3 Email Management Tips for Microsoft Outlook
Through Microsoft Outlook, you have the ability to manage your email by sorting your messages into folders. Some professionals use this feature to create multiple folders (a folder per client, per project, etc.), but important messages get buried under less urgent emails. Ever forgotten to respond to a critical client? So have other businessmen and women. To try to make their inbox less overwhelming, many have tried flagging important messages so that they remember to respond. However, the flagged messages pile up, making their to-do list even more overwhelming and limiting their ability to prioritize.
At Computer PROS, we’ve had a lot of clients ask us how we manage Microsoft Outlook emails. Below are some recommendations that can improve your email management and boost your productivity.
1. Simplify Your Folders
Stop creating so many folders! Instead, group your messages into 3-4 folders labeled by action rather than by subject. This will eliminate the visual junkyard and highlight what you need to do rather than who you need to do it for.
We recommend organizing your messages into 3 folders: Respond, Read, and Document.
- Respond. In the Respond folder, place all your emails that require action. This is a good place to include emails from clients who need something from you.
- Read. This folder is for all the emails you want to read more carefully or that includes information for a current project.
- Document. Once a project is done, move the conversation over to the Document folder. By documenting old projects, you still have access to completed projects, but they’re not mixed in with emails you’ve flagged.
2. Categorize Your Emails
Once you’ve organized all your emails into Respond, Read, and Document folders, it’s time to set up categories within your folders. This is where you can group your emails based on client or project. By grouping like-messages together, you can find the content you need quickly and efficiently.
Here’s how our technicians at Computer PROS would categorize their messages in each folder:
Group all your messages in this folder into 3 categories: Answer Now, Can Wait, and Info Needed.
- Answer Now. This includes all of your critical messages.
- Can Wait. Not every message is urgent. In the “Can Wait” category, include emails that you can wait to answer when you have a spare moment.
- Info Needed. Need additional information before you can respond to a client? Add their email to the “Info Needed” category until you have what you need.
Many of the emails that you move to the “Read” folder will contain information about certain projects that are in progress. In this folder, our computer technicians would categorize their messages by Project so that they could quickly find the information they need for upcoming tasks.
Once you’ve finished a project, you’ll move it to the “Document” folder. In this folder, our team would categorize based on Client so that they could easily find which projects were completed for which clients.
3. Learn the Shortcuts
Chances are, you’re receiving and responding to emails all day. By learning a few keyboard shortcuts, you can save time and move through your messages more efficiently.
Here are some shortcuts we think will be helpful for you:
(Download Shortcuts Here)