Monthly Archives: June 2017


Best Practices for Creating an Email Filing System in Outlook

By standss - Comments ( 0 ) Wednesday, June 28th, 2017

Eeminders

In this post we define best practices for an Email Filing System that will work for lawyers, accountants, engineers, architects and other professionals who do work on discrete projects (or matters if you are a lawyer).

The simplest system that you can use for organizing your emails is based on having a separate folder for each project/matter.

This is easy for everyone to understand since folder based filing is something that we all know from the paper world.

We will cover 2 Simple Rules that you need to follow and create and name the folders so that emails are easy to file and to find later. We finish with a final tip on how to separate Current Projects/Matters from Closed Projects/Matters.

Once you have read this article, you may also want to look at QuickFile for Outlook which automates the filing of finding of emails in your email filing system.

2 Simple Rules

There are only 2 simple rules that you need to follow.

1. Create a separate folder for each project/matter
2. File ALL (both incoming and outgoing) emails for the project/matter into the folder.

Follow the above two rules and you will be able to find all related emails for a project/matter easily when you need to.

The trick however is to name your folders in such a way that the folders (and therefore the emails) are easy to find when you need them later.

How to name your email folders

There are up to 3 pieces of information that you can use to name your folders.

Client Name: Needs no explanation but remember that the same client may have multiple projects.
Project/Matter Number (Optional): Many firms assign unique numbers to each project/matter. This number is then used in all correspondence etc. related to that project.
Project/Matter Description: A brief description of the project/matter

Assuming that your organization assigns numbers to projects, we recommend that you name your email folders inside Outlook as follows.
CLIENT_NAME PROJECT_NUMBER PROJECT_DESCRIPTION
For example: Acme Corporation 2017-01 Wile E Coyote Vs Roadrunner

If you do not use project/matter numbers, just leave them out so your format is
CLIENT NAME – PROJECT_DESCRIPTION
For example: Acme Corporation – Wile E Coyote Vs Roadrunner

What are the advantages of naming your folders in this way?

Naming your folders in this way provides some very specific advantages for both when you want to file and find your emails later.

1. You can see all projects/matters for a particular client together in next to each other (since the folders are shown alphabetically in Outlook).
2. It is easy to identify what is in a folder even if you don’t know the project/matter number since the folder name contains both the client’s name and description.
3. Folders are easy to find using folder search tools like Find&Goto folder in QuickFile for Outlook because you can search using the client name, project/matter number or any word from its description.

Note: You may have seen system where users create folders for clients and then create the project/matter folders under them. I personally don’t recommend that because it creates an unnecessary level you have to drill down into when looking for emails. The folders are also not that easy to find using Search tools because Project folders do not contain client names and vice versa.

Separating Current Projects from Completed Projects

It is highly likely that you work on many projects and most of these projects are not ongoing forever i.e. they get completed and closed at some point in time.

We recommend that you create two top level folders to deal with this.
A_Current_Projects (or A_Current_Matters)
B_Completed_Projects (or B_Completed_Matters)

(I have named the folders with the A_ and B_ in front of their names so that Current Projects is listed before Completed Projects as Outlook sorts the folders alphabetically). Now…

Create folders for your new and existing projects in the Current Projects folder.

Once a project is completed move the entire folder out of the Current Projects folder into the Completed Projects folder.

Using the Filing System while still doing your real work

I hope that you find the guidelines from this post useful in either setting up or refining your own email filing system… and remember to file emails from both your Inbox and Sent Items folders into the dedicated project/matter folders.

If you work with many emails and many projects, you may find that filing emails takes too much time away from your real work. If that is the case we recommend you download 30 day trial of QuickFile for Outlook which makes it easy to find folders, file 90% of inbox emails at the click of one button, and send and file outgoing emails in one step.

Finally, if you have your own ideas for email systems or need more detailed instructions (maybe by video), please let us know by leaving a comment.

sale

Rules for Using the ‘Reply All’ Button

By standss - Comments ( 0 ) Wednesday, June 14th, 2017

Emails are often sent out to large lists of recipients to announce information. Unnecessary Reply-Alls to the same emails can be both annoying and expensive for organizations as recipients waste valuable time reading and responding to useless emails.

Here’s a quick checklist of when you should and should not do a Reply All. You may also want to share this post with colleagues who are annoying you with unnecessary reply-alls to group emails.

Many companies are also using Reply-Guard for Outlook to warn users if they click Reply-All accidentally (it can also disable the Reply-All button for selected emails)

Here’s the list.

Do NOT use Reply-All to acknowledge receipt or say Thank You

Not everyone on the list needs to know that you specifically have received the email.

And unless the sender has specifically asked for acknowledgement, you probably don’t need to say Received or Thank You. Chances are that if the original email out to many people, the sender doesn’t want his or her Inbox filled with hundreds of Thank Yous.

In the rare case where an acknowledgement is appropriate, please click Reply instead of Reply-All. This way only the original sender is notified.

DO a Reply-All if the email is a discussion or if you are adding information that applies to all recipients

If the email is a discussion, then it makes sense to do a Reply All. However even if it is a discussion, you should only do a Reply All if your information adds additional information. Don’t just reply with an “agreed”.

The rare case where a short Agreed or Yes or No is appropriate where you need to let everyone (and not just the original sender) know your opinion.

Do NOT berate anyone or complain about others in a group email

That almost never ends well!

Even if you are correct, you have probably caused unnecessary embarrassment to a colleague. Your comments could easily become watercooler gossip and affect your long-term relationship with the affected person.

If you absolutely need to berate anyone then either send them an email personally (which I still do not recommend because emails can make what you mean sound much worse) or pick up the phone or (best of all) do it in person.

Similar rules also apply if you need to complain about someone else’s behaviour. In most cases, a one-to-one email to the appropriate person, a phone call or an in-person meeting works best.

Prevention is Better Than Cure

Unfortunately, It is too easy to accidentally do a Reply-All when you didn’t mean to… the Reply and Reply-All buttons are right next to each other. If Reply-All is a problem for you or your organization, you may want to look at some additional protection such as ReplyGuard for Outlook.

Reply-Guard installs inside Outlook is already used by thousands of users in companies of all size around the world. It also has additional features for control and deployment in large organizations.

Learn more about preventing accidental Reply-Alls in your organization

Main for post sendguard
Categories : Uncategorized Comments ( 0 )

Search Blog

Archives