Outlook for Mac 2011 Best Practices: Good time management

This article is part of a series Best practices for Outlook for Mac 2011. To learn about the specific parts in the series, refer to the See also links at the bottom of the page.

Outlook for Mac 2011 is a tool to help you manage your email messages, calendar, contacts, and tasks. As such, it is at the center of not only your communications but also your time-management. To get the most out of Outlook for Mac 2011, we suggest a few basic principles:

  • Reduce the number of places where you read messages. Filter all of the messages that you need to read into one place — your Inbox by using a series of rules.

  • Let some messages pass by. Use rules to send the messages that you need to read into your Inbox, and then let the rest flow untouched into your Contact Group (also known as, distribution lists in your corporate Global Address Group. You can create Contact Groups in Outlook for Mac as well but these Contact Groups are saved to your local computer and should be used for contacts outside your company. See the Contacts section below for rules about working with local Contact Groups) folders. You don’t need — and in high volume situations probably can’t — read every message sent to you. Only the important ones should go to your Inbox. Remaining messages can be useful to keep — in case you become involved on an issue, for example.

  • Reduce the number of places where you manually file messages. Reduce the mental tax of filing by relying on search to locate messages.

  • Process your messages by using the Four Ds. When reading your messages, decide whether to: Delete it. Do it (respond or file for reference). Delegate it (forward). Defer it (using categories and flags) for a second review in your task list.

  • Reduce your to-do list to one list. Use a single to-do list and a single calendar to manage what you need to do.

  • Work in batches. Use categories to help you group similar tasks together.

  • Use good judgment when sending messages. Follow the do’s and don’ts of writing great messages.

  • Review your calendar and tasks regularly.

Even if you don't use all of the best practices described here, following only a few will improve your experience with Outlook for Mac 2011.

See also

Outlook for Mac 2011 Best Practices: Set up Outlook to work for you

Outlook for Mac 2011 Best Practices: Tame your Inbox with the 4 D’s

Outlook for Mac 2011 Best Practices: Manage time with a daily review

Outlook for Mac 2011 Best Practices: Do your work with the help of Tasks

Outlook for Mac 2011 Best Practices: Find that message!

Outlook for Mac 2011 Best Practices: Write great e-mail

Outlook for Mac 2011 Best Practices: Calendars and meetings

Outlook for Mac 2011 Best Practices: Frequently asked questions

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