FranklinCovey is a company well known for its series of day planners and classes. What you may not know is the company also offers online seminars called LiveClicks. Unlike most of their seminars that can be a day or longer, these webinars are compact and last a couple of hours. The class I took had a lengthy title of, “Time Management for Microsoft Outlook Increasing Your Productivity through the Effective Use of Outlook.”
The title sounds enticing, but I wasn’t sure it could live up to the items they said I would learn. These included:
- Stay focused every day with a reliable planning system utilizing Microsoft Outlook
- Gain control of competing demands on time—e-mail, voice mail, meetings, and interruptions
- Apply a planning process that gets better business results based on execution and priorities
- Achieve balance and renewal, avoiding burnout and frustration
- Reduce stress by recognizing and eliminating low-priority activities and distractions
- Learn effectiveness tips on how to plan and stay focused on your highest priorities
- Master proven goal-setting process to help you become more focused
Since the company offers a money back guarantee, I had little to lose other than my time. Before the webinar began, you were to have downloaded an Outlook resource guide that mapped to the class. While not essential, I think it makes sense especially if you’re not familiar with Microsoft Outlook or FranklinCovey’s time matrix. The guide is nicely illustrated and may cover items that you didn’t see in the class.
One item I’ve always admired about FranklinCovey presenters is their professionalism. They know their subject matter and have a good presentation style. I’ve also found them to be more adaptable to the needs of the participants. As example, in this seminar the presenter realized none of us needed help in scheduling meetings. Instead of teaching that subject, he skipped it and spent more time on areas of interest.
While you might think the entire time would be dedicated to learning how to leverage Outlook, about a third was spent on their time matrix. This is a time management tool that was popularized by Stephen Covey’s book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Although this time matrix is over 20 years old, I still find it useful.
The matrix consists of 4 quadrants in a 2×2 grid. Each square represents a degree of urgency and importance. The objective is to manage your time so you do less reactive tasks like needless interruptions and more important tasks such as planning. The irony is that if you don’t use Microsoft Outlook effectively, it could hurt your productivity. A classic example is people who get interrupted every 5 minutes by Outlook’s email alerts.
The majority of the webinar was designed to teach you how Outlook can make things easier for you with items like email rules and activating information. In my seminar, there were 40 people online and maybe 25% of them knew the tips and techniques being taught.
If you’re not proficient with Microsoft Outlook, the class is worth the money and time. The only downside I encountered was one participant who put their phone on “hold”. For about 3 minutes, each of the participants was subjected to that company’s “on-hold” advertisement.
- Offered on a regular basis
- No travel
- Reasonably priced
- Professional presenters
- Excellent audio quality
- Additional course documentation you could download
- Content based on participant’s skill level
- Money back guarantee
- Not for people who like to multitask
- No face-to-face interaction with instructors
Product: Increasing Your Productivity through the Effective Use of Outlook
Summary: Well worth the time and money if you’re not proficient with Microsoft Outlook.
Rating: 4.5 stars
Date Reviewed: July 22nd 2010
Reviewer: Productivity Portfolio
Time: 2 hours
Review type: product
Last Updated (Saturday, 20 November 2010 11:32)