Improving your Management of your Outlook ™ Email and Calendar to find what you need when you need it!

Improving your Management of your Outlook ™ Email and Calendar to find what you need when you need it! by Jeffrey Brooks, CPA, CFP, MBA for JBrooks Wealth Advisors PC, a CPA and CFP firm.

A special thank you for the great ideas of Mark Chavez a special person and friend who has worked as a senior tax accountant for my CPA firm since 2003.

Managing your Outlook ™ Email and Calendar can be fatiguing! The key is defining on paper how a great Email and Calendar system works for YOU!

Building habits occur by repeating the same habit over and over again.

First thing I do daily is check my calendar for the current day and the upcoming week or two. Second thing I do is check the emails.

My inbox is kept “clean” by judging the importance of each email I receive. Junk emails are blocked by using control j, control b. Emails that do not contain information that I will need to use in the future are deleted.

Before you quickly answer an email because you think you know the answer: 1. Make sure you have read the email and know the question or request and if you are not sure MAKE SURE to find the email with the answer and 2. If you are sure of yourself, reply immediately.

If you need to retain the email you sent, go into sent and make sure the subject header is easy to remember.

For example, in an example below, I use a fictitious name, Jane Doe for a client of mine. The subject header could read “Doe, J 2011 extension”

If you are working with more than a 100 people, you need to be able to reduce the pressure on your brain by finding
1. Why you need to find and use this information
2. When you need to use this information. When you need to follow up with this person.
3. Where you stored this information so you can retrieve it quickly.
4. What do you do with this information why you know why you need it, when you need it, where you stored it and who and how you need to contact them.
My firm and I are judged every day by how accurate and proactive we are. With hundreds of clients and thousands of emails, our human brains cannot remember all of the details without a system unless all of the events occur within a day or two.
Let me give you one example:

I received an email from Jane Doe (fictitious name to protect the identity of one of our clients) on April 10th saying that she did not want to file her personal tax returns until she received an amended business tax return from another CPA. She said that the other CPA had missed some tax deductions on the business tax returns.
• I sent an email to her telling her that she should pay the tax owed to protect herself against a penalty and asked her if she wanted to pay the tax due by check or have the money come out of her bank account.
• Jane replied back by email that she wanted the funds to come out her account.
• I then replied by email asking her for a void check with bank account and routing number so we could electronically have the funds come out her bank account.
• Jane promptly sent the void check and we extended her personal tax returns and the funds came out of the account.
• I immediately sent Jane an email asking her to contact the other CPA and find out when the amended tax returns would be completed. If I had stopped here, I would have dropped the ball! So what was the next action?
• The next action was to flag this email on Outlook ™ email system with a follow up date of May 15th. The “cool” thing is that once the due date has come on Outlook ™ flags, the entire email changes to red. I check for red flags each day to so I can be proactive. The next action would be for me to then send a follow up request along with a phone call.
• In the future, if I needed to get “my hands” on this email, I can easily sort my flagged emails by subject and could quickly find in the subject “Jane”.
The critically important point of this article is to find a system that works for YOUou and write it down! Memorize it!!

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About Jeffrey Brooks

Jeffrey Brooks, CPA, CFP, MBA since 1976 has specialized in helping clients save significant taxes, help businesses increase their cash flow, revenues and profits while increasing their control and satisfaction. Jeff and his accounting firm sincerely cares about the happiness of his clients.

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JBrooks Wealth Advisors, PC.

Certified Public Accountant
Address: 4647 N 32nd Street, Suite B245
Phoenix, Arizona 85018
Phone: 602-292-2009