23 May 2009

Grrr! moments

We all have them. You know those times when you just have to shake your head and wonder why something that seemed so simple had to get so complicated. My boss calls them Grrr! moments. I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. Well here is one of my Grrr! moments...

At one office I worked in we had a mail cart with slots for everyone's mail, but it was filed First name, Last name. Each time I went to get my mail I would find my mail in the other Patricia's slot or vice versa. Or if I was delivering mail to someone I had to stop, re-think and look for their first name. Of course there were four Karens and three Bobs. See what I mean? Grrr!

Which do you prefer, First Name, Last Name or Last Name, First Name? I grew up in a world that used Last Name, First Name (i.e. the phone book, standard filing practices etc.) so that is my default and I find it very user friendly. In some offices however they have First Name, Last Name as their default and I find it confusing and think it leaves room for error. If you go by their last name, errors are less likely to occur as not as many people have the same last name. Hey, I don't like errors and anything I can do to make it harder for me to make them, I will go with that.

This goes for filing and also how your contacts are ordered in Outlook. I was on another site recently and someone wanted to know how to globally change the way their contact cards were ordered. Unfortunately, they were hoping to change them all to First Name, Last Name, but aside from that choice, here are the instructions below (HA HA):
  • Tools, Options, Choose the Preferences tab, in the middle on the left-hand side there is a button called Contact Options. Click on this. You will see at the top there are two places you need to change it to first name, last name or last name, first name.
  • Then you need to go into Tools, Options again, under Account Settings. Choose the Address Book Tab at the far right. Click on the "Change" icon and you will see at the bottom there are radio buttons to click on your desired preference.
  • To make the changes come into effect you need to close Outlook and reopen it and all your contacts will be re-ordered in the way you prefer.
  • Please note: This may not work on your work Outlook account as these settings are set by your IT Administrator and even though you change it, the changes may not take effect.
  • You do have the option of individually getting them to display as whichever way your prefer. If you open the contact card you will see in the first section File As. Type in the way you want it displayed.
How can I remember all these instructions?
To help me remember these kinds of instructions that I only need on occasion, I have created a sub-folder in my Contact Cards called Helpline. Under that sub-folder I have opened new contact cards with names such as Outlook - Last Name, First Name; Photocopier - Compressed Scan; Word - Generate Table of Contents or anything that I may need to know. In the Notes section of each contact card I write down the instructions on how to do it so the next time I run into that problem, I will have it handy. I try to keep it simple and so far I have easily been able to find things when I go looking.

The problem I find with new technology is sometimes there are so many layers to doing things (like the instructions above) that there is no way you are going to remember the next time you need to do this. Just recall what it's like when you start a new job or if your computer crashes and you lose all your settings. Grrr! This way, you always have it at your fingertips in a quick easy-to-find system.

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