Monday, April 21, 2014


I have spent a lot of time using Microsoft Outlook. I've been a fan of the shared calendars for several years, often create public folders, have my contacts synced with my phone, and use the task list feature. However, it was only recently that I discovered Outlook's Journal.

Part of the reason it took me so long to discover the journal is that it was tucked away in an extended menu at the bottom of the screen.

Click on the button circled above, which will be at the bottom of the navigation pane. Then, choose "Add or Remove Buttons" and highlight Journal. It will now add a small journal button to the bottom of your navigation pane.

When you click on it, it opens up the Outlook journal, which can keep track of numerous things, including tasks, phone calls, and how long you are editing documents using a Microsoft Office product.

What I have been using it for lately is to keep track of phone calls and time spent on various tasks. In Outlook, just hit ctrl+shift+j, which will pop up a new journal entry form.

Here, you can tell Outlook what type of journal entry to make (note, phone call, task, etc.), give it a subject name that will show up in lists, and take notes. The feature I really like about this is the start timer option, which makes keeping track of time on a task much easier. Since I always keep Outlook up on my right monitor, I'm starting to use outlook to keep track of all of my time so that I can easily put it into out time management system at a later date.

When you click on the journal button, you will pull up the journal itself.

Here, I have mine set up showing what word documents I was working on. As you can see, it shows the start times as well as the duration I was working on the document (time open). It provides the same information for phone calls and tasks, keeping a daily log of what you do in one convenient location.

For those with software specifically designed for keeping track of your time as you go along, this feature won't be a big deal. For those looking for a different way of tracking your time, this might be your answer. It's at least worth a look.

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