Blog Post 7-17-12

5 Tips for Easy Email Management

While email is convenient, it can also be a huge time waster. Often we get so waylaid by emails, either by spending too much time responding to them or too much time finding them, that we neglect our actual work. While communication is important, we lose so much of our time managing email that by the end of the day we might find ourselves wondering: "What did I do today?" Here are 5 tips to help you manage your email more efficiently.

1.  Use your flags. Outlook has a Flag for Follow-Up feature, which enables you to flag a message. You can then sort by flags to help you quickly see what you need to follow up on. This feature is used best when you receive a message, but don't have time to respond right away or when you respond to a message, but need to check in with someone about it later on.

2.  Learn to sort. Knowing the sort features on your email will come in handy in numerous ways. First, it will enable you to quickly find messages from a specific sender, or about a specific subject. Secondly, it will allow you to quickly delete messages. Say you return from an extended vacation and there are specific emails that will not relate to you (i.e. daily stats from your team that are only needed for that specific day, or news updates on that specific date), sort by the sender and delete all of those messages quickly.

3.  Route email using the rules. You can de-clutter your email box by moving and assigning rules to incoming messages. For instance, if you get a daily sales report, direct that mail automatically to a "Sales" folder, enabling you to keep the content and reference it when needed, but getting it out of the way so more important messages are easily visible.

4.  Set up folders. While this seems like an obvious option, having specific folders set up will keep your email functioning. It allows for quick referencing if, for instance, you need to access everything related to a specific project, or even something personal in nature. So create folders and sub folders to help organize. Your own system will depend on your work load, but organizing by departments, by projects, by team, or by work group might be some ideas to get you started.

5. Daily maintenance. The key to keeping your email clean is to actually do the organizing you've set up. So at the end of the day, take 5 or 15 minutes to clean up your email, make sure that everything that needs follow up or responding to is done, and then allow yourself to head home without thinking about work.

For more information about how you can effectively manage your time and email box, please contact us today!