Maxing Out Outlook

November 1st, 2011 by Harrumpher Leave a reply »

thumbDespite the book on time management with Outlook® being under 300 pages, reviewing took quite awhile. I mention that because that is likely what many readers will find. I kept returning to implement.

Effective Time Management: Using Microsoft® Outlook® to Organize Your Work and Personal Life is just what it says. However, it could use an additional subtitle about changing everything about how you handle your desk and computer.

To receive the book’s substantial value, you cannot just take a tip here and another there. You have to change the way you receive, read and send email, how you plan, attend or conduct meetings, and master the to-do and journal functions many Outlook owners do not know of or use. Time-management guru Lothar Seiwert and productivity expert Holger Woeltje show specifically how to do all of that. They lay out the problems, describe the concepts for those and their solutions, provide real-world examples of best practices, and give step-by-step description of how to do it yourself.

People who feel harried and overwhelmed by information and tasks coming at all times from all directions can get tremendous help here. All it takes is looking at each aspect of the business day in a new framework and then implementing better systems to deal with them. It is not at all simple, but the authors put it all right there in front of you.

By the bye, as a technical writer, I also appreciated their index. That often contracted-out weakest aspect of technical books is actually useful in this one. For example, it uses concepts instead of just the precise words Microsoft and the authors use.

The authors do not stint on any area. They separate these into email, tasks, weekly planning, daily planning, meetings and goals. Each gets the full problems, solutions, examples, and procedures treatment. If you thought you understood what you face everyday, know that they have made a deeper analysis.

You may find yourself skimming the examples, with their generalized, bullet-point concepts. That will be OK, because they lead you into the procedures, which is the essence of each area. If you think you do not have time to upgrade the way you work, you are likely to conclude you must take that time, so you will end up in much greater control of your job.

One of the best aspects along the way is that the pair introduces and explains how to use Outlook features invisible to and unused by many owner. Think block building and journal use, and how to get the most out of OneNote.

As an aside, it is possible to use other productivity tools than Outlook. The authors do not generalize to those. They do show why they have found what they need in Outlook.

Effective Time Management: Using Microsoft® Outlook® to Organize Your Work and Personal Life
Lothar Seiwert, Holger Woeltje
Microsoft Press, Redmond, WA
October 2011
Pages: 272
ISBN-10: 0735660042
ISBN-13: 978-0735660045
$29.99 Paperback and $9.99 Kindle available at O’Reilly or Amazon.

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