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Audrey Thomas
Organized Audrey and LeanOffices.com

Looking for Email Can Be Such a Waste of Time

By Audrey Thomas, CSP a.k.a. Organized Audrey – June 2016

Email is a wonderful tool—it has truly changed the way we conduct business and do life! But it also represents potential waste when it comes to spending time managing it. These four Outlook tips will save you time in how you use your email inbox and calendar. They are small, but mighty in tracking important information.

  1. Rename the subject line of a received email. We’ve all received an email containing a poorly written subject line. So poor that if we leave the email in our Inbox, we have to reopen and reread it just to remember what it pertained to. For the email that you choose to leave in your Inbox, why not rewrite the subject line to better describe the contents so you don’t waste time in the future? Simply open an email, highlight the existing subject line, then type a new subject. Use descriptive words or phraes that will cue you as to why it remains in your Inbox. For example, as a result of someone’s email you pick up the phone and call them, only to get their voicemail. In the subject line of their email, put LVML (left voicemail) followed by the date. As this sits in your Inbox you’ll know that the ball is in their court as you wait on a return call.
  2. Create a calendar appointment from an email. If you receive an email that represents a future appointment or block of time on your calendar, don’t leave it in your Inbox in the hopes that you’ll remember to revisit it at the proper date and time. Chances are it’ll get buried with other email. Instead, move it to your calendar in the same way you’d drag an email to a folder, by simply highlighting it and dragging it to the word “Calendar” in the lower left Navigation Pane. Letting go of the email will open a new Calendar Appointment, copying the subject line of the email as the new appointment name. You can now edit as necessary. Make sure you go back to your Inbox and delete the original email because you’ve now moved it to where you need to work on it later.
  3. Conversations view. Many projects occur over long periods of time, involving dozens of email exchanges. In Outlook’s email Inbox, you can rearrange your emails based on the Subject Line, thus showing all of the emails exchanged in one particular strand. To activate this feature you must be viewing your email Inbox. At the top of the email ribbon, you have several tabs. Click on the VIEW tab. Just underneath the tabs, you’ll now see the option of “Show as Conversations”. Click on the small box. Outlook will ask you which folders to apply this to.

After your Inbox has been rearranged to Conversations View, you’ll see a mini triangle in a column to the left of your emails (see image below). This indicates that there are two or more emails on the same subject. It will also show any emails currently in your SENT folder that you responded back on the same topic. In the image below you can see that I exchanged emails with Miranda regarding an engagement in Europe.

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