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Organising your email mess in Outlook

Posted by on May 26, 2010 - 12:55 PM

Organising your emails in outlook will not only save you time allowing you to quickly find the communications you are looking for, but also insures that there is an easy-to-follow audit trail of all business (and personal) communications. After you get setup, it should take you less than 5 minutes a day to keep everything organised. By sorting out your email you can:

  • Find the emails you need, when you need them.
  • Be more organised keeping your workspace uncluttered.
  • Keep work and personal emails separate at all times

The easiest way to for your outlook mess is to create a set of folders sort and file the emails you send and receive.

Creating Outlook Folders

The first thing you need to do is create folders if you do not already. There are some of you who will wonder how you could live without email folders, but trust me, there are more people than you think who have very few or even (shock horror), no folders at all. Depending on the nature of your business, there are many ways to organise your folders. You may want to organise them include by project, job, client, department etc. For this example I will choose to sort them by a combination of client and department.

Tip: to always keep an item at the top of a list (if you use it more often than the others), prefix it waith an ‘_’. To keep an item at the bottom, prefix it with z.

At the end of each day take 5 minutes to drag all emails into the folders you have created. Ideally your inbox will be empty. If you have too many emails in your inbox to start this process. Drag them all into an ‘old inbox’ folder. This will allow you to start fresh and get ontop of this process. Don’t forget to also sort out your sent items.

Keeping Personal emails Separate

It’s a good idea to keep personal email completely separate from your work email. To this it is best to create a completely new mailbox. This will not only keep it entirely separate, but will ensure that personal emails do not clog up your email server at work. To do this click on file, data file management and then add a new PST. Call it something like ‘personal’. Enter a password if you wish to keep this private. You should now have a completely separate mailbox to store your personal emails. Create a folder inside this mailbox

This PST file has its own contact list, so by moving all of your personal contacts into this PST, you will be able to easily take them with you if you leave the company.

The Rule

All you have to do is set:

  • Where the sender is in the specified address book
  • Move it to the ‘personal’ folder you created.

That’s it! Now emails from people in your personal contact list will go straight to this folder.