Outlook's Journal: Increasing Productivity

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Productivity Tool at Your Fingertips

You may have used Microsoft Outlook’s Journal to record notes for an important client (and if you haven’t this is a great tool for tracking phone expenses, and keeping all of your client information together, and for billing purposes), but have you fully explored the great utility you have available at your fingertips? This tool can be a boost to productivity by helping you find out just how much time it really took you to write up that report - and by providing you with a space to write a regular productivity report each day, week, or month.

Tracking Time with Journal

You can link other Microsoft products to Journal so that you might track how much time you spent on a particular document (again, a great billing tool as well if you charge by the hour), worksheet, or database. You have two options when it comes to using Journal to track time. You can either specify which documents you want to follow, or you can follow all documents that you open and work on. If you choose to set up Outlook to do the later, you will want to go through and weed the information you do not need periodically.

To set up journal to track time, click on the journal icon. Open a new journal entry. Type the subject of the journal - if it is associated with a project, indicate this. Then, select what you are tracking from the drop-down menu. You may then attach an item to the journal (whatever document or website you might be working on). Click “Start timer” to track just how much time you spent on that item.

If you want to automatically track all time you spend on documents, go to the options menu. Under journal options, you can select this feature.

The Productivity Report

An extremely helpful tool when you are trying to increase your productivity is the productivity report. Designate a time interval to cover - at first you may wish to write one each day. A week or a month might be better. In this report, record all of the goals and tasks you wanted to cover during this time period. Once you have done that, write a summary of what goals and tasks you did complete during the time period - and how much time you spent on each (this later part is important for estimating time needed in the future). Most importantly, list what you didn’t complete during the time period you were tracking. Suggest how you will handle this in the future and list four or five productivity goals for next time.