Best Practices for Using Microsoft Outlook from a Sales Perspective

Arrow-Tip #27 Using Outlook to Help Achieve Your Personal & Business Goals Part II

In this Arrow-Tip I will be discussing how I’ve used the Outlook Calendar to help me achieve my goals and I’ll give you a quick update on progress toward my May goals discussed in Arrow-Tip #26

This week, the Outlook Calendar was definitely my friend. Because I’ve over booked myself, getting all of my hours in was a real challenge and I had to dip into a few evenings and then my weekend for an emergency non billable issue that came up.

My Outlook Calendar Strategy

In an overbooked situation it is very important to be realistic about how much time I have to get my hours in during the day. Without the discipline of my Outlook Calendar, the day would get away from me in just handling administrative issues like answering emails, etc. Now, because I’m forcing myself to adhere to a schedule, I’m having to learn to be really good about prioritizing my call backs and not wasting time with amusing, but otherwise non value-add emails (like jokes, etc.).

Here is how I’ve populated my Calendar:

  • In my Calendar Work Week view, I’ve blocked off time to get my retainer hours completed each week for the month of May – these hours are all billable so they are all color coded blue.
  • Next I’ve filled in project work hours – these hours are also billable so they are also color coded blue.
  • Next I blocked off time for sales and marketing activities – since I’m overbooked right now those activities are being kept to a minimum, but I still need to maintain a pipeline for when my current engagements end. These hours are color coded green
  • I’ve booked one day a week where I am leaving 30 minutes to an hour early to pick up my boys and give them some extra Mommy time – on those days I’m booking some evening work time to make up for the short day.
  • Then I’ve filled in time for returning phone calls and emails. I try not to answer my phone during billable time unless it is the billable client calling. These hours are color codedpeach.
  • Finally, I’ve created a custom view to track my billable time that I use to input information into Microsoft Small Business Accounting for invoicing purposes.

All the time that I schedule for billable hours is initially coded as “tentative”, but once I’ve completed those hours, I change the code to “busy” and adjust the times accordingly. Next week’s schedule looks like the following thumbnail:

Next Week’s Calendar

while last weeks’ schedule which represents actual hours looks like the following thumbnail:

Last Week’s Calendar

Notice the tops of evening appointments where I had to make up for time lost during the day. This week I am much more inclined to work efficiently during the day so that I don’t have to put in as many hours at night.

Week 1 Results

Goals Prog Report

Although I have not closed any new business for June yet this month, I did have a great sales meeting so progress was made towards that goal. Also, the developers continue to make progress on Huntress so we moved forward in that monthly goal. The only goal that I made no progress toward was taking an early day with my boys. I’ll need to make up for that one of the remaining weeks with something extra special.

Tune in next week when I will talk about how I’m using Tasks to help with my goals.

This post was written by MistyKhan and published on May 6, 2008 in the following categories: Arrow Tips, Calendar, Front Page. You can leave trackbacks on this post at this address. To follow the comments on this post subscribe to the RSS feed.


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