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Part II: Organizing Information

Part II: Organizing Information

If a book is misfiled in a library, it might as well not be there at all. Information that cannot be retrieved cannot be used to create knowledge, and for you to be able to retrieve information effectively it must be organized.

Organizing information not only allows you to retrieve it, but it also permits you to make new connections among data. Organized information acts as a catalyst for creative thought, and provides the basic structure that enables knowledge work-ers to transform it into knowledge that can be used by the organization.

To organize information, you need three things.

  • Tools

    You need to know what tools are available to help you organize your information and how to use the relevant features of those tools.

  • Principles

    Tools alone, however, don’t do the trick. You also need to understand fundamental organizational principles that guide your use of those tools.

  • Habits

    Knowing the principles and having the right skills is useless unless you put them into practice consistently. Filing some of the library books properly isn’t enough.

Part II shows you how to achieve these competencies for the different types of information you need to organize. Chapter 4, “Organizing Your Day,” teaches you how to organize your tasks using folders and views, and how to link them to the contacts they are associated with and the files you are working on. You learn how to organize your appointments with your calendar, share that calendar with others, and schedule face-to-face and online meetings. You also learn how to adopt new work habits using principles such as “making time for the big rocks.”

In Chapter 5, “Organizing Your Files,” you learn how to set up your electronic filing system by choosing appropriate storage media, and creating folder and file naming conventions. You also learn how to find data in your system by using document properties and Microsoft Office XP advanced search features.

Chapter 6, “Organizing Your Data,” teaches you how to create databases. You see how to do a simple requirements analysis, and then pick the right tool for your database. You also learn how to create a database in both Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Access, as well as how to convert data from your legacy applications.

If you are constantly overwhelmed by your Inbox, Chapter 7, “Organizing Your E-mail” is for you. In it you see how to create e-mail folders to save your e-mails in, as well as a simple method for quickly processing e-mail as it arrives. You also learn automated techniques for processing e-mail, including creating rules for junk e-mail and how to automatically respond to other specific types of e-mail. You even learn how to find those little nuggets of gold that are hidden in your e-mail archives.

For those people who work away from the office, Chapter 8, “Organizing Your Mobile Tools,” teaches you what you need to know. You learn techniques for synchronizing your desktop and notebook Microsoft Outlook data files, as well as techniques for synchronizing Outlook with your handheld device. Seven methods for handling e-mail on the road are presented, along with criteria to help you choose which ones fit your situation the best. You also learn how to make sure the files you need are with you, even when you’re not at the office.



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