26. February 2011 13:08
If you are working outside the US, you likely do not need to be prompted for an area code every time you add a phone number to your contacts. I have used Outlook since the days it was called Schedule Plus (this is why we at Microsoft call it s+ when we send invites). Even still, I have hard time finding the option to turn this off every time I repave my machine. A second annoyance is that Outlook will remove the plus sign (+) you place in front of an international number.
The reason why this option is difficult to find in Outlook is because it is not set from Outlook. You will need to go to Control Panel, Phone & Modem and select a country.
For area code, I use 00 to represent the +1. This resolves the second issue and stops Outlook from deleting the plus (+) prefix when entering numbers in Outlook. That’s it!
8. October 2010 07:34
Amintas Neto just joined the MEA HQ DPE team from Brazil to cover our Academic business. As a 2010 Circle of Excellence winner (the most prestigious award at Microsoft), Amintas is filled with ideas and tips. Here is an easy one that he told me about that I love – “no think” backups. This particularly important if you are on the road a lot and forget to backup. Microsoft SyncToy makes it a no brainer. And it’s free too!
SyncToy is a free backup utility and super easy to use. It runs unobtrusively in the background using little memory and CPU resources.
First, be sure you have a back up location– ideally an external USB hard drive. When you run SyncToy, you will create a folder pair between the data that you want to back up and the backup location.
Do you make edits on both sides? Then choose Synchronize, which duplicates any deletes and renames with the other pair no matter where you made them. Do you treat your external hard drive as a read-only backup? Then choose Echo. Think of it as mirroring your data. Choose Contribute if you want the mirroring but do not want anything deleted in your back up location
You will get a nice preview of all the changes made since your last backup:That’s it – you are all set to run your backups. You can add more pair folder.
30. May 2010 07:37
After spending time on the road, you can come back to find your Outlook Inbox overgrown and a weedy mess. Although some people have professed allegiance to the “Inbox2” technique (which means dumping the mail into a folder that you never really check again), this could mean you may miss important emails. The color coding technique does help mitigate that risk; however there’s nothing like a healthy Outlook triage session. This will have you happy again to receive fresh emails. You too can son have an inbox as fresh as the first day of school.
The technique is an adaptation of the infamous Sean Seibel triage, which was explained to me in an in depth 90 minute serious discussion. And of the many Outlooking techniques I have learned over the years, this one lasted a year, so definitely worthy to evangelize.
- First, you have to have an insanely messy inbox – minimum of 500 emails, no more than 3000 (otherwise you need to consider the Inbox2 technique, created by someone who shall remain nameless in case you are wondering why he hasn’t responded to an email you sent him).
- Most importantly, you need to select the option to Work Offline. Otherwise you’ll feel like you are digging a hole in the sand at high tide.
- Next, you’ll need to create at 4 folders on your server (vs. local PST file). Keeping on the server ensures you have access to them when you are on the road. Create the folders Action, Reference, Review, & Review (Internet) as a subdirectory of yourInbox:
Now you begin triaging. Write down the number of mails you are starting with. Look at the clock and give yourself either 30 minutes or 60 minutes of uninterrupted time. Be sure to have a beverage handy and turn off your cell phone. Open up your Inbox and start filing the email. Do not read the email, do not take any action unless it will take you less than 15 seconds. When the time block has ended, check your rate. You’ll want to improve this over time. Now most importantly, you’ll need to schedule a meeting with yourself to review those action items. Take time at the end or start of a day to clear out any actions. Set up your cell phone to sync with the Review folder. Set up weekly meeting with yourself to read the online content in the Review (Internet) folder.
- The Action folder is for items requiring a response from you.
- The Review folder is things you should read but don’t need to comment on.
- Likewise with the Review (Internet), except these mails contain information from the web. The separation is to create a separate sync category for offline & online documents. This way, you keep all offline content in one place for reviewing the folder from your cell phone or when you are on the plane. If you are always connected, you can combine the two Review folders.
- The Reference folder is for those FWs that people send you (don’t you love forwards). At first glance, it looks like TMI and meaningless but what if you need it one day? So save it as Reference until you can digest or file it properly .
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