How to Use the Microsoft Outlook Diary

By Jeff Orloff

Over the years, Microsoft Outlook has grown from merely an email application to a robust personal productivity software package. While it is best known for sending and receiving email, managing calendars and managing contacts. However, one of the lesser-known applications included in Outlook, the Journal, can help you track how much time you spend on projects to make you more productive.

Things You'll Need

  • Microsoft Outlook 2007

Step 1

Open Microsoft Outlook 2007. At the bottom left side of the screen, you should see an icon that resembles a green notebook with a clock on it next to the icons resembling a sticky note, a folder, and a shortcut arrow. If you do not see this icon, click on the down arrow next to the icons to Configure Buttons and click Add or Remove Buttons | Journal.

Step 2

Click on the Journal icon to open the application. The first time you open Journal, you will be asked if you want to turn on the Journal. Click Yes. Another screen will appear asking you what items, files, and contacts you wish to record with your Journal. Make these selections and click OK.

Step 3

Click on the New button at the top of Outlook to begin a new Journal entry. Outlook's journal will also automatically track any of the applications used to create the file types you choose when setting up your journal. When using these applications, you do not need to create a Journal entry; it is done for you.

Step 4

Open a new Journal entry when tracking something like a phone call or meeting. On the Timer menu, click on "Start Timer" to begin tracking the time. Pause time will allow you to put tracking on hold.

Step 5

Save any changes to your Journal entries.

Tips & Warnings

  • Tracking time spent on projects or phone calls is a perfect way to invoice your clients.
  • The Journal can be an excellent way to provide documentation for a variety of needs.
  • Using the Journal effectively can help you see if you are spending too much time--or too little-on certain projects or tasks.