The Impermanence of Goals

Dec 21, 2017

It’s that time of year again when you’re going to start seeing a lot of articles and advertisements about how you should be setting and achieving your goals. And you’ll probably be feeling some regret for not achieving those you set before. I think a lot of this regret is misplaced. The reason for that is what I call the impermanence of goals.

I’ve lived and worked a long life and I have to say that I’ve never seen a time where there has been so much dramatic change in so short a time. The things that we call important in our society have changed dramatically over just a few years. It seems like every day we are learning new angles to examine life from and with which to value our outcomes.

As a result, goals that you set a year ago just may not make sense anymore. Even goals set six months ago may be stale and of little current value. So it doesn’t make sense to beat yourself up for not acting on them. Why commit to something that no longer is of value?

The real accomplishment is committing to staying on top of the rapidly changing world and reacting in a way that benefits the most people for the most good. It’s in recognizing how your inherent skills can best be applied to the world where it stands now.

Of course, there is danger in taking this perspective. You could be using it as an excuse for not achieving goals that really do have long-term value. So make sure you’re being honest with yourself.

Really, the right thing to do is to remain brutally honest while consistently reassessing your goals as the year progresses and the new year begins. What’s your highest priority right now? What should you be spending your valuable time and energy on? What is the best application of your skills given the changing world? And what values do you hold steadfastly to despite outer change? How can you meld those together?

This kind of constant reevaluation takes alertness, poise, and inner awareness. It also requires good communication with stakeholders in your life. It’s one thing to pull the rug out and take a new direction if it only affects you. But if you have business partners or loved ones that will be impacted, you need to balance the impacts on them with the increased value of your fresh direction. You might have to slow down to give others time to catch up.

So in this goal setting season, don’t beat yourself up for not achieving goals that no longer makes sense. And don’t let a lingering sense of regret or disappointment over uncompleted goals from the past prevent you from setting new goals this year. Every moment is the right moment to look within and confirm what your long-term priorities should be right now. Use this goal setting season as a reason to do that.


Newer PDF copy of Outlook Book Ed. 5 posted

Dec 8, 2017

I just posted a newer PDF version of Edition 5 of Total Workday Control Using Microsoft Outlook on the book sale site and the MYN Outlook 365 Video site. There are 15 to 20 text updates reflecting changes in Outlook 2016 and some book error fixes.

Readers who already purchased Ed 5 of the PDF book directly from the book web page might want to re-download this latest copy (no charge). To do so, go here, log in, and download the PDF file. It’s now the latest.

If you’ve never bought the PDF book, go to this page to buy it and download it. Those owning previous PDFs or other editions of this book, here is the upgrade information.

Readers who downloaded the book from the video delivery page of the paid MYN Outlook 365 Complete Video Training can go here, log in to the video course, and click on the 5th Ed. book image on the right side of that page. That will download the latest PDF file.

The filename of the latest PDF file is: TotalWorkdayControl-OutlookBook-Ed5.4.pdf


Convert Emails to Tasks to Prevent Aimless Work

Nov 30, 2017

There is something that is almost as bad as goofing off at work, and it’s called Aimless Work. That’s when you work on whatever is in front of you at the moment instead of prioritizing your work. People who do this feel busy, and may even get a sense of purpose or importance. But in reality if you do this you are working aimlessly and not achieving much. These days there is way too much to do at work to allow this practice and you need to fix it.

Email Is Prime Example

Reading and acting on email endlessly is a prime example of this. When we read and act on most email as we get it, we are contributing to aimless work. Face it: we all get way too much email, so we can’t treat it equally. We can’t read it all, and we cannot act on it all. We can’t just work on it all as it comes in. If we do, we’ll bog down in email and never get to our important work.

Convert to Tasks

The core solution I’ve been teaching for years is this: when you see an email that seems to need action, unless it’s really urgent (or super quick to do), take a second and convert it to a task and immediately move on. Do this rather than acting on it in the moment. That way you don’t get trapped doing low priority work all day just because it’s in front of you.

Then Work Tasks in Priority Order

After a session of processing mail and converting and prioritizing tasks (using 1MTD or MYN principles), next jump to your task list and work your tasks in priority order. This might include actions in mail you got today, but it more likely means working first on commitments you added to your list earlier. Imagine, doing your most important work first instead of just reading and doing new email all day, what a concept!

Also, once you process that mail, get it out of the Inbox (also using 1MTD or MYN principles) so the Inbox is relatively clear and ready for a new set of decisions.

How to convert emails to tasks in Windows desktop Outlook is simple, just drag the email to the Tasks icon. More details and other methods are shown in all my books and video lessons.

So, again, help prevent aimless work and start converting emails to tasks!


Outlook 2016 Archive Button—Can’t Change Target Folder Now

Nov 27, 2017

In my June 6, 2017 newsletter I discussed using the Archive folder and button that Microsoft added to some releases of Outlook 2016. I also wrote about it in the 5th Edition of my Outlook book. In both places I stated that you could change the target folder that the Archive button points to. And I suggested pointing it to the Processed Mail folder.

Well, in a new build of Outlook 2016 this last fall Microsoft removed the ability to change the target folder for that button. The button can now only be pointed at the Archive folder.

Continue reading

My Current Laptop Choice: Dell XPS 13, late 2017 model

Nov 17, 2017

In the months before Christmas each year I often report on my current laptop choice for productive travel work, and here’s this year’s choice: the brand new late-2017 release of the Dell XPS 13. Here’s why I am recommending it:

  • I like a 13 inch screen for travel laptops, which it has.
  • My current work patterns no longer call for a tablet and I now prefer a regular clamshell, which this is. And I like a compact clamshell laptop if traveling a lot. Due to the Dell’s infinity screen, this is still the world’s smallest 13 inch laptop. (I still use my XPS 15 for more stationary work like desktop replacement with monitor). And it’s very very light.
  • The main reason for choosing this laptop over other small and lightweight 13 inch ones: this is one of the first laptops to come out with Intel’s brand new 8th generation i7 processor, which is a quad-core processor in a dual-core footprint (called Kaby Lake R). So you get XPS 15 quad core performance in a tiny, battery-saving, footprint, and the reports are that it has blazing performance.
  • But don’t get this if you routinely use a webcam on your laptop… like on the XPS 15 the webcam is positioned wrong. I don’t use laptop webcams, so no problem for me.

I don’t have one of these yet (still using my Yoga 900 for travel and no need to upgrade yet), so my recommendation is based on third-party reviews, like this one. For detailed benchmarks on this new processor, read this article. Also, most listings for this laptop are for the older model, so be sure to find a listing for the new one like this listing.


How to Influence Outlook’s Design

Nov 10, 2017

Microsoft is constantly changing desktop Outlook, usually for better but occasionally for worse (one unfortunate change from October is mentioned here). But what many don’t know is that you can have a say in what features they add and remove. It’s called UserVoice and it’s built into Outlook—you just click a button and type in your suggestions. I am told by insiders that it is one of the main places Microsoft goes when looking for new features and user opinions.

If you have a suggestion on how to improve Windows desktop Outlook, here’s how to submit it:

  1. Click File at the top left of Outlook’s window.
  2. In the list on the left of the window that opens, about two thirds down, click Feedback.
  3. Click the Suggest a Feature button.
  4. Enter your idea in the web page that pops up. Or scan through existing new ideas and vote for them.

So yes, you have a voice. Are you going to use it?



Problems in a New Release of Outlook 2016, And a Fix

Nov 9, 2017

For those of you that subscribe to Office 365, you know that you can receive updates to Office with new features quite regularly—it’s one of the advantages to that subscription. But it can sometimes work against you. Specifically, in a new release that came out in October (and one that’s still the latest release), Microsoft inserted a problem in Outlook 2016. They accidentally eliminated the View Settings command in every place it was located in Outlook. So if you have not updated Office 365 since before October, I recommend you reject offers to update Office for a while till they make the fix.

If you DID accept that update, note that this is primarily an issue for new MYN users because the View Settings command is what you use to insert the MYN settings into Outlook’s To-Do Bar (using Chapter 3 of my Outlook book, or Lessons 8 and 9 of my video course). Since it’s now missing that’s quite a problem for new MYN users.

This problem is documented at this Microsoft link. They show a workaround, but it is not applicable to the To-Do Bar. So if you are a new user of MYN following my instructions and have that update, you may be wondering what to do.

The Fix

Well, the good news is there is another workaround—a fix—that you can if you are a new user who is formatting the To-Do Bar, and here it is: Simply follow my instructions at this article to add the Change Views button to the Outlook 2016 Quick Access toolbar and create the MYN Tasks view per instructions there. Then select it and make it active in the To-Do Bar.

Doing that is a temporary stop gap to be used until Microsoft releases a new release of Outlook 2016 with a fix. That said, the Change View button is a pretty useful tool, as described in that article, so consider using it as described there.


Changing Views in Windows Outlook To-Do Bar

Nov 9, 2017

[Note: this article is presented in new Video #30 just added to the MYN Outlook 365 Complete Video Training.]

One of the great things about Windows Outlook is the ability to save and activate various views in all of Outlook’s main modules (Mail, Tasks, Contacts, Calendar). I especially like using various views in the Tasks folder because you can use them to filter out or show certain types of tasks, prioritize them in different ways, and so on. The result is that that you make sure you focus on your most important tasks and don’t waste time. It’s an underused tool that I encourage you to try in the tasks folder, and it’s easy to do: simply go to the View tab in the Tasks module and choose Change Views.

In the resulting menu you can pick from a number of preset views, or you can build and add your own views using Manage Views at the bottom (in Chapter 12 of my Outlook book, I suggest many you might want to build). The software MYN Views adds several views, ones useful to MYN users, to this menu.

No Change View for To-Do Bar

However that said, I’ve never found a way to do this in the To-Do Bar, where you must make all view changes one at a time—you can’t save and select sets of view changes and recall them. Since in MYN and 1MTD we mostly use the To-Do Bar to manage tasks, this has been a needed feature in Outlook for years.

A Solution

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2 Videos Updated in the 1MPM Video Class

Oct 20, 2017

If you own the One Minute Project Management video class, (1MPM), we’ve just updated the two Toodledo videos. So the fifth video and the eleventh video in the class are updated as of today.

We primarily did this to reflect newer versions of Toodledo, but we also added a few more principles; the videos are each about twice as long now and contain more details.