Have you ever used your Microsoft Outlook Journal folder? Did you know there is an Outlook Journal folder? Since the Journal folder is not exactly prominent in Outlook 2003 or 2007, it would not be surprising if you didn’t. But the Journal folder has some great features – especially if you are continually asking yourself where your day went?
There are two features in particular that you might find interesting. The first is the timer buttons on the Journal Entry form (see thumbnail below).
When you get ready to start working on a task or making phone calls, one of the things you can do to record information about the activity or just make sure you time it properly is open up a journal entry and click the Start Timer button. Outlook will begin keeping time and you will see automatic changes in the Duration field on that journal entry until you click the Pause Timer button. This feature can be especially helpful if you want to get a feel for how much time you are spending with prospects and clients on the phone. Simply right click on the contact record you need to call, select New Journal Entry for Contact from the pop up menu and click the Start Timer button while the phone is dialing. Now you can record any notes from the phone call in the notes section of the journal entry (the proper place to be inputting notes instead of the Contact Notes field) and when the call is finished you can click the Pause timer button to record the duration of the call. If you want to get a feel for how much time you have spent with a given prospect or client, you can create a by company view in your Journal so that duration can quickly be added up for all your entries for any company.
The second is an automatic feature that is enabled when you turn the Outlook Journal on. If you’ve never viewed your Outlook Journal folder, then the first time you do, you will get a popup window asking you if you would like turn Journaling on – you should not only answer Yes, but you should also check the box that asks you if you don’t want to show this message again so that it doesn’t pop up every time you select the Journal folder. The Journal Options window will now open (see thumbnail below) and you should insure that all the check boxes in the Also record files from list box at the bottom lower corner of the window are checked.
Now whenever you save a Microsoft Office document, a journal entry will automatically be created that records the time the document was opened and the duration that it was opened. This feature can really come in handy when you are trying to remember how long it took you to create a document or when you started working on it. The screen print below shows what some of these automated journal entries look like in your Journal Folder Entry List view.
So the next time you are wondering where your day went or your boss asks you what you have been doing all day – remember the Outlook Journal and maybe you’ll get a better grip on what is taking up all your time.