Using Outlook and Saving Time

Written by Robyn Pearce

I’ve just been running a ‘Getting a Grip on Email, Paper and the Office Environment’ workshop for a large Government department in Wellington. Here are two email tips that got the folks really excited. They couldn’t wait to get back to their desks and start using them. I’ll share the instructions in Outlook 2010, and if you have a different version or system, your Help menu will guide you.

  1. Turn off your alert – it is one of the most insidious interrupters.
    You almost never need to know you’ve just received yet another email but very few of us can ignore a beep or flashing message. When our energy is low or the current task is challenging it is way too easy to be distracted.The path is: File/Options/Mail/Message Arrival – and then untick all four options.

Now, instead of constantly dodging in and out of your email system, hounded by pings and flashes, you’re in chargEmail envelopee. You will choose how often you wish to communicate, and when. Put your focus on your high-value work and do email in suitable gaps.

You might want to add something extra in your standard email signature to indicate your changed practice. One of my Australian speaker colleagues has the following just under his name:

‘Please call me if you need a quick response.’ His phone number is just below.

Or you might say something like: ‘I reply to my emails a few times a day. Please phone …. if your query is urgent.’

  1. To save unnecessary keystrokes, turn anything you repeatedly write into a ‘Signature’.
    It might be driving instructions, a basic proposal outline, invitations to an event, a promotion you wish to market, seasonal greetings, instructions to the printer – and that’s just for starts. I have about 12 signatures to choose from.

You can write directly into the Signature wizard (detailed below) but it’s quite a small box. I find it faster and easier to create elsewhere. Usually I’ll copy the required text from a new email, or if it’s a large block of information you might grab it from an existing document. Highlight the block of text and copy it. (Shortcut Ctrl + C = Copy).

In Outlook, File/Options/Mail/Signatures/. Choose ‘New’, give it a name, and then drop in your block of text. Choose OK.

When you’re in the message area of an email you’re composing and ready for your block of text, place your cursor in the relevant place and then choose the Signature button on the ribbon above. If you’ve got more than one signature you’ll see a down arrow. Click on the arrow and all your signatures will be listed. One click and your text of choice is inserted. Voila!

There may be things you need to change, but getting the ‘bones’ into an email will save you significant time.

A couple of signature work-arounds, due to some clunky Outlook programming:
Once you’ve set up the new signature, go back and open Signatures again. You’ll find (on the right hand side) that what you’ve just set up has become the default for every new outgoing email. We don’t want this, so just reset to ‘None’ for outgoing mail, which allows you to pick whichever signature is relevant.

One other annoying Outlook 10 feature – you can only choose one signature. Pick another and your first choice vanishes in a puff of digital smoke. If you want two or more blocks of text, open another email box, drop the second signature in there and then cut and paste.

There are other ways to create templates (for that’s what this form of signature really is). This one is my favourite.

Two Time Saving Tips

Written by Robyn Pearce

Click And Drag

Let’s suppose you’ve received an email that relates to a meeting you’ve scheduled, or it requires you to set up a meeting, or it’s a big enough task to justify blocking out some dedicated time. What most people do is either retype the information or cut and paste using the shortcuts Ctrl + C and  Ctrl + V.

Instead, click on the email and drag it to Calendar. (On my new computer with Office 2010 I can see the Appointment box immediately but Inbox smallwith Windows 7 that box didn’t open in front of the Inbox screen. Instead, it coyly tucked itself behind the open email window and I had to go back to the Outlook icon along the bottom toolbar to find the open screen.) Anyway, once you see your Calendar window all you have to do is set the appointment times. The entire email, with all its information, is in the body of the calendar item.  And – the original email still sits patiently in whichever folder you dragged it from.

Now you’ve got that little trick under your belt, try doing the same thing with a new contact you want to transfer into your Contacts list. The smart little ‘click and drag’ trick works there too. In this case (in my system at least, but yours might be different) the Contact pane did its disappearing trick but again, it was just sitting behind the open email waiting for attention. The only extra thing required, if you don’t need to keep the content of the email attached to the new Contact’s name, is to delete the email from the Notes section.

If you use the Tasks feature, it also works there.

An Alternative ‘To Do’ List For Today’s Top Priorities

I find very few people like Outlook’s Tasks, or use it well – me included. For many it becomes an ever-growing ugly dumping ground with too much in it and no easy way to get a clear visual on your priorities for the day.

If you can identify with that, you might like this trick from a very busy administrator. She wanted a quick and visual way to keep tasks and appointments together and decided to use the ‘before work’ hours to put her tasks for the day.  She either ‘clicked and dragged’ email as outlined above (or created new appointments if it was something that hadn’t arrived by email) using the wee small hours – from 4am. (Of course she wasn’t at work at that hour!) She could then just manually move things into priority order if she wanted to, depending on the volume. If for some reason she needed to print off the day or the week, everything was visible on the one page.

You’ve probably got a bunch of other longer-term things you want to keep track of. There are various ways but outside the scope of today’s article. I’ll probably write about it one day.

Are you looking for Significance?

By John Shackleton on May 6, 2015 in Blog

Almost from the moment we are born, we seek to establish our value and prove our significance. As children our parents praise and reward our achievements, encouraging us to get better and excel. We are rewarded for being top of the class academically, the quickest runner, the best rugby player, the fastest swimmer, an exceptional singer, a great speller, top chess player or known for our kindness, our consideration of others, our devotion to animals etc.

We learn that it’s important that we ‘shine’ at something because that will define who we are. It will determine our significance, our reason for being. “This is Joe – he’s a great runner. He wins all his races and has tons of gold medals”. “This is Sally – she’s a wonderful creative writer. I bet she could spell just about any word you could give her.” As we get older we learn to focus on our accomplishments, our careers, the ‘things’ we’ve managed to acquire, our achievements, our sporting prowess, our conquests, even our obsessions and addictions. These things define us and show the world that we are special and different and significant. We learn to use these things to evoke self-worth and demonstrate our value to ourselves and to others. In the past our family photo albums used to be full of these accomplishments but nowadays we publish our significance on Facebook and Twitter, letting the world know who we are and what we have acquired or achieved.

We tend to search for significance by focusing on ourselves and hoping to create something that will last, and at the same time we fear reaching the end of our lives only to discover that our time here has been insignificant or meaningless. Some turn to goal setting to manage this need for significance, some turn to religion to support their desire for self worth, some rely on the love of their family and friends to feed this hunger for importance. Some people buy flashy cars, some have plastic surgery, some dress to impress, some show off their grandchildren, some brag about their recent success,some run marathons, some collect art – all to prove that they are significant, they are different, they are special. 
We all feel this need to be significant and rightly so. We have worked all our life for what we personally define as ‘success’. We’ve slaved for years to achieve our position, our security or our ‘toys’. Do you feel the need for significance? Well, so does everyone else, and if we can feed other people’s need for significance and help them feel important, they will love us and buy what we are selling.

I was recently receiving very poor service in a cafe and used this idea of significance to my advantage. The young waitress must have been having a bad week and obviously felt that we, her customers, should understand this and ‘suffer’ like she was! I noticed that she was sullen and unhelpful and she treated the people in front of me with disdain, giving extremely poor customer service.

I’d noticed that she had a very unusual vivid green streak of hair dye in the front of her hair, not my type of thing at all. In fact I thought it looked stupid but what do I know? I was at least 3 times her age! This was her way to grab attention and was obviously her way of gaining significance with people whose opinion she valued. When it came to my turn I thought I’d feed her need for significance and so I talked about the ‘wonderful colour in her hair’ and said that I thought it made her really stand out from the crowd.

The change in her demeanour was instantaneous and lasting. She cheered up immediately, smiling probably for the first time that morning and she went out of her way to be helpful and nice to me. When my order was ready she brought my tea and bun over to my table. A complete contrast to the way she shouted to all her other customers that they should come and fetch theirs themselves.

Had I been selling something I think I would have made a sale. As it was I received far better service than all the other customers, just because I made her feel important and significant. I could have told her how stupid I thought she looked or made a joke about her wiping her nose into her hair but both of those would have reduced her significance rather than built it and I would have received poor service.

Let’s remember: Everyone is looking for significance and if we can feed this need they have then they will like us and buy whatever we’re selling.  Make their significance more important than your own to build rapport and establish a relationship that can be long, lasting and profitable for you both.

Fermenting – Entrepreneur Health

by Tyler Tolman –
Fermenting foods

Love Your Guts with Fermented Food

Fermented food is all the rage right now, but to some people it seems like just a fancy term for rotten vegetables. When I first tasted sauerkraut, I thought it was disgusting too. But now I enjoy fermented food, and the goods things you hear about it are all true. Fermented food is not just a fad; it’s been a part of healthy diets since ancient times.

Your Internal Culture

The good bacteria abundant in fermented food gets into your guts and begins to break down proteins, fats, and carbohydrates—making everything more nutritionally bioavailable. The biome of bacteria in your digestive system is also one of the biggest parts of your immune system. In fact, you have as many or more bacteria as you do cells in your entire body—some 100 trillion. So, by the numbers, you’re probably more bacteria than anything else.

When you eat fermented foods—and fresh foods that later ferment in your digestive system—you’re inviting good bacterial cultures to live inside you. If you’re eating poor, processed foods, bad cultures can also easily develop. And, of course, when you’re sick, bad bacteria can really multiply. So imagine a bacteria battle going on inside your body, and you want to help the good guys win.

Long-Lived Human Cultures

I like to look in the past and in the present to see what is healthy in human cultures and why. I read an interesting book, Healthy at 100, by John Robbins. Robbins looks at several traditional, long-lived cultures—cultures where people live without debilitating conditions well into their advanced years. These cultures range from the Abkhasian of Russia to the Okinawana of Japan to the Vilcabamba of Ecuador. Natural food, including fermented food, is one thing all these peoples have in common—though, of course, the specific foods are different.

Find a Favorite Ferment

A wide variety of savoury and sweet fermented foods is available nowadays. Korean kimchi and German sauerkraut are both made by packing the vegetables in salt and allowing them to ferment. (Salt prevents bad bacteria from forming but allows the good bacteria to build up.) Different kinds of yogurts made from milk, like popular kefirs, can be sweetened naturally and are really delicious. And the latest craze is kombucha, a fermented sweet tea.

Even on a vegan diet, I make coconut yogurt from raw coconut meat and cashews. I whip them together in a blender, add a vegan probiotic, put the mixture in glass jar, and cover it with a cloth overnight. Yes, it looks like the coconut is rotting, but it is really making beautiful bacteria. I sweeten it with a little honey and eat it right up. So find some fermented foods that appeal to you and get that good stuff going on inside you.

A Healthy Lifestyle

Written by Don Tolman –

Eat less.  Eat whole foods.  The more you eat, the less energy you have; less food generates more energy.  Drink one quart of water for every 50 lbs you weigh, let water be a lot of your food.

Because it is.  If you are what you eat, you’re 70% water.  The brain is over 90% water; eat up the water.  After 6pm, just have liquids, soups, sops, sups, that’s why it’s called supper.

Move more.  The more you move, the more you can move; the less you do, the less you can do.  Movement generates health energy.

Relax.  Sit in a hot tub, on a porch, lay in the sun, swing under a shade tree, listen to your favorite music, get a massage, do a colonic, make love, have a glass of organic wine or a couple of natural unforced beers.

Sleep.  Lay down for eight hours.  No more, no less.  It’s an Ancient wisdom that works.  You don’t even need to be asleep, don’t stress over it if your not.  If you are asleep, all the better.  The less you eat, the better you sleep.  The better you sleep the less food you feel you need.  Less food equals more energy to move and the ability to do.  The more you move and do, the easier it is to relax.  The more you relax, the better you sleep.

This creates health.  You feel well. Look well.  You enjoy life well.  You do well.  You are disease free, you recover from injury faster, and your imagination works better.

When life throws you challenges you say, “Bring it!”

As more and more people are discovering health through self care by making simple “life style” changes.  The pharmaceutical drug lords are shifting their, “cultural medical marketing” to a more dubious role of “life style enhancers.”

In order for consumers to avoid the frustration and trauma of making a personal change that is somehow founded upon character, will, desire and a modicum of self-discipline, they can simply pop steroids to appear younger, stronger and more athletic.

They can pop Prozac and appear to be a more focused business person, or even take Viagra in order to avoid the embarrassment of the fact you’re probably not excited by the person you’re with, or, you can make her really feel it with, “Enzyte.”

What is it going to mean in the near future, to be human?  Undoubtedly thousands of medicines will shift from medicinal to “supportives” of “enhanced” life styles, while delivering a drug-fulfilled experience of life.

Knowledge is your key to changing your situation, and by sharing this knowledge I’m empowering you with the first step to putting an end to the strong-arm tactics of the “Sick-Care” industry.

Pulse – Natures Food

Reproduced from Don Tolman –

When I was just months over eight years of age, I attended some friends Sunday school class.

I sat enthralled as sister lake told the story of Daniel from chapter one in the Old Testament book of that same name.  I was thrilled to hear that four young men who had refused to eat the meat, wine and dainties of the kings appointed food allotment for them, had decided instead to eat just pulse and water.

After only ten days, it was obvious that they were healthier, and doing better than all of the young people dining upon the kings menu.

The story went on to declare that at the end of three years on pulse and water, these four young men where, in fact, tested out as being ten times smarter in all learning and problem solving skills than all of the learned men and the kings entire realm, which at that time was most of the known world.

It is an understatement to say that I went home that day filled with the thrill of wonder and awe.  I wouldn’t shut up about Pulse and water.  I drove my mum, family and friends nuts.  I had to have some, now!!!! 

Little did I know at the time that it would be a 17-year search as an adult to find what Pulse in fact is, and the simple profound wisdom behind it, in it and through it.

My Pulse Quest took me into large University information repositories, libraries of every size and kind, microfilm assembles, rear book collections of religious institutes seminaries, synagogues, scholastic lectures on ancient records, museums, international exhibitions, the British museum, the library of congest, the Smithsonian compound, displays, scrolls, parchment galleries, biblioethcaries, private and public athenaeums, halls filled with bibliothecastacks, reference rooms, tunnels, caverns of dusty ancient manuscripts, publications and transliterations and in the end from all of this, I carried nuggets of information from nearly every corner of human enquiry.

Much of what I had been exposed to though, felt like academic trivia.  It left me feeling empty.  I had not found a single presentation of any depth of understanding that would shed light or even hint as to the contents and form of Pulse.  With great disappointment and a heavy heart I quit; I gave up; I walked away. 

Two years later, through an accidental meeting of a wise old gentleman of letters and degrees, I was given a temporary appointment as a student researcher with its attendant responsibilities to the private architectonic instruments, documents and records collection of a world renowned consortium of ancient and arcane artifacts kept in, what they called, “The Den”,  also known to some as the Archiva Scriptorium.

It was here, while enjoying a daily ritual feast of words from minds of the past set in binders of translated papers with their accompanying scrolls or parchments that I found the object of my desire.

The defeated dream/quest of my youth was alive again, in the twinkling of an eye, the joy of a surprise resurrection.

I wept!

I laughed!

I trembled!

I took copious mental notes.  My memory etched each precious verse, and commentary into neutral stones to hang as plaques on the walls of my mind forever and ever.

Mental movies set alpha numerically by my minds eye for future viewing, and oh how I do watch them again and again.  I watch them at night, in the day, when I am busy and when I am not.

A dream came true, 10,000 times over, the sheer wonder of our minds, are memories and our imaginations as you’ll come to understand.

Pulse is the brilliance of natures table set to the music of seasons, measured in mathematical proportional harmonies according to an equation of life that appears colored and textured in keeping with the natural numerical science of smells and taste written in exact ratios of compass square, circle and field, gardens and groves, planting suns and harvesting moons.

Pulse is food for thought; Pulse is thought for food when the body is thought of in terms of the temple.  Pulse is usable, practical, applicable, timely and best of all, convenient.  Pulse is a meal in the form of snack; Pulse is a snack that is a meal.

Pulse eaten often fulfills the measure of its creation and helps you to fulfill the measure of yours.

Better Questions Create Better Careers (by Rik Schnabel)



Reposted from one of Rock Your Life’s global sages, Rik Schnabel. Find his blog at



A good friend of mine recently had a career dilemma. They didn’t like what they were doing for a job, but didn’t know what to do next. Have you ever felt that way?

The questions we ask ourselves can literally transform our lives, so I asked, what are you asking yourself about this issue. Their answer? “Why have I never been able to find a job I love?”


We’ve got to be careful when we ask ourselves “why” questions as our unconscious will obediently answer them. Her answer was (you guessed it) – “Because I have to work to pay my mortgage” and her other answer, “Because I just don’t know what I really want!”  So I asked her this question.

If you secretly knew what work (career might be too strong a word at this early stage) would make you happy; what would it look like, sound like or feel like?

Her answer didn’t surprise me because she loves helping people. She’s a natural problem solver. She’s a caring and nurturing person and the one that everyone seems to come to whenever there are issues to be resolved. She said, “I would love to do what you do (Life Coaching).” So I asked, “What’s stopping you?” and out came her bullet point lists and reasons why she thought she couldn’t become a Life Coach. She was overthinking the issue until it became a big problem and her overthinking had her believing she was doing something about her issue and stopped her from ever doing anything about it.

I said, “What if I could show you how you could learn how to become a Life Coach and keep your job and income until your Life Coach income matched or rose way above your current income – would you do it?

Her answer, simply – “Yes!” Problem gone.

Sometimes we over think our problems, otherwise known as hurdles to our progress. Overthinking when it leads to taking no action, is procrastination in disguise. While our thoughts around our issues might sound intelligent, it’s often far from it. Dogs and Cats rarely die from stress related illness – I think it’s because when they want to do something, they rarely think about it – they just do it!

Go ahead, just do the thing you know you must do and ask yourself better questions…

Rik Schnabel

PS: If you’re like my friend and would like to learn how to become a Life Coach – here’s the link to get the conversation started –


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