Monday Thirst Quenchers – Post 01.02

Today I thought I would focus on some productivity tools and tips I use with Outlook.

Wunderlist Add-In for Outlook

I have taken an approach where my task list is separated from my email.  Wunderlist includes a great add-in that will turn any email into a task.  In addition, you can subscribe to your task list feed as a calendar list and see what tasks you said were going to be do on any day.

Quick Steps

This is perhaps my favorite part of Outlook for productivity.  Quick steps enable me to quick do repetitive actions and assign them to shortcut keys. For example, I have a folder where I put reference emails.  The quick step has been configured to move the selected item to my “Reference” folder.  I then bind that quick step to CTL+SHFT+1 and voila, I can get through my inbox to zero real quick.

Mailbox Rules

Unlike quick steps, rules allow you to manage emails before you even see them in your inbox, or process after you send an email.  For instance, you can create a rule that delays sending by 1 minute.  I currently have over 20 rules that apply to my inbox before email even comes in.  My favorite:  Moving all of my meeting requests to a special folder for processing.

How is your impact rubbing off?

How do I rub off on others?  I had to really think about this question after listening to the EntreLeadership podcast featuring Dr. Jackie Freiberg on being a Person of Impact.  In the podcast, three ways were mentioned on how our impact rubs off on others, Positively, Negatively, or Inconsistently.  What is great about the definition of impact that Jackie gave, was that everyone has impact and we can choose how it lands with others.  Of course, we all want positive impact, but we also need to be realistic to know that we can exude negative and inconsistent results as well.  In transparency, I can tell you there is a lot of room for improvement for my impact.  Hopefully you can glean some insight from my reflections in each category:

The Purpose Of Feedback

Think of the purpose that this chandelier was made with.  Alexandrinsky Theater, St. Petersburg, Russia 
This was a poem I created a couple of years back around how we shape purpose in our lives.  Feedback becomes an essential component.  In the last few months, I really have been focused on getting clarity of purpose and have shared a lot of my thoughts to garner feedback.  It has been a very healthy and productive exercise.  Now when I read the words below, I am really encouraged that feedback is making me into a better person and one of purpose, leading a life that is of significance.  Let me know after reading your thoughts on feedback and purpose and how they fit together.

So You Really Want to Take a Vacation

Learn how to eliminate the interruptions

The Christmas holiday season is upon us and people are taking time off to visit friends and family or just taking a well-deserved rest. The last thing that anyone wants on holiday is to be interrupted by work. However, for many of us, the connected world is just too darn connected and people tend to think we are always available. We see the “urgent” response required email and no matter if we try to put it off, it will nag us until we complete a response.

There are few things more enjoyable then sledding on a Christmas vacation.  Don’t let the interruptions that are insignificant happen.

Boundary Management

Setting the start and finish lines is vital to a project's success

Fences are the ultimate picture of a boundary.

The project was already 1 week behind schedule according to the customer. I tried to find the humor in that assumption since the project was only 1 week old. Couldn’t they read the milestones and our current sprint plan? I could hear the voices in my head crafting up the blame game quips and quotes already. I mean really?   Do you think the team has just been sitting around? I did my best form of Adam Sandler’s rendition of meditation in Anger Management and suddenly the true problem hit me.

I had failed to set the expectations of what the Start and Finish lines looked like with the customer.

Living a Transformational Life

You can influence the speed of change

Recently, I have tried to take a step back and look at the transformations that are occurring all around me.  I am seeing my seventeen year old now as a young adult making choices for herself, that used to be part of our role as parents.  At work, I see the decisions of last years organizational shifts starting to solidify.  I look in the mirror and see the grey hairs of wisdom where youthful ignorance used to be. My pastor described transformation as a deep changing of the mind, body, and soul to be more like Christ.  The more I dwell upon that definition, the more I think about some of the core elements of our metamorphosis as individuals.

Work is what you make it – 10 observations

Working in the field

I was really looking forward to a breakfast talk about work and worship in downtown Seattle.   The cogs of the work engine were grinding and a pleasant change of pace where I could soak in information was just what I needed.  I am glad I wasn’t disappointed. Here are 10 key notes in no particular order from that talk: