One of the most common ways people hamper their own productivity is poor inbox management. Especially with email accounts you’ve had for any reasonable length of time, it’s very easy to let notifications and newsletters spin out of control until you have an inbox count in the hundreds. Adding to this is the cycle of new software every few years like the new Office, and suddenly all of the tools you were used to using are missing or, as I’ve found, very hidden. Luckily, I’ve got some tips that should help transition to Outlook 2013.
1. Rules, Rules, Rules
Rules haven’t changed to much since the last Outlook, but I still think they are the most important feature of any email account. Located on the Home tab, you can create and manage rules to move any emails pertaining to certain subjects or from specific people to move to a folder. It’s a great way to manage emails that you get often but don’t need to review immediately.
2. Utilizing the To-Do List
One of the biggest changes from the last Outlook was that Microsoft disabled the To-Do Bar by default, and consequentially, it is now far to underutilized. To bring it back, click the View tab and find To-Do Bar. From here you can select from having Tasks, People, and Calendar displayed. Calendar gives you a quick run-down of your schedule for the day right on your main inbox screen. Using Tasks will allow you to flag any important emails that you’ve already read but still need to reply to so that you can easily find them later. This is an essential step in making your time spent in Outlook as manageable and efficient as possible.
3. Changing Your View
This one’s a little bit more personal, but just as important. Also from the View screen, you can select Change View to choose from different presets or create your own view. This will allow you to quickly turn previews off and how many lines of the message you see from the inbox. Doing this will allow you to find the emails you need to read faster and ignore the ones you don’t need to read a lot easier.
4. Conversation View
Also in the View tab, find Conversations and click it. This will have your messages with the same subject nested together. This is ideal for situations with a lot of back and forth and also subjects with many recipients replying to all. It can also pull messages from any folder to all be in the conversation, as long as the subject is the same, so there is significantly less time you have to spend searching for the history of a conversation.
5. Quick Steps
Sometimes the Rules function isn’t ideal for dealing with mail, generally for emails that you want to perform multiple tasks with certain mail. Quick Steps is the best choice to circumvent the issue, allowing you combine multiple actions under a single click so that you don’t have to manually repeat the steps every time. It’s essential for decreasing time spent in your email and allowing you to be more productive with your day.