Productivity – Stay OUT of Outlook

As you will have read in various other places it is not productive to stay “in” Outlook and constantly respond to all the incoming e-mail.
It’s much better to go into your e-mail when it suits YOU – process your e-mail for a set period of time and then get back to some “real” work.
I had looked at various ways to implement this but it turns out that this is simple to implement using AutoHotkey (AHK).

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Create an Outlook Appointment from a Mail

Although there is the functionality within Outlook where you can drag an email message and drop it on the calendar menu to automatically create an appointment – it copies many of the attributes of the email but it does not copy the mail sender & recipients to the appointment.

The following macro will allow you to do this:

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Review a random Google Contact every day

I have all of my contacts loaded into Google Contacts but the problem is, I’m never convinced that they are up to date or even sure if I should still have the person’s contact details listed.

To address this I created the following script which will send me an email every day with a randomly selected contact.

I can then review the contact’s details, compare it with LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter and then either update their contact details or send them an e-mail to catch up with them.

Continue reading Review a random Google Contact every day

Keep Recent Folders Delete Older In DOS

There are often scenarios such as rolling backups or rolling logfiles where I create folders which have the date in the folder name.

HINT: Using the format YYYYMMDD means that an alphabetic search is also chronological!

In most cases I only want to keep a certain number of these folders and delete the older ones. The following script will implement this deletion process.

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Format Date in DOS Command Line

For any dos batch files that I run on a regular basis I commonly want to create a folder or a text file with the current date in the file name. I’m a purist and I like my dates formatted as YYYYMMDD so that an alphabetic sort is also chronological.

The following script will place the current date into a variable in the required format.

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Tools I Use – Auto Hot Key

I have decided to start a small series of posts where I share some of my tools, tips and tricks as to how I make my work and personal life a bit “better”.

The first of these tools is AutoHotkey.

“Fast scriptable desktop automation with hotkeys. Creating your own apps and macros has never been easier”

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Contacts – Keep In Touch or Update Details

One of my New Year resolutions was to keep in touch with more people.

I also need to clear out my contact list as there are lots of “old” and incomplete entries in my Google contacts list.

Ever the productivity geek I wanted to automate this. I ended up writing the following Google Apps Script:

Continue reading Contacts – Keep In Touch or Update Details

InBox Zero And Quantified Self

I’m a huge fan of keeping my inbox empty, but not very good and keeping it that way.

I’m becoming more interested in the “Quantified Self” concept i.e. you can only fix things that you can measure.

The obvious answer is to monitor what my GMail inbox looks like on a daily basis. Continue reading InBox Zero And Quantified Self

Stay Focussed – Stay OUT of Outlook!

One of my main productivity “sinks” is continually monitoring Outlook to see if any mails have arrived.

I have a rule set up that notifies me if an “important” email lands but for this to run, outlook needs to be running (minimised of course). I can’t resist the temptation to just “have a peek” outside my first thing in the morning, last thing at night email window.

To get around this I want to be “discouraged” from opening Outlook.

To implement this I have used Antonio Franca’s fantastic WinTrigger AutoHotkey script.

Continue reading Stay Focussed – Stay OUT of Outlook!

Tell Me When The DB Is Back

database 2
Creative Commons License photo credit: Tim Morgan
Today at work the development DB went down.
My days of fixing databases are long gone, but the guys that are are not so good at letting everyone know that the database is back up.
I created this windows batch script to let me know.
Continue reading Tell Me When The DB Is Back