Save time through more productive e-mail management
E-mail has become a communication form we can't live without. But e-mail is a killer for productivity - few can argue against that. Here are a few tips that will save you valuable time when dealing with your e-mails.
Don't check your e-mail first in the morning
Whatever you do, don't let your e-mail inbox decide what you should do first in the morning. When you arrive at the office, do your more important tasks first, then check your e-mail.
This will help you to focus on what is really important at the start of the day.
Turn off e-mail notifications
Turn off e-mail notifications if you're serious about productivity. Those notifications will steal the focus from whatever you're doing - and most of the time you don't want that.
This way, you decide when it's time to check your e-mail, and new e-mails wont disturb you while you work on important stuff.
How to turn off e-mail notifications in Outlook 2007
- Go to Tools -> Options.
- Click E-mail Options, choose Advanced E-mail Options.
- Below When new items arrive in my Inbox, untick Display a New Mail Desktop Alert.
I've unticked all boxes here for maximum control:
- Choose Ok for all opened Outlook windows and you'll be fine.
Use e-mail rules
In Outlook, there's a neat function that lets you create e-mail rules, helping you to organize your inbox. You can configure e-mails from a specific person to arrive directly in a folder of your choice, you can directly filter e-mails with attachments, and much more.
I've found e-mail rules particularly good when used to file e-mails. You setup a set of rules and then e-mails are filed under any given folder, so you don't have to do the archiving yourself. Definitely a time saver.
In Outlook 2007, you can configure your e-mail rules under Tools -> Rules and Alerts.
How to setup a simple e-mail filing rule in Outlook 2007
This is how you configure a rule to automatically file e-mails from a specific person, under a specific folder (Outlook 2007).
- Go to Tools -> Rules and Alerts.
- Choose New Rule. Below Stay Organized, choose Move message from someone to a folder. Click Next.
- In the second box, click people or distribution list and choose a contact of your choice. Also, click specified to specify a folder where an e-mail from this contact should be archived. Click next.
- In this step, you'll have a chance to review the rule and change it if you like. Just click Finish when your done!
You'll see all your e-mail rules under Rules and alerts, where you also can manage all rules.
Shut down your e-mail client for a while
In order to be able to focus on any important task, the best way to do this is to shut down your e-mail client. Period.
You'll get more done, I promise you. If you want to send an e-mail, just write this e-mail in Notepad and save it until later. Just keep your e-mail client shut down for a while.
You might also want to consider scheduling your e-mail time, maybe check the e-mail in the morning and in the afternoon. Then you can focus on work in between. And remember - don't check your e-mail the first thing you do in the morning!
Keep it simple
Remember, keep your e-mails simple and to the point. This will not only help you, but your contacts too.
Good e-mail management will help you save time. In the end, you'll get to focus on more important things than e-mail at work and in life.