Best Practices For Managing Emails With Microsoft Outlook

Intellisoft Outlook Training Singapore
Intellisoft Outlook Training Singapore

Suffering from Monday Morning Blues?  Ever wondered what is the reason?

One of the key reason for these blues is the deluge of emails you will receive as soon as you open your Outlook Inbox. And then throughout the day, you will keep going to meetings & discussions… Every time you are back at your computer, the email overload keeps on increasing, giving you a nausea feeling.

Outlook Mastery Training in Singapore
Outlook Mastery Training in Singapore

Suddenly your most important client calls. Have you taken action on the email they sent last week? You frantically search for the email, but can’t find it. Yes… you remembered to work on it when you received it, but then that email got lost in the jungle of never ending incoming email. Searching through thousands of email wastes more time.

Email has now become a burden for most people, and you are not alone. Most people feel frustrated, anxious, and are clueless as to where to start, or what is the solution to all these problems.

Actually, most of us spend an unusual amount of time using Microsoft Outlook. It has become a prat of our daily lives.

Microsoft Outlook is used for Tracking several Items:

  • Emails
  • Meetings
  • Calendar
  • Tasks
  • Notes
  • Project Tracking
  • Surveys & Quick Polls,
  • Journal

And many people even share their calendars with their secretaries and colleagues, creating more management challenges.

To trace the root cause of the problem, most people are never taught how to organize things in their school or college days. Plus, a large population grew up before email became the mainstay of our work life. So we have just picked up email along the way, without knowing how to use it effectively or how to organize it correctly.

So What is the Solution to this Email Overload Problems?

Fortunately, the answers are pretty easy, and we have been practicing them for several years.  The solution is a combination of some best practices, some guiding principles, and some tips, tricks and shortcuts found within Microsoft Outlook or Gmail. 

We also teach these basic Principles, Tips, Tricks and Secrets of Microsoft Outlook in a short, 1 day Outlook Mastery Training Seminar.

One common Solution, based on the principle of Single Processing is the one that brings you the most bang for the buck. What is Single Processing of emails? Let’s find out.

Email Mastery Principle #1: Single Processing of Emails

Microsoft Outlook Training Singapore
Microsoft Outlook Training Singapore

Many people have the habit of scanning their emails first thing, reading them selectively, and then moving on to other, more interesting emails. Then they keep going back and forth between the important ones, and miss the others.

And as new emails come, the ones that you wanted to work on keep moving down, and out of sight. Once they are below the fold, we tend to forget them, until the boss or client calls to remind us.

The solution is to touch each email only once. And when you touch it, you decide what you want to do with it. We follow the 4D rule for easier processing.

What are the 4D – Do it, Delete it, Defer it & Delegate it. Let’s understand each one in more detail.

Do it:

If the email takes less than a couple minutes to do it, just do it. Postponing it, and then searching and fining it to do it later will simply take more time. It is faster to simply do it, just now. This simple principle alone will save you a huge amount of time. We call it the 2-Minute-Rule.

Delete it:

If the email is not useful, it is just some spam, or an FYI email, that you can dispose of after reading, then just delete it. Do not become a hoarder. Don’t keep each and every email you get. Most email may fall in this category.

What’s the fear in deleting it? If you can find the information from a colleague or easily find it in the shared drive or the Internet, then this email will simply take more space and more band width. Just get rid of it right away. That’s one less email to deal with in your email box.

Defer it:

If the email will require you to do some research, some more background work, and you don’t have the time to do it now, you can simply defer it to a later date and time. But don’t leave it here. Plan a time to do

Advanced Excel training at Intellisoft
Microsoft Outlook Training at Intellisoft

it. Then move the email to your calendar, and fix up a time. You can also create a Task in Outlook, and set a reminder at the date/time you’ll do it, so that Outlook will remind you to do it, and it actually happens.

If this email is part of a larger project, perhaps you can file it with other project related items – in a dedicated folder, or simply attach the relevant category to it. By doing this, you will be able to find it easily later on, in a single place.

Delegate it:

If you are not the right person to do it, you can delegate it to someone else – perhaps your secretary or a colleague who is more knowledgeable. If you do not have a large team, and do not have a secretary, you may not have this luxury. Do not worry.

Many simple tasks can be outsources to freelancers, or virtual assistants. If it is possible to delegate or outsource it, then do it immediately. And set a reminder for yourself, and for the delegate, so that both are aware of the delegation, and the due date/time.

These are simple tips and guides, and will help you immensely. And if you want to learn how to apply each of these techniques specifically to Microsoft Outlook, we invite you to attend our 1 Day Outlook Mastery Seminar in Singapore.

Want More Principles, Tips, Tricks & Shortcuts to Make Life Easier With Microsoft Outlook?

Our 1 Day Outlook Mastery MasterClass is choke full of tips and tricks.

We cover the Best Practices for Emails, Meetings, Tasks, Categories, Email Filing, a Good Folder System to file emails, Searching For Emails, and Getting Things Done to achieve more quickly in your life.

Intellisoft Outlook Training Singapore
Intellisoft Outlook Training Singapore

SkillsFuture Ready Training on Outlook Mastery

Eligible Singaporeans can use SkillsFuture for this course. And foreigners can attend these courses at our super low course fees too.

Contact us to know more about the course dates, course brochure, and register for the Outlook Mastery Training in Singapore today.

How To Register For Outlook Mastery Training?

Simply visit the Intellisoft Outlook Training Registration Page, and fill in your particulars. There are limited seats, and we will be glad to see you in class.

Pivot Tables in Microsoft Excel

Learn Pivot Tables Easily

In Microsoft Excel , new features are sparklines and slicers, and improvements to Pivot Tables and other existing features, can help us to discover patterns or trends in the data. In the previous post we had a look at the Sparklines and Slicers features of Excel 2010 so now we will look at the improved pivot table feature of excel.

Improved Pivot Tables

PivotTables are now easier to use and more responsive. Key improvements include:

  • Performance enhancements: In Excel, Multi-threading helps advanced  sorting, data retrieval and filtering in Pivot Tables.
  • Write-back support: In Excel, we can update values in the OLAP PivotTable Values area and then transferred to the Analysis Services cube on the OLAP server. We can use the write-back feature in what-if mode and then roll back the changes when we no longer need them, or we can save the changes. We can use the write-back feature with any OLAP provider that supports the UPDATE CUBE statement.
  • Enhanced filtering: We can use slicers to quickly het the reqiured data in a PivotTable and see which filters are applied without having to open additional menus. In addition, the filter interface includes a handy search box that can help us to find what we need among potentially thousands (or even millions) of items in the PivotTables.
  • Pivot Table labels: We can add labels in a Pivot Table and also replicate them in the Pivot Tables. This will help us to display item captions of nested fields in all rows and columns.
  • PivotChart enhancements: It has made things easy to interact with PivotChart reports. Specifically, it’s easier to get the required data directly in a PivotChart and to reorganize the layout of a PivotChart by adding and deleting fields. Similarly, we can hide all field buttons on the PivotChart report.
  • Show Values As feature: The ‘show values as’ feature includes a number of new, automatic calculations, such as % of Parent Row Total, % of Parent Column Total, % of Parent Total, % Running Total, Rank Smallest to Largest, and Rank Largest to Smallest.

excel trainingIf you would like to learn more about these new features of Microsoft Excel 2010 or 2013, or would like to attend the Microsoft Excel Training, do contact us at Intellisoft Systems.

If you have any further questions then contact us through email Systems or call at +65 62962995!!!

Trainer: Vinai teaches Advanced Excel Techniques, Dashboard Techniques using Excel, Data Interpretation and Analysis Training courses at Intellisoft. He has trained over 5000 students in over 18 countries, and regularly conducts Excel Workshops in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia, India, Dubai, Egypt, Zimbabwe, South Africa etc.

How Good Are Your Soft Skills?


Most people learn the hard skills in college, and be a good engineer, architect, doctor, or a specialist based on the skills learnt in the academia. This is fine, and it helps in the initial years. However, as time goes by, you use less and less of these specialist, hard skills, and you need more of other soft skills. This is because as time goes by, you rise in your career, and have bigger and larger responsibilities. You will also have bigger teams to manage, and bigger amounts will be at stake.

This is the time you realize that the hard skills you learnt are not always of great use. What you really need is expertise, mastery and experience in using the soft skills – which is what really matters. Most of all, you have to realize that as you rise higher, you do less and less work, and you need to get other people to do more and more of the work. How do you push others to do the work? What skills are needed to do this?

What are soft skills really?

Wells, soft skills are communication skills, negotiation skills, presentation skills, general management skills, motivational skills, and leadership. These are really people management skills. To do any project, you need people, and to manage the project well, to get it done on time, cost, scope, quality, you need to work with your team, your people effectively.

These skills are generally not taught in school, as we focus to learn the hard skills. However, if you want to accelerate your career, move far, higher, faster, then you need to master these at a great speed. The thing with soft skills is that it improves with experience. But you must practice them. You can’t learn communication by reading a book on communication… just like you can’t be an expert swimmer just by reading the Advanced Manual of Swimming. You need to get into the water, learn to navigate your way, try, make mistakes, and learn from them. It is OK to make mistakes. The important thing is to learn from them, so that you don’t repeat them, and use this experience to get better and better.

Learning soft skills is like learning an art. It takes time, patience, determination, and perseverance. You can do it. Only thing is to become aware about it, take note of your current skills, and the areas where you need to improve. Then work out a plan, and practice to improve your skills in each area.

Today, there are several courses available to improve your soft skills – there are numerous Communication Skills courses, there are several Time Management courses, Stress Management Courses. Most of these courses are short, 1-2 days, and they are good because they tend to teach you a few techniques, a few ways to improve your communication. You will not become an expert in a day or two, but it will be a great start.

Any improvement can only be seen when you first become aware of the short coming, and measure where you are, and where you want to go. Once you know where you are, and what your plan is, then from then onwards, it is easier to take some steps, measure your progress, and see how small steps are shaping up your future, helping you grow, nurture your nature, and improve your skills, improve your life.

It is worthwhile to live a meaningful life, and life rich of experiences, of abundance, of contribution. Do not waste your time. Make the most of this opportunity. Do good, learn, help others grow by applying the principles of self mastery, and self growth. Once you improve, you improve the people around you.

Improve your soft skills. Invest in your future. You do not have to spend a fortune. There are several courses available for free on YouTube, Articles abound on the Internet, and there is a plethora of applications on the mobile phones that can be used to learn new things, grow your knowledge, and grow yourself.

Written by Vinai Prakash,
Master Trainer at Intellisoft

Related Training: Effective Communication Skills, Body Language, Interview Skills – Prepare for An Interview.

Work Matters, Make a Difference!

Work Matters. Period.

We do not work just to get paid, just to finish the 9-5 routine.

We want to make a difference, a contribution, a celebration of life, of living. Therefore, work matters!

But are you doing your best today?

Are you excelling at work?

If not, why not. WHY?

W H Y ?

What are you waiting for?

Today, we are not fighting war with the communists. We may not be working on THE project of a lifetime – The Taj Mahal, The Rocket to Moon, The Scaling of South Pole, or The Everest. So therefore, should we do just a mediocre job… just a job to get by?

Or should we make any job, any crummy job as THE PROJECT of my Life… and really excel at it.

Why Not? Do you need anyone’s permission to do an excellent job? And will you do an excellent job, an Wow job only when someone’s life or job is at stake?

Decide today to do Your Best. Excel at anything. Make it the Project of your lifetime. Do such a wonderful job that people will talk about this work ten years from now. Man… those were the days… We worked on THE project of my life. It was such fun, such camaraderie, such great teamwork, such coordination, so much precision, and we pulled it against all odds. Those were the days!!!

Do not think of any job as just a job. Make it a WOW project. THE project of your life. Even if it is a small, simple job. Do with with dedication, do it with perfection. You will enjoy it more. You will be happy. You are not doing it to show off to anyone.But you are doing it to Show it your YOURSELF. You will feel job satisfaction. You will feel that

you are making a difference.

And you will be surprised. Others will see it. Notice it. They have no choice. A good quality work gets noticed pretty quickly. Because it is a rarity today. People are so used to seeing the mediocre job, the average job, that when you do an Excellent job, everyone notices… Automatically. You do not have to announce it.

And even if no one notices, or no one shows that they have noticed…. it is bound to happen. With it come its own rewards. More recognition, more power, more money, more satisfaction, and more success. You will know it first.

I take pride in my work. I find ways to add more value… provide more value. Find ways to give you new tips, tricks, new ways to add value to your work. When I coach, I try to give practical tips, not just theory, so that you can benefit from it immediately. Learn new skills – hard technical skills like Advanced  Excel Techniques, or Soft Skills like Communication Skills… Train yourself, and your staff. There are several benefits of training. Invest in your knowledge, and spread the word.

Make it a point from today onwards. Find ways to transform your work… every day work, into a project that matters. Because Work Matters. Your Life Matters. What You Do matters, and You Matter Too!

– By Vinai Prakash, Founder & Principal Trainer at Intellisoft Singapore

P.S. – Write your comments. Tell me what you think. Does it ring a bell somewhere? Or you simply do not agree with this philosophy. What ever you feel, post a comment, and I’ll be happy to see what you feel, and where you come from. Thanks.

Join our Practical hands-on training on excel pivot table, vlookups in excel, excel functions, advance excel formula & more… Advanced Excel and improve your soft skills like Communication SkillsPresentation SkillsNegotiation Skills and more..

What are you using Microsoft Excel for?


Most people learn Microsoft Excel by hit and trial. As soon as someone explains, or they figure out how to write a simple formula to add two numbers, they think that they know everything about Microsoft Excel.

Nothing could be far from the truth! There is much more to Microsoft Excel than just adding numbers.

And I have even seen people using a Calculator even when a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet is open.

Right out of the box, Microsoft Excel, whether Excel 2007, Excel 2010 or Excel 2013 can do wonders! Let’s see some examples of what Microsoft Excel can do.

Basic Things that Microsoft Excel is great to use for are:

  • Creating Tables
  • Finding Duplicates
  • Eliminating Duplicates

Advanced Excel Techniques

  • Using Range Names
  • Formulas and Function like Vlookup, Text Functions, Date Functions
  • Pivot Tables
  • Pivot Charts
  • Macros to automate routine tasks
  • Sharing Worksheets and Workbooks
  • Protecting Worksheet, Workbook, individual Cells

Advanced Analysis Techniques and Data Analysis using Microsoft Excel:

Are you using Excel to your advantage, or just using it as a basic calculator?

Vinai Prakash
Intellisoft Systems

Why You Should Train Your Staff

 Employee TrainingMost businesses are always in a state of crisis, fighting some fire or the other each day. By the time one fire is put off, they find themselves involved in putting off another fire.

This is the nature of all operational work.

Similarly, if you  are working on a project, things keep changing, you keep moving from one crisis to another – nothing stays the same…

Only “change is constant”.

Thus, we hardly have time to think, to plan ahead, and to be proactive. Most of our actions each day are pretty “reactive”. This is the worst position to be in. There is a total lack of control, and many a time you will feel totally “overwhelmed”… not sure what to do, where to begin, and what to do to get out of this mess or chaos.

Steven Covey, in his famous book  The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People talks about Being Proactive (the First Habit), and Sharpen The Saw (The Seventh Habit).

What is Being Proactive?

This simply means that you do not wait for things to happen. Rather, prevent them, avoid them, and circumvent them. Have a long term view, plan, so you can see the pitfalls immediately, and you can then plan for any foreseen eventuality, and be prepared. If you are prepared, you know what to do when the event happens, if it happens. This is being proactive. It is totally in your hands.

You can take aside some time each day – ideally in the morning, or the last thing in the day, to plan your day, and actions for the next day or week in advance. Our mind, our brain is a goal seeking device. If you give it a goal, it will find ways to achieve it!

Sharpen The Saw

Continuous Training Opportunities to Stay Ahead - Sharpen the SawCovey talks about a wood cutter so busy with the work, that he has no time to sharpen the saw. Thus, he toils to cut the tree, but this task takes ever longer, due to the fact that the saw is in a pretty bad shape. The wood cutter knows that the instrument is blunt, but does not want to spend the time to sharpen the saw.

It is a pretty simple story, and makes perfect sense.

But aren’t you doing the same? You have no time to plan ahead, no time to do the right things, no time to think and then act. You believe in ‘shoot first, and think later’.

An Emerging Economy

We are living in a world of unprecedented change. Things change very fast. Each morning you pick up the newspaper, and find out some new rules imposed by the government. You can not even anticipate what their next step is going to be. You have to react in this situation. Even if our country’s economy is stable, it is impacted by the US economy, China, India and the smaller third world countries. Interest rates, inflation, GDP, economic growth rate, ERP, COE, Housing prices, petrol price, US economy, exports, exchange rates, all are changing all the time.

With so many variables, what are you supposed to do?

You Are The Commander of Your Ship

There are hundreds of things that you can control. Your thoughts, your actions, your plans can be managed and controlled. They are not cast in stone, but you can control, change, and achieve them. All you need is a little persistence, determination, and focus.

Plan for a better future. Take some time to plan, and define your actions. Just be flexible, and be ready to adapt, in case someone throws a spanner in your plans.

Invest in your Future. Now. How?

Make sure you have the right skills to do the job, and a little more. And also make sure that your team, your staff is also equipped  the same way. When we have thought of every event that can derail the project, plan what we could do, what we would do if it happens, we are much more in control.

Training is the Key

Training is like sharpening the saw. A trained worker is a happy worker. He or she takes pride in the work, and has a heightened sense of self satisfaction.

Employee Training Skills

Some of the known, proven benefits of training the workers are

  1. Increased Productivity – you get more things done, with a better quality, and improve the productivity of the employees, as well as your products and services. The government is also giving generous grants to improve the productivity of the workforce. Make use of these grants.
  2. Lower Cost – less rework, less repair, and a higher quality reduces cost overall, and improve the product. This produces cost savings for your organization.
  3. Higher Satisfaction – with a better quality product or service, the team is happier, and take pride in the company and its products or services. It raises their self esteem, morale, and generates a feeling of self satisfaction.
  4. Lower Turnover – with a higher self-worth, a higher self satisfaction, the employees want to stay in your organization, and this will reduce the turnover. Thus, you do not need to train the staff frequently, and they add value by giving suggestions to improve the product, processes, services, and directly

Thus, you can see how training sets a chain reaction of improved productivity, lower costs, satisfied employees and customers, and a higher brand recognition.

With so many benefits of training, you must look for every opportunity to “sharpen the saw“, and generate the maximum benefit, maximum productivity, and maximum satisfaction for your company, your employees, and your customers.

To learn more about how you can use training to improve your business, give the Intellisoft Training team a call at +65 6296-2995. I am sure you will benefit from it.

Vinai Prakash

Director, Training Services

Vinai Prakash holds a Masters Degree in E-Commerce and is a certified PMI Project Management Professional. He is currently the Director &  Principal Trainer at Intellisoft, providing training to commercial and government organizations in Project Management Methodology, and in various other programs to analyze data, manage IT projects, learn soft skills.

Armed with 27 years of solid management experience, he is the most sought after Trainer and  Consultant at Intellisoft. He has taught Project Management, IT Outsourcing, Business Intelligence, Data Interpretation & Analysis courses in Asia, Middle East, Africa & Australia for Intellisoft clients.

Let us know if you would like to speak to him about your organization’s unique training requirements.

Beat The Haze. Boost Employee Skills & Productivity

improve the skills and productivity of your team during the haze

It is the time of the year when the haze strikes Singapore. From the weather forecast, it is expected to stay from September to November, due to forest fires in Indonesia & the prolonged El-Nino effect.

The Singapore ministries have urged people to stay indoors, and avoid strenuous exercises or outdoor exposure.

This does not cause much concern for the office goers… but for the people who have to stay outdoors to make a living – the technicians, service engineers, builders, foremen, from the service, oil & gas, marine, offshore kind of industries, it is a major concern.

It is important to take care of the employees, and ensure their safety and health. Simply giving out masks may not be enough. It is best to stay indoors.

One of the things that companies can do is to use this time to boost employee productivity, by sending their staff for training to improve their skills, and boost their productivity.

Steven Covey, in his famous book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” says that the 7th Habit – “Sharpen The Saw” is often the most overlooked habit.

Because we are so busy, in our “busyness”, we tend to forget, or postpone it to “someday”, or simply ignore the most important thing – our skills, our knowledge – the things that provide us with the  ability to get things done, earn our daily bread, and provide for our families.

So what can you do now… while waiting for the haze to clear?

Be Proactive: Take some action now that will protect and secure your future.

Use this time wisely. Invest it in your education, skill building, capability building. Not just for your self, but for your employees also.

What kind of Training is available for you and your employees?

  • Computer Literacy: All people should know how to work on a computer. Basic skills like using the keyboard, using the mouse, and knowing the basics of Windows, Email does help everyone.With the declining cost of computers, there is no dearth of cheap computers. Even construction workers enjoy learning how to send an email back home.
  • Basic Microsoft Office Skills: People like the office receptionist, admin staff, coordinators should all know the basic computer literacy, and more… they should know how to use Microsoft Excel to create a simple spreadsheet to track employee lists, inventory, pantry lists.They can learn how to create simple checklists, track expenses, and do simple calculations with basic formulas in Microsoft Excel.Learning about fonts, margins, tabs, documents, templates, spell checks, etc. can provide the basic skills for workers to write simple emails, type out letters, documents, and summarize minutes of meetings, all using Microsoft Word.

Word Templates, Form Letters, Mail Merge, Creating Table of Contents, using the Thesaurus, Dictionary, using advanced document management options can benefit the people who do a lot of document management, and type policy and other documents using Microsoft Word training.PowerPoint presentations go much beyond the basic bullet points.

Today, you can build transitions, animation effects, YouTube videos, time and rehearse the presentation, and apply sophisticated themes, and styles, embed Excel charts, or Word Documents, and Present in numerous ways. Advanced Printing options allow you to print handouts, create slide shows, and deliver killer presentations.

  • Project Management Skills: Most junior, middle level executives, and even managers are working on some project or the other. In fact, most are working on multiple projects. Wouldn’t it be beneficial to pick up some basic and intermediate level Microsoft Project skills, that will enable you to come up with the Gantt Chart, check the feasibility of the project vis-a-vis the available resources,  budget, and timeline.

Microsoft Project goes beyond a basic task list.Now you can establish a baseline, check progress against the plans, and take corrective actions intermediately, as the data is gathered directly from the workers, saving time, and prompting better and faster decision making. The newer version of Microsoft Project are getting better in terms of speed, and performance too!

  • Soft Skills: Hard computer skills are good, but they do not teach you how to communicate, how to interact with people, and how to solve problems creatively. Learning how to communicate, how to get your ideas across, and how to lead, motivate, inspire your team to greater goals is a worthy effort, and is a continuous, life long learning.

Identify the areas of improvement, training for each of your staff, executives, project managers, and the leadership team. Go for it. Quickly put some concrete steps to Get The Edge!… while waiting for the haze to clear.

Once the haze clears, you and your team will have greater clarity to achieve your organization’s vision, and will have the knowledge, skills, tips, tricks to move to the next level!

Use Government Funding for Training your staff. We can advise you on how to apply and claim the available training grants for your organization.

The Intellisoft Training team is here to help you. If you would like to discuss about the training options, need to do a training needs analysis, and help you in choosing the different types of Word or Excel training courses for your team, simply call us at +65-6296-2995 or email to

We will be glad to assist you in beating the haze, and transforming your organization for tomorrow!

Vinai Prakash
CEO & Founder,
Intellisoft Training

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