Outlook - Organise Folders for Productivity

Email is our lifeline to the online world and for a small business, it is crucial to know right away what is going on when one of our customers, vendors, or employees sends us an email. However, since most small businesses also maintain a plethora of online accounts, subscribe to important newsletters, and put their name out there, it’s inevitable that their inbox can become a cluttered mess. Important emails may be lost in the shuffle and junk mail and spam may soon overwhelm your organized way of life.

Thankfully, with a few simple adjustments, you can get this problem under control. Most email programs give us some excellent tools to help us control the confusion of the modern inbox.

Creating Folders

You wouldn’t keep all your companies documents in a big cardboard box, would you? Obviously, this is not the best way to find what you need quickly. A file cabinet is a much better solution. But since most inboxes sort by date, you are essentially looking at a big pile of papers. Creating folders is the first step towards getting organized. If you have common emails you only need to see now and then – for example, newsletters – create a folder for them. This will take the cut down on the clutter. If you receive emails you always want to keep, move these to a special folder as well so they won’t get accidently deleted as you erase older emails. But what if your box is already filled with a thousand emails? That brings us to our next step, creating email rules.

Email Rules

Now that you have folders, it’d be great not to have to manually move everything to them as it arrives. Email rules can be setup in a matter of minutes to automatically route incoming mail into the correct folders when it arrives. Rules usually allow you to enter a specific sender, subject line, or other attribute as criteria for moving incoming mail to the correct folder. Most email clients will automatically sort through your existing messages and put them into folders when you apply a new rule. You can also make rules to send spam and junk mail straight to your trash folder by listing out common words that you know only come along in spam email messages.

Search Folders

Since small business owners often use their email as their main resource for tracking progress on a project, additional organization might be needed to group data in a different way. Maybe your new folders and rules work great for some cases, but you find that you also need to sort some data in another way. For example, you have folders for art resources, accounting emails, and customer requests, but you also have a project that uses all three of these. You can create a “virtual” folder that lets you view all the data on your project in a single place, regardless of where the actual messages are stored. Creating a search folder is much like creating an email rule, except the emails appear in their “real” folders as well as the “virtual” ones.

In a small business, we often have to wear many hats. By using these techniques, you can make sure you don’t let an important email go unnoticed. Get back to your customers and vendors as quickly as possible by turning your chaotic inbox into a well-organized emailing machine.


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