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Managing Your Business with Outlook 2003 for Dummies 5

• Recurring Appointments: Lists the appointments by recurrence
pattern, such as weekly or yearly.
• By Category: Lists your open appointments by category, such as
Sales Meeting, Important, or Type Of Customer, according to your
use of categories. (For more on categories, see Chapter 4.)
• Define Views: Opens the Custom View Organizer so that you can
create your own Calendar view.
2. Select Day/Week/Month.
3. Select the Month button in the toolbar.
The Month view appears, as shown in Figure 2-7.
Organizing Your Priorities
with Your Tasks List
Organizing your priorities is about listing your dreams, your daily tasks, and
obligations and making a choice about what should be done and when to
achieve your goals. Prioritizing helps you create a self-fulfillment prophecy
step by step.
Figure 2-7:
The
Calendar
month view
gives an

updated
picture of
the monthly
schedule.
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Yikes, what should I do first?
You don’t like working like a slave Sunday to Sunday, until a breakdown
comes. Working with preoccupation means occupying your time before it’s
needed. Planning your work can shrink your preoccupation and turn slavery
work into hard but unstressed work. Outlook is the tool to help you plan your
day, record your appointments on the Calendar, and compile all your jobs on
the Tasks list.
Instead of the feeling like “Yikes, what should I do first?” ask yourself two
questions:
ߜ How much working time do I have committed today?
ߜ How do I choose the Tasks to be done in the remaining time?
Remember that committed time means that you’ve already planned and
promised that time (promised to yourself or a client).
For example, say that you plan to work from 8 to 6 p.m. today, which gives you
ten hours in the office. But you have to account for your daily downtime —
lunch, coffee breaks, restroom, a little chat. Give this two hours of your day.
You also have two appointments scheduled, which occupy three hours. That
means that your time available is 5 hours (10 – 2 – 3) to work on your Tasks
list, not deducting any unplanned interruptions.
Using your Calendar and this calculation, you now know your daily time avail-
able. Now you just need to focus on the most productive Tasks.
Knowing what’s urgent versus
what’s important
Separating urgent from important tasks is something many people don’t do
well. People tend to focus on urgent activities, mistaking them as important.
Important is what brings results; urgent is the pressure for something to
be done. You can classify your activities by determining both their level of
importance and their level of urgency.
The Tasks list in Outlook lets you classify your Tasks by Priority, like High,
Normal, and Low. To select or change the level of priority in the Tasks list,
click the Priority button in the Task line you want to change and choose your
priority, such as Low.
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But what if you have five important Tasks going on at the same time? Which
one should you do first? Sort your Tasks list by the Priority field to choose
the important actions you want to take first. To sort a Task list by priority
field, simply click the Priority field title in the title bar.
Scheduling a Task
You can open a new Task and not schedule it by simply typing the informa-
tion without a Start Date or Due Date or by using the Reminder to start doing
it and saving it in your Tasks list. However, scheduling means having a list of
all your Tasks with Start Date, Due Date, and Priority Selection in order to
select what you should do first, second, and so on, and finishing them one
by one.
To schedule a Task:
1. With the Task open, type the Start Date in the date box.
2. Type the due date in the Due Date date box.
3. Select High in the Priority list box.
4. Select the date you’d like a reminder in the Reminder time date box
(see Figure 2-8).
5. Click Save And Close.
Your Task is now scheduled and published on your Tasks list.
Figure 2-8:
Scheduling
a Task with
the
Reminder
on a
different
date than
the due
date.
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Estimating your completion time
Pressure is not the best way to build your Tasks list. Due date, Status, and
percentage of work done are available fields on the Tasks list to help you
choose a working completion order. Why should you estimate your Tasks’
completion time? Because estimating each Task’s execution time can give
you an idea of how many Tasks you’ll be able to accomplish in a set period
of time.
What do you do when you have several important and urgent Tasks to com-
plete at the same time? How do you choose among them? How do you know
which one is the highest priority? Here are some ways in which you can make
distinctions:
ߜ By the customer’s screams: You work in the best company, where mis-
takes are addressed without any problem. When a customer wants more
than is possible to give him on prices, delivery time, or credit, the ability
to negotiate and say no is the art of changing the scream into “Okay, I
understand you company’s decision. Thank you. Here is your order.”
ߜ By pressure from above: Is your boss the #1 customer? Well, yeah, sure!
The #1 customer deserves the best relationship, right? A good practice
is to show your boss your Tasks list and negotiate the priorities with
him. (See Chapter 10 to find out more about sharing your Tasks.)
ߜ By due date: Setting the due date according your schedule or accepting
the due date upon request is a target or a commitment that could
change. Set the due date to avoid constant changes and change the
expiration dates only for low priority issues.
ߜ By percentage of work already done: Say that you have two important
Tasks to complete, and one is 85 percent done while the other is 30 per-
cent done. Choose the one that is closer to being finished first and then
go for the second.
ߜ By status: The only status that you really need to be concerned with is
the status of Tasks that are “waiting on someone else.” These Tasks may
require that you pressure someone else to release his or her part. All
other Tasks are under your own control to complete and prioritize. On
the other hand, maybe your coworker has different priorities, and your
task is not important or urgent to him. What then? Perhaps you can help
him with his priorities or organization. One way to start is to get him a
copy of this book.
ߜ By time estimate: To increase your productivity, figure out how much
time you have available to work and then choose the Tasks that fit into
that time slot.
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To record each Task’s completion time:
1. Open any new Task.
2. Click the Details tab.
The Details screen, shown in Figure 2-9, appears, and new fields are
available.
3. Type your estimated time in the Actual Work field.
4. Choose File➪Close.
When you’re finished with the project, type the actual time it took in the
Total Work field so that you have it for future reference or charge your cus-
tomer for your time.
Viewing all your fields in the same list
Deciding what is important and urgent can be a terrific help when all vari-
ables are seen at the same time, such as Priority, Due Date, Percentage Of
Work Done, and Estimated Time to complete the job. If you have two Tasks
with the same priorities and due dates, you can choose to finish the one that
needs only half an hour to finish and leave the one that requires six hours for
later, allowing you to get an important Task done sooner.
Figure 2-9:
The Tasks
details page
has fields
for
estimating
the time
needed to
complete a
job.
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