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  • Logging off-line activity in Outlook?

    I am looking for a way to log activities in Outlook. For example, I am emailing back and forth with a contact. At some point it is more efficient to call the contact and discuss the details. The email thread ends but I want to record the details of the call in Outlook so that it is captured in the same place as the email messages.

    Any ideas?

    Similarly, I hold a monthly team meeting. Last meeting one of the team members did not show up. I want to record that event so that, come review time, I can see how many times she missed. How can I do this in Outlook?

    Thanks!

  • #2
    You could:
    • enter it as a Journal item
    • enter it as a note
    • Post in This Folder (CTRL + SHIFT + S)

    Of these I like the Journal method the best.

    Comment


    • #3
      If a call terminates an extended email thread, I'll forward the last email in the thread to myself, appending a summary of the telephone conversation. It helps keep everything together so you can remind yourself in the future that the issue was resolved.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Ruud View Post
        ...

        Of these I like the Journal method the best.
        When I click on Journal in Outlook, a popup asks me...

        The Journal can automatically track Office documents, and also e-mail associated with a contact. However, the Activities tab on the contact item is the best way to track e-mail and does not require the Journal.
        Do you want to turn the Journal on?
        Is Microsoft trying to dissuade me from using the Journal?

        Comment


        • #5
          No, it's just that the journal for long time has been used to track emails etc. You have to enable it for all contacts in the primary contact folder (won't work for contacts in subfolders) or on a per-contact basis.

          In other words, it was a bit a pain in the butt.

          I use the journal for manual logging. When I speak with a client, what use is it to me to see the last 200 emails and calls with him? Instead I will enter notes:
          • a note entry: Agreed price of 42 dollar
          • a call entry: John will do the design

          This way I have an actual overview of real things, not email subject lines. I can basically read back and say "yes, of course I remember; last Januari we agreed on a 42 dollar price after which we gave the design to John."

          I group by company field and sort by date.

          ps: and no, I wouldn't turn the Journal on. Just get the button on your navbar and that's it.

          Comment


          • #6
            An alternative to Jethro's idea about forwarding an email to yourself is to open the most recent email, go to Edit, and Edit Message. You can then add text of your phone conversation, then click the X to close the message, and select Yes when prompted "Do you want to save the changes". This has the advantage of not having to deal with the forwarded email when it is received.

            Regarding your team member missing the meeting, I would suggest noting that on the team member's file (or Contact record if you use Outlook for storing Contacts). Having thought about it for a while, any note you make in the meeting's notes could not be easily linked to that team member in a way to guarantee that you see it when you review the team-member's file.

            Comment


            • #7
              CEB, thanks for your insight.

              Originally posted by CEB View Post
              An alternative to Jethro's idea about forwarding an email to yourself is to open the most recent email, go to Edit, and Edit Message. You can then add text of your phone conversation, then click the X to close the message, and select Yes when prompted "Do you want to save the changes". This has the advantage of not having to deal with the forwarded email when it is received.
              The downside I see to that method is... what if I ever need to reply to or forward that message? Won't my comments be included?

              Originally posted by CEB View Post
              Regarding your team member missing the meeting, I would suggest noting that on the team member's file (or Contact record if you use Outlook for storing Contacts). Having thought about it for a while, any note you make in the meeting's notes could not be easily linked to that team member in a way to guarantee that you see it when you review the team-member's file.
              I think I need an Outlook tutorial. How do you link a note in outlook to a contact? I was able to create a journal entry and link it to multiple contacts but a note didn't work.

              Along the same lines, how do you attach an email message to a task? I get lots of email messages that say something like, please review the attached file when you get a chance and let me know what you think. How do I make that a task and attach the message and attachment?

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by howman View Post
                CEB, thanks for your insight.


                The downside I see to that method is... what if I ever need to reply to or forward that message? Won't my comments be included?
                Er, yes.

                I suppose you could add the phrase (in caps) FILE NOTE or something similar, then if you need to reply or forward it, you would have to remember to remove the notes from the email first. The notes would remain in the original email, but you delete them from the reply before sending. I didn't say it was perfect


                Originally posted by howman View Post
                I think I need an Outlook tutorial. How do you link a note in outlook to a contact? I was able to create a journal entry and link it to multiple contacts but a note didn't work.

                Along the same lines, how do you attach an email message to a task? I get lots of email messages that say something like, please review the attached file when you get a chance and let me know what you think. How do I make that a task and attach the message and attachment?
                Do you mean the yellow notes in Outlook? I don't use those. I don't use Journal either. Am I missing out? What I meant was write text in their Contact record. Does that make more sense?

                To attach an email to a task, highlight the email in the Inbox and select Copy (or Ctrl-C). Then open the Task, click the text box at the bottom, and Paste (or Ctrl-V). Unfortunately, if you reply to the email that's within the Task, Outlook (or Outlook 2000, at least) loses the thread of the emails. Maybe if you need to reply, you should do so from the original email. Does that make sense?

                BTW, something I find that saves a bit of time. It's probably not new to most of you, but it might help some...
                If I'm in a Contact and I want to set a task (or appointment), I don't go to the Task page and click New. From within the Contact, click Actions, New Task for Contact. At the bottom of the new task that pops up is the contact's name. When you open the Task later, you can click the link to that contact to open it. It doesn't save much time per task, but does save some mouse-work. Getting a bit OT now. Sorry.

                Comment


                • #9
                  You can attach notes on top of an email using OutNote.

                  You can link between Outlook items, and to Outlook items from outside Outlook, by type:

                  PHP Code:
                  (Outlook:\\your-pst-name\Inbox\~email subject
                  Change the ( and ) for smaller than & larger than signs

                  Note that if the subject is "Re: GTD" you would link to ~GTD. One of those weird things...

                  You can link to notes the same way... or to tasks... Just change the folder your link to.

                  Important: as far as I can determine this functionality is not present in Outlook 2007. I dearly miss it...

                  Email & Tasks: I usually just drag the email onto the Task button.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Ruud View Post
                    You can attach notes on top of an email using OutNote.

                    You can link between Outlook items, and to Outlook items from outside Outlook, by type:

                    PHP Code:
                    (Outlook:\\your-pst-name\Inbox\~email subject
                    Change the ( and ) for smaller than & larger than signs

                    Note that if the subject is "Re: GTD" you would link to ~GTD. One of those weird things...

                    You can link to notes the same way... or to tasks... Just change the folder your link to.

                    Important: as far as I can determine this functionality is not present in Outlook 2007. I dearly miss it...

                    Email & Tasks: I usually just drag the email onto the Task button.
                    Wow - my geek-meter just went to 10. I gotta figure this out! Is that php thing available if you don't use Outnote? I don't know anything about this php. Can I, for example, have a link inside a word document that opens up an email in Outlook doing this? No need to spend time explaining it in details, just let me know if it's possible and I'll Google. Thanks.

                    BTW, Outnote looks good.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      The PHP thing was just there so I could force the forum software to do something

                      Yes, you can place these links (see http://tinyurl.com/yd2sgc) anywhere. They are basically like http links.

                      It's a killer feature really @waiting -- followed by the link to the actual email

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Thanks Ruud, that's amazing!

                        I now how to figure out a way to utilise it.

                        Is there a way to find out the path without working it out longhand?

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                        • #13
                          I use the GTD Outlook plug-in for stuff like this since you can attach notes to action items.

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                          • #14
                            I use ActiveWords and have changed items into active-words. Highlight subject, copy, type olmail and it makes a link to an Outlook mail item. Type oltask and... you get the idea

                            The GTD add-in is nice but has some quirks in my workflow. When I bought it I thought it would be an end-to-end solution, not the beginning of one. Within a week you have a list of projects with bunches of actions. Then you have to figure a way to mark NA's. Use the priority field or...?

                            To each his own though!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              OneNote??

                              Have you thought about using OneNote??

                              Using Outlook 2007 and OneNote 2007 together is perfect for this. You can add contact notes and meeting notes right from within Outlook and you can send your emails into OneNote.

                              Once your items are handled in OneNote you can still sync back to Outlook by flagging NA's that need to be completed and they will show up in you ToDo Bar/Task list.

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