I’ve been trying to organize my life lately, and this weekend, I decided to get my Outlook under control–respond, file, or delete the hundreds of e-mails in my inbox, create necessary tasks, delete obsolete ones, reorganize the folder hierarchy, etc. Also, I’ve recently been introduced to the Getting Things Done methodology and was interested in that. Some of these sites use GTD as their basis, but all the tips are useful even if you’re not specifically using Getting Things Done. In any case, all of these are focused on personal productivity.
In addition, I decided to figure out how to use some features more effectively than I do. Like categories. Outlook has always had categories, but they work so much better in the 2007 version. The To-Do bar has also been visible the whole time I’ve had Outlook 2007, but I haven’t used it effectively. Until now.
What follows are some links to articles and blogs that can help rein in Outlook and make it work for you.
- Simple tips on organization from Microsoft – a little simple, low on details, but useful.
- Simple tutorial on using categories – Very basic, but included for completeness
- How to use organize features – focused on 2003 version, but still useful. I’ve made e-mails from my wife appear in different size/color to stand out
- Manipulate the show in groups features – I liked turning on shading of group headers. At least for now–we’ll see how long it lasts.
- Using the To-do bar effectively, especially categories – very nice tips on how to organize the To-Do bar, as well as use categories for everything. Some comments on the post are worth reading too.
- Easily flagging urgent mail items automatically – by a developer on Outlook (or was)
- Effectively using inboxes – Some interesting ideas
Getting Things Done
I’ve recently become interested in this methodology, after reading the recent article in Wired magazine.
- Getting Things Done (GTD) in Outlook 2007 – tips, macros, configuration, GREAT article, but note that he misses a few capabilities of Outlook (i.e., e-mails can show up as tasks in the To Do bar if they’re flagged)
- A set of macros specifically for GTD
- Configuring GTD in Outlook 2007 – another detailed setup of Getting Things Done in Outlook 2007
- Scott Hanselman details some of the techniques he uses. I’ll probably copy some of these in my own workflow.
- Easily view Internet headers of an e-mail.
- Live Writer Blog This macro – for Outlook 2007
- Create appointment from e-mail
- (Powershell script to add tasks to Outlook)
- Outlook Team Blog – LOTS of stuff here, from how to use to various features, programming, RSS–everything here. (Thanks, Wes)
- Tasks and Time Management in Outlook
- 43 folders
Got some other really good tips or sites? Did I leave out an area of Outlook? Post them in the comments and I’ll add them to the list.
Have you checked out my Buy Me a Lego site? If not, please do so!
Check out my latest book, the essential, in-depth guide to performance for all .NET developers:
Writing High-Performance.NET Code by Ben Watson. Available now as an eBook at: