Friday, 13 December 2002

Newsletter Issue 54, December 2002


Sam Young Newsletter

Issue 54, December 2002
Hi guys,
With Christmas approaching, are you feeling stressed out? If you are then check out Ten Stress-Reducing Habits below.
Having any trouble with Outlook reminders? Then try giving them a tidy up via the Outlook Reminder Tidy Up
Don't forget, if you want to be taken off my mailing list, click here to send me a reply e-mail and I will remove your name.

Ten Stress-Reducing Habits

The ability to shrug off stress is probably inherited, so researchers say at the US National Institute of Mental Health. They found, while testing an arthritis drug on two strains of rats, that the two types exhibited completely different responses to stress. One strain produced large amounts of the stress hormone "CRH" when put in an unfamiliar cage, while the other type hardly produced any CRH even when relocated into a very small space. It is likely that we humans are the same; with some genetic types having a greater ability to handle stress than others. 
The good news is that, although nature is a factor, nurture still has a large part to play in our stress-handling ability. So what do non-stress-monkeys do - especially at this time of year when for most of us things are getting pretty fraught?
  1. Be An Optimist: Always remember that the glass is half-full, not half empty. Practice, practice, practice looking at the positive side of things until it becomes a habit. Not "I am so busy, I can't even think" but "I am so fortunate to be able to do so much with my life". Believe it or not, it makes you feel a heap better
  2. Have A Sense of Purpose: Whether you have clearly defined goals or have spiritual beliefs, a strong sense of purpose enables you to stand back and see your situation in a larger context. The term "can't see the forest for the trees" need not apply
  3. Prioritise, Organise, and Make Lists: If we feel in control, we are over halfway there with stress management. Choosing your priorities, rather than simply accepting what is imposed on you, allows you to get on with your life rather than stress about it
  4. Delegate Stress: Delegating tasks is another key to cutting stress. If you can't delegate your work, gain yourself 5 hours a week by hiring someone to cut the lawns and clean the house
  5. Don't Procrastinate: Keep on top of your commitments. If you have promised it on Tuesday, deliver it on Tuesday, or even Monday if you can. And put the brakes on in a situation that's running downhill out of control earlier rather than later
  6. Schedule Fun: Don't deny pleasure in order to get your work done. Recognise that you need fun and relaxation and then plan it into your schedule. There must be balance in your life and if you set out to make the time to do it, you will find the time to do it
  7. Enjoy the Fun Moments: Remember to take the time to enjoy the moment when you have scheduled time for fun. If you get pressured to cut into those fun moments, respectfully decline those new requests without revealing your reasons. Then you can't be talked around
  8. Breathe Deeply: Apparently, people who practice daily breathing exercises can cut their level of tension in half. If you always breathe deeply and try the "one-breath relaxation technique", which is 
    • Straighten your back
    • Relax your shoulders
    • Take a deep breath through your nose and focus on the sensation of the air filling your chest and feel it entering all your cells
    • Holding that breath for a few seconds and picture a bright light that illuminates both your mind and your body
    • Exhale through your mouth with a sigh and imagine that the tension in your body is darkness that goes out of your body with your breath
  9. When Things Get Too Hard, Call Your Friends: Get social. Just sharing the stress with someone else - not necessarily getting any solutions or help - will make you feel so much better. A problem shared is a problem halved is only a cliché because it is true...
  10. Achieve by Rehearsing: Practice mentally rehearsing positive outcomes to situations. Don't waste your time visualising all the bad things that might happen. Dismiss those thoughts and actively do your rehearsal in a place where you are relaxed and able to concentrate, like in bed, or in the bath. Then when you are in a more stressful environment, you will snap back into the relaxed state that you were in during your rehearsal. Trust me, this works 
And remember to keep your perspective. Project into the future and ask yourself, "In a month will it bother me that I was a day late on this deadline?" All in all, probably not. Life goes on, and with a bit of luck, this Christmas, the stress might be a bit easier to deal with for all of us!

Outlook Reminder Tidy Up

You probably use Outlook to  warn you of calendar appointments, or that a Task is due. You might also set up flags for a Contact, with follow-up dates and times. Then when the appropriate time rolls around, Outlook displays those little dialog boxes called reminders. Yay! My favourite face-saving tool.
If you've used reminders for a while, you've probably noticed that Outlook occasionally looses the plot with them. I find that Outlook sometimes appears to "hang" in the background & my reminders don't come up until I shutdown my PC and restart... then then all appear in a rush. 
If that happens to you regularly, one solution is getting Outlook to rebuild its internal list of Reminders. Pretty easy stuff;
  1. Exit Outlook and Word
  2. Click the Start button on the taskbar, then select Run 
  3. Type outlook /cleanreminders and push Enter (NB: note that there's a space in front of the forward slash)
Outlook will start and hesitate for a moment while it gets rid of its old reminders, then scans all of your appointments, tasks, and follow-up flags, rebuilding your reminders list. 
This technique only rebuilds the Reminders list, it doesn't delete or turn reminders off. If you want to get rid of reminders completely, you can manually untick the reminder box in any appointments, tasks, and follow-up flags. Or you can tell Outlook to ignore reminders by clicking Tools | Options | Other | Advanced Options | Reminder Options and unticking the box marked "Display the Reminder". 


And more - Outlook Calendar Tidy Up

But wait, there's more!
Ever had Outlook stop bolding those dates in the monthly calendar that you have an appointment on?
Or even worse (as happened to me) showing all the days WITHOUT an appointment in bold and those with appointments in regular font? 
And another really easy fix; 
  1. Exit Outlook and Word 
  2. Click Start | Run 
  3. Type outlook /cleanfreebusy and push Enter (NB: same space in front of the forward slash)
Same deal with Outlook starting and hesitating while it rebuilds your appointments list. 

TLAs for SMEs

Here are this newsletter's TLAs for you;
  • CD-MO,Compact Disc Magneto Optical. CD format using magnetic fields for data storage, constructed of an alloy of terbium ferrite and cobalt with an unlimited number of rewrites. 1990 design by Philips & Sony
  • CF Card, Compact Flash Card. A popular memory card developed by SanDisk in 1994 that uses flash memory to store data on a very small card using solid-state construction (keeps data integrity even if the power source is lost)

Please feel free to email me with any TLAs that you want to get the bottom (meaning!) of.

Short+Hot Keys... and now tips
All the Function keys for you again, but this time we are shifting as well - all you can do with Alt, Shift, Ctrl & F5;
  • Excel "Display the Find dialog box" SHIFT & F5 
  • Publisher "Highlight the NEXT page in the page navigation control" SHIFT & F5 
  • Publisher "Highlight the PREVIOUS page in the page navigation control" CTRL & F5 
  • Word "Go Back" SHIFT & F5
  • Word "Bookmark" CTRL & SHIFT & F5
  • IE "Refresh the current Web page" CTRL & F5 
  • Excel PowerPoint & Word "Restore the active presentation window size" CTRL & F5 
  • PowerPoint & Word  "Restore the program window size" ALT & F5 
Hot Linx
Bored at work? Want some desktop images, sayings or brain teasers to relieve the tedium? Then check out http://www.caughtatwork.net 
Wanting to know what the Outlook for Thursday is? Then there is no better place than the Met Service, found at http://www.metservice.co.nz/forecasts/extended_brief.asp 
For those of you who have an interest in cartoon sites, you might like to check out this one. Great CGI stuff at http://www.bouncytales.com/website/animation/jt_animation.htm
Want to be insulted? Perhaps "There's no more faith in thee than in a stewed prune"? Then you must try this http://www.pangloss.com/seidel/Shaker/index.html? 

                                Catch you again soon!! E-mail your suggestions to me here