes if you distract the brain through sport or socializing or reading novels or involving yourself with your community.

This week-end – do everything but work – and you’ll find that by Sunday night or Monday morning, you’ll feel rejuvenated, fresh and inspired to make it a great work week – accomplishments, meeting deadlines, getting new ideas and meeting the expectations of your job effortlessly – you’ll be inspired! 

Try it – you might like it!

Lorraine Arams
try some new goals too a new way –

 The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment

Home remedies to relieve your stress


At home – feeling good!

What  do I mean by “home remedies” to relieve your stress? 

 It means doing things in your home which counter your stress levels      

When you get home, do you feel even more stress or do you feel more relaxed?  Why?  What is it about your home which makes you feel that way?      

If it’s calming, then try to repeat it in the rest of your home – colors, furniture, quiet, music, or you arrive before everyone else  and you have that little bit of time all to yourself – what is it that contributes to the relaxation effect?  Repeat.      

If coming home adds to stress levels, what exactly is the “thing” that creates more anxiety?  Is it the mess?  Is it the unwashed dishes?  Is it immediate demands on you by others in the household?         

What change can you make which would allow you what you need to feel more relaxed when you get home?  DO IT – NOW – TODAY – If it’s the mess, clean up before you go to bed at night including washing the dishes – schedule the time and do it – or delegate it – kids and spouses can be assigned the chores – and don’t jump in to do it – instead hold their feet to the fire and get them to clean up.  If it’s demands, let your family know that you will be going into your room for 30 minutes when you get home and you are not to be disturbed – don’t respond when there’s a knock on the door – they’ll eventually learn.  And so on.        

Then make appointments with yourself for self-care – stick to them too – otherwise you’re lying to yourself and you’ll feel even worse.  For instance, say that on Sunday night, you’d like an hour and a half for personal grooming and a bath.  Schedule it and let others in the household know that it’s your special time and you don’t want to be disturbed unless the “house” is burning down!  Spend that time grooming and relaxing – music, candles, a glass of wine, a tub pillow and lots and lots of bubble bath – do your manicure and pedicure – read a little – even nap a little . . . .       

What are the home remedies?      

  • decor
  • delegation
  • agreements with other members of the household
  • time for yourself – it’ll make you feel good about yourself because you care enough to take time solely for you (yes, even if you have young children – your spouse can care for them and respect your space)
  • grooming – there’s nothing that makes a person feel better when they look better – manicures and pedicures really do that for a person – the benefits last the whole week – you look good!
  • wine – a glass of wine relaxes you – not a whole bottle – a glass or two of wine really help the relaxation factor
  • bubble bath – it makes you feel luxurious – and add sea salt and epsom salt to help your body soothe tired muscles and skin
  • tub pillow and a big fat luxurious towel – the tub pillow relaxes the neck muscles and provides support for the head and the towel adds to that sense that you are taking good care of yourself
  • candles – get a scent that you love – the scent is a great way to tell the brain this is “me time” and I’m relaxing here –
  • nap – it refreshes you –

How does that feel do you think?  Good – you betcha!      

Home remedies consist of many facets of your life at home and each one is designed for self-care      

If you care for yourself, you’ll be more relaxed and able to tackle the challenges life offers – look good, feel good – a good foundation for good time management.  Will it end there?  Of course not but this is a good beginning and, once you experience the benefits, you’ll likely stick to them      

  • feeling good about yourself
  • feeling good about the fact that others love you enough to accept sharing chores instead of dumping everything on your shoulders and not disturbing you during “time for yourself alone”
  • looking good because you take the time to care for yourself and feel more in control of world 
  • keeping promises to yourself for yourself

Hmmmmm – sound good?      

What does this have to do with time management – why would a site dedicated to time management talk about stress?  Relieve stress and time management becomes easier.  Everything affects our ability to manage our time effectively.     We’ll look at the connection in a future blog. 

 Lorraine Arams
Once you do some of these, you might be
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   Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy Revised and Updated     


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