Those of you who have been reading TDAA for a long time might remember my rant/ “breakup poem” with Microsoft Outlook from back in October. Luckily for me, I haven’t lost my job because of my seeming inability to schedule meetings in our email/calendar apps of choice. (Fingers & toes crossed – this remains true for months and years to come. I like my job!)

Today, I actually want to share an Outlook success story. O.O Shocking, I know!

It starts last week when I was trying to bounce back from a different bottomless rabbit pit (see what I did there?). My office relocated for the summer, which meant that I had to face an ongoing problem with my computer monitors – once and for all. My past “workaround” solution didn’t mesh with my current work station – plus, it’s always better to solve the root problem, right? Well… in this case, that led to testing 4 or 5 different monitors, 3 cords, 2 laptops, 2 docking stations, 2 techies, 2 tech support agents, and… a partridge in a pear tree. Hours later, it turns out the computer was the problem and the monitors were fine!

Once I had a new computer on my hands, I decided to update and upgrade some of my software. This is one of my tips from my Digital Self Care series. Always do your hardware and software updates ASAP. Why?

  • You’ll improve your digital security
  • You’ll prevent popups reminders (huge distraction!)
  • You’ll avoid dread and procrastination (ahhh, we meet again)
  • You’ll be an early adopter for technology that you’ll need to use eventually anyway

But guess what, TDAA? I hadn’t taken my own advice! I knew I was using a mildly outdated version of Outlook (and the whole Microsoft suite) but I was avoiding doing anything about it. And I didn’t know what the benefits of the switch would be, so I had basically no motivation. Sound familiar?

Last week, I stared down my new monitors and my old Outlook app and told myself, “I’ve already made these other changes. Let’s finish the job!” I did the upgrade, it took 5 minutes or less, and now I’ll never need to download an upgrade again (for this technology anyway… it will update itself!) Now my Outlook icon is “blue” instead of “yellow” and there are a bunch of other small and medium scale changes.

I’ve also used this transition time to begin experimenting with the Outlook “browser” email version (the other version is locally downloaded on my computer). I took my own advice (#ReluctantEarlyAdopter) and toggled over to the “Try the New Outlook” button. This browser situation was new to me anyway, so why not get into the newest version since I won’t miss much? I felt uncharacteristically modern and up to date! *flips hair*

Fast forward to today, as I was replying to some emails and offering times to meet: My curious, patient, creative, nagging “alter ego” showed up, asking her favorite question. “Isn’t there a better way to do this?” My friendly, enterprising, early adopter (not reluctant) had mentioned that you can use the new version of Outlook to insert possible meeting times into an email directly from your calendar. I knew it was possible, but I couldn’t remember how. I noodled around in the new Outlook app that I had downloaded… nothin. I checked out the browser version… no dice. I did some googling to no avail – I didn’t even know exactly what this feature was called. All of the promising links were for some Outlook enhancement product that you had to sign up for. No thanks! Before I got too frustrated, I called my coworker and asked for a refresher. He explained that this feature was only available in the online version… the VERSION of the online version where the “Try the New Outlook” button is toggled to off. I never would have noticed that … since ALL of the online Outlook version was new for me!

Now it’s time to give myself a reward! Here’s a blue ribbon for (a) wondering if there was a solution out there and (b) asking for help and (c) learning a new tech feature and (d) getting better at using a platform that’s not my favorite and (e) getting my software up to date. OMG that’s a lot of wins for a little experiment! Plus, I have an awesome feeling of satisfaction (I LOVE learning) and I actually LIKE this feature which improves my day to day emailing experience! I still don’t have much love for Outlook – that probably won’t change. But this experience shows me that I CAN grow, ask better questions, and phone a friend when I need help. Best of all, YOU CAN TOO!

What are you currently struggling with in your tech life? What have you recently fixed, once and for all (or at least for now)? I want to hear it all – the good, the bad, the ugly! Leave me a comment or write to Dear Spreadsheet Whisperer to be featured in future blog posts!

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