Microsoft Outlook has great features to help you stay organized and manage your time at work. One of my favorites is the ability to drag-and-drop email messages into other applications within Outlook. Let’s explore further.
In the bottom left-hand corner of your Outlook window, the default navigation pane contains four buttons: Mail, Calendar, Contacts, and Tasks. Some people only use one or two of these features. Savvy users maximize all four.
Did you know an email in your inbox can be clicked and dragged to Calendar? It can, and the contents of the email will automatically copy into the body of the Calendar entry. Similar things will happen when an email is dragged to Contacts and Tasks.
Calendar Scenario: You are taking a trip in three months and you receive an email containing your hotel confirmation information. Click the email, drag it to the Calendar button in the lower left-hand corner of your screen, and a Calendar window will open up that looks something like this:
All you need to do is select your travel dates and then the confirmation numbers and links will be saved to your Outlook Calendar. If your calendar syncs with a mobile device, then you are especially good to go when you check into your hotel.
Contacts Scenario: You receive an email from someone and would like to quickly capture their contact information into Outlook Contacts. Click the email and drag it to Contacts. A new contact window will open — the contact’s name and email address will automatically appear on the left-hand side. The entire email will be displayed in the lower right-hand corner in the notes field. To add the contact’s address, website and phone number to the left-hand side, cut and paste from the notes section.
Now you no longer need to search for an email to find someone’s contact information.
Tasks Scenario: An email you received contains a request that you plan to complete at a later date (i.e., not today). Click the email, drag it to Tasks, and the subject of the email becomes the subject of the Task. The content of the email is copied into the body of the Task.
At this point, you change the subject to contain the action you need to perform, add a due date and reminder date, and save the Task.
I have evaluated many different email and time management systems over the past several years, and because of Outlook’s drag-and-drop functionality, I cannot recommend a better tool for simultaneous management of email and action items. In my seminar, Manage Your Time with Outlook Tasks, you will learn in-depth techniques to streamline your work and reduce stress with a tool you already have available on your desktop! Contact me if you would like to learn how to bring this 2-hour seminar to your workplace.
Dr. Melissa Gratias (pronounced "Gracious") is a work psychologist who helps overwhelmed and underappreciated businesspeople be more focused and effective. Since 2007, thousands of people have graduated with honors from her onsite sessions, distance coaching, productivity seminars, and corporate consulting projects. Based in Savannah, Georgia, Melissa is available for nationwide consulting and speaking engagements. Contact her via email at [email protected] or call 912-417-2505. Sign up for her free monthly e-newsletter or visit her website, melissagratias.com.