Tag Archives: Emails

Is your Email killing your Productivity?

By standss - Comments ( 2 ) Monday, October 10th, 2011

Emails are a very dominant means of communication nowadays and it can take up hours of our time just checking, reading or answering emails. So let me ask you again, is your Email killing your Productivity?

If your answer to the above is YES, then below are just some simple email tips that can help you stay focused and more productive.

1. Turn-off any forms of Distractions (Email Alerts)

I have always preferred to turn off e-mail notifications in Outlook, particularly the blue notification rectangle that shows up everytime you receive a new email in Outlook versions 2003 and later.

Imagine this pop-ups appearing every 5 or 10 minutes, or even more often and the end result – your productivity is getting affected (even if you do not open and read the email immediately).

You can refer to an earlier post on how to Turn-off the Email alert in Outlook.

2. Automatically highlight important emails

You might receive hundreds of emails a day but this does not necessarily mean that all have to be dealt with immediately.

You can setup Outlook to automatically highlight or color-code important emails that require your immediate attention. This ensures that you are focusing your attention on the right emails.

3. Try to automate as many processes as possible (rather then doing it manually)

If you are using an email program such as Outlook, you can setup rules to perform some of the obvious tasks such as moving SPAM/JUNK emails out of the Inbox automatically. This saves you time which can be used for other important matters rather deleting individual SPAM emails.

4. Process your emails in batches

It’s not necessary to check emails throughout the day or work on them all day long. As noted above, more often you will find that not all emails require an immediate response. So try to process your emails in batches, you can answer the first lot of emails first thing in the morning and the others sometime in the afternoon.

This reduces frustration (that more often happens due to email overload) with emails and at the same time allows you to focus on other productive tasks through the day.

These are if you like some simple tips to help you stay focus and productive.

Do you have other methods of your own to stay productive?

Please share it with us and our readers by leaving a comment below.

How to Set Reminders for Outlook Emails

By standss - Comments ( 4 ) Friday, September 23rd, 2011

Often the emails that we receive require some future actions for example to setup a meeting with a client or making a phone call on a particular date/time. Ofcourse you can create a new Appointment or a Task to do the same but in this post, I will show you how easy it is to set reminders on the email itself.

In Outlook 2010 (When a message is closed)

  • In your Inbox, select a message
  • Under the Home tab > go to the Tags group
  • Click Follow Up > Add Reminder
  • On the Custom dialog box, tick the Reminder checkbox. This activates the Reminder date and time boxes beneath the checkbox.
  • Select a date and time for the reminder to appear. Additionally you have the option to select what sound to play when a reminder appears by click on the Sound button.
  • Click OK.

The message will now be automatically flagged for follow up and the reminder will appear at the date and time specified.

In Outlook 2010 (When a message is open)

  • Under the Message tab > go to the Tags group
  • Here on the steps will be the same (as above) as when the message is closed.

In Outlook 2007 (When a message is closed)

  • In your Inbox, right-click the message
  • Click Follow Up > Add Reminder
  • On the Custom dialog box, tick the Reminder checkbox. This activates the Reminder date and time boxes beneath the checkbox.
  • Select a date and time for the reminder to appear. Additionally you have the option to select what sound to play when a reminder appears by clicking on the Sound button.
  • Click OK.

The message will now be automatically flagged for follow up and the reminder will appear at the date and time specified.

In Outlook 2007 (When a message is open)

  • On the open message window, click Follow Up on the Ribbon > Add Reminder
  • Here on the steps will be the same (as above) as when the message is closed.

In Outlook 2003 (When a message is closed)

  • In your Inbox, right-click the message
  • Click Follow Up > Add Reminder…
  • On the Flag for Follow Up dailog box, select a Due by date (and optionally a time for the reminder to appear).
  • Click OK

The message will now be automatically flagged for follow up and the reminder will appear at the date and time specified.

In Outlook 2003 (When a message is open)

  • On the open message window, click Actions on the menu
  • Click Follow Up > Add Reminder…
  • Here on the steps will be the same (as above) as when the message is closed.

Do you think that this is much easier then setting up new Appointments and Tasks?

Let us know by leaving a comment below.

Categories : Outlook as a Business Tool, Outlook Email Tips Comments ( 4 )

Solutions to Outlook Search Problems

By standss - Comments ( 0 ) Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

Since we posted Better Search with Microsoft Outlook earlier this week, several readers have indicated that Outlook’s Search does not return expected results for them. Here are a few tips that may help you solve Search related problems in Outlook.

1.  Rebuild the Search Indexes

The Search functionality in Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2010 is great… unless it is not working. Most of the time rebuilding the search index clears up the problems. Unfortunately it isn’t obvious, at least not from inside Outlook.

Search in Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2010 uses Windows Search Indexes (i.e. it’s a Windows feature and not an Outlook only feature). If Windows Search Indexes are not built properly or corrupt you may find that Outlook Search does not work properly.

You can refer to our earlier post Fixing Search Problems in Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2010 to learn how to rebuild the search indexes.

2. Search all folders instead of just the current folder

Outlook (by default) searches emails in the current folder you are in. The Search results also come up with a link at the bottom to “Try Searching all Mail Items”. I find myself ALWAYS clicking on the Search All link as I rarely bother to move to the relevant folder first.

You can refer to our earlier post Make Outlook 2007/2010 search ALL folders instead of just the current folder to learn how to force Outlook to search all mail items by default.

I hope this post makes it easier for you to search and find your emails.

Categories : Outlook Search Tips Comments ( 0 )

How to protect your Outlook Data from data loss

By standss - Comments ( 3 ) Thursday, April 21st, 2011

Do you know that by default Outlook is configured to eventually corrupt itself and lose some and maybe even all your e-mails?

In this post, I will go through simple tips that will greatly improve your use of Outlook.

Here are a few essential tips that will help you to ensure that your Outlook data is safe and protected from software corruption or data failure.

1. Find out where you Outlook E-mails are saved and backup

Unlike other Office programs, Outlook does not ask you where you want to save your e-mails. Instead it creates a data file of its own.

Unfortunately, unless you have a good understanding of the inner workings of Windows, the file is saved in a location you probably will never remember to backup.

Tip 1 in our free e-book shows you how you can easily find out where your Outlook data file is.

You can Click Here to download your own copy of the e-book.

Once you know where your Outlook Data file is, make sure that you back it up regularly.

Have more than one backup set. (I tried to restore from a backup CD a few years ago to find that the backup was corrupt too. I lost more than 12 months of e-mails)

2. Outlook may corrupt itself unless you split your data into at least two files.

By default, Outlook saves all your e-mails in one file. There are a number of problems with this:

  • As the Outlook data file gets filled up, Outlook will get slower
  • There is a physical limit to the size of your Outlook data file.
  • If you reach this limit, Outlook will suddenly stop working and
    there is a great risk that you could lose some if not all of your
    e-mails.

The solution is to split your data into more than one data file.

Tips 3 and 4 of our free e-book have step-by-step instructions on how you should split your data file.

You can Click Here to download your own copy of the e-book.

3. Use QuickFile to simplify shifting e-mails out of your Inbox and Sent Items folders

QuickFile is an inexpensive, easy-to-use Outlook add-on that greatly simplifies the filing of e-mails.

  • It works inside Outlook by adding two buttons to your toolbar
  • It does not require you to change the way you use Outlook
  • It will dramatically reduce the time and effort required to file
    your e-mails.

Click Here to learn more about QuickFile and download a fully functional trail version.

Email Overwhelm: Better Responses in Less Time

By standss - Comments ( 0 ) Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

In an earlier post, we identified 3 Types of Email Overwhelm. In this post I would like to talk about how you can reduce email stress by significantly reducing the time taken to reply to emails… and still write better quality emails.

This one tool reduced the time spent by our customer support department on emails by 65%!

We did some research with our readers and found out that:

  1. We don’t have that many different emails to write
    Our analysis revealed that although we have a lot of emails to write, we don’t actually have that many DIFFERENT emails to write. Many of our emails are very similar to other emails that we have written in the past.
  2. We are WASTING a lot of time rewriting the same emails over and over and over again.
    We can save a LOT of time if we identify the common emails that we need to write and spend time writing them correctly once … maybe even get expert help to write the more important emails once for you. Then reuse the wording each time you need to write a similar email.
  3. Rewriting the same email over and over again generally results in LOWER quality correspondence
    You’re not getting better at it just because you’re doing it over and over again. After a while writing the same email gets boring so we rush through the process … plus the quality of your email is dependent on your mood each time you write it.

In summary,

We often feel overwhelmed by email because we are WASTING our precious time and energy REWRITING the same emails over and over again.

… and A SIMPLE Solution

Template your most common emails. Implement and use a system that lets you write emails once and then reuse them as often as you need to.

A simple change like creating and using templates for your replies could result in better quality correspondence… that takes LESS time to write. The end result is better communications, happier customers and more time for you to work on something more fulfilling.

Which brings us to… Insert Text for Outlook.

The biggest problem with InsertText is its name… InsertText does much more than just insert text into your emails.

It is a complete email template solution for Microsoft Outlook. You can use Insert Text to:

  • Create and use email templates in Microsoft Outlook
  • Templates can be used to Create new emails as well as Reply, Reply-to-All and Forward
  • Templates can have plain text, formatted text (HTML), To, CC, BCC fields and more (this is a addin specially designed for emails)
  • Easy to user interface lets you search, find and use templates easily.

If you’re not using InsertText yet… you owe it to yourself to try it out. There is a fully functional 30-day trial on our website.

Learn More and Download InsertText

Also remember to check out the NEW YEARS RESOLUTION OUTLOOK PACK. We have bundled InsertText with 3 other Outlook Email Overwhelm boosters. You can save more than 50% for the next few days.

Make Outlook 2007/2010/2013 search ALL folders instead of just the current folder

By standss - Comments ( 10 ) Monday, July 26th, 2010

Search in Outlook 2007, 2010 and 2013 is awesome. Depending on the way you work, this little tweak will save you a little time every time you need to do a search for emails.

Outlook (by default) searches emails in the current folder you are in. The Search results also come up with a link at the bottom to “Try Searching all Mail Items”. I find myself ALWAYS clicking on the Search All link as I rarely bother to move to the relevant folder first.

Here’s a quick setting changing that will force Outlook to search all mail items by default.

In Outlook 2010/2013, click File-Options and then click the Search tab to display Search Options.

Click All folders and then click OK

In Outlook 2007, click Tools-Options and then click the Search Options button on the Preferences tab to display the Search Options box.

Click All folders and then click OK.

It’s a small tweak but it could save you a lot of clicks.

Do you have any other Search tricks that you find useful. Share it with other readers by leaving a comment on the blog.

Related Links:
Fixing Search Problems in Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2010

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Categories : Outlook Email Tips Comments ( 10 )

Why are some emails not reaching my Inbox (or even my Spam folder)?

By standss - Comments ( 10 ) Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

I was sitting at a friend’s office on Saturday when he told me that he was having problems with emails from a particular person. They had send (and resent) emails to him several times but he did not receive them… and they weren’t in his spam folder… and the sender was not receiving any bounce back or undeliverable message?

Where were the emails disappearing to? How many other emails was he losing that he did not know about?

The answer… they were getting caught by the SPAM filter setup by his ISP. The emails were getting moved by his ISP to a special online Junk Mails folder… so they were never making it down from the Internet to his computer.

The solution… use your webmail client (Your ISP should have given you a URL) to login to your mail online and then check your online Junk Emails folder.

I know I wrote about this topic last week (Why Outlook users NEED to check emails using their ISPs webmail client too) but in light of what James discovered on his webmail, I thought it was worth writing about again.

(James has more than 200 emails in his online Spam Folder with a reasonable number of them actual work emails)

Do you find that online spam filters block too many of your emails? Let me know by leaving a comment on the blog.

Categories : Outlook Email Tips Comments ( 10 )

Adding Reminders to Outlook Emails (My favourite keyboard shortcut)

By standss - Comments ( 1 ) Thursday, June 10th, 2010

I am not a big user of keyboard shortcuts but I do use this when I want to add a flag or reminder to an email

  1. Select the email.
  2. Press CTRL-SHIFT-G to display the Custom Flagging screen.

I find this keyboard shortcut much easier to use then either finding the appropriate button to click on the ribbon or even right-clicking.

Do you have your own favourite keyboard shortcuts. Let us know by leaving a comment on the blog.

Categories : Outlook Email Tips Comments ( 1 )