Plugged In: A positive Outlook for the holiday season

plugged-in-marquezWith the hustle and bustle of the holiday season just around the corner, many of us need time-saving tips to keep us on task. Oftentimes, the details of upcoming appointments and events lurk inside of our inbox, requiring us to dig back through old emails to find the particulars, including: location, call-in information, discussion points, documents, and even the names of those with whom we are meeting. Getting all of this information into your calendar is just a few clicks away.

Drag and drop email to create calendar appointment

While many are already aware of the ability to easily create a calendar appointment from an email message on your mobile device by simply clicking the underlined date and time, it is less known that you can also quickly create a calendar appointment from emails on your computer. The benefit of this method is that it keeps all contents of the email including attachments inside the calendar appointment. By dragging the desired email to your Outlook calendar, a copy of the message will automatically convert to an appointment and retain all details of the original email. Once the calendar appointment pops up, fill in the date and time, and if necessary, alter the subject, which defaults to the subject of the email. To invite others to this meeting click the “Invite Attendees” button at the top and enter the email addresses of the other attendees to send them a calendar invitation. Using this solution, you will no longer need to search for the original email to find important details and attached documents, because opening the calendar appointment will have all of pertinent information right at your fingertips.

Attachments in calendar appointments

There are many types of calendar appointments that could benefit from having documents attached directly to them, but do not originate as emails and therefore are not candidates for the method above. Whether you want to attach exhibits for an upcoming deposition, hearing or even a meeting with an expert or client to its corresponding calendar event, just open the calendar appointment and either drag the attachments from their associated folder on your computer to the appointment or click the Insert tab and choose “attach file” to browse and select the desired document or documents. By adding these directly to the calendar appointment, you can merely open the appointment and print all attachments in advance of the meeting or display them from your computer during the meeting rather than rushing to find them at the last minute.

Attachments in contacts

In preparing for an upcoming deposition or trial, many wish there was an easy way to quickly locate all prior testimony, reports or even fee agreements for an expert. The problem is that most firms save attachments by matter regardless of the filing system they have in place, which can lead to frustration when attempting to find all documents related to a specific person, such as an expert who may be involved in multiple matters. By attaching a copy of fee agreements or key documents such as expert reports and transcripts to a specific contact in Outlook, locating all related documents is now a quick and painless process.

Attaching documents to a contact is identical to that of attaching to a calendar appointment. Open the contact card of the desired person and either drag and drop the attachment or use the Insert tab’s “attach file” to add the document or documents. If you have a file management system, such as iManage, a shortcut such as a .nrl file can even be inserted so that it points directly to the document living in your system rather than as an independent copy in your Outlook mailbox.

Automated email reminders

Sometimes following up on an email that we sent or received can easily slip through the cracks amidst the multiple other tasks on our plate. By right-clicking the flag icon at the end of any message, you can add a reminder to appear on a specified date and time. When the designated time occurs, the Outlook reminder list will display a line item for this email. Upon opening the item, click the reply button and respond as desired. In addition to being a good reminder, it also eliminates the step of going back to search for the original email.

These are but a few tips on how to stay organized and save time in Outlook. With just a little bit of effort up front, you will save more time instead of searching needlessly for emails and documents you needed for an appointment or contact. Who couldn’t use a little extra time and a positive Outlook during this time of year?•

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Deanna Marquez ([email protected]) is a co-owner of the Indianapolis-based legal technology company, Modern Information Solutions, LLC. Areas of service include traditional IT services, software training, and litigation support including trial presentation services.

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