Ty Anderson

Office Newswire: Strategies and tools to stay organized and productive in 2012 – 1.4.2012

The week between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day is one of my favorite weeks of the year. The phone isn’t ringing, the inbox is empty, cookies abound, and everyone is in a good mood. Even though the business doors are open, most of offices are half-empty. If you are lucky enough to catch a co-worker or client at the office, it’s a great chance to have a long lunch and ponder the new year together.

I spent the better part of my week do just that as well as thinking through 2012. I don’t do the "New Year’s Resolution" thing but I do set my sights on some items I want to achieve. It sounds like resolutions doesn’t it? The difference is resolutions tend to be specific… narrow. My objectives are broad and set the tone for the entire year. They act as an umbrella that sets the scope of my activities.

Once defined, I use the objectives to plan my year and stay as close to “on-course" as possible. Today’s newswire is heavily influenced by this “look ahead" into 2012, starting with…

A look ahead: 2012 is Microsoft’s turning point

There are tons of articles discussing what MSFT must do in 2012. I think this one is the best… plus it is formatted well and easy to read. I think formatting is just as important as the content. So what will be important to MSFT in 2012? Well it starts with Windows & Office and goes from there. But you know me, I won’t spoil it.

Strategies to stay organized and productive in 2012

I do my planning with pen & paper and Outlook. I do the thinking with pen & paper but record the plan using Outlook tasks. I have my own strategy for this and will discuss it in a subsequent newswire. Be patient, this will happen soon and very soon… maybe sooner than you think. Until then, here are several news items that will help you organize yourself in 2012.

  • Tidy-up your desk and/or workspace :: Not Microsoft Office-related but definitely Office-related. If you have a cluttered office and haven’t re-organized it in the last 6-12 months, it’s time to spend an afternoon this week doing so. “A cluttered office is a cluttered mind"… I think my mom said that once. I’m not convinced she is correct but it sounds nice and “preachy" so I think it fits here.
  • Outlook categories & color categories :: The very popular Outlook site, Slipstick Systems, has a post discussing strategies for using categories and colors in Outlook. This post covers assigning categories to Outlook items, managing categories, filter content, and more. This is a great post.
  • Simplify the New Year’s resolution process :: This too is not software related but it has some great thoughts on how to keep the resolution process from being way too complicated. This post is short and sweet but hits hard.
  • Stay away from these “energy vampires" :: It seems too early in the year to mention vampires but, apparently, they come out this time of year to sap you of the “gusto" you built-up while resting over the holidays.
  • Learn how to use Outlook for effective time management :: I did such a good job re-writing this posts title, there isn’t anything else to say. Read this article and learn some effective time management strategies. If you like them, buy the book to learn more.
  • The best Office tips & tricks from 2011 :: If you are feeling empowered by the above content, take it a step further by learning some new Office tips.
  • Discover the hidden power of Microsoft Word :: From American Express’s Open Forum site, here are some Word features you might not know about.

Tools that can help you stay organized

The previous section listed new items that mostly deal with strategies for organization. This section contains tools that will help you implement your strategies.

  • Download Planner templates :: Several templates from the Microsoft Office templates sites. There are so many templates here there is bound to be at least 1 or 2 that are useful to you.
  • Calendar Printing Assistant for Outlook :: I use this tool everyday (again more about this another time). I don’t like Outlook’s default report templates. Actually, they were okay until I saw these templates. Download this tool and see if it is useful to you.
  • Clear Context for Outlook :: This is a popular Outlook add-in that promises to keep your inbox organized. If you live in Outlook, this tool is worth your consideration.

Office + iPad (Continued… )

Microsoft is doing their best Steve Jobs impression by not leaking any news whatsoever regarding Office for iPad. This lack of news from the source (MSFT) could mean one of two things…

  1. they have big plans for Office on iOS and want to gin-up as much excitement as possible, or…
  2. they have no plans whatsoever of delivering Office for iPad.

I choose to believe (hope?) option 1.

While we await official confirmation from Microsoft, the following are some iOS apps that bring Office to iOS devices. They definitely are not fully featured but they do let you work with Office documents. Besides, have you ever tried to create a document on one of these devices? I have and it wasn’t a pleasurable experience. Mobile devices are not meant for document creation.

Office Developer news items

These days, while we await news about Office 15, SharePoint tends to be the focus of new Office Developer content.

Cutting room floor

No comments but still newswire-worthy…

Whew! I had more than a week to compile today’s newswire items and I think it shows. Believe it or not, there is even more news but I’m out of coffee. I even poured an extra cup.

That’s it and that’s all!

Happy New Year everyone.

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