How to handle post-holiday mailbox deluge

Welcome back after a long holiday. I am sure an overflowing Inbox is waiting for you. Here are some simple but useful ways to get a grip on it and handle it efficiently.

  1. Mails received earlier are waiting longer. Therefore, try to start from the day after you went on leave. If you went on leave from Christmas, go to the Search box and type received>25 dec 2015
  2. Now sort the results in descending order of time and check for important mails.
  3. Look for mails which are addressed ONLY TO YOU. This is easily done by creating a special rule.
  4. Think of important customers, boss, or other high priority senders. Create a rule which highlights mails from them using a color category. Group by that category and handle these mails first.
  5. One approach is to look at unread mails only. But nowadays, we often see the mails first on a mobile phone. This marks the mail as read. In spite of that action may still be pending. Therefore Unread mails is an unreliable indicator of pending work.
    To avoid this confusion in the future, use the message flag when you read a mail on mobile but intend to act upon it later.
  6. Convert actionable mails to Tasks and put a deadline. DO NOT mark them with the follow up flag. Drag the mail using the right mouse button and drop it on to the Task icon. Choose the Move with Attachments option.
  7. Filter on Importance flag. Mind you, this flag is usually set by the sender. However, if it is important to the sender, there is a good chance that it is important to you as well. Type Importance: High in the Search box.
  8. Confidential mails are generally more important. Type Sensitivity: Confidential in the Search box to find such mails. There is no easy way to filter IRM protected mails. These mails are visually identifiable with this type of icon SNAGHTML1c9216

If you use an Office 365 mailbox, use Clutter to automatically segregate less important mails.

That’s it for now. Happy New Year.

A new outlook towards Outlook!

Life Log

Wrote this article at Matheran, a beautiful hill station near Mumbai. Everything there was so picturesque that I thought of writing a blog only with visuals -with minimal text. Then I remembered a great feature in Word called Stylistic sets – which allows you to create the artistic text shown below. Read this article to find out how.

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Here is a summary of what we learnt in these articles about Outlook management.

  1. The Outlook paradox: Are you helping others at the cost of your own work?
  2. Tasks folder is your best friend!
  3. Stop New Mail popup interruptions
  4. Never delegate work using email: Use Outlook Tasks
  5. How to identify important mails automatically?
  6. How NOT to handle Inbox
  7. DO NOT flag mails for follow up. There is a better way…
  8. Arrange meetings with yourself = Time Management
  9. How to identify important mails automatically?

 

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How to identify important mails automatically?

Please read the previous article, How NOT to handle Inbox, before reading this article.

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Create a rule – Check if the mail is Sent Only To Me

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Apply color category

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Choose any color and rename it as “High Priority”

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Click Next.
We don’t have any exceptions right now.
Click Next again…

In the final step… Run the rule on existing mails as well

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In the next article, we will summarize the Task, Time and Mail management best practices.

 


Stop New Mail popup interruptions

Life Log

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Recently went to see the India-NZ match one day match at Wellington – thanks to my good friend Murray Beer. Although India lost miserably, it was great fun to be there.

Now back to business …


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Older Windows

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Windows 8

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File – Options – Mail

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Windows 8 – Change PC Settings – Notifications

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Windows 8 notification does not provide Flag and Delete options.


 

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Home tab – Rules and Alerts – New Rule

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Specify what Outlook should look for (the condition)

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Specify the Action (show popup)

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In some versions of Outlook, this option may not be available. In that case, choose the option display a specific message …

With Windows 8, remember to turn the notifications for Outlook 2013 ON (Settings – Change PC settings – Notifications)

Create as many rules as required for displaying alerts for only those messages which are important to you.

Manage Other Distractions

New Mail notification is just ONE of the distractions. But that is just one of many!

Colleagues, bosses, visitors, phone calls, meetings, chat notifications, SMS / Text messages, FB / Twitter updates, the list is endless.

Distractions are only going to increase. Which ones to suppress is entirely up to you!

Next article

We will see how to prioritize messages…