If you use a programme such as Microsoft Outlook, these can be great tools to help manage your time more effectively.
Here are some top tips to get the best from outlook:
1. Check to see what distribution lists you are a member of. If you don’t feel as though you need to be on it remove yourself from it. This will stop your email box from getting clogged up and you spending times trying to figure out which emails are important and which ones are not. If you can’t remove yourself from them see point 2.
2. Create rules for emails. Rules allow you to tell your email programme what to do with emails when they arrive. For example, if an email is sent from a certain person you can automatically have it sent to a folder. Similarly, you can do the same if the email was sent to a specific address or if the email title contains certain words. See the Microsoft website for instructions of how to do this.
3. Arrange your mail in folders based on the Cover Urgent Important matrix. Create four folders and title them BOX 1, BOX 2, BOX 3, and BOX 4. As you skim through the emails you have received consider which box they fall into. Put all Urgent/Important emails into Box 1, All Urgent but Not Important emails into Box 2, Put all Urgent but Not Important mails into Box 3 and all Not Urgent and Not Important emails into box 4. We are in the process of writing an article about the Covey Model which will be on the site soon.
4. If a message needs action, flag it. You can add a flag to a message in outlook by clicking on the flag silhouette at the end of the title. Adding a flag adds the mail to your to do/task list meaning you can review them all together.
5. If an email has been bouncing backwards and forwards between lots of people and you are the last to receive it, make a habit f acually picking up the phone to talk to the last person or original sender. It can take ages to read through all of the threads and you might miss something.
6. Try and create clear titles and influence other to do the same. Use rules such as starting your email title with things such as FOR INFORMATION ONLY: or IMMEDIATE ACTION REQUIRED:. Give the reader the importance and urgency behind the email before they even have to open it and read it.
If you have any more tips we would love to hear about them. Add your tips in the comment section below.