Well, I tried to make Microsoft Outlook work for me, but it’s giving me fits. On two separate occasions, I’ve received email from frustrated coworkers complaining that they are receiving unwanted or reminders.
Please let me know when I have important email!
The first thing I tried to do was set up a rule to automatically forward email from my company to my cell phone so I would know to check my account. Well, Outlook (or maybe Exchange) automatically notifies the meeting organizer when someone forwards a meeting request to someone else (or in this case, my phone?!). Every time someone sent me an invitation to a meeting, Exchange was, unbeknownst to me, tattling on me and displaying the private nickname for my cell phone’s email address. Eventually, my manager complained to me about the messages. And for some reason, he didn’t think my suggestion to “just delete them” was funny. So now, I can’t be automatically notified when I receive mail.
Or so I thought!
Well, it turns out that Office 2007 has a feature that allows alerts to be sent to mobile devices using SMS. Outlook can notify me when I have a message based on criteria I set. But here’s the catch–it only seems to work when I have Outlook running. Is this a client-only rule?? How is that useful? If I’m running Outlook, then why would I need a reminder on my phone? Yes, I know, I could be in a meeting and get notified. But what about when I’ve shut down my computer or someone else is using the shared laptop? Sorry, no luck. (At least in my experience, no solution is in sight.)
Please flag my messages for follow-up later, so I don’t lose track of the outcome!
Then, just today, I received an email from a coworker asking why he keeps getting reminders to follow up on messages I sent him in the past. What I did not realize until he complained is that when you flag a message as you send it, the message is flagged for the recipient ! I only wanted to track messages I need to check on later. To do this, I created a rule to flag messages for follow-up after they are sent. My assumption was that “after they are sent” means that the recipients have received their copy, and any changes I make to my copy after that does not affect them. Wrong! Everyone I sent messages to after setting up the rule has been receiving annoying reminders to follow up on the message! I look like an idiot!
My research into the matter found this article about . It offers this helpful tip:
Use discretion when you send reminders to others. Some recipients might not appreciate having reminders activated while they work.
Really? No kidding!!
My GTD trek has caused me to track things I’m “waiting for,” and flagging messages for follow-up seemed like a great idea.
Or so I thought!
Thanks a lot Outlook!