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Get organised: Seven tips to reduce information overload

Information overload is nothing new (the term was first coined in the 1960s), but it’s getting worse. Emails, voicemails, texts, tweets, blogs, posts, newsfeeds, instant messages and myriad documents in all shapes and formats conspire to eat into our time.

So how do you get organised, keep your head above the flow and focus on what’s important? Here are our Top Seven Tips for a better-organised life.

Be proactive

If you reduce the flow of information, there’s less rubbish to process. So unsubscribe yourself from all those email lists that hardly ever deliver anything useful. The ‘Conversation View’ in Outlook 2010 is an ideal tool for identifying the chatters that matter, as is the ‘Clean Up’ command, which deletes redundant emails in a thread. And ‘Ignore’ is a great time-saver!

Solicit quality information

Ask people specific questions and you’re more likely to get short, precise answers rather than a brain dump. And carry this through to how you use your software. Use Excel Sparklines to produce immediate trending information, and Slicers to filter large amounts of data.

Take a bird’s eye view

The average person receives 1,500 emails a week, so just viewing your Inbox can become a Herculean task. The different Views in Outlook 2010 let you group related emails and condense or categorise them with a single click, giving you a high-level summary view. You can view just unread messages, see Previews and move whole conversations to your Deleted Items once you’ve finished with them.

Store information logically

In Outlook, you can create rules, use folders and assign categories to your mails to manage your emails. Similarly, with Windows 7 libraries you can group together all relevant documents, emails, presentations etc, on a single subject – no matter where they’re scattered on your PC.

Capture your ideas and thoughts

You’re in a presentation and want to take some notes. A brilliant idea has also just flashed through your mind in response to a comment. You want to capture these thoughts so you can refer to them later – and with Microsoft OneNote 2010 you can do just that. Text, images, video and audio notes are all stored in one notebook – and you can even share them with others.

Cost your time

You know what your hourly / daily / weekly /monthly rate is. How many hours a day do you spend reading emails or on social networks? Is that time worth it? Be ruthless when it comes to deciding what’s of business value and what isn’t.

Get online

With Microsoft Office Web Apps you can work in the office, at home or on the road. Access, view and edit Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote documents from your web browser; and share PowerPoint presentations via a unique URL rather than sending large documents to many people. So you save time, money and effort.

Article Source: Microsoft Small Business Centre

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1 Comment
  1. Rachael Ross says

    Great advice.

    I am always encouraging clients to get organised though being proactive and not reactive. Also I agree with the advice of being ruthless and delete any tasks that are not a benefit to your career or business.

    The home and office organising expert