Tag Archives: ms-outlook

Scheduling meetings in the Middle East

Bahrain_Grand_Mosque

As a Western ex-pat working in the Middle East you quickly learn that if you want everyone to show up for a meeting, don’t schedule the meeting during prayer time.

Muslims pray 5 times a day. 3-4 of these prayer times will be during work hours. What complicates things is that the prayer times are not at the same time each day. The times are based on the lunar calendar. The first prayer in the middle of the summer is at 3:30am and that same prayer in the middle of winter is at 5:30am. You should know that most of the Middle East does not change their clocks for daylight savings.

So, how do you know when it will be time to pray. I have utilities that I use to make sure that I don’t schedule meetings during prayer times.

As I use Microsoft Outlook, there is a plug-in, that will schedule the times of prayer times on your calendar. If you don’t want to have all of these in your calendar there are a number of prayer time downloads for mobile phones that will do the same thing. I use Salaat Time for Blackberry. I also use a system bar utility that gives a notification bubble just prior to the prayer time. This application is also handy at it will show that prayer times every day for the full year; it is also called Salaat Time .

You can use one or more of these utilities to help you schedule a meeting in the future.

Note: Cross posted from executiveGEEK.

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Staying Organized with Microsoft Outlook Using Archives

If you have been using Outlook for awhile and have not been archiving, then take a look over your shoulder. That’s that IT person getting ready to delete messages in your InBox because you have gone over the limit… again!

There is an automated way to set up your Outlook to reduce your InBox size, and at the same time, not lose any email messages.

The first step is to create local Archive folders. I chose to create a folder per year to keep track of old emails. You should also create the folders in My Documents so they will follow you when you upgrade systems. For example I have created yearly Archive folders in \my documents\outlook\200X archive.pst.

To create these folders, select Tools—Options—Other tab—Auto Archive. You should see the Window below:

Then hit the Browse… button to get to the Window below. Go to My Documents. Once there select the yellow folder button near the top right to create a new folder, in my case I created Outlook. Create several folders within Outlook, if needed.

The last step is to select the folder you just created as your default archive folder. In my case that would be 2006 Archive.pst. Then exit by selecting OK.

The next step is making these folders visible, so you can access them for searching. To do this you select File—Open—Outlook data file…

If this is the first time you are Archiving, then you may want to split up your InBox into multiple folders. To do this select your InBox, then select File—Archive from the main menu.

From here you can divide up your InBox. In my case, using years, I would repeat this step, entering 1/1/2003, then 1/1/2004 etc, in the Archive items older than: box and selecting the appropriate Archive folder using the Browse…button for each year.

The last pointer I wanted to give was that you can have different Archive properties for each folder in you InBox. Let’s say you had a folder that was daily reports and there was no need to keep these for 3 months. You decided to keep them for 2 months, or less. You can right-click on the folder, select Properties—AutoArchive and adjust the time as per below.

The only maintenance that is required going forward, it to create a new folder each year (or as often as you choose) and set the default to this folder using step 1.