Let me put first that there is no possibility of using any other software outside of MS Office.
What would be a good way to document day-to-day activities ? We are a reporting team in a large enterprise and we each work on a good number of reports. Typically, we can divide in three categories:
- Low implication : report changes minimally every few months to once a year - roughly 100 of those;
- Average implication : report changes frequently but never drastically or very small project - roughly 10 of those;
- High implication : drastic / very frequent changes or small to average projects - roughly 2-3 of those.
Print almost every e-mail and put them in folders. This has the advantage of being thorough but it's also very wasteful and risks being overwhelming in the case of high implication projects.
Make folders in Outlook. No waste this time but limitations on inbox size means that I have to create archive files and juggle with those as I need e-mails. Also, Outlook is not very good at searching e-mails (it's slow and not very helpful) and it means that all e-mails need to be categorized (rules would be hard to use since a contact can be working with you on multiple different reports / projects). Also, when I receive paper documents in meetings I find it harder to match my electronic documentation and my physical documentation.
Bonus question: how do you track your activities (todos) ? I currently use tasks in Outlook but again it's hard to attribute tasks to their parent project / report.
I'm sure part of the answer would be to use more fitting software but I believe there is a good part of personal organization.
(Not sure if I should ask on Productivity.SE. Feel free to move there if OT on Workplace.SE).