Getting Started – Conquer your Outlook Email and Calendar
Does your New Years resolution include organzing and clearing out your Outlook Email and Calendar? Here are 10 ways to help get you started today.
1. Disable the Email notifications on your phone and your PC
You think I’m joking. It is not 1996 when you expect 5 emails in one day. You receive emails ALL DAY LONG, every day. Even on Christmas day, you have 10 emails. We don’t need to be notified. This isn’t exactly “news” – “OMIGAHD I HAVE AN EMAIL IN MY INBOX!” Disabling the notification will help you “Uni-task” and focus and actually get work done, and minimize distractions. Multi-tasking is sooooo five years ago.
Do not check it on your phone while stopped at a red light. Otherwise, you’ll read it, forget about it and forget to take action (reply, fulfill what is asked, etc). You own your phone – don’t let your phone own you.
3. Stop categorizing your emails in subfolders.
Isn’t there always the dilemma of an email belonging to two categories??? Which folder wins that war? Instead, make your emails (and subject titles) more searchable with accurate text and key phrases. And then use the search bar as needed. Works every time.
4. Delete emails weekly.
Set aside time on Monday morning or, on Friday, before you pack up to just delete emails from the week. One day in work time is like a week in normal time. Monday, Joe sends an email with an idea. Tuesday, Jan and Mark reply with their opinions and copy a new person. By Thursday, your Boss’s boss responded and said that idea was already implemented a few weeks ago by someone else, so you go ahead and delete the whole string. You can probably keep it for ‘proof’ or reference, but I’ve learned that no one cares about seeing something from a year ago and no one cares if you ‘were right all along’.
5. View Emails as Conversations (as a string)
6. Insert Screen Shots with one click.
Activate your cursor in the body of the email, then go to Insert – Screenshot. Select any of the available open windows, or select Screen Clipping to grab a custom box window select.
7. Ask Outlook to help you with Follow Up emails.
It’s hard to remember to follow up, especially if your follow up depends on someone else’s action. In Outlook, you can right click on any email and select “Add Reminder…” and then schedule it out to another date and time. The reminder will pop up like a meeting alert.
8. Automate Common Tasks.
Certain actions can be automated through Quick Steps, such as forwarding emails to your team or your manager. You can even automate replying to an email and deleting the original message.
9. Color-Code Your Calendar.
10. Create a Meeting from an Email.
After a long string of email ensues, it’s best to call a meeting. Instead of creating a new meeting request, just reply to the last email with a meeting request. All recipients will be auto-populated on the email and the email thread will be pasted in the body of the meeting invite. I hope these tips help you organize your inbox and calendars for a nice fresh start to the New Year.