Monday, May 21, 2012

What I Keep in Outlook "Notes"

You use Outlook, but do you make use of all of the modules Outlook offers? I have addressed one of the underused powers of Outlook in my e-book on Outlook Tasks. This post examines another under-utilized area of the program, the "Notes" module.

Notes is a place for holding reference information. Nothing there requires action. The great thing is that Notes, along with Calendar, Tasks, and Contacts syncs with my BlackBerry. therefore, no matter where I am, I have access to the information in Notes.

Here are examples of some of the Notes I keep in Outlook:
  • AA-ZZ Information-Here is a list of account numbers, membership numbers, login information, pin numbers, etc. When I check-in at a hotel and they ask if I have my rewards number handy, I go to this note. When I am on the phone and a salesperson asks if I have my account number handy, my answer is always "yes." The number of cards I carry is narrowed to my driver's license, several major credit cards, and insurance card. Everything else is simply stored in Notes rather than carrying the physical card. After a while, this Note got to be lengthy, so I have broken in up into "AA-ZZ Information A-C,"  "AA-ZZ Information D-F" etc.
  • Accident Information Sheet-If I were involved in a minor accident, what information do I want to be sure I collect? Instead of trying to think it up on the fly, here is a list.
  • Best Times to Buy Items-Prices on lower on certain items during certain months or certain days of the week. I have that list handy no matter where I am.
  • Bio-I never know when someone is going to need my bio to introduce me or to include on promotional material. I have it handy no matter where I am.
  • BlackBerry Troubleshooting-Cures for common problems or instructions for common routines are available here.
  • Cabrio-Cabrio is a Sheltie we adopted. In this one note is his microchipping information, the type of food he eats, and a record of his weight at each trip to the vet. I have a similar note for our other Sheltie, Bonnie Lass.
  • Canada Smartphone Tips-Here is my game plan for using my Smartphone in Canada so that I do not incur a small fortune in data use charges when traveling there.
  • Classroom Information Observation-Although I am no longer a principal, if I were called upon to conduct a "walkthrough," here is a list of what I could be looking for.
  • Coconut Dream Cake-I don't do much in the kitchen, but this is my specialty, and it's delicious. I have the recipe in Outlook and synced to my BlackBerry.
  • Computer Information-Here, I have the product key, service tag, and other information about each computer in the house.
  • Constant Contact Color Scheme-What are the exact colors I use in my monthly newsletter template? This note tells me.
  • Delta Skymiles Partners-Here are the Skymiles numbers for me and my wife along with a list of all the rental car and hotel chains which partner with Delta.

You have just seen a few examples, and even at that, I am only to the letter "D."

Since Notes is a part of Outlook, I can "drag and drop" into or from Notes. During my days as an elementary principal, I had a Note containing driving directions to my school. Whenever someone requested directions, I could drag the Note to the "Mail" button, and Outlook would create a new e-mail containing the directions. If I am planning a trip and need a reminder on what to pack, I drag and drop my "Packing List" from Notes to Tasks and immediately Outlook creates a new Task listing all of the items.

I think you can begin to get the idea. "Notes" gives me a place to put reference information. If you use Outlook, but have not used Notes, I recommend it as a useful place to store all of that miscellaneous information you often access.
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